As summer comes to a close each year, one event on the calendar stands out: Long Point Race Week.
Thirty eight boats signed up for this race to Long Point, Catalina, this year and were greeted with perfect weather, good friends and breathtaking scenery.
Friday night's party was at Newport Harbor Yacht Club's way station at Moonstone Cove. While sitting in one of the lounge chairs, near the entrance pathway into the station, I was enjoying the sunset and explaining my poor performance as tactician — the person who decided what course to take to the island — to the owner of the boat I sail on.
I could not help but overhear the comments of the crew members of different boats as they walked down the pathway. I heard "Oh wow" the most from people as they scanned the cove. My favorite conversation of the night went like this: "Honey, how come you have never taken me to this tropical paradise before?" with the reply, "Because you told me you would not spend the night on the boat with eight drunken sailors."
This event attracts most of the high-performance racing sailboats from Santa Barbara to San Diego. The fastest boat was Tom Holthus' 65 foot Reichel Pugh "Bad Pac" and the smallest Mark Wyland's J/105 "Lucky Star."
Seymour Beek was sailing with the Madigan family aboard the Schock 35 "Berserk." The Richley family was sailing well, as usual, aboard "Amante." This year's top overall local boats were "It's OK," finishing third overall and third in class, followed by "Katana," which finished fifth overall and fifth in class.
Saturday's sail is without a doubt my favorite of the year. It typically starts from Long Point around Ship Rock, at the Isthmus, and ends up back at Ship Rock. Sailing up to Ship Rock always has its challenges, although the real fun does not start until we have rounded the rock and all the colorful spinnakers start to pop open like a late summer flower bloom.
The backdrop of the island and all the colorful spinnakers remind me of a quote, "Life is not measured by the moments of breath you take but by the breathtaking moments."
Saturday's fun party was kicked up a notch with live music and photos of the previous day's racing. Bronny Daniels, http://www.joysailing.com, has been shooting this event for a number of years, and this year she hit it out of the park. Her photos where projected onto a large screen, strategically placed right next to the bar.
Once the photos started, it was like feeding seagulls. The flock of sailors did not leave the screen until every photo was viewed at least three times and they were out of drink tickets. I had some great laughs with a lot of old friends before turning my attention back to the band and the dance floor.
The feeling of being overserved was quickly approaching, and I still had not improved my performance on the race course, so I shifted to drinking water and walking down to the beach for another look at Whites Cove. I took in all the different boat lights, the stars and the music. My favorite part was hearing all the laughter across the water, which brings me back to my happy place each year.
It is always entertaining at Sunday's breakfast to see how many sailors can walk a straight line and engage in conversation. Fortunately, we had a good breeze for our return trip home and finished third in our class and ninth overall. Not our best Long Point Race Week results, but we still came home with sun burns and big smiles.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.