SAILING / RICH ROBERTS : He Steered Steady Course in College

The 50th anniversary of intercollegiate sailing might have gone unnoticed were it not for a reminder from Bob Allan, who participated in its birth at Newport Beach.

The event was the first Pacific Coast Sailing Championships for the newly organized Pacific Coast Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Assn., with Newport Harbor Yacht Club as host, during Christmas week of 1941.

The event was sailed in 10-foot Dyrer lapstrake dinghies, which were common in Newport Harbor at the time.

"We had to go around the harbor borrowing them," Allan recalled, "some without the owners knowing it."

In those days, few boats were moored, so there was enough open water to lay out a course in the bay. Twelve colleges, including USC, Stanford, Oregon and California, competed. Allan sailed for Stanford. His crew was Harriett Spicer. They won the individual boat title and became a permanent team--as husband and wife.

Caltech won the team title, led by Barton Beek, who was to become a senior partner with a large Los Angeles law firm.

After World War II, a national organization was formed, and 25 years ago, Allan helped establish the successful sailing program at UC Irvine, which has won two national championships and is currently ranked fourth. The Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Assn. has 124 member schools with 36,000 sailors.

"The important thing about sailing is that it has paid its own way," Allan said.

Funding for the UC Irvine program has come from sailing interests in the community. There are no scholarships.

Allan, now 70, retired as president of Litton Industries in 1969 after a heart attack. While spending summers in Carmel and winters in Palm Desert, he endured a series of open-heart surgeries, and in 1989 was involved in two life-saving incidents.

He rescued an infant from a burning boat at Balboa and, three weeks later, took aboard three people from a capsized sloop off the east end of Catalina Island.

He received the highest and second-highest awards given to members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary: the Plaque of Merit and the Certificate of Operational Merit.

Sailing Notes

AMERICA'S CUP--The challengers will run another series of informal fleet races starting Saturday off Pt. Loma. New Zealand, which didn't participate in last month's races, will sail its new, radical boat with the one-meter bowsprit. . . . Red Star '92--the officially recognized Russian entry--says its boat, "White Nights," is scheduled to be flown to San Diego from Tallinn, Estonia on Jan. 10. There has been no outside confirmation that the boat exists. Meanwhile, the other, renegade Russian crew is working a 24-hour schedule to prepare Age of Russia, although the Port Security Committee has denied it permission to sail in San Diego or Mission Bays.

MATCH RACING--The Congressional Cup is scheduled off Long Beach March 20-26 during a weeklong break in the America's Cup races off San Diego. If there's enough sponsorship, the Long Beach Yacht Club will offer prize money for the first time, putting it in line with most of the other events on the world circuit. Skippers accepting invitations so far include Robbie Haines, runner-up to two-time defending champion Chris Dickson in 1990; Chris Law of England, John Kostecki of San Francisco, Terry Hutchinson of Michigan, Larry Klein of San Diego and Steve Steiner, winner of a sail-off to represent the host club. Some America's Cup skippers no doubt will be invited to fill out the 10-boat lineup. All but four challenger semifinalists will have been eliminated the previous week.

OLYMPICS--In an oversight, a recent list here of Olympic Trials in Southern California overlooked the Tornado catamaran trials at California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey April 3-14. Others will have the 470 men and women at Newport Harbor YC April 4-15 and the Finn and women's Europe dinghy at Balboa YC April 4-15. All other Trials will be in Florida in late April, except for the Flying Dutchman class at Marblehead, Mass., June 13-24. A training camp for qualifiers--one boat in each of 10 classes--is scheduled at Alamitos Bay YC May 7-15.

NOTEWORTHY--ESPN starts its weekly schedule of America's Cup shows tonight at 7 p.m. . . . A 13-week sailing class geared for recreational boating will be conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at Wilson High in Long Beach starting Monday, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Fee: $25. Details: (714) 897-5200. . . . Audi has dropped its sailing sponsorship, so promoter Bruce Golison has a new backer and another name change for his eighth annual Race Week at Long Beach in June. Trimble Navigation joins North Sails. An addition this year will be J-24s sailing as a separate class two weeks before their North American regatta on the same waters. . . . The Southern California Yachting Assn.'s third annual Women's Sailing Convention is scheduled for Feb. 1 at Cabrillo Beach YC in San Pedro. Registration: $45, including on-water instruction, seminars and catered dinner. Reservations suggested, because this has been a popular event. Information: (714) 730-1797.

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