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IOR Yachts Open Long Beach Race Week on Thursday

International Offshore Rule boats, known as yachting’s grand prix racers, will begin a heavy season Thursday with the first race of Long Beach Yacht Club’s Race Week.

More than 50 yachts from the West Coast are expected to answer the starting signal in a regatta that will include a race a day through Sunday.

Many of the Race Week contestants will be tuning up for the Kenwood Series (Clipper Cup) in Honolulu starting in August. After the Kenwood Cup races, the fleet will head for San Francisco for St. Francis Yacht Club’s Big Boat Series in September.

Race Week started in 1980 and has provided top-flight competition each year since. Racing off the Long Beach breakwater provides competitors some of the best weather conditions on the West Coast, with warm weather and 6 to 18 knots of wind, considered ideal for these types of yachts.

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Balboa Yacht Club will be host Saturday and Sunday for the 25th Pacific Coast championship regatta for the 17-foot Thistle Class.

The regatta is sponsored by Newport Harbor Thistle Fleet 68. More than 25 boats are expected from California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona.

The Thistle is a one-design centerboard boat that carries a skipper and two crewmen, and is capable of planing in a moderate breeze. Defending champion is Bruce Gosse of San Diego.

Ground breaking ceremonies for the new Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club will be held Sunday at 1 p.m. The event will also be the ground breaking for the Cabrillo Landing which, when completed, will include the 9,000-square foot clubhouse, a marina facility for 160 boats and a 10,000-square foot office building.

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