4469 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
As SCYA celebrates it’s Centennial in 2021, we are also ready to celebrate California Yacht Club’s Centennial in 2022. CYC is one of SCYA’s founders and has been an active force in SCYA, and Southern California Yachting, ever since. Here is their story through their first 75 years. Not only will you learn about CYC, but there is so much about the growth of boating in general as well. There are quite a few mentions about the people involved in growing our sport too. Take the time to read through the story. You will enjoy it, and learn so much about your favorite sport along the way,
Kathy St. Amant
SCYA Historical Archive Team
CYC 75th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM
(Current as of September 21, 1998)
Prologue . . .
The history of California Yacht Club sparkles with effort and accomplishment kindled by the enthusiastic activities of men and women who love boats and everything to do with them. From the excitement of a ten-year old girl’s dinghy sail catching the breeze on her first solo sailing effort to the thrill of an Olympian accepting the Gold Medal in view of the entire world, the spirit of California Yacht Club has been indelibly woven through the fabric of the yachting fraternity for 75 years.
Names of kings and common people have graced the pages of CYC’s membership rolls over the decades, reflecting one of the Club’s great strengths . . . an amazing diversity of its members’ backgrounds and interests. While determined leaders and world class boating champions have established California Yacht Club in the company of the world’s leading yacht clubs, the true spirit of this organization has been the hundreds of men, women and children working on dozens of active committees to ensure the success of a year-around calendar of activities. For each successful Commodore, regatta winner, committee chair or social event organizer, there has always been a legion of others in supportive roles – many who would ultimately step forward as future Club leaders.
This commemorative album takes you on a wide-ranging review of the Club as it has served the interests of its thousands of members for more than three quarters of a century. A volunteer group accepted the responsibility for gathering the following information for your upcoming voyage through the interesting birth and event-filled growth of California Yacht Club. We trust you’ll enjoy sharing the heritage of an organization that has been a significant part of our lives!
Chapter One – A Time of Surprising Accomplishment
Proudly displayed in yacht club trophy cases around the world are gleaming awards won by members in competition on the water. Some of these trophies represent top individual efforts. But most are the result of winning teamwork by several accomplished crew members. In either case, these exhibited mementos are a popular measure of the quality of on-the-water competitors of each of those clubs.
Visitors reading inscriptions on the scores of trophies displayed throughout California Yacht Club discover tributes commemorating the following:
In July 1993, CYC’s women sailors accepted an invitation to compete in the inaugural United States Yacht Club Challenge for the Bettina Bents Trophy. After an extremely competitive eight-race series, Rear Commodore Cheryl Mahaffey as skipper of the winning CYC team accepted the Bettina Bents Trophy, awarded to the best women’s team from a United States yacht club.
California Yacht Club has been privileged to be designated on several occasions by the Selection Committee of the United States Yacht Club Challenge as one of a small group of the best yacht clubs in the United States. This qualification is precedent to being invited to compete on the water against the other clubs making up this heady group. CYC has always fared well in this competition. In April, 1994, skipper Billy Petersen and his hard working crew on a Catalina 37, plus a Laser and CFJ crewed by CYC Juniors, ended up victorious. They were delighted to accept the first place trophy recognizing California Yacht Club as “The Best in the US.”
CYC’s talented powerboaters have consistently distinguished themselves in regional and national Predicted Log competition. They were invited to participate in the North American Cruiser Navigational Championships in Chicago on July 29, 1995. At the conclusion of that competition, skipper Herb Dover and his crew graciously accepted the winning trophy as North America’s top Cruiser Navigational team.
The California Yacht Club Rowing Club has attracted many rowers, some who excelled in college and others whose sculling activities developed in other ways. On October 22, 1995, several of CYC’s Masters Rowers competed in the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, a heralded international event and the world’s largest rowing regatta. California Yacht Club rowers Margie Cate and Jan Palchikoff won the Masters Womens Double and Sr. Vice President Steve Hathaway won the Seniors Masters Single, competing against some of the best scullers in the country. In 1997 these rowers repeated their victories in the same events.
The Schock 35 National Championships were conducted by the Club in July 1996, a fiercely fought contest. Later that year, Staff Commodore Dick Hampikian and Vice Commodore Charlie Kelley, as Co-chairs of the event, joined with Commodore Chuck Wright to accept the St. Petersburg Trophy at a meeting of the United States Sailing Association. That trophy is awarded to the yacht club adjudged by the competitors in the race and affirmed by the U.S. Sailing Association as having run America’s finest regatta during 1996.
No other yacht club has ever won this collection of national trophies. What makes this array of accomplishments even more remarkable is that they all took place in the space of only 36 months.
For many years, California Yacht Club has also been actively involved in the following prominent on-the-water activities:
CYC’s cruising members have flown the Club burgee on every ocean on Earth and have long been active in the highly respected Cruising Club of America. CCA boaters are truly bluewater voyagers who have seen every ocean and meaningful body of water on earth. They take life on the water at a more leisurely pace than the racing sailors, unless their worldwide travels take them through fierce winds and roiling seas, which often happens.
Boating’s swiftest segment is represented by adventurous souls who pilot highly- powered offshore speedboats. These thousand-horsepower vessels often exceed one hundred miles per hour thundering across the waves. From its earliest days, California Yacht Club has been identified with offshore speedboat racing. Over several decades, CYC’s beloved Bob Nordskog set 45 world speedboat records. He was still setting these records in the 1990’s after his 70th birthday, competing with – and conquering – the world’s best.
Those who participate in yachting at these high levels of competition do so with the intention and ability to win. Yet, the suddenness of capturing the top honors for this wide array of prestigious events in such a short period of time came as an enormously pleasant surprise to the members of California Yacht Club. Reaching this extraordinary level of accomplishment on the water did not occur overnight. Nor was the course leading to this unprecedented series of victories always navigated in smooth waters.
The evolution of California Yacht Club began over three quarters of a century ago in downtown Los Angeles, a city at the time not all that far removed from its birth as a frontier town. An organization known as the Los Angeles Athletic Club would be the forebear of this successful yachting organization.
Chapter Two – The Los Angeles Athletic Club
California Yacht Club originated from a strong interest in boating by members of the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The Athletic Club was founded in 1880, only 15 years after the end of the Civil War. The indomitable energy of the Industrial Revolution and settlement of the western United States was in high gear. A column in the August 29, 1919 Los Angeles Evening Express, titled “How Los Angeles Athletic Club Grew Up,” is quoted in the next two paragraphs.
“In the Los Angeles law offices of Frank A. Gibson, located in the then skyscraping McDonald block on North Main Street, a meeting was held in 1879 after considerable agitation for forming an organization to address the physical and social betterment of the pueblo’s leading young bloods. The idea ‘took.’ Progressive thinkers of the day opined that Los Angeles might some day have a population of 50,000 or even 75,000. Those men felt it necessary to provide a place where they could foregather and improve their bodies and minds as befitted their standing. A gymnasium and comfortable clubroom would be better than adobe barns for such uplifting purposes.
“Mark G. Jones, Bradner W. Lee, Col. J. B. Lankershim, John S. Thayer, M. H. Newmark, Sam B. Dewey, Joseph Binford, Fred Wood and a few others got together to turn their thoughts into reality. On September 8, 1880 the Los Angeles Athletic Club was organized. Among the early organizers were men whose names are associated with the growth of Los Angeles from a dusty rail terminus to one of the world’s great cities. Col. Lankershim was elected President, Gibson as Vice President, J. P. Spence Secretary and H. L. MacNeil Treasurer.”
