Heroes Regatta 2016 – The Long Beach Fire Department team may not have had as many rank-and-file representatives on their boat as the other teams, but they ended up winning the third annual Heroes Regatta Saturday which was hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club and raced on the Long Beach Sailing Foundation’s fleet of Catalina 37s.
Racing under the close scrutiny and advice of skilled sailor/coaches, this special regatta is held to honor local first responders in the community. This year’s five teams were made up of Long Beach Fire, Long Beach Police and Long Beach Lifeguards who raced on a bright and warm summer day in breeze that started out at eight knots and quickly filled to 16.
With the other teams represented by five to six members, the LB Fire Department team had only three; Kelvin McCaleb, Dave McGhee and Dave Cohen. Oh, and Cohen was a last-minute addition since they were shorthanded.
“I’m actually a police officer,” said Cohen. “But I was a lifeguard for four years before I went to the police academy.”
When asked about the decision to make the change from a lifeguard to a police officer, Cohen said, “I was thinking that as a lifeguard, I could save a life… but as a cop I could stop somebody from taking a life.”
McCaleb talked about his takeaways from the day.
“This was awesome, from the training to the teamwork,” said McCaleb. “No one person was above the other. We all moved around the boat in different positions. Our coaches had us focused and staying on-point the whole time.”
McGhee, the elder statesman of the group, has been retired from the fire department for 13 years but said this was a special treat for him today.
“I had a great time today,” said McGhee. “I used to race sailboats regularly and it’s been years since I’ve been out on a boat. It was fun being out on the water again.
“This was a great experience and we thank Long Beach Yacht Club for doing this for us.”
The event was created by LBYC’s Yachting Committee who four years ago created a similar regatta, the Patriot Regatta, honoring all branches of the U.S. military with service members actually sailing these sleek race boats.
Members of LBYC felt that local first responders should also be honored with their own regatta. Last year’s regatta was won by the Long Beach Police Department and the inaugural regatta in 2014 was won by the Long Beach Fire Department Lifeguards.
1. Long Beach Fire Department, 1-3-3-1, 8 points
2. LB Police Motor Division, 5-2-1-2, 10
3. LB Police Team 3, 3-1-5-5, 14
4. LB Police Team 2, 4-5-2-3, 14
5. LB Fire Lifeguards, 2-4-4-4, 14
by Rick Roberts