Chuck Stanton will not be launching his 40-foot racing yacht into the chilly waters of the Santa Barbara Channel this weekend for the Ventura Yacht Club's season-opening regatta.
Stanton, 52, of Ventura, a veteran of hundreds of yacht and sailboat races, no longer feels compelled to compete on the opening day of the racing season. He's content now to wait until the conditions are more hospitable.
"I'll wait until the weather gets warmer before I go out and race," Stanton said. "If you do this year after year, in order to keep your sanity and your family together, you can't compete in the entire racing schedule."
This weekend's regatta launches the Ventura Yacht Club's annual spring series of races. Six area yacht clubs will compete in the series, which begins Saturday and continues Feb. 11 and March 11.
Racers will compete on marked, triangular courses off Ventura Harbor, racing distances ranging from 3 to 15 miles.
The racing season runs from Jan. 14 through Nov. 11, with the Ventura Cup, the premier regatta of the season, slated for Sept. 9-10.
Part of the reason for such a long season is that the strong prevailing winds that whip through the Santa Barbara Channel, which extends 100 miles from north of Santa Barbara to Point Dume, provide ideal racing conditions, according to Stanton.
In addition to the Ventura Yacht Club, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, 5 other clubs will compete in this weekend's race--the Anacapa Yacht Club; Channel Islands Yacht Club; Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club; Pierpont Bay Yacht Club; and the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.
Three classes of yachts will compete--the spinnaker, yachts with the big balloon sail at the front of the sailboat; the nonspinnaker; and the Catalina 38 class for sailboats up to 38 feet long.
Three races are slated for Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. All races start at the Ventura Harbor.