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2006 WEST MARINE PACIFIC CUP

'Cayenne' got stuck in the northern doldrums. Front: John Warren (L), Rich Laumanhere. Behind: Lou Ickler, Kim Ickler, Spencer Fulweiler, Rena Fulweiler and Michael Moradzadeh.

The Garmans leave the Bay in search of giants to slay.

heavy-air chute, Califor nia Girl's spinnaker "got wobbly," and at the same moment, she was boarded by a "rogue wave." Victoria was sitting on the high side, and the deluge triggered her inflatable lifejacket and sent her flying across the cockpit, where she came up short on her tether…but not before taking a nasty blow to the head. The very next wave got Timm, who was down below and thrown across the cabin, suffering a pair of broken ribs. But California Girl wasn't going to be denied. With each day they were adding to their lead by as much as 30 miles, and Timm's advice to the crew was succinct: "Don't defend, extend." That's just what they did. California Girl's class-winning time of 12 days, 17 hours, 40 minutes was also good for seventh-place overall. Sitting by the dock shortly after the finish, Don Lessley cast a glance at his family with a look that can only be described as fatherly love. "Awesome," he said. "They were awesome." MARSTON MYERS

Cup, aim for victory in the big Cal 40 class in the 2005 Transpac, then return for a second straight win in the 2006 Pac Cup. It started out as planned, with a Division win in the 2004 Pac Cup. But on the delivery back to the mainland, the boat was rolled in a gale some 75 miles from San Francisco, incurring some $60,000 worth of physical damage to the vessel, and incalculable amounts of psychic damage to the crew. Though California Girl started the TransPac, the Lessleys never fully recovered from the rollover,

LATITUDE / LADONNA

California Girl's spinnaker "got wobbly," and at the same moment, she was boarded by a "rogue wave."

and were forced to drop out after a couple of days. "It was such a letdown, an emotional low," said Timm. "We came back with the attitude that we had something to prove to ourselves." The lesson? Do not rile up the L e s s l e y s . Wi t h Don assuming the role of shore manager, the patriarch wasn't aboard for this race. But the rest of the family was, with able assistance from Dave Glander, George Neill and Dan McVey. They knew what had to be done right from the outset. "Go south," said Timm. "We'd been victims in the 2000 race, when we sailed the classic rhumbline instead of the Great Circle and had five 30-mile days. We knew that pain. This year looked very similar. All three highs were parked on the rhumbline. The jet stream wasn't established. Go south." Two days out from San Francisco, they hoisted their biggest kite and, in Timm's words, started to "haul ass," surfing steadily at 11 knots with one burst up to 15.6 knots. Hey, we're talking Cal 40s here! They had that brief aforementioned interlude with The Contessa, then turned the corner and kept flying toward the islands. Timm knew they were gambling by sailing the longer course, and on Day 3 nervously went through an entire packet of 'chew'. But, like The Contessa, suddenly they went from worst to first in Division A. Fittingly, at the same time, California Girl became the boat to sail the millionth collective mile of Pacific Cup racing. It wasn't a joy ride. Midway along, sailing dead downwind under LATITUDE / HERB

Every good sporting event could use a story of redemption and, in California Girl, the 2006 Pacific Cup had a beauty. Novato's sailing Lessley family – Don and Betty, son Timm, and Timm's wife Victoria – have campaigned the boat, well, forever, and a few years ago they made themselves a collective promise. They would go all out for the 2004 Pacific

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f The Contessa's victory was serendipitous, and California Girl's sublime, it's tempting to say that the Antrim 27 E.T.'s win in Division C was pre-ordained. After all, the three-person team of Liz Baylis, husband Todd Hedin and design-

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Latitude 38 August 2006  

The August 2006 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 August 2006  

The August 2006 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.