The Ultimate 20 North Americans were held this past weekend in Marina Del Rey with Del Rey Yacht Club hosting the event. With Los Angeles serving as a backdrop, Venice Beach a 5-minute ride on the beach cruiser, this was going to be a great event.

15 boats came to MDR from as far away as North Carolina. I sailed with local racer Michael Eisenberg on his boat Toon Town and Dennis Martinelli. I had sailed an U-20 twice before with Michael and this was my first time sailing with Dennis. We got together on Thursday for a practice and U-20 clinic Erik Shampain hosted. This was a valuable afternoon and Erik did a great job taking pictures and comparing sail shape with the fleet.

So I parked my truck at Del Rey Yacht Club for the weekend and rode my beach cruiser around. I have a friend who lives in Venice Beach and he showed me around the local side of what goes on. Let’s just say there are a lot of house parties, a lot of girls and everyone is a producer. Good times nearly everywhere…

Back to the sailing…

Friday was tough for us but we managed to sail consistently and keep ourselves in the hunt. Chris Chambers and his team on Black Sheep hat an outstanding day going 1,1,1,2. They were lightening quick and hit every shift. Good sailing from them. The first day also say a separation in boats. Mark Allen joined Chris and us at the top of the results list with a healthy lead over the rest of fleet.

Day two was light and shifty and really tough. The fog rolled in early and made visibility so poor you could not really see the weather mark. We knew consistency was going to be key to this regatta and we tried to sail our own races. Boat speed was better after some re-tuning on Friday evening and tactically we were on point. We won the day with a 2,2,1 and with Team Blackseep getting a 11,6 in the final two races of Saturday we were looking better in the standings. Mark Allen also had a tough race with a 8th is race five but then bounced back nicely with a strong 1st in the final race of Saturday. The results looked good so far but with the throw-out we were only a point ahead of Mark going into the final day.

Sunday was a tough day for me. With a lot of things going on for me personally my concentration level was low. Three races were scheduled and we got off to a bad start. Our worst start of the regatta saw us round the weather mark in 10th with Mark Allen way out in front of the pack. It was looking grim.

We managed to pick off a few boats on the downwind (we did that every time) and got around the leeward mark mid fleet. We needed to be second to keep in touch. We then pulled of a great beat and hit every shift. One tack particularly across the course picked off all but two boats. Last mark rounding and we are in third. We pull out another good downwind leg and get the second we need.

The 9th race once again saw Mark sailing really well and Toon Town struggling for speed at the start. Mark get this one with a third place finish after we initiated a huge tacking and gybing duel. We had to slow him down a little!

So it all came down to the 10th race. The wind picked up a little and we did some tuning and were ready. Ready for an over early, great! We go back and look up the course to see Mark well above us. One difference in this race, we are really fast. A good right shift comes in and Mark looks like he is in traffic. Advantage to us now. We are in the top five at the weather mark and looked back to see Mark pretty deep. It was tough passing in this race as the wind was steadier with less shifts. We rounded out the regatta with a 6th place finish, which was our throw-out.

Consistency ruled the regatta and after recording only one 1st place finish Toon Town was crowned North American Champions. This is a great fleet with motivated good sailors on a fun boat. I would like to thank Michael for a fantastic weekend of sailing and for supporting Ullman Sails on his Ultimate 20. Full Results here.

Keith Magnussen
Ullman Sails Newport Beach