Two rooms were rented on the second floor of a building at the corner of Los Angeles and Arcadia streets, one of the early buildings built of brick rather than adobe. The Athletic Club was on its way, but after some early success the initial enthusiasm waned. The core group got together and determined that a more central location was necessary. They rented new quarters in the Downey block where Main, Spring and Temple Streets intersected. This proved a wise move. The Club prospered and grew.
Boxing, track and field, bicycling, weight training, gymnastics, social events and other activities boosted the membership to over 225. A card and billiard room were added. The attendance of ladies at a number of the events may have had something to do with the growing popularity of the Club.
Construction in Los Angeles grew substantially. Commerce in this formerly sleepy town expanded, as did its population. The climate and emerging culture of Southern California supported the physical fitness interests of the residents. The Athletic Club was a welcome beneficiary. Growing interest in physical pursuits and an increasing membership drove Los Angeles Athletic Club to its third home at 226 S. Spring Street.
As noted in Our First Hundred Years, a highly recommended review of the Los Angeles Athletic Angeles. However, they eventually abandoned their promotional role. The city reacted by organizing the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. “The newly formed group assembled exhibits, sponsored lectures, subsidized writers and photographers, published books and pamphlets and produced a Club’s history, the railroads played a leading role through fierce promotion of tourism in Los ‘California on Wheels,’ train to bring the sun-kissed message to every city in the Midwest.
“The boosters thus both created the myth and made it come true by providing the vital ingredients for future civic growth. Among those in the top echelon were Colonel (Harrison Gray) Otis and Harry Chandler of the Los Angeles Times publishing empire; railroad tycoons Eli Clark, Moses Sherman and Henry Huntington; oil men Edward L. Doheny and Charles Canfield; Senator Stephen White, sponsor of San Pedro as a major port; and Mayor Fred Eaton, father of the Owens River Aqueduct – all Los Angeles Athletic Club members. Three of the most prestigious served the Club as president: Robert Rowan, the major developer of the downtown business district; William May Garland, prognosticator of civic growth and promoter par excellence of civic causes; and Frank A. Garbutt, an oil magnate and industrialist whose zeal for amateur sports provided the inspiration for (a more) modern Los Angeles Athletic Club.”
The Athletic Club prospered for several years. Unfortunately, a number of ventures in promoting big time boxing matches and investments in additional venues for still additional sports activities ended up financially overextending the organization. On January 5, 1901 the Club closed its doors.
Several strategies to resuscitate the Club were discussed over the next several years. None materialized until Frank Garbutt spearheaded an effort to reopen the Athletic Club in the same block of buildings at its former Spring Street location. His central theme was that professional management should head up the operations of the Club and that the members should be spared from any financial liability from Club deficits. The organization reorganized and flourished over the next several years, leading to the need for larger quarters.
William May Garland and Harry Chandler joined Garbutt in identifying and helping finance a new site: the old Baltimore Hotel at Seventh and Olive Streets. The arrangements were made, the hotel demolished and an impressive twelve-story Clubhouse began construction in 1910. In June 1912 some twenty five thousand people attended the formal opening of the new Athletic Club home, the finest of its type in the country. That building still elegantly serves its several thousand members today.
Membership grew. As the decade progressed, Club programs and activities prospered. Life was good and getting better. Prohibition had failed; the city grew with a continuing influx of new arrivals from the East and the rewards of commerce rose to new levels. In this rosy ambiance, many Athletic Club members were motivated to more fully enjoy the fabulous all-year climate of Los Angeles. A natural result of all this largesse was a modest but enthusiastic fleet of boats, large and small, in Los Angeles’ harbor, twenty miles distant.
The harbor south of Los Angeles developed in the mid 1800’s due to the vision of Phineas Banning. His business ventures included passenger and freight transportation. He founded the city of Wilmington to help service his busy harbor wharf. As a California State Senator, he pushed through legislation to provide railroad linkage to downtown Los Angeles, probably the greatest impetus to the subsequent growth of Los Angeles Harbor.
In 1887, the Port of Ballona Development Company had been formed by M.C. Wicks to develop a harbor for Los Angeles at the Ballona Creek inlet in Playa del Rey. Wicks, working with the Santa Fe Railroad, raised $300,000 in the effort. Unfortunately, his plans ended in bankruptcy. The property was turned over to duck hunters and San Pedro was now completely in focus to become the official port for Los Angeles.
Chapter Three – The Yacht Club Movement
Southern California’s first formal mainland yacht club was founded in Santa Barbara in 1887 and the second in 1896 in San Diego. For some years, pleasure boating was sparse. Working boats would carry commerce and some also transported passengers. The few folks who owned sailboats were often invited by Santa Barbara Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club to sail in their regattas. The boatowners would sail their vessels north or south to find and enjoy organized competition. Many of this small group of Los Angeles area boaters would rendezvous at Catalina or other Channel Islands with members of these two pioneer yacht clubs.
Eventually, the spirit of association prompted 14 local sailors to join together by founding the South Coast Yacht Club just before Christmas, 1901. Three boats comprised the fleet. Howard Dodge was elected Commodore, Joseph Pugh as Vice Commodore and Eugene “Fritz” Overton as Secretary/Treasurer. A small structure was erected on Terminal Island (so named, as it was the terminus for the Southern Pacific and Salt Lake Railroad). Hancock Banning had founded the Catalina Yacht Club in 1893 and a space was provided at South Coast Yacht Club that served Catalina Yacht Club’s mainland needs as well. The history section of Los Angeles Yacht Club’s membership directory reveals, “the first official yacht race, given for ‘the benefit of the Salt Lake Railroad on account of what they did for the yachtsmen last season,’ was held May 30, 1902, from the Brighton Beach wharf to the whistle buoy off Point Fermin.”
The following year, the South Coast Yacht Club moved from the railway terminal area across the channel to San Pedro to more accommodating surroundings and built a clubhouse. The better location helped the Club to grow.
Powerboat enthusiast Joe Fellows had come south from Puget Sound in 1898 and started the Joe Fellows Yacht and Marine Construction Company. It evolved into Fellows and Stewart, the first boatyard of any consequence in Los Angeles Harbor. Other yards to grow to equal prominence over the next several years as they constructed ocean-going craft were Wilmington Boat Works operated by T. S. Smith and Hugh Angelman, Seacraft Corporation, Garbutt & Walsh (a venture involving the unique talents of Frank A. Garbutt and Matt Walsh), Harbor Boat Works and the Pacific Marina Construction Company. Among the growing group of boat builders, Edson B. Schock and D. M. Callis found plenty of work as marine architects.
The “stinkpotters” and “raggers” developed a friendly rivalry and a mutual respect, both groups enjoying one of the world’s finest boating playgrounds. While the entire cadre of pleasure boaters at the time numbered just several dozen, their enthusiasm made it seem much larger!
In 1906, South Coast Yacht Club positively responded to the repeated suggestions by Clarence McFarlane of Honolulu that a race from California to the territory of Hawaii would be a splendid idea. McFarlane then sailed his yacht from Honolulu to San Francisco to enjoin the yachtsmen there to host the mainland start of his proposed regatta. Even back then, timing was everything . . . McFarlane’s yacht LA PALOMA sailed through the Golden Gate just hours after the Great Earthquake!
Quickly heading south to San Pedro, he met with South Coast Yacht Club Commodore H. H. Sinclair. Sinclair’s yacht was a well-known bluewater competitor, the schooner LURLINE. Together with another active sailor, Charles Tutt, who owned the ketch ANEMONE, the three ginned up the first Honolulu Race. Sailed on June 11, 1906 from Los Angeles Harbor to Diamond Head, this race was the beginning of the world’s premier long distance race (later named The Transpacific Yacht Race). LURLINE would win the race in 12 days, 5 hours and 29 minutes, a record that stood until 1923. LURLINE also won the 1908 Race and the 1912 Race. The Honolulu Race would evolve to be a pioneering part of the lore of South Coast Yacht Club and later of Santa Barbara Yacht Club, California Yacht Club and Los Angeles Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club and decades later, supported by Long Beach Yacht Club.
