The College of Charleston Cougars led the fleet of ten boats around the course, in light southerly breezes, capturing their first win of the regatta.
But it was the US Naval Academy’s second place finish in that race, that was the big news. With that, the Midshipmen clinched the 2018 Port of LA Harbor Cup title, for the first time in history.
“We’ve been here since the beginning (2008) and it’s the first time Navy has won it,” said skipper Teddy Papenthien. “It’s just awesome for the program, just huge.”
For the final race of the regatta, Navy held back, easing into a second tier start. “We had it clinched before the start of that race, so we figured we’d just go out and have fun, and see what happened. This is, for all of us, our last intercollegiate race; and for most of us probably our last regatta for a long time. We’ve got two Surface Warfare Officers, three Marines, and two Navy pilots, going off to try some different things.”
Papenthien continued, “This is a huge win for the whole program, because everyone was involved. I’m very pleased and very proud: our crew did awesome.” In addition to the Port of LA Harbor Cup perpetual trophy, the Midshipmen received a take-home half-model of the Catalina 37; and a cash prize from sponsor Community Bank.
Also making their first visit to the podium was the University of California Santa Barbara Gauchos, in second overall. But their day didn’t start out that well.
OCS in the first race, skipper Christopher Weis explained, “We found ourselves pretty deep. But the team worked really hard to fight our way back. We went up the left side and were able to go over a few people.”
That left them in a pack, scrambling for standings in the final race. “Going into the last race, everyone was there,” – UCSB, Charleston, University of South Florida and California Maritime Academy, all vying for podium positions. ‘We were all within a few points of each other. So, in order to get second, we knew we had to get out there and get the job done.”
“I am really proud of how they came out today,” said UCSB Coach Rob Grant. “This is only their second time at this regatta, and racing these boats. We practice on a Farr 40, so I was especially impressed by their boat handling.”
“And yesterday was pretty rough,” Grant continued. “But today they shook it off and got to work. In that last race they did everything they needed to.”
“It’s all teamwork,” Weis described. “We all worked really well together: the team telling me to keep my head down when I needed to, to keep my air clear; getting the sails up and down, getting around the course. It’s all about teamwork.”
UCSB edged out by just two points USF. The Bulls took third, and were also recognized with the Best Kept Boat Award – for the team who best looked after their race boat.
As the clouds parted and sun beamed down on the fleet, University of Hawaii warmed up. They logged their best finish of the regatta – second place, in the final race.
Getting used to the boat was their biggest hurdle, explained skipper Michael Pacholski. “It was the first time I got to drive a big boat in a regatta – it was really different. We were having a lot of fun with the starts.”
“There were a lot of waves, so we did a lot of steering up wind; bow up, bow down, and had our jib trimmer adjusting constantly, As long as we kept the boat moving it was good; our boat speed was really good.”
“And we really enjoyed the regatta,” Pacholski added – echoing the sentiment of so many sailors.