Two late entries, including a two-time former class winner, have boosted the competition to eight boats for this weekend’s biennial big boat Invitational Regatta for the Hoag Cup starting Friday.
Oscar Krinsky’s 1D48, Chayah, from Long Beach won Class C in the first two Hoag regattas in 2005 and 2007 and among larger boats was sixth overall on ORR handicap time in the latter event. With Ed McDowell’s defending overall champion Grand Illusion already entered with two other Santa Cruz 70s, Westerly and Pyewacket III, the fleet now includes 2007′s top three finishers and four of the top six.
Meanwhile, Chris Welsh had to withdraw the iconic Ragtime this week when it became apparent that repairs necessary following his extraordinarily successful racing tour Down Under would not be completed in time. But he had sailed Ragtime in the first two Hoag Cups and was determined to do this one, too, because of a strong personal relationship with the hospital. He was born there and has been a patient there.
Then Al Schultz and his actress wife Vicki Lawrence of Long Beach offered the use of their Andrews 70, also named Vicki.
Race chairman Glenn Highland told Schultz, “That is one of the most generous offers I have heard of in sailing in a long time . . . really terrific news from our viewpoint, as well. The Hoag Cup is about big boat sailing in Newport but also very much about our charitable goals of supporting Hoag Hospital. In fulfillment to our sponsors we need to be sure we have the right number of boats. With the situation on Ragtime, despite everyone’s best efforts, we were a little too close to the edge. Then you, and Vicki, came to the rescue!”
Welsh, who can’t remember ever sailing a ULDB 70, said, “We’ll be at the starting line doing our learning. However we do, it’s a good outcome to the situation.”
The regatta benefits Hoag Heart and Vascular Institute and is organized and hosted by Hoag Hospital and the Balboa Yacht Club and Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
Five races—two each Friday and Saturday and one on Sunday—are to be sailed on a course set off Newport Pier, which will be open to spectators with free admission. Racing is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. each day. All eight boats will start together. Video highlights may be viewed at www.hoagcupregatta.com
The Hornblower spectator boat also will follow the fleet on Saturday. Reservations, also available at www.hoagcupregatta.com, are $125 per person and include lunch and beverages provided on board, along with commentary from a sailing expert.
Sponsorship has made the Hoag Cup the most successful of single charity regattas, raising more than $700,000 for the non-profit hospital through the first two events. It was conceived in 2005 to feature large and fast monohulls adaptable to inshore or offshore racing.
Roy E. Disney, a competitive sailboat racer all his adult life, is the honorary chairman. Now retired from racing, he has reacquired Pyewacket III that he sailed to a Transpacific Yacht Race record in 1999 and was later owned by Newport Beach racer Doug Ayres, who renamed it—temporarily, it seems—as Skylark and finished third overall in 2007.
Disney, quoted in the regatta preview supplement published by the local Daily Pilot, said, “I am honored to be a part of this regatta since it benefits a great hospital. I have come to appreciate it a great deal since becoming a permanent resident of Newport Beach.”
This time the skipper will be Disney’s son, Roy Pat, sailing with most of the longtime Pyewacket crew, plus four members of the Morning Light team—skipper Jeremy Wilmot, Jesse Fielding, Piet van Os and Graham Brant-Zawadzki—who were involved in Disney’s documentary film about a young and relatively inexperienced ocean racing team preparing and participating successfully in the 2007 Transpac.
The event also will display two TP52s as forerunners of the new SoCal 52 Class. Veteran racers Jim Madden of Newport Beach and Andy Rasdal of San Diego have recycled boats from Europe’s popular MedCup circuit and renamed them Stark Raving Mad V and Valkyrie, respectively.
Highland, the race chairman who like Welsh has had a deep involvement in the hospital’s 552 Club support group, noted that although the entry list is shorter than before, the event’s goals will be met.
“I am a believer in big boat sailboat racing in Newport Beach, which is what originally brought me into the regatta, as well as being a longtime supporter of Hoag Hospital Foundation,” he said. “The approach where we bring the philanthropy of our sponsors into the world of big boat sailing in Newport Beach is very special.”
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