A group of motorboaters from South Coast Yacht Club and Los Angeles Athletic Club formed a core group that founded Los Angeles Motor Boat Club in 1910. Eugene Overton was once again a principal organizer. Some men kept memberships in all three clubs. South Coast Yacht Club foundered as did most other clubs during World War I, but came back strong in 1920. In 1921, it consolidated with Los Angeles Motor Boat Club and was renamed Los Angeles Yacht Club.
The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners was created in 1907 and the Port of Los Angeles came into being. The Board did its work well. An 8,500-foot breakwater was constructed and the harbor’s Main Channel was widened to 800 feet with a depth of 30 feet. Southern Pacific Railroad constructed a large wharf in San Pedro, just prior to the opening of the Panama Canal. Shipping along the coast and from the Far East found Los Angeles well located and eager to serve. The 1920’s were exhilarating times for Los Angeles Harbor, fueled by a boom in petroleum, lumber and citrus exports. Los Angeles eclipsed San Francisco as the West Coast’s busiest seaport. Only New York City exported more waterborne tonnage.
Between Los Angeles Harbor and San Diego, there were no yacht clubs, but a harbor of sorts at Newport Beach sported several moorings for small boats. Local residents and businessmen encouraged dredging of that harbor to improve prospects for commercial and private boating activity. South Coast Yacht Club established a station in that harbor.
One of the men who were active in that movement was Dr. Albert Soiland, an energetic member of Los Angeles Athletic Club. Soiland would play an enormous role in Southern California yachting over the next 15 years, serving as 1915 Commodore of South Coast Yacht Club, founding Commodore in 1916 of Newport Yacht Club of Orange County (now Newport Harbor Yacht Club) and later as Chairman of the Transpacific Yacht Race. He would found several additional important yachting organizations.
Affectionately known as “the Commodore,” Soiland had long stumped for the Athletic Club to form a yacht club in Los Angeles Harbor. To further his efforts, he helped engineer a September 1919 weekend stag party in Catalina. This event was quickly billed as Los Angeles Athletic Club’s “greatest outing ever.”
A sizeable party of members and guests gathered at the Athletic Club on Saturday morning and walked to the nearby Pacific Electric Railway Station to board special Red Car trains for Los Angeles Harbor. Awaiting them was the motor vessel CABRILLO, reserved for the Club by Catalina’s management, to take the festive crowd across the channel to Avalon. They arrived about noon. Accommodations were assigned at the Island Villas and luncheon was served at the newly opened St. Catherine Hotel.
An afternoon of aquatic sports, powerboat races and tests, foot races, tennis, golf, baseball, bathing, deep sea fishing, glass bottom boat trips, hill climbing and other diversions absorbed the multitude for the balance of the day. A sumptuous banquet was arranged back at the St. Catherine, then a boxing match arranged by Sports Committee Chairman Bernal Dyas was held in the amphitheater and the formal part of the evening was capped by a fireworks show over the harbor.
Sunday was left to individual pursuits (or in some cases, grievous recovery from the evening before) until the CABRILLO departed Avalon for the cruise back across the channel. While conversations were not individually documented, Soiland and Dyas used the weekend wisely, pointing out the benefits of boating and water sports. The groundwork was well under way to encourage the formation of a new yacht club, with both men figuring prominently in its birth and growth.
In the July 1, 1920 edition of Mercury magazine (the Athletic Club’s weekly magazine), Los Angeles Athletic Club President William May Garland indicated that the Club was experiencing a budget crunch. In its quest to solve the problem, the Athletic Club board was examining how other major clubs were making ends meet. “Among these the monthly dues are as follows: California Club $8.00; Jonathan Club $7.00; Los Angeles Country Club $9.00; Chicago Athletic Club $8.33; Illinois Athletic Club $8.33.” Garland pointed out that Los Angeles Athletic Club’s $6.00 monthly dues (discounted by $3.00 when paid in advance for a quarter) included many activities for which these other clubs charged extra.
To balance the Athletic Club budget, Garland informed the members the $3.00 discount would be discontinued, but this step would allow dues to be continued with no increase. In addition, the Club would also seek a yachting annex. This was the first announced step leading to the founding of California Yacht Club. Many meetings ensued regarding the proposed “annex.” Garland, Frank Garbutt, Bernal Dyas and a few other Los Angeles Athletic Club stalwarts lobbied harbor commissioners, other politicians, members of the yachting community and began to put their ducks in order.
The majority of vessels owned at that time by Athletic Club members were powerboats. They ranged from fishing boats and runabouts to racing speedboats and large yachts as fine as any in the world. Los Angeles Motor Boat Club provided a rendezvous for their activities in the Harbor, but they sought a more substantial and active organization they could call their own. As a result, Los Angeles Athletic Club formed Los Angeles Athletic Club Motor Boat Racing Association in October 1920. Two weeks later, a banquet attended by the cream of local motorboat enthusiasts and downtown business interests was reported as “the largest of its kind ever held in the city.” The area’s newspapers all joined the spirited organizers to herald this organization, which would help focus world attention on the maritime activities and facilities of Los Angeles Harbor. Many also recognized that the Association members would need a place to moor their boats together.
With all the energy Garbutt and his friends could muster, fast and furious arrangements were made for a Los Angeles Athletic Club Yacht Harbor to be constructed on 8 acres of land and 50 acres of water at the Outer Harbor on Terminal Island. A new $750,000 drawbridge approved by the U.S. Government and to be built by the Harbor Board would guarantee access to the Island. A schedule of comprehensive events covering several classes of boats was presented to the group and approved. The cooperation and support of the harbor authorities, the newspapers and civic organizations, all of which would be mutually benefited by the achievements of the Association, unqualifiedly pledged their backing.
William May Garland, Frank Garbutt, Hal Roach, Harry Chandler, Bernal Dyas, Louis Nordlinger, Joe Fellows, Dustin Farnum, Dr. Albert Soiland, Cecil B. DeMille and others formed the nucleus of the Committee charged with the growth of the Association. Dyas, Nordlinger and Roach, particularly, had played a major role in the L.A. Motorboat Club’s activities, including furnishing impressive trophies for races and activities bearing their names. Being involved in this Association was a natural outgrowth of their spirit and dedication.
Movie mogul Roach was a popular patron of sports and a spirited participant in Los Angeles Athletic Club activities. He put up a unique and handsome trophy for the fastest motorboat on the Pacific Coast. When Hal Roach did something, he did it well, from making high class film comedies to being a friend in the great American boating game. The selection of a trophy proved no exception to disregarding expenses. Roach selected a handsome and ornate emblem that demonstrated his taste as well as generosity. It made all the motorboat speed bugs sit up and take notice. Frank Garbutt was reported to have guessed that it set Hal back more than three hundred bucks, and Garbutt was known to be a conservative estimator.
Dustin Farnum, Joe Fellows and Garbutt sized up the trophy in anticipation of it residing on their trophy walls, and it was rumored that more than one of them got the tape measure out to see where it would best fit. Today, it “fits” in a prominent corner of California Yacht Club’s Marina del Rey Clubhouse, still impressive 78 years later.
