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Day Two - The Moorings 2018 Laser North American Championships


Day Two of The Moorings 2018 Laser North American Championships at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) saw favorable conditions on the race course off Long Beach, Calif.

Flags waving in the breeze, along ABYC’s breakwater, depicted the 26 nations represented at the regatta. Hailing from Australia to Aruba, from Trinidad to Turkey; more than 160 competitors have flocked to this idyllic venue to compete in four days of tough racing for the 2018 championship title.

“Sailors from Vancouver drove 31 hours straight, to get here,” said Regatta Chair Ed Spotskey, emphasizing the draw of this world-class event. “And our last three registrants were three brothers from Iowa!”

Yes: the Hawkeye State, where David, 17, John, 15, and William, 13 race on West Okoboji Lake, a six-square-mile finger of water near the Minnesota border. In a van laden with SAT workbooks, towing a tier of Lasers, the Alexander family made the last minute road trip to ABYC because of the large field of competitors. All three have their sights set on the Olympics. As David pointed out, “We figured we’d just go out and give it our best shot.” The trio – also a classical music ensemble called The Alexander Piano Trio – has David and William racing full rig Lasers, and John in a Laser Radial.

Another duo using sibling rivalry to sharpen their competitive edges is Jessica McJones, 21 and her 17-year-old brother Gavin, of nearby Rancho Palos Verde. While Gavin has been on a summer sailing circuit – “Youth Champs in North Carolina and Nationals in Houston” – Jessica has just returned from her sophomore year at the US Naval Academy. Competing in the Laser Radial fleet is reminiscent of their Opti sailing days, Gavin said, when his focal point was beating his big sister. “I would just go tack on her,” he laughed, “and I still do.”

But in this 80-boat Laser Radial fleet, he’d be hard-pressed to find her!

“I’ve never sailed in such a large fleet, with so many boats on the start line,” Gavin pointed out. “It makes racing more challenging. You can’t always tack when you want, if you don’t have a clear lane, so you can miss the shifts. And it’s hard to play the waves on the downwind run. It’s way more defensive driving.” Gavin stood 11 positions ahead of his sister at the end of six races.

“It’s all very competitive and I want to do well,” Jessica said, but secretly admitted, “I’m kind of rooting for him.”

In Laser Radials, Brenda Bowskill, CAN, solidified her position at the top of the leaderboard with an impressive 1-2-1-1-1-1 record. Sarah Douglas, CAN, stood in second and Joseph Hou, USA, moved up to third

Charlie Buckingham, USA, continued to dominate the 69-boat Laser Standard fleet with all top four finishes and a total of 12 points, but Chris Barnard, USA, and Bruno Fontes, BRA, continued to nip at his heels. Defending champion Malcolm Lamphere, USA, stood in 10th place.

In Laser 4.7 Abbie Carlson, USA, stepped into the lead by just one point, followed closely by Spencer Leman, CAN, and Erik Hou, USA.