“Ted Turner was the main reason we came to this event,” said Discovery Bay residents Lee and Bob Allen of the 7th Annual Leukemia Cup, held October 20-21. The Allens aren’t sailors — in fact they own a powerboat — and have never followed sailing in their lives. However,the excitement surrounding the America’s Cup, and the fact that, decades ago they met and became fans of Turner, an opportunity arose they couldn’t pass up. “We’re really attracted to this cause,” Bob noted,
“but almost more importantly, we’ve been exposed to sailboat racing,and this is something we plan to follow more in the future.” Being that the race — held on the second day of the event — is just an excuse for a fundraiser, the Leukemia Cup Perpetual trophy is awarded to the top fundraising boat. This year, it went to David Joyner and Bill Nolan’s Tiburon-based Melges 24 Relentless, which managed to plop $58,250 into the big kitty.
Top individual donors were the tag-team combination of Matt Brooks and Pam Levy, owners of the S&S 52 Dorade, who pledged
$50,000, while Anne Feinberg claimed a respectable second place by raising $44,000 to add to the pot. As of this writing, this year’s regatta raised roughly $850,000, which is a bit under last year’s $1 million haul but well above 2010’s total — and the numbers hadn’t even been finalized. The diverse fleet of 77 boats — from a Cal 20 to an Extreme 40 cat — ranging in age from 2 to 75 years old lined up in 11 fleets. After a delay for the westerly, PRO Bartz Schneider ran the proceedings like clockwork. In the end, conditions were gorgeous — 14 to 20 knots out of the west on a perfectly flat flood current on a clear, sunny day. A new division for the race called the ‘Classic Yachts’ included Paul and Chrissy Kaplan’s 55-ft S&S schooner Santana, the aforementioned Dorade, skippered by Olympian J.J. Fetter, Jim Rumer’s Rhodes 48 Copperhead and Hank Easom’s 8-meter Yucca. They started off the procession with Dorade edging out Yucca for the win. The next division followed with a catamaran match race between StFYC Commodore Peter Stoneberg’s Rolex Big Boat Series winner
Shadow, a ProSail 40, and the Extreme 40 SmartRecruiters loaned to this writer who, if we do say so ourselves, trounced the older ProSail by over six minutes on a 16-mile course.
The contrast of old vs new, wood vs carbon couldn’t have been more evident. Other class match-ups included Thomas Akin’s big blue Southern Cross 52 Meanie and Daniel Thielman’s RP44 Tai Kuai, and Big Boat rivals Frank Morrow on his IMX 38 Hawkeye and Gerard Sheridan aboard his Elan 40 Tupelo Honey. In some tight racing, Thielman and Morrow both edged out their rivals. There are too many winners in too many divisions to list here — see www.leukemiacup.org/sf for the full results — but the biggest winners are those who fi ght blood cancers, both patients and doctors, and that is a very good reason to go sailing.
— Dave Wilhite, Latitude 38
photo by David Dibble