In one of the uniquely uncommon motorboat matches of the day, U.S.S. PARROTT, one of the U.S. Navy’s fastest destroyers, was matched against three Southern California pleasure motorboats, Frank Garbutt’s MYSTERY V, Bill Paden’s HURRICANE and Joe Fellow’s FELLOWS IV in a race from Los Angeles Harbor around Catalina and return. The weather was ideal, the water calm, except for a slight swell wrinkling the ocean on the 22-mile stretch seaward of the island, that would slow down the little racers and tax their staying power.
The starting gun sounded and all vessels were on their way. The strength of the destroyer’s mighty 32,000-horsepower turbines hurled the warship through the swells. The diminutive private racers skipped along the top of the water. Across the channel and around the backside of Catalina the fleet flew. As the racers rounded the island, the small boats led PARROTT by 5 miles. MYSTERY V won the contest in 1 hour 58 minutes, closely followed by HURRICANE and FELLOWS IV, with a winning average of over 40 miles per hour. (The first Around Catalina speed dash occurred ten years earlier and took six hours.) U.S.S. PARROTT finished at 2 hours 19 minutes. FELLOWS IV collected many complimentary comments as it had only half the horsepower of MYSTERY V and did nearly as well.
This competition was but one of dozens during years of intense rivalry between Garbutt and Fellows. Garbutt boats were generally highly powered, almost brutish in muscle and prone to breakdown with all this propulsive strength, while Fellows’ vessels were smaller, simpler and remarkably consistent in their performance. At that time, Garbutt was rumored to be considering purchasing two 750-horsepower Bugatti engines from Italy to be placed in a new design for the following year. Sports page reporters repeatedly queried Garbutt about his plans. Always playing his cards close to the vest, he had no comment.
One of the most enthusiastic supporters of motorboating was Louis Nordlinger, longtime member of Los Angeles Athletic Club and active gymnast. Nordlinger put up a trophy to be awarded to speedboat champions, one for which many powerboaters competed over the years. The Nordlinger Race of the Los Angeles Motorboat Club (of Los Angeles Athletic Club) became one of the leading speedboat classics on the West Coast with competitors vying from clubs across the country. He joined those who proclaimed, “When Los Angeles Athletic Club’s yacht annex is constructed, it will house the fastest speedboats in the world.”
Chapter Four – California Yacht Club Emerges
While an incredible amount of Los Angeles Athletic Club powerboaters’ energy was focused upon developing a major motorboating association with its own clubhouse and harbor, other events were taking place that would refocus this ambitious project. The industrialization of Los Angeles Harbor caused notice to be served that Los Angeles Motor Boat Club and Los Angeles Yacht Club must move from their present clubhouses. Los Angeles Motor Boat Club (90 boats in its fleet) discussed a merger with Los Angeles Yacht Club (45 boats in its fleet). This consolidation was subsequently accomplished in April 1922.
Birth of the Southern California Yachting Association
To help promote the sport of yachting, Commodore Soiland arranged a banquet at Los Angeles Athletic Club for Southern California yachtsmen. Daniel L. Pratt, Editor of Pacific Motorboat of Seattle, was the guest of honor. The result of this banquet was the formation of an organization for the promotion of the sport under the name of Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA).
The plans of the organization were worked out under the leadership of a committee composed of Commodore Soiland, representing Newport Harbor Yacht Club; Dustin Farnum of Los Angeles Motorboat Club, Commodore Morrow of Los Angeles Yacht Club, E. J. Gourley of Santa Barbara Yacht Club and Thomas C. Hammond of San Diego Yacht Club. The purpose of the Association was affixed to serve as a central body to assist individual clubs and foster and encourage yachting.
At a subsequent meeting of the committee, Soiland, for many years a leader in the sport, was unanimously elected Admiral of the new Association. They planned for SCYA regattas to be held each year, the first at Santa Barbara the second week of August. A board of counselors, comprised of two members chosen from each club affiliated with the Association, was charged with governing the central organization.
Meanwhile, there was no shortage of boating activity. On the large yacht scene, Los Angeles Athletic Club’s G. Allen Hancock announced he had arranged to build his second yacht, VALERO II, a 125-foot, twin-engine diesel with a 20-foot beam. When completed, he intended to cruise it through the South Seas.
In October 1921, the three-day Nordlinger Cup Race (named Discovery Days) was conducted under auspices of the still independent Los Angeles Motor Boat Club. A 24-mile race held each day was well attended. But even with the success of the Nordlinger Cup, eyes were on the first event for the Motor Boat Racing Association a few weeks later. It turned out to be an impressive racing regatta held on December 4th. Dyas had traveled back east to purchase an appropriate trophy and a starting gun for the event. W. W. Paden, Frank Garbutt, Dustin Farnum and Joe Fellows headed up an entry list of fierce competitors who had faced each other many times in hard fought races. After it was all over, Fellows’ reliable FELLOWS IV bested Garbutt’s MYSTERY in front of a huge pleasure boat crowd enduring heavy seas.
Enthusiastic Los Angeles Athletic Club members began to sign up for membership in the Association. In the meantime, Athletic Club management was arranging still another anchorage site across on the Wilmington side of the harbor entrance channel for members who owned motorboats. This new site consisted of slightly over one acre of land plus twelve acres of anchorage on the Wilmington side of the channel, close to the Los Angeles Motor Boat Club.
Agreement was reached for the Harbor Commission to especially dredge that site for motorboats and small yachts. Mercury and local papers noted, “It is expected that before the summer season opens the members of this organization (at the time, just a separate organization for the purpose of being able to own more than 3,000 feet of frontage) will have the most complete boating plant in Southern California and that afterwards this Association will form the nucleus of the Los Angeles Athletic Club Yacht Annex when the property in the Outer Harbor becomes available.”
Events quickly evolved: the new Los Angeles Athletic Club yacht club was to be built by architect Edwin Bergstrom, even while the Athletic Club was also investigating still a third anchorage in the Outer Harbor, closer to the open ocean. The name, “California Yacht Club” was selected and the decision was made where CYC would make its home. Incorporation papers were filed and construction of “a nice little clubhouse” got under way in February 1922 on the Inner Harbor Wilmington site.
Los Angeles Athletic Club president Garland was widely quoted in the press forecasting that all of these new facilities would bring substantial business to the local harbor area. He also indicated that the budding Motor Boat Racing Association would be fully supported by California Yacht Club. Los Angeles Athletic Club’s Mercury magazine carried the progress of both new Clubs and was also honored by its selection as Southern California Yachting Association’s official publication to the yachting community.
Bernal Dyas was elected President of California Yacht Club, Frank Garbutt as Vice President, Samuel Hall, Secretary and A. J. Waters as Treasurer. Directors were E. B. Giffen, Thomas Farrand and A. P. Robinson. Initiation fees were set at $50 for regular members, $40 for associate members and dues of $4 per month. The CYC lease was finalized at 4.5 land acres plus 12 acres of anchorage.
Memberships began to pour in, reaching over 300 in several weeks. The Los Angeles Examiner published a letter that Dyas wrote in April to the Los Angeles Yacht Club board of directors indicating that many people had suggested to him that the local yacht clubs should combine their forces in the interests of Southern California yachting. He noted that LAYC’s recent consolidation with Los Angeles Motor Boat Club was in line with that way of thinking and that CYC would very positively consider such a proposition. Dyas’ letter was also written in response to a letter he had just received from LAYC Commodore Otto Wildey that LAYC might look at further consolidation once it wrapped up the details of its merger with the Motor Boat Club. Commodore Wildey in his communication to Dyas also thoughtfully noted, “While you are completing your plans, our board has instructed me to extend the courtesies of our Club to any of your members in the way of taking care of their boats or any accommodations they may wish.”
