by Rich Roberts
Cal Maritime came into the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup/Cal Maritime Invitational Intercollegiate Regatta not only to defend last year's championship but to make it madly interesting.
day 3 Harbor Cup 2012
So it wasn't enough for the Keelhaulers from Vallejo, Calif. to start the last day Sunday with an overriding eight-point lead; their first move was to jump the start in the first of three final races and dig themselves a hole they didn't need at the rear of the fleet.
A day earlier they seemed to trash a good race when broken hardware sent their spinnaker flying wildly from the top of the mast. Both times they clawed their way back to fourth-place finishes to save the weekend and secure their second consecutive title in the West Coast's only intercollegiate big boat regatta, five points ahead of 2010 winner USC and 10 ahead of CSU Channel Islands.
For the first time in the event's five-year history, the top three teams were from California.
Keelhauler skipper Matthew Van Rensselaer said, 'We do a good job of keeping calm and staying in clear air. I was trying to keep as calm as I could.'
In the end, with a 10-point lead, they didn't even need to sail the last of nine races, which USC commanded from start to finish, although the Trojans had nervous moments dragging some unwanted kelp down the last leg.
Trojan skipper Max Hutcheson said, 'We learned a lot … just a rough first day, but after that we sailed pretty solid.' Hutcheson, a sophomore, will return with most of his mates next year---not so for the U.S. Naval Academy team that rebounded from a slow first two days to win Sunday's first two races in light southeast breeze, not the usual double-digit blow known from southwest through the San Pedro Channel, otherwise known as 'Hurricane Gulch.'
This was the last regatta for the Midshipmen, all seven of whom are seniors bound for military careers ranging from medicine to flight school, nuclear study and officer training.
Team captain Colin Nevins, who will pursue a medical calling, said, 'We finally got our starting sequence going and were getting off the line with good speed. We had a good time sailing together for the last time.'
Sunday's racing was often painful to watch, if not sail, but there was acceptable wind of 9 knots to start on time at 11:30 a.m. But minute by minute it seemed to become more challenging as it faded to as low as 3 or 4 knots, causing some traffic jams as boats fought adverse currents at the marks.
On the getaway day, no races could start after 2:30, and the third one didn't finish until 10 minutes after that---thumbs up to Tom Trujillo and his race committee for pulling it off as well as they did.
Each day the teams rotated Catalina 37s chartered from the Long Beach Sailing Foundation. The Port of Los Angeles was the regatta sponsor, Los Angeles YC the organizing authority and Cal Maritime the inviting school.
day 3 - Harbor Cup 2012
Cal Maritime crew Kevin Hartley and Harry Antrobus hoist the Port of L.A. Harbor Cup with the team
Final standings (9 races; no discards)
1. Cal Maritime, 1-5-1-1-1-4-4-3-6, 26 points.
2. USC, 6-3-2-3-7-1-3-5-1, 31.
3. CSU Channel Islands, 2-1-3-2-8-5-5-7-3, 36.
4. SUNY Maritime, 5-2-9-6-4-2-6-4-2, 40.
5. U.S. Naval Academy, 4-8-7-5-2-8-1-1-5, 41.
6. Mass. Maritime, 7-4-5-4-5-3-8-2-RAF/10, 48.
7. Maine Maritime, 9-6-10-7-3-9-2-6-4, 56.
8. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 8-7-4-8-6-6-7-8-9, 63.
9. U. of Michigan, 3-9-6-10-10-7-9-9-7, 70.
10. UC Berkeley, 10-10-8-9-9-10-10-10-8, 84.
Harbor Cup 2012 - day 3