East Meets West at Olympic Classes Regatta

News brief

Eighteen youth teams contending the U.S. Youth Multihull Championship competed on new Nacra SL16 catamarans in conjunction with host Alamitos Bay Yacht Club's annual Olympic Classes Regatta that featured Finns, Lasers, and a handful of Stars. The youngsters, boys and girls ages 13 to 18, sailed inside the breakwater while the OCRs ran outside off Seal Beach, and both enjoyed Long Beach's fresh sea breeze of 10- to 12-knots all weekend.While Alexander Stewart, 18, and Even Miller, 16, edged first-time catamaran competitors Andrew Mason, 17, and crew Chris Segerblom, 14, of nearby Orange County by half a point, the OCR classes were runaways for veteran Darrell Peck, 42, Gresham, Ore. in the 25-boat Finn fleet, John Pearce, 24, San Francisco, among 18 Lasers, and Erik Gidecis and crew Michael Marshal of Bahia Corinthian YC in Newport Beach, who swept six races among five Stars before sitting out the finale.Peck won three of the seven Finn races in conditions made to order for his taste in breeze."I love coming to this place," he said. "It was too windy when we were practicing last week but on the weekend it was just right."Peck has long held his own among the U.S.'s top Finn sailors without nabbing the country's sole Olympic berth. He knows he may be a longshot, but said, "I'm always trying to make the team and have had a lot of fun doing it---and I'm going to be at Newport Beach for the Trials [in October], and anything can happen."Pearce, a sailing coach at San Francisco YC, defended the Laser title he won last year, but he gave a nod to ABYC's Kevin Taugher, who won three of four races Saturday and then was unable to sail Sunday because of a personal commitment. "It was a shame that Kevin didn't sail," Pearce said. "He was awesome."Pearce, who was third in the U.S. Nationals in Texas, also has an Olympic ambition that he'll chase at the Laser Trials in Newport, R.I. this fall.Complete results: www.ussailing.org