FRANK A. GARBUTT
One of the singular forces in CYC’s history was Frank A. Garbutt. He had joined Los Angeles Athletic Club at the age of 14 and had a deep affection for it. Garbutt became a leading industrialist with interests in oil, land, mining and movies. He was a yachtsman, Los Angeles Times columnist, auto racer (a founder of the Auto Club of Southern California) and his lively mind and body led him to pursue many other interests as well.
His enthusiasm brought together many men of great influence and community interest, including William May Garland who became Los Angeles Athletic Club President. Together these two built the Los Angeles Athletic Club Clubhouse at 7th and Olive Streets in Los Angeles, were instrumental with Bernal Dyas in conceiving and building California Yacht Club, were driving forces in the construction of the Los Angeles Coliseum and brought the 1932 Olympic Games to Los Angeles.
Garbutt’s formal education ended after a few months at Stanford University. But as an incredibly self-taught man, he studied law books sufficiently to earn a law degree. Unusual for a person of such drive, he shunned personal publicity, preferring to serve as a supporting vice president or director. Nonetheless, he was a leading force in the growth of Union Oil Company, Paramount Studios, the Auto Club and the Athletic Club. He loaned his impressive schooner-rigged yacht SKIDBLADNIR* to Selig Company for the filming of the controversial “Wild Man” movie. His involvement with the Famous Players group of movie fame and help in establishing Paramount Studios likely influenced the attachment entertainment legends later held for California Yacht Club when it was founded.
Garbutt set world records in speedboat racing. He cruised far and wide in his yacht and was no slouch in racing smaller vessels against the best. Garbutt was an aviation enthusiast and friend of aviators Glen Martin and Glenn Curtiss. In a spirited mood, he once had Martin’s personal biplane disassembled, carted to Los Angeles Athletic Club’s Blue Room and reassembled therein for a dinner in Martin’s honor. The lower wings, draped with tablecloths, made a splendid table for an elegant dinner; the upper wings holding twinkling lights illuminating the event. Garbutt also enjoyed automobile racing, utilizing the family vehicle. With a quick change of seats, roof and other equipment, he was ready to compete on road races and racing tracks. His friendship with Barney Oldfield was no doubt an important influence on his motorcar activities. He was a prolific writer, a consummate speaker and a promoter with unbounded energy. Close friend Harry Chandler, owner of the Los Angeles Times, featured Garbutt’s philosophy on a regular basis in his paper.
*SKIDBLADNIR was a very well known yacht along the Pacific Coast during the first half of the 20th Century. The unusual name comes from Norseman mythology; a mythical boat sailed by Norseman voyagers in their exploration of oceans in ancient times.
——————————————– END SIDEBAR
As construction began on the CYC Clubhouse, the Athletic Club announced the reorganization of the Los Angeles Athletic Club Rowing Committee. The Athletic Club emblem had previously graced racing shells, based in Playa del Rey in 1905. Members wishing to row their sleek shells were transported free from downtown by the Los Angeles Pacific Railway. Los Angeles Athletic Club rowers won the California State Championship in San Diego on Labor Day, 1907. Not long after, the Playa del Rey course filled up with sand and the railroad withdrew its free tickets. With World War I, rowing languished, but later took on new life with the formation of California Yacht Club.
In the spring, CYC inaugurated a series of Saturday complimentary harbor sightseeing cruises to provide Los Angeles Athletic Club members an opportunity to view commercial marine and pleasure boating activities in Los Angeles Harbor. Time was allocated for the visitors to observe the progress of CYC’s new Clubhouse and stop off at some of the adjacent boat building plants.
Chapter Five – Sailboat Racing Begins in Ernest
Benjamin P. Weston, one of the best known, well-liked and superbly talented sailors on the Pacific Coast, cast his lot with California Yacht Club by becoming a life member. From Mercury, “Weston, although a young man in years, was old in the ways of the sea and so fixed financially he could indulge his hobby to his heart’s desire. Together with an associate, he owned the well-known cruiser MOLLILOU. He was at his best in any weather at the stick of a racing craft and knew the game from every angle. Weston’s knowledge of the fine points of sailing was almost uncanny and he volunteered to teach the art to the tyros who were thinking more of canvas than of gasoline exhausts. In a recent sailing race around Catalina, while the boats were becalmed, Weston sailed his craft right past his competitor, talked to him while passing and sailed away leaving him flopping helplessly in a glassy sea.”
Weston arranged with Joe Fellows to purchase two of the Sea Mew one-design boats (a two-person sailing dinghy) and planned to compete with San Diego Yacht Club and Santa Barbara Yacht Club that summer. He also supported the idea of building two R Class Boats to race locally and to compete with San Francisco sailors, making plans to travel north to arrange for competition in this class. Additionally, he wanted to participate in the Star Class and began to drill a crew to take east to compete in the Star Championship. Weston’s vision took further form during a meeting of yachting leaders held just weeks after he joined California Yacht Club.
Admiral Albert Soiland opened the April 14, 1922 meeting of the Southern California Yachting Association, held at Los Angeles Athletic Club. Soiland also represented the Athletic Club along with Frank Garbutt. Bernal Dyas and Frank E. Garbutt (Frank A. Garbutt’s son) represented CYC. Newport Harbor, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Diego (by proxy) Yacht Clubs were also represented. Joseph Pugh, member of San Francisco Yacht Club and well-known yacht surveyor of San Francisco, exhibited plans and pictures of R Boats being built in the North. These boats of about 40′ in length were designed to the Universal Racing Rule, rating not more than (a formula of) 20, but over 17, allowing for subtle design differences among the Fleet. Marconi rigged with piano wire rigging, aeroplane turnbuckles and Ratsey sails, the R’s were “the last word in racing boats.” The various Bay area clubs had three R Boats and four more were being built from the boards of well known San Francisco and Eastern designers. Pugh indicated that he financed the latest R Boat by obtaining a hundred subscribers at fifty dollars each, and that at the end of the season the boat would be raffled off among the subscribers.
Pugh advocated a similar plan in Southern California waters and urged that Southern California provide an R Boat. He stated that if this were done, famous designer Ted Geary of Seattle would bring his boat SIR TOM down. He indicated that San Francisco would also send at least two R Boats to the SCYA Annual Regatta in August.
If this gathering of R Boats could be accomplished, racing craft of (in Pugh’s words) “a healthy and useful design would cross the line together to race with no time allowances or handicaps.” The skill of the crew, rather than some advantage of the boats themselves, would determine the winners of regattas. (This is known today as One-Design racing.) Public interest would be stimulated to a fever pitch and local rivalry stimulated to the nth degree. All that was needed was an R Boat in Southern California.
Frank Garbutt, speaking for both CYC and the Athletic Club, then responded to Pugh’s appeal by saying that, although it was premature to make formal announcements, Mr. Pugh’s efforts deserved encouragement. In fact, Garbutt said California Yacht Club and Los Angeles Athletic Club were already forming syndicates to build two R Boats. Garbutt shared the fact that those syndicates had progressed far enough to engage Mower, of New York, and Alden, of Boston, to design R Boats at a cost of approximately $400 for each design. Sails, spars and other equipment were already on order so as to have both boats ready if possible for the August regatta. Further, another member of CYC was contemplating building an R Boat and would decide in a few days.
Newport Harbor Yacht Club Commodore Smith voiced the thought that his Club might finance an R Boat in a like manner. CYC President Dyas said, “I am a member of your Club, also, and if you do, please put me down for the first two chances at $100 each.” Frank Garbutt grabbed the next chance and, although only five members of Newport Harbor Yacht Club were present, a quarter of the cost was subscribed in a few seconds. Newport thus committed to build an R Boat. This group of R Boats from Southern California ensuring lively competition would take place in the Southland and in San Francisco Bay.
