Boaters Race for Glory--and a Good Time

Pamela Marin is a regular contributor to Orange County Life.

They were talking about the day's "shifty" wind at Orange County's old money yacht club as the sun dropped to the waterline.

Shifty, as in changing, and shifty tricky .

"It's like that out there sometimes," said Tom Garrett. "You're not sure what to expect with a shifty wind."

Garrett, of Laguna Beach, was chairman of the Ahmanson Cup and Skylark Trophy boat races run in the waters off Newport Beach over the weekend.

On Saturday night, after the first two rounds of races for three classes of sailboats, about 400 people gathered at the 73-year-old Newport Harbor Yacht Club for regatta talk and a buffet dinner provided by race sponsors, First Interstate Bank and Tiffany & Co.

Some of the guests, such as Garrett and his wife, Susan, had changed from their day-cruising duds to a slightly dressier look. Others--the vast majority--came straight from the decks to the party.

Yacht Club Fleet Capt. Bill Crispin said the guest list included the boat owners, racing crews and club members.

"There are some world-class sailors here," Crispin said. "These people are always looking for a place to race."

Among the deeply tanned race set was Gregg Hedrick, skipper of Roy E. Disney's 70-foot boat, Pyewacket. (Roy was Walt's nephew.)

Hedrick, of El Segundo, said he takes an 18-person crew out for "all the races on this coast and every other year in Hawaii."

Why does Uncle Walt's nephew enter his boat in so many races?

"For the trophies and the bragging rights," Hedrick said with a grin.

Rickie Richley wasn't expecting to take home anything for the mantelpiece, but she and her family did have some tall tales for their efforts.

"We were out there with some real hotshots," said Richley, who sailed with her husband and three sons on the 48-foot sloop the Richleys moor at Lido Isle Yacht Club.

"We did-- not good ," said Richley, laughing. "But we had fun."

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