The weather really changed up last week, didn’t it? We went from scorching temperatures just before Labor Day to thunder and lightning — and rain and hail — last weekend.

    It was a little disappointing for the folks who were racing last weekend. Typical Long Beach summer conditions have bright sunshine and strong winds through the afternoon. It would have made for a hard slog across the Catalina Channel for the boats racing in Long Beach Yacht Club’s Catalina Island Series, but for a fast passage home in return.

    The boats racing at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in the Finn U.S. Nationals spent three days in generally light conditions.

    While challenging and varied, the regatta did not feature the big waves and big wind for which they came to Long Beach.

    If this odd weather returns next weekend, it could lead to a rather-more-tame evening for those who will take part in the Night Point Fermin Race on Saturday, Sept. 17. Hosted by Seal Beach Yacht Club, this is a race that, as the name suggests, goes to Point Fermin on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and does so at night. Well, sort of — it starts in the Long Beach Outer Harbor off the Peninsula late in the afternoon and returns to Alamitos Bay after dark. In between, the fleet thrashes across San Pedro Bay to round a bell buoy off Point Fermin.

    But fall can bring lighter breezes — just ask the folks who raced to and from Catalina last weekend, or raced Finns off Seal Beach. So what could be a good upwind slog that is followed by a rollicking spinnaker run back down might end up being a crawl to the west and a struggle back.

    Regardless, the race remains very popular. It is mostly sailed among boats that compete under the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) handicap rule. There’ll be spinnaker, non-spinnaker and cruising fleets. The finishes will be taken near the green navigational light that is at the base of the Alamitos Bay jetties, at the end of Ocean Boulevard — and the finishing team will be there until 10 p.m. that night.

    The race is the second of three events in the SlBYC Ocean Series. The first was a race to Catalina and back and the last will be a local buoy race. For details on the Night Point Fermin Race or the Ocean Series, go to the club’s website,, or call Seal Beach Yacht Club at 594-6337.

Beer Can Finales

    While summer technically ends next week and traditionally ends on Labor Day, for hundreds of Long Beach-area sailors summer ends next week as the weeknight “beer can races” wrap up for the year. Since May, Long Beach Yacht Club has hosted them on Wednesday nights in a series known as Wet Wednesdays. Seal Beach Yacht Club does the same the next night during the Pop Top Regatta.

    Both will race their last races next Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 21 and 22. And just in time: summer’s last day is Friday, Sept. 23. If you want to see how the summer went, results for both club’s events are on their respective websites: Long Beach Yacht Club is at while the Seal Beach Yacht Club website is at

Sea Festival

    And speaking of endings, the Long Beach Sea Festival ends this weekend with a pirate invasion of Rainbow Lagoon. For information on this one, check elsewhere in this edition of the Grunion Gazette or go to the event website,

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What's a beer can race? Should boaters be drinking during a race?