CYC also announced it had purchased four Sea Mews, all those available at the time, to allow it to compete with San Diego and Santa Barbara Yacht Clubs. Garbutt praised SBYC for building so many Sea Mews and noted that a large fleet of these smaller, affordable boats owned by members of several clubs would do more for yachting than anything else which had been started over the past decade.
Looking back, this 1922 meeting may have been the pivotal gathering to set the stage for organized competitive sailing throughout Southern California. CYC was certainly taking a position of leadership, right out of the blocks, among the boating fraternity. In the same issue of Mercury in which the above meeting was described, a very comprehensive set of updated Measurement and Racing Rules were included, probably the most widely distributed form of this information ever undertaken in the Southland.
- B. Potter, well-known Newport area sailor, was actively attempting to promote Star Boat racing on the Pacific Coast. The Star Class Association was very strong in the East where these non-sinkable, non-capsizable vessels grew in number from 24 to over 130 in just ten years. Star fleets were scattered through America with a few already racing overseas. As to speed, the Star had bested every one-design boat on Long Island Sound. CYC indicated that it had committed to build three Star Boats to help the class become established in Southern California. Further, it had already made plans to race those boats in September’s Star Class Inaugural National Championship to be held on Long Island Sound.
The Star was a keel knockabout designed in 1911 by William Gardner of New York. It had a 22′ waterline, 5’6″ beam, 4’6″ draft and was either gaff or marconi rigged. It carried no light sails but was permitted to wing the jib with a whisker pole when running off. The cost in New York was $500 without sails (which varied in cost from $75 to $115).
Owen P. Churchill, owner and skipper of the swift sailing yacht GALLIANO, the largest and fastest sloop south of San Francisco, joined CYC as one of its first life members. He resided in McFarland, California, where he looked after his exclusive ranching interests, but declared the 150 miles between his home and the harbor but a mere step when the call of the ocean sounded.
Churchill moved GALLIANO, moored in the Outer Harbor, to join the Club’s big fleet in the Inner Basin and fly the CYC colors. At 51′ in length, a 10′ beam and 1,000 square foot sail area, she carried a racing crew of six and was also a sturdy vessel for cruising.
Churchill enthusiastically endorsed the Club’s efforts in encouraging one-design boats. The Star design had caught his eye. The R Boat was another of his favorites and he planned to soon purchase one.
With the membership of the Club now over 400, the original plans for a “nice little clubhouse” grew somewhat. The structure being built would be larger and grander than originally contemplated. In addition, due to the projected growth of pleasure boating in Southern California, the May 23rd edition of the Los Angeles Examiner carried a full-page article that Frank Garbutt had extended a proposal to the manager of Palos Verdes Estates to develop still another yacht club on a seven-acre site in Portuguese Bend.
In June, the first three Star Boats on the Pacific Coast were completed by builder Ben Cope and offered to members at the cost price of $850. Owen Churchill, Ben Weston and Ed Nordhoff snapped up the three boats (sail numbers 108, 109 and 110), and the Club made plans to build another three.
CASIANA, the palatial yacht of multimillionaire oilman Edward L. Doheny, arrived in Los Angeles. Flying the colors of California Yacht Club, the yacht was brought around from New York by way of the Panama Canal. CASIANA would be used exclusively that season by the Dohenys for cruising in Pacific waters. The yacht was one of the largest and most luxurious in the world. Doheny was one of the first to join California Yacht Club when the charter was opened.
Bernal Dyas headed a group visiting CASIANA. With a length of 287 feet she had all the striking size of an ocean liner, but infinitely more grace and beauty. The hull was made of steel and the finishings of mahogany, teak and brass. The 2,500-horsepower steam engines were capable of developing a speed of 13 knots. CASIANA carried a veritable fleet of small boats, including a fast, trim power launch for dispatch and close-to-shore cruising at a speed of 35 knots. Elegant staterooms with all the conveniences of a fine hotel were tended by an overall ship’s compliment of over 40 men. CASIANA was one of the first boats to be registered in the California Yacht Club fleet.
Some weeks later, Doheny and his wife entertained Navy brass and civic leaders at a reception aboard their elegant yacht. The Los Angeles Examiner duly reported, “The staterooms are no less than palatial in their furnishings. The owner’s room, which extends the full midship, is as spacious as an apartment in a great house, giving no evidence in any way of being on shipboard.” A Commodore Reese Llewellyn, who acted as assistant host, told the reporter that CASIANA was the largest yacht under American registry; certainly no vessel could equal her in comfort.
The first interclub regatta in which CYC took part was the Sea Mew race between CYC and Santa Barbara Yacht Club at the latter’s site. CYC’s sailors were beaten; beaten but not disheartened. Far from that. As a matter of fact, Ben Weston, who had charge of the CYC crews, said his boys had only begun to fight.
The Sea Mew boats were new to them. Although CYC lost, the sportsmanship in this regatta was exemplary. Host Santa Barbara Yacht Club was gracious in every respect. The fever of competition between skilled sailors set a tone of the excellent sport those early competitors could derive from small boat sailing contests. Because of the nominal expense, safety and the opportunities of skill offered in the management of these little craft, it was predicted that CYC would campaign many events in craft such as the little Mews. Weston, Sterling Jefferies, Owen Churchill, Douglas Mackinnon and Newell Logan were among the CYC sailors who declared that, “this race was only preliminary to those to follow, (we) are determined to wipe out this defeat.”
The number of yacht and motorboat races held during the last half of that 1922 season far exceeded those held in any previous year. The interest in waterborne competition was heating up far more quickly than practically anyone had expected.
In addition to the sailing races, William Paden’s HURRICANE, the first powerboat under CYC’s burgee to race outside of Los Angeles waters, won two races and three cups in the big aquatic carnival staged in conjunction with the Shrine convention in San Francisco. Wild Bill Cubbon drove as Paden’s business kept him from going north. HURRICANE was a one-step Hacker. It was powered with two Liberty engines and held the Pacific Coast record of a mile a minute, made in the speed trials of the Los Angeles Athletic Club Motor Boat Racing Association.
The Los Angeles Times Cup yacht race, under the auspices of Los Angeles Yacht Club, was set for July 22nd. A cruiser race around Catalina Island, sponsored by Newport Harbor Yacht Club, took place on the same day. Star and Sea Mew Class races by California Yacht Club were staged in the Outer Harbor on Sunday, July 23rd and the annual regatta of the Southern California Yachting Association, featuring an elaborate program of power and sail races, was held at Newport Harbor Yacht Club August 6th to 13th.
The Cecil B. DeMille Speed Boat Trophy Race was scheduled for the second Sunday in September, under the auspices of California Yacht Club and Los Angeles Athletic Club Motor Boat Racing Association. This energetic summer racing schedule was followed by a winter-long program sponsored and conducted by Los Angeles Athletic Club Motor Boat Racing Association.
Under Admiral Soiland’s leadership, the Southern California Yachting Association’s roster included California, Newport Harbor, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Diego Yacht Clubs and Los Angeles Athletic Club.
While the activity among the different classes of sail and powerboats continued to grow, all eyes were still on the progress of the R Boats. When the designs for the R Boats were received, bids were requested for their construction. Wilmington Boat Works and J. M. York won the bids and the first two R’s were built at a cost of about $5,000 each. CALIFORNIA (the Mower boat) won the Times Cup. The Alden boat, ANGELA, did not race.
