It was all smiles for the 330+ sailors who visited San Diego Yacht Club from all over San Diego, Dana Point, Newport Beach, and as far away as Los Angeles and Mexico City Sept. 8-9 for what has become one of the most popular regattas in Southern California. In fact, at 48 boats, organizers Barrett Canfield and Rick Day of South Coast Yachts think their formula for the regatta has made this Beneteau Cup the largest in the world. Even Mt. Gay came in as a sponsor this year, with their famous red regatta ball caps.
With an instructional, encouraging, and fun format, especially tailored towards new and novice racers, Canfield and Day are proud of how the regatta has grown over the years, and of how many of the sailors introduced to racing at Beneteau Cup have gone on to compete in (and even win!) other local SoCal regattas such as the Beer Can Series, Hot Rums, and even NOSA’s Newport to Ensenada. Of course, the First Series and 36.7 One-Design Classes brought out many experts as well.
Unique to this regatta, on Friday evening Day, Sean Smith, and Paul Briant of South Coast Yachts gave a well-attended seminar on rules of the road, and racing basics including starting and mark roundings, while stressing safety and fun the whole while. Then stepped in Chuck Skewes and Andrew LaPlant from Ullman Sails San Diego for some expert-level sail-trim advice that attendees found enlightening and helpful to prepare them to go racing Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday’s ocean racing in Coronado Roads was picture-perfect SoCal racing, with a steady 10-12 knots of breeze out of the WNW. Cruising Classes 1 and 2, with 9 and 16 boats respectively, ran two triangle courses that were long enough to really let these big Oceanis cruisers stretch their legs with their A-sails pulling hard. Meanwhile the 36.7’s, for whom this was their West Coast Championship, and the other First Series boats enjoyed some close racing with three windward-leeward courses to really engage their strategic and tactical skills.
Saturday evening the skippers and crews enjoyed reminiscing about their day while doing “sailing karate” (watch them discuss racecourse maneuvers with their hands some time), SDYC’s excellent Italian food and bar service, and partied and danced well into the evening to the sounds of John Fretwell’s StylusOverhang live band. Renowned local photographer Cynthia Sinclair’s slideshow of the day’s racing drew a nice crowd on its own, and provided racers some great fun to watch as they waited in line for a beer or Mt. Gay Rum refill. Many stayed overnight on their boats, comfortably berthed courtesy of SDYC’s Guest Dock.
Sunday, with a lighter and a shifty SSE breeze, Race Committee did an amazing job setting a pretty tight W/L course for two 6-leg races for the 36.7’s to finish their Championship, while sending the other three classes on various round-the-bay, random-leg courses. Even with the unusual wing angle, the sun was out, the breeze was warm, and the racing was lively. It was quite a sight to see with 30+ Beneteau cruisers headed down the bay flying their beautiful kites. Everyone wrapped up around 3:30 pm, which was perfect timing to head back to the 4:30 awards ceremony.
Trophies courtesy of Ullman Sails were awarded to the top four finishers in each of the four classes, along with bottles of Mt. Gay rum, Beneteau Cup ball caps, and other gifts from local sponsors. SDYC’s Commodore Mike Dorgan congratulated the racers as he posed with them for the trophy photos.
Cruise Class 1 was dominated by winners Bruce and Audrey Toal with their Oceanis 58, Wild Orchid, while Andy Moulds’ Oceanis 40 Slainte was the winner of the 16-boat Cruise Class 2. Precepts II, the highly modified First 40 was back with a fantastic performance this year, as Drew Belk and his crew won the First Series Class of 14 boats. And Thomas Shepard’s Kraken won the 5-race regatta, and the Overall Class Championship for the 36.7 class along with it. Every year, the best finishing Cruising boat and best finishing First Series Overall also receive awards on perpetual trophies, and this year Wild Orchid and Precepts II were the Overall Winners.
Canfield and Day would like to thank SDYC for the hospitality, and SDYC’s Race Committee for their excellent work and support over the weekend. They also thank sponsors Mt. Gay, Ullman Sails, Pantaenius Insurance, Sherri Normandin’s Coastal Properties Team, Fiddler’s Green, Harbor Sailboats, Steadfast Finance, Shelter Island Boat Yard, Tactiqs Performance System Software, Steadfast Finance, Rigworks, and Beneteau America for contributing to this fun and increasingly popular regatta. Beneteau Cup 2019 is set for Sept. 6, 7, and 8 next year. Mark your calendars, and don’t miss the fun!