A fast boat, a strong crew and better luck was a winning combination for Mike Campbell's Victoria in the Los Angeles Yacht Club's race to Cabo San Lucas.
The year-old Andrews 70 from Long Beach Y.C., which had broken masts twice this year, was first to finish by 4 1/2 hours--a runaway among the highly competitive ULDB 70s. The blue-hulled boat sailed the 802-nautical mile race in 4 days, 11 hours, 21 minutes and also won the IOR-A class on corrected time over Ed McDowell's Grand Illusion from King Harbor Y.C., which did well enough to wrap up the sleds' season championships.
Victoria's crew of 10 had logged 164 Mexican races. Least experienced in that venue was the rookie behind the helm: New Zealand's Chris Dickson, the world's top-ranked match racer.
Dickson, who like Dennis Conner will tackle the Whitbread Round-the-World Race in 1993-94 before the next America's Cup in '95, is piling up long-distance ocean racing experience. Unlike Conner, Dickson is committed by contract to sail every leg of the nine-month Whitbread grind.
The Cabo race started slowly, with the Doug Baker-Dick Pennington Cheetah (LBYC) and Dick Compton's Alchemy (Santa Barbara YC) looking good for a while along the coastline against light head winds. But when a following wind filled after 300 miles and the boats were able to hoist spinnakers, the ones that had tacked out to sea took over.
Dickson and Steve Grillon of Long Beach steered Victoria about 70% of the time. The boat was far enough ahead to cautiously reduce sail into 30-knot head winds in the stretch to the finish.
Aldora's performance also was impressive. The two-month-old Andrews 58, owned by Dave Dillehay of California Y.C., won PHRF-A and IMS classes. Aldora was 10 hours ahead in both classes and, despite its smaller size and added creature comforts, only about eight hours behind Grand Illusion.
Aldora crewman Tom Leweck, who has sailed 41 Mexican races, was awarded the Navigator's Trophy.
WORLD--The Formula One Yachting Grand Prix series makes its only U.S. stop at San Diego on Dec. 11-13. America's Cup campaigners Dennis Conner and Marc Pajot will be among skippers sailing the 52-footers around a spectator-friendly course inside San Diego Bay, starting at 1:30 daily. . . . Roy Disney's ULDB 70 Pyewacket, based in Marina del Rey, is among 23 starters from six countries competing in the 4,500-mile III Ruta del Descubrimiento (Route of Discovery III) race from Palos de la Frontera, Spain, to Miami, retracing, for the most part, Christopher Columbus' voyage of 500 years ago. Disney is vice chairman of the Walt Disney Co. The race began Saturday.
AMERICA'S CUP--The San Diego Yacht Club has accepted $75,000 in entry fees--non-refundable--from 11 challengers for the '95 defense and, although the deadline has passed, four others will be allowed "to verify information contained in their entries." That might mean they want to see if the checks bounce. The 11 include two each from Australia and France and others from Italy, Britain, New Zealand, Spain, Japan, Russia and South Africa. The four questionable candidates are second entries from Russia, New Zealand and Spain and a third from France. There also might be one from Mexico, unannounced. America's Paul Cayard probably will return for Italy's Raul Gardini. New Zealand's Chris Dickson sailed for Japan last spring but apparently is waiting for the best offer this time. . . . A meeting of potential defenders last week was attended by 10 prospects. Bill Koch, Dennis Conner, Peter Isler and John Bertrand sent representatives. Also attending: David Vietor, Phil Freedman, Olympic silver medalists Kevin Mahaney and John Kostecki, Lynda Corrado for a women's team from San Francisco called Pegasus, and an outfit from Annapolis. Those numbers will thin out when $150,000 becomes due Feb. 1, although it will be refunded to whomever shows up and races in 1995. Some of the 11 accepted challengers also will be walking away from their $75,000 when the fee increases over the next couple of years.
MATCH RACING--J.J. Isler of San Diego, Olympic bronze medalist and two-time Rolex yachtswoman of the year, has been invited to be the first woman to compete in the Congressional Cup at Long Beach next March. Husband Peter, a past competitor who is fifth-ranked in the world, has a conflicting commitment.
RECOMMENDED READING--"Peggy: An Affair With the Sea," the adventure autobiography Peggy Slater didn't quite finish before Southern California's most famous female sailor died suddenly on Nov. 20, 1990. It was completed by Shelly Usen, with foreword by actor-sailor Hal Holbrook. Privately published, the hard-cover book is available for $29.99 (all costs included, checks payable to "Estate of Peggy Slater") from Bill Sampson, P.O. Box 6936, Malibu, CA., 90264-6936, or by credit card through (800) 247-6553. Sampson is executor of Slater's estate, which went to Children's Hospital, as will profits from the book.