Evolution Is the Boat to Beat on Final Day of California Cup


Two businessmen competing on the sea instead of in the boardroom bring the 28th California Cup to a showdown at Marina del Rey today.

Furniture dealer Bob Doughty’s Evolution and airport shuttle/cab company operator Mitch Rouse’s Taxi Dancer are 1-2 after four of five races among a dozen ultralight 70-foot sleds--downwind flyers that have proved in the California Yacht Club event that they can also fly around the buoys.

Evolution, a Santa Cruz 70 that Doughty steers, jumped from third place to first Saturday by collecting its second victory of the series.

Taxi Dancer, a Reichell/Pugh 68, hasn’t won a race but has made consistency pay with a fifth, two thirds and a second, leapfrogging three boats to climb into second place.


Evolution has 11 1/2 points. If Taxi Dancer, with 13 points, is to win the title, it must hold off other contenders and put a boat between itself and Evolution in the final race today. If the wind blows up to 15 knots today, as it did in the second race Saturday, Taxi Driver would be favored. Although Rouse’s crew went left when the wind was more favorable to the right, near the beach, once the wind piped up it stretched the legs of its new, heavier keel and advanced from seventh to third on the second upwind leg.

Evolution and Pyewacket, which had gone to the right, already were uncatchable, but it gave them something to think about.

“We’re looking for four knots of wind, gusting to six,” Doughty’s tactician, Tom Leweck, said, tongue-in-cheek.

Even in 10-knot winds in the first race, Taxi Dancer was in front until sailing too long on a persistent lifting shift and failing to cover Holua, which rolled past to windward and went on to win.