The SCYA Regatta, held the following month at Newport Harbor Yacht Club, was the first international race ever held in Southern California. Seattle’s Ted Geary in SIR TOM won in lighter airs. But one week later and sailing in heavier winds and choppy seas, Matt Walsh handily skippered CALIFORNIA to three straight wins just offshore from CYC. Those competing as well as spectating held Walsh’s shrewd helmsmanship as important as the heavy weather advantage of the Mower design.
Chapter Six – Consolidation of Clubs Creates a Solid Foundation
Los Angeles Yacht Club’s consolidation into California Yacht Club was formally concluded in Fall, 1922. Members of LAYC would pay $4 per month in dues to CYC and be listed as full members of CYC. On Sunday, September 3rd, CYC’s dining room opened, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sleeping room reservations were being taken. Ice service to yachts, gasoline service and tennis courts on the grounds proved to be unique and immensely popular features for Club members.
A boatmen’s quarters store room and supply dock were put into service in the old LAYC buildings which were taken over by CYC in exchange for some monies owed. Skiff painting was also available at this venue. Other LAYC buildings at their old location were being evaluated as an Outer Harbor station.
The September 7, 1922 Mercury reported that with this consolidation of physical facilities, “Details were completed to combine CYC and LAYC under the name of the former organization. The combined Club is one of the largest and is destined to become one of the most influential and celebrated in the entire United States. According to an announcement made following the merger, the flag officers of the former Los Angeles Yacht Club would act for the unified fleet. The officers were Otto G. Wildey, Commodore; Eugene Overton, Vice Commodore; Morgan Adams, Rear Commodore. E.R. Abbott has been retained as Secretary, a position that he held with the L. A. Yacht Club and with the Los Angeles Motor Boat Club.
“In a statement given to the press it was stated that ‘before consolidating the Los Angeles Club had 265 members of which 129 were boat owners, and the California Club had nearly 800 members, of which 62 were boat owners. United, they have 1020 members, of which 191 own boats and the entire fleet is composed of more than 250 yachts.'”
The majority of the sail vessels came from LAYC and the majority of power yachts came from CYC. As a result, both organizations realized substantial benefits from this historic combination of sporting ability and management talent.”
Mercury continued, “The news of the consolidation was received with enthusiasm by the members of the greater Club. It marks the first phase in the materialization of a vision long held by President Bernal H. Dyas of the California Yacht Club. He has pictured Southern California as the yachting paradise of America and believes that a regatta commanding world-wide attention should be held here annually, typifying California’s sports and pleasures just as Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses typifies its loveliness and material charm.
“Many said President Dyas in his enthusiasm was building castles in the air. His ever-ready reply has been that the man who could not build castles in the air certainly could build them nowhere else.
“‘Our harbors and bays and shoreline,’ said he, ‘should be a perpetual gala scene of beautiful pleasure boats, white sails and flying pennants, heralding to all a growing commerce and a prosperous land. We not only want people here, but the right kind of people; that kind loves the water and yachting will encourage them to come.
“‘My trip to Skagway with Mr. Doheny, who is proud of the distinction of being a life member and the only (Honorary Commodore) of the California Yacht Club, impressed me more with the importance of the things we are doing here for yachting than anything else could have done. Wherever we stopped, every salutation was preceded by a word of congratulation on the new Club and the fast-growing maritime spirit of the South.
“‘The good fellows leading the yachting movement knew that the one thing necessary to a realization of our dreams was the unifying and harmonizing of the groups and interests promoting the sport in this locality. That had to be done as a matter of civic pride and good fellowship and to give Los Angeles a yacht club filling the wants of the old salt and satisfying the ideals of the sporting yachtsman as well; that would create and develop new yachtsmen and foster a spirit of comradeship between young and old, between father and son, in the enjoyment of the cleanest sport on earth.
“‘The merging of the California and Los Angeles Yacht Clubs clears the way for the achievement of this purpose. We have a wonderful organization of which all Southern California should be proud. The officers have done their part in the work; it is now up to the members. With such sportsmen as Ben Meyer, Herb Cornish, Admiral Albert Soiland, Morgan Adams, Commodore Otto Wildey, Eugene Overton, Ex-Commodore Wilson, Keith and Sid Spalding, Hal Roach, Dustin Farnum and a hundred others whom I might name, on the job, the greater Club is destined to achieve the highest success.’
“President Dyas voiced the general enthusiasm felt over the consolidation and the effect it would have on the game in the South. Commodore Wildey said, ‘This consolidation will help the yachting game on the coast in a big way, and our first step will be to cooperate with the harbor commission in the same way that the local automobile club works with the traffic commission.'”
Ed Moriarty in the Friday Los Angeles Examiner noted, “(the California Yacht Club clubhouse) from the landlubber side might seem a country club. But as craft sweep in from the sea every aspect of the handsome frontage will proclaim a sailor’s home. A promenade deck features the clubhouse frontage. Gangways, a concrete landing barge below; a locker house and, above all, a picturesque lighthouse, prepared to span the nightshades with glowing shafts that our sailor may come safely home. There will be flags and music. Decks of the famous PINAFORE will be matched as merry tars drift to evening port after the race is won.
“Along the shore where lawns, cement parking and tennis courts hold forth, is a complement of garages, twenty eight in number, an oil station, too, for machines and powercraft. The tennis courts embody some 1,300 square feet, practically making (them) the largest in the state. Hundreds of automobiles will find resting space. Windows, architecturally French, and like those of an ocean going palace, glimpse from the Club interior at the sea.
“Royal blue being of the Club emblem, it pervades the salon shades. Physical ease is provided for in luxurious furniture on the upper and lower decks and the inside. Card and smoking room recesses, dining room and the ladies’ lounge vary from oak to lacquer to ivory tints and coral. ‘Staterooms,’ with baths, in addition to a spacious dormitory await ‘all nighters.'”
The ensuing traditional Labor Day Stag Cruise was the best ever, with over 150 members from California Yacht Club, Los Angeles Yacht Club and Newport Harbor Yacht Club cruising to the Ithsmus over Labor Day.
Chapter Seven – A Journey Towards National Prominence
America’s best Star Class sailors gathered in September 1922 on Long Island Sound for their first National Championships. CYC was the newest member of the Star Fleet, yet was the first to challenge for the title trophy. Ben Weston and Owen Churchill had sailed this design for the first time only a few months before. They took east their sails from Star Boat 108 and were loaned Star Boat 47. They took on the best sailors in the country; those most experienced with this type of craft and in unfamiliar waters at the opposite end of the continent where conditions are vastly different than Los Angeles.
For the first two days, winds on the Sound were heavy, then nearly disappeared on the third. Sailing the 10.5-mile triangular course, Bayside Yacht Club’s TAURUS scored three straight wins, but Weston and Churchill garnered a series second on THREE STAR to the delight – and earning the respect – of the national fleet.
Churchill and Weston remained in the area for a few days and were puzzled to see the Eastern yacht clubs beginning to lock their doors and board their windows before the winter freezes set in. Many of the buildings had been nailed tighter than drums, storm doors affixed and “everything taken inside except the last coat of paint.” When the Easterners said there would be no more sailing for about eight months, Owen and Ben had no intention of rubbing it in when they replied that California Yacht Club would be open twelve months of the year. The friendliness and enthusiasm of CYC’s “Wild West sailors from the frontier” won over the staid East Coast establishment. Everyone who met Churchill and Weston knew they’d be back . . . and that the East Coast sailors would soon be visiting Southern California waters as California Yacht Club grew.
