The U.S. Air Force Team 1 dominated the fourth annual Patriot Regatta Saturday to win over the four other branches of this country’s military in this regatta held by Long Beach Yacht Club, supported by the USO and sponsored by Switlik, Friedman’s Appliance, and Bozzani Motors to honor active duty members of America’s military.
80 members of the Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army, Army National Guard, and the Coast Guard raced under the supervision of skilled coaches on LBYC’s fleet of Catalina 37 race boats, managed by the Long Beach Sailing Foundation.
Air Force 1’s skipper Trevor Dahl gave full credit to his team of David Behrendt, Isae Alvarado, Morgan Ulisse, Maximino Saldana, Charles Hood, George Johnson, Jamie Steward and Melvin Morena and thanked their coaches George Suarez, Van Wilson, Peter Drasnin and Charlie Heahterly.
“I didn’t even know about this until yesterday,” said Dahl. “I found out they had a few slots open and I took it. I showed up but didn’t know what to expect.”
Teammate Behrendt said, “The coaches really helped us figure out how to get it done. Some of them were skilled Laser sailors.”
Hood added, “We had a great time, a once in a lifetime experience.”
Not all of the sailors in today’s regatta were human. One was a very special Labrador therapy service dog, John Jameson, affectionately known as J.J.
J.J. belongs to Army National Guardsman Ryan Healy who suffered head trauma as a paratrooper and relies on his friend daily.
“This was tons of fun,” said Healy. “I think anyone that has this opportunity should take it.
“It’s great to find an activity that I can do. I really had a blast.”
The Patriot Regatta was first held in 2012 as an inspiration of Long Beach Yacht Club members Judy and Steve Meyer who were passionate about wanting to do something for our nation’s service men and women. LBYC supported their idea and the regatta was created.
Patriot Regatta director, Judy Meyer, expressed why this regatta means so much to her, ‘I have the highest level of respect for the men and women of our military who put their lives on the line, so I may feel safe and secure in my own life. Our military and their families are such a worthwhile group of people, I wanted to do something nice for them. This regatta is my way of giving back and saying thank you.’
1. U.S. Air Force 1, 6-1-1-1, 9 points
2. U.S. Marines 1, 2-7-2-3, 14
3. U.S. Coast Guard, 4-2-7-7, 20
4. U.S. Air Force 3, 3-3-6-10, 22
5. U.S. Navy 2, 7-11-3-2, 23
6. U.S. Army 2, 9-4-9-5, 27
7. U.S. Army National Guard, 1-6-10-12OCS, 29
8. U.S. Navy 1, 5-5-11-8, 29
9. U.S. Coast Guard 1, 10-8-5-6, 29
10. U.S. Army 1, 8-9-4-9, 30
11. U.S. Air Force 2, 11-10-8-4, 33
by Rick Roberts