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36th Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race on July 26 – Press Telegram

About 200 young sailors ages 6 to 16 are expected to participate in the Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race regatta on July 20. (Courtesy photo)

While the world eagerly awaits the Paris Olympics, which begin on July 26, locals will be able to satisfy their athletic needs on the same day with the 36th Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race.

Approximately 200 young sailors, ages 6 to 16, participate in the annual event, competing in five-nautical-mile sails from Shoreline Beach to Alamitos Bay.

The day starts early when boats, resembling a mother duck followed by a long line of ducklings, pull up to the shore in the city centre. After running aground near Villa Riviera, the captains equip their boats and check in before the captain’s meeting.

In the race, boats and their skippers will compete in 12 classes. Sabot C3 is for beginners, followed by Sabot C2, Sabot C1, Sabot B and Sabot A.

After the captain’s meeting, it’s time to set sail and head toward the starting line. A series of flags and horns signal the captains it’s time to set sail. After the start, spectators head to the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier to catch a glimpse of the sailors. Then, the landlubbers make a mad dash to the pier as the fleet turns north toward the Alamitos Bay Channel.

At the finish line in front of the Long Beach Yacht Club, a crew of “porch people” or race committee volunteers shout out sail numbers so finishing times can be recorded and ring bells as they cross the finish line, accompanied by cheers from family and friends.

The first class of boats usually sets off at 10:30 a.m. Although usually the last to start, the CFJ fleet puts on a great show as they sail past the Sabots. This is the only junior regatta where the boats leave the protection of Alamitos Bay and enter the harbor waters — a big event and a major milestone for young sailors.

The event is named after Jessica Uniack, a young sailing volunteer who died in 1994. Her husband, William Uniack, who served as Congressional Cup chairman in 1989 and LBYC commodore in 1998, died three years earlier. Their sons, Billy and Alex, are traditionally present for the awards ceremony. The regatta began in 1988 and was renamed in Jessica’s honor in 1995.

Catalina Ski

The 75th Catalina Kayak Race will be held on July 13 and will be the only open-water kayak race held regularly anywhere in the world.

It is a very tough competition, especially since the competitions stretch across 62 miles of ocean, and this makes it a very popular and followed event in the world of kayak racing.

The race to Avalon and back begins and ends near the Queen Mary. Spectators from around the world line the beaches, the Alamitos Bay marina, and the decks of the Queen Mary to get the best views of the start and finish.

There are 20 different classes to join, from beginner to expert. There will be a 9 a.m. start for all boat sizes. Visit catalinaskirace.net for details.

Movie in the aquarium

Third District Councilwoman Kristina Duggan and the city will host the U.S. debut of Elliott Hasler’s British independent film “Vindication Swim” on Thursday evening, July 11, at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

“‘Vindication Swim’ is an extraordinary film that showcases the sport of open water swimming and the extraordinary strength of women, both current competitors and from a century ago,” Duggan wrote in an email. “For LA 28 (the 2028 Summer Olympics), Long Beach is hosting most aquatic events, including open water swimming, and I am delighted to partner with writer and director Elliott Hasle, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the city to offer this opportunity to our residents.”

The film is based on the true story of Mercedes Gleitze, who became the first British woman to swim the English Channel in 1927. “Vindication Swim” chronicles Gleitze’s struggle to overcome both the cold waters of the English Channel and the oppressive society of 1920s England.

For tickets, visit tinyurl.com/mtv3n9zv.