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Aug 19, 2014 7:50 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

Out and About with JT: 6th Annual Zongo Yachting Cup

As summer begins to wind down, a lot of us want to squeeze every bit of summer fun in as we can. That gets a little easier to do when you get Out and About with Paul Irving and the gang at the Morro Bay Yacht Club for the annual Zongo Yachting Cup. It's more than a boat race, it's a day-long celebration of being lucky enough to live along the California Central Coast.

It's race day and that means a busy morning at the Morro Bay Yacht club. After a pre-race skippers meeting it's time to get the bumpers off and bodies on board for a 20-mile boat race from Morro Bay to Avila.

But the annual Zongo Yachting Cup is more about fun than racing. "There are about 5 vessels that are seriously racing for the most coveted trophy on the central coast, and the other 40 are just out here for fun." said Paul Irving, the race founder and director.

It is appropriate considering the race was founded by Paul, the Baywood Park Fun-Meister. As Morro Bay's cruising fleet captain, he started the race to increase camaraderie among marine enthusiasts along the central coast and beyond.

"We have a bunch of sailboats. We have a bunch of multi hulls, Hobie Cat styles. We've got three outrigger teams competing. We've got two stand-up paddlers doing a 20-mile trip. Pretty amazing." said Paul.

I was lucky enough to be on the 48-foot craft Casa Del Mar owned by Kim and Leslie Edie. It was a beauty of a boat and I thought we'd have a pretty good chance to do well in the race, but the Gonzo Cup isn't a motor yacht race, it's primarily a sailing race. We were along for the ride primarily for pictures and playtime, and there would be plenty of both.

Against a backdrop of the bay, the beauty of the start was worth coverage in and of itself, but it only got better. As winds picked up, boats started to separate...and the skills of their crews come into play. Leaders emerged, but so did mother nature, and the show proved more enticing than the competition for more than a few boats.

A pod of not 2 or 3 but at least 7 humpback whales lumbered along a bait ball just off Point Buchon, and captured the full attention of our crew for a good half-hour.

Awestruck and armed with plenty of pictures and the ability to use our motor, we caught up with leaders as they rounded the bend toward Avila. The sparkle of the sunshine there provided as spectacular of a backdrop for the finish of the race as it's start in Morro Bay.

Then with beach-goers soaking up the sunshine, Paul and his crew-mates in the Zongo All Stars served up a perfect post-race celebration for the yachting cup named in their honor.

"I love to have fun. I love to sail. I love to play music. I like to organize parties, and this is my best shot at trying to pack as much as I can in on a central coast day." That he certainly did.

Nothin' like getting Out and About with fun-lovers who appreciate all we have right here in our own backyard.

The winner of the main class, officially was defending champion John Michener and his crew of the 35-foot Wizbang. There was some confusion over the winner on Friday but John and his crew took home the hardware.

There were actually 7 classes, though, including stand-up paddle-boards this year. Winner Ken Twist of N2Geo.com and his Buddy Vincent Shay did the whole 23.8 miles in 4.5 hours on their boards.

And a special thanks to Leslie and Kim Edie who had us along ontheir beautiful boat the Casa Del Ray.

Here are the race results from Zongo Cup 6:

45 boats started the record-setting race from MB to Avila: 19 mono-hulls, 6 assorted multi-hulls, 4 Hobie Miracle 20s, 3 outrigger canoes, 2 Stand Up Paddlers, a Wave-runner, and 9 support craft.

PHRF 1st Place: C&C 35" Whizbang / John Michener (defender)
PHRF 2nd Place: DuFour 39" Diligence" / Simon Smith
PHRF 3rd Place: Farr 40 "High 5" / Tony Gomez
Hobie Miracle 20 1st Place: "20/20 Vision" / Scott Irwin
Other Multihull 1st Place: Prindle 19 "Plain Perilous"/ Steve Blevins
Outrigger canoe 1st Place: Mirage #155 / Nancy (NOTE: a slim 5 feet in front of 2nd Place Lightning #158 / Chris Isler!)
Cruising Class 1st Place: Waverunner "Crewless"/ Jeff Stewart
Stand Up Paddle: 1st Place - Ken Twist - 4.5 hours

If you are intrigued with the lure of the sea and sailing on it, here's what's happening for ongoing sailing activity on the Central Coast:

Morro Bay Yacht Club
Ocean Racing: Races 2-3 times per month, typically on Sundays. Club Calendar: http://www.mbyc.net/calendar/
Bay Racing: Races 2-3 times per month, typically on Saturdays
Learn to Sail: Fantastic, inexpensive 1 week sailing course - summer only (a couple sessions left - may be a couple spaces available) http://www.mbyc.net/learn-to-sail/
San Luis Yacht Club
Sunday races. Here's their calendar / info: http://slyc.org/Racing/racing.ht

And if you'd like to enjoy a little Zongo and marine fun this weekend, Paul's at it again.
It's the Baywood Boatzart and Bayfest from noon to 7:30 Saturday afternoon. Paul and the Zongo-All Stars will be playing as well as the Honeysuckle Possums, Weavers Remembered, Gipsy All-Stats, and Cafe Musique.

It all happens at the Baywood Pier and Back Bay Inn at 1391 2nd Street in Los Osos. If you have a kayak, canoe, paddle-board or other small boat you are encouraged to float on in to this blast of summer fun.

There is no cost. Food and drink will be available for sale. For more info, call: 805-441-3344805-441-3344 or click here.

To time your visit accordingly, here's the musical line-up:

12:00 - Honeysuckle Possums - all female bluegrass band from Santa Barbara - on the pier!
2:00 - The Weavers Remembered - a tribute to the music of the Weavers
3:00 - Gipsy All-Stars - Toan Chau leads a fantastic group playing the music of Django Reinhardt.
4:00 - Cafe Musique - Amazing fusion of gypsy, tango classical, and folk
5:30 - Zongo All-Stars - Local favorite powerhouse of Afro/Latin/Caribbean dance music

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