SAN PEDRO, CA – The Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup hosted the second ICSA Big Boat National Intersectional of the intercollegiate sailing season. Ten teams earned their invitational berths from the Los Angeles Yacht Club through competitive resume.
This season the field included teams from five of the seven ICSA districts and a team from Ireland. The invitees were The US Coast Guard Bears, Navy, Maine Maritime, College of Charleston, University of South Florida, Oregon State, UC Santa Barbra, University of Southern California, Cal Maritime, and the Cork Institute of Technology.
The event was sailed aboard identically prepared Catalina 37's with crews of seven. The racing took place just outside the breakwater separating San Pedro Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The peaks of Santa Catalina Island and Rolling Hills serve as a backdrop with the sharp cliffs of Point Fermin to windward and the prominent Angels Gate Lighthouse to leeward.
The picturesque landmarks were only visible on the first day of racing as an abnormal layer of dense fog lingered on the racecourse on Saturday and socked in completely on Sunday.
The Offshore Bears showed a dramatic improvement over their previous Harbor Cup performances. Offshore Coach Kevin Dooley commented, "Our team has been building confidence in their speed and have practiced enough to know they can handle the big boats as well as anyone in college sailing. With even or better boat speed they were able to position and maintain clear lanes in order to stay in phase through the wind shifts."
Coast Guard set a new team benchmark finishing fourth overall and winning the third race wire to wire. Dooley continued, "We sailed with and beat some good teams this weekend. Everyone sent their best players. We had six different winners in each of the six races. We've improved, there isn't any one weakness anymore, from here on it's just a matter of settling out all the little details.
Heading into the last day ten points separated the Bears from moving up to second and an additional ten points separated them from moving down to ninth. Despite the extended delay and subsequent abandonment of racing on Sunday the Offshore Team stayed focused and ready for racing throughout the afternoon.
"Anything could have happened and our team was eager to race. We put on a show for the spectators during the warm-up. Unfortunately, despite the best attempts by the LAYC race committee, the fog was too thick and visibility too limited for safe racing to take place on Sunday."
Coast Guard's 2017 Harbor Cup crew included bowman Will Colomb '18, mastman Toby Ferl '20, pitperson Will Gigantelli '18, jib trimmer Zach Groce '19, spinnaker trimmer Erin Wright '19, main trimmer Andrew Goetz '18, and helmsman Eric Gimple '20.
"Everyone on the Harbor Cup team deserves special recognition. Each event requires sacrifice, but none more than the spring break event. I'm particularly impressed with the performance and maturity showed by our 4/c sailors."
The Bears will begin a seven event home stand on Tuesday, March 21st when they host Fairfield, Sacred Heart, University of Rhode Island, and Boston University. Racing begins at 1610 on the Thames River.