2023 San Diego Beneteau Cup at SDYC, Pure Fun!
350+ sailors and 42 Beneteau yachts came to San Diego Yacht Club the weekend of Sept. 16th and 17th from all over Southern California, for what has evolved over 10 years into the largest All Beneteau Regatta in the world, the San Diego Beneteau Cup!
With an instructional, encouraging, and fun format, especially tailored towards new and novice racers, Regatta Co-Chairs Barrett and Lily Canfield of South Coast Yachts are very pleased with how the regatta has grown over the years, and with how many of the sailors introduced to racing at Beneteau Cup have gone on to compete in, and place well in other Southern California and regional regattas such as the Beer Can Series, Hot Rums, CRA Sponsored races, and long distance races, like Newport- Ensenada.
Unique to this regatta on Friday evening, Eric Heim and the Team from Quantum Sails gave a well-attended seminar on rules of the road, and racing basics including starting, mark rounding, and understanding weather, all while stressing safety and fun. The SDYC Jessop Room was packed for this seminar and great food and drinks were provided by SDYC Catering. This seminar gave the new sailors professional instruction on what to expect over the next two days on the race course and eased any “first time racing” worries.
Saturday’s ocean racing in Coronado Roads was overcast with light winds and bumpy seas, creating challenges for the larger boats to stretch out and gain boat speed, but the wind increased slightly throughout the afternoon helping create more excitement. Cruising Classes 1 and 2, with 10 and 12 boats respectively, ran two triangle courses, while the Beneteau First 36.7’s, for whom this was their West Coast Championship, and the First 40.7s and other large First Series yachts enjoyed some close racing with two windward-leeward courses to really engage their strategic and tactical skills.
Returning to the dock on Saturday evening, the crews arrived to the musical welcome from John Fretwell and his yacht rock tunes of Band Overboard and the big party on the SDYC Sail Lawn, SDYC’s excellent hot Italian buffet and bar service. They all partied and danced well into the evening and enjoyed the new and old friendships with other sailors and guests. While driving the South Coast Yachts/ Beneteau chase boat, Barrett and his daughter Lily Canfield shot lots of action photos of the regatta and professional photographer and drone pilot Jeff Spangler buzzed the mast tops for fantastic video footage. At the party, the crews enjoyed watching the day’s action on SDYC’s big screen TV next to the bar. Ten larger Beneteau Cruising boats stayed overnight lined up “Med Style” at SDYC’s Guest Dock. SDYC accommodated 22 guest Beneteau yachts in slips at the club.
Sunday, SDYC Race Committee did an amazing job setting a pretty tight Windward – Leeward course for two races for the 36.7’s (to finish their Championship), while sending the other three classes on various round-the-bay, random-leg courses. The sun was missing, but the breeze was steady and the racing was lively. It was quite a sight to see 30+ Beneteau cruisers headed down the bay flying their beautiful Spinnakers. Everyone wrapped up around 3:00 pm, which was perfect timing to head back to the 4:30 awards ceremony on the SDYC deck.
Trophies, courtesy of Quantum Sails San Diego, were awarded to the top three finishers in each of the four classes, along with Beneteau Cup hats, 40th Anniversary Mt. Gay Beneteau Cup hats, and other gifts from local sponsors. Event organizers Barrett and Lily Canfield congratulated the racers and led them onstage for the trophy photos.
Results: Cruising Class 1 (Oceanis Yachts to 43’) was dominated again this year by Federico Pavoncelli (DPYC) and crew on his Oceanis 41, “Marilu”, while Jeff Urdahl’s (SDYC) Oceanis 45 “Odyssea” was the winner of the 12-boat Cruise Class 2 (Cruising boats 44’ and larger). The Beneteau First 40 “Precepts II” owned by Drew Belk (SDYC) had a fantastic performance again this year, winning the First Series Class and overall Beneteau Cup First Series Perpetual Trophy for the 5th year! Rick Harris’ First 40.7 “Sweet Okole” (Coronado YC) won the 4-race 40.7 One Design class. the Overall West Coast Class Championship for the First 36.7 was awarded to Peter Cochran (SLBYC) aboard “Rode Rage” for the second year in a row. Every year, the best finishing Cruising boat and best finishing First Series Overall receive awards engraved on Beneteau Cup perpetual trophies, and this year Odyssea and Precepts II were the Overall Winners, both sailing out of San Diego Yacht Club!
The organizers would like to thank SDYC for the incredible hospitality and wonderful catering, and SDYC’s Race Committee for their world class work and support over the weekend, with a special shout out to regatta PRO Susi Graff for her leadership (and patience!). They also thank sponsors Beneteau America, Quantum Sails, The Dinghy Doctor, Novamar Insurance, Mt. Gay Rum, Safe Harbor Shelter Island Boat Yard and Sunroad Marina, the South Coast Yachts Sales and Service crew, Photographer Jeff Spangler, SDYC’s Marina office and Racing office crew for contributing to this fun and memorable regatta.
Beneteau Cup 2024 is set for Sept. 21st– 22nd next year. Mark your calendars, tell your crew, and set a course for San Diego for fun racing with the Beneteau Family!