2015 Two Gates Pursuit Race: Bill Durant and team’s Relentless effort take win in Long Beach
Bill Durant and his team raced his Santa Cruz 52, Relentless, to first place honors Sunday in the 2015 Two Gates Pursuit Race hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club. On a day that weather forecasters indicated would have little to no breeze in either Los Angeles or Long Beach harbors, the good ol’ Long Beach southwest breeze proved them wrong when it filled in and carried the fleet of 29 racing sailboats to the finish line under sunny skies and comfortable temperatures.
Durant, who has raced in numerous ocean races, is a regular in local fleet and One-Design regattas and has quite a few match races under his belt, gave full credit to his crew. “It was a phenomenal day with the dream team,” Durant said, “with my son and all of my very close friends.” In a pursuit race, the slower boats start ahead of the faster boats with each boat’s scheduled starting time based on its corrected handicap rating. This year, the slowest boats were the two Cal 25s of Felix Basadre, Seal Beach Yacht Club and Dennis Diem, LBYC.
The fastest boat was Peter Tong’s Santa Cruz 70, OEX, which was driven by John Sangmeister of LBYC. As the boats headed downwind to round a mark and head upwind to the finish, OEX was eating up boats as it drew down on Godwin’s, Temptress, and Durant’s, Relentless. But as they all rounded and set their course for the finish it became clear there was not enough water, or time for OEX to repeat it’s win of 2013. Durant said, “You know, I’ve sailed on that boat before, and I can tell you that boat is incredibly fast.” The 2012 winner, Godwin, and his crew hung with Relentless and held off Sangmeister to capture second place and leave OEX with a very respectable third place. Reflecting on his day, Durant gave a big grin and said, “It was a great day today.”
LBYC re-invented the long-standing Two Gates Invitational race in 2012 and turned it into a pursuit race. But they didn’t change the 13.2 nautical mile course which starts in Long Beach Harbor, takes the boats up to Los Angeles Harbor and then back in to Long Beach for the finish. It gets its name from the fact that the race boats weave in and out of Long Beach’s Queen’s Gate harbor entrance and Los Angeles’ Angel’s Gate harbor entrance.
Top Five Finishers
1. Bill Durant, LBYC, Santa Cruz 52, Relentless
2. Ray Godwin, LBYC, Farr 40, Temptress
3. John Sangmeister, LBYC, SC 70, OEX
4. Dave Fell, Seal Beach Yacht Club, Farr 49, Javelin
5. Rob Sjostedt, Corsair Yacht Club, Reichel/Pugh 47, Flyer
by Rick Roberts