In ensuing years, Ben Weston led the push to increase Star activity on the West Coast. He was elected to the Executive Committee of the National Star Committee. With Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia answering the CYC Star Challenge enthusiasm, the Star Class added “International” to its title. California Yacht Club had helped the growth of that outstanding class of sailors, and grow it would over the next seventy-five years!
******* (Put in cartoon of Churchill, Weston****** on page 8 of 10-5-22 Mercury.)
Speedboater Dustin Farnum had won the Nordlinger Cup three times in a row and retired it, but Nordlinger himself came forward with another cup. Now, it was three wins in total, not in a row, to retire the cup, providing an extra incentive for contestants to keep on trying. Win or lose, contestants liked the California Yacht Club style of race management. “They always start on time. Exactly five minutes preparatory to the start the gun goes off and the starting gun will follow to the second at the exact time.”
The annual 72-mile Nordlinger Race for offshore powerboat racers lived up to its reputation as a sure crowd pleaser. Frank A. Garbutt and son Frank E. Garbutt campaigned MYSTERY, a powerful contender with a mysterious record. While a spectacular, though erratic performer, MYSTERY never finished a race in her first six contests. Garbutt at the wheel had no fear, but the machine didn’t match the human courage. MYSTERY had recently submarined at over 50 miles per hour, so damaging the craft that it took two months to piece it back together in operating shape. Fortunately, a unique flotation device of hundreds of tiny balloons kept the boat from sinking.
The 1922 quest for the Nordlinger Cup would prove different, even bizarre. Many boats broke gear in this contest. MYSTERY was erratic in its steering at high speeds but in the second heat, she skipped into the Inner Harbor and set onto the ways. Workers quickly cut off a portion of the rudder. MYSTERY finished the heat and went on to win the overall event with a more streamlined control surface.
Mercury indicated that, “Mr. Hal Roach and party just returned from a 16-day cruise along the Mexican coast on his yacht GYPSY. Max Fleischmann leaves for a two-month hunting and fishing cruise on his yacht HAIDA, G. Allen Hancock sails on his new yacht VALERO II for San Francisco as a shakedown cruise for his upcoming world cruise and Sid Spaulding and party returned to CYC from a month-long cruise in Mexican waters on his yacht PADARIVA II. Copies of Mercury were forwarded to eastern yacht clubs for their members to read in the spring when they reopened their clubs!
“The incomparable Gar Wood, Commodore of Detroit Yacht Club and holder of the world speed record, was enticed by Frank Garbutt to participate in the first all-American speedboat race to be held on the Pacific Coast. Wood’s MISS AMERICA I had recently won the world championship Harmsworth Trophy for speedboats at Cowes, Isle of Wight, England. Then, the boat upon return to the U.S. won the Lake George Championship with an average speed of 76.73 miles per hour and in the trials for that race set a speed of 77.85 miles per hour. That mark had never been beaten, except by Commodore Wood’s newest boat, MISS AMERICA II, that recently had turned a speed of 81 miles per hour.”
The papers were full of news about Wood, who would draw crowds of 350,000 in the East. In Southern California, it would be significantly less than that. Nevertheless, the publicity of this famous sailor would be a good boost for Los Angeles, a city of 800,000 and only 200 yachtsmen until California Yacht Club entered the field with the intention of developing the maritime spirit of Southern California. Encouraged by an ambitious Harbor Commission, CYC was bringing the focus of the boating world on Southern California and its Pacific Ocean. Those with far vision talked about world trade on this ocean helping make Los Angeles Harbor one of the world’s greatest.
As anticipation of Gar Wood’s arrival continued to build, CYC’s first stag party was held in early December. During a stormy evening, the men gathered at the Club, had a great dinner, nip o’ the bottle and talked a great deal. Much of their conversation centered upon the upcoming contest between Gar Wood and Frank Garbutt. Buoyed by the pace of events, Commodore Wildey made a splendid talk on some of the Club’s big yachting plans for the future. He was followed by Hugh Morrow and Charley Hubbell, both of whom took occasion to recall to the minds of those present the struggles Southern California yachtsmen had been through and to rejoice in the happy realization of their dreams in the California Yacht Club of the day. Election of Fleet Officers was also a hot topic on the evening’s agenda. As the men made their way home, their thoughts again turned to the speed contest, which would occur in a few days.
The big event finally arrived, a first for Southern California yachting enthusiasts. Longtime racing experience gave the Easterners the edge and Commodore Gar Wood predictably won December’s Pacific Championship Classic. MISS AMERICA I took all three races in the Outer Harbor. Woods’ MISS DETROIT then won the Catalina Island Rough Water Race in one hour and 57 minutes. This was slower than the 1:40 record set by Frank Garbutt’s MYSTERY V in 1920, but got the job done. Garbutt’s MYSTERY lost an oil-cooling cap and Joe Fellows’ FELLOWS IV developed engine trouble. Yet, the activity gave a boost to Southland racing activities, precisely as planned by California Yacht Club leaders and supported by the competitors who journeyed to Los Angeles Harbor.
As 1922 grew to a close, California Yacht Club numbered over 1,100 members and new members were joining daily. It was decided to raise initiation fees to $100 for boat owners and $25 for sustaining members. Under its arrangement with Los Angeles Athletic Club by which CYC members received the benefits of the Athletic Club yachting anchorages and buildings under development in the Outer Harbor, Los Angeles Athletic Club members owning boats were entitled to join CYC for an initiation fee of $80 and could obtain sustaining memberships for a $20 fee. Boating had made greater progress than any other branch of sports in Southern California during 1922. Yachtsmen of the day proudly rejoiced in the realization of their dream.
Eugene “Fritz” Overton was elected CYC’s second Commodore and would preside over the activities of the Club in 1923. An ambitious program for the Club was presented to the Installation attendees, then presented to the entire Southland in the February 21, 1923 Mercury magazine:
The fun will run from May 12th – Fleet Inspection date – to October 20th. Almost fifty big events are scheduled, including twenty sailing races for schooners and sloops and nine powerboat contests. A stag cruise to Ensenada, Mexico, is one of the attractive features (to be held) May 29 to June 3 with all Southern California yacht clubs participating.
Provision has been made to give members ample opportunity to attend the Vancouver and San Francisco regattas without losing any of the sport at home.
The complete program follows:
May 12, inspection of yachts followed by opening banquet and dance.
May 13, powerboat races, A7A class, two 10-mile heats. Sailing race during afternoon.
May 19, opening Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
May 26, sloop race, Outer Harbor.
May 27, sloop race and small class sailing race, Inner Harbor.
May 29 to June 3, stag cruise to Ensenada, joint clubs.
May 30, Decoration Day, sailing race, dinner and dance.
June 9 & 10, sloop races.
June 16, open club for Santa Barbara, Newport and San Diego Yacht Clubs, sloop races and dinner and dance.
June 17, 610 powerboat race for Ben Meyer trophy. Start of Bird Rock race for schooners and yawls only and sloop race off harbor.
July 1, 2 and 3, regatta at Vancouver.
July 4, race for small boat class.
July 7, fleet cruise at Avalon, free-for-all sailing race. Also cruiser race from breakwater to Sugarloaf.
July 8, speedboat race for Wrigley trophy, A7A class.
July 14, cruise to Newport. Powerboat race under auspices of the American Power Boat Association.
July 16, start free-for-all sailing race from breakwater to Santa Barbara at noon. Southern California Yachting Association regatta will be held that week.
July 21, sloop race for L.A. Times Cup, followed by more racing on Sunday.
July 22, Honolulu Race will be started.
July 25 & 26, regatta at San Francisco.
September 1, 2 & 3, Labor Day cruise to Catalina, powerboat and sailing races, all classes.
September 8 & 9, sailing race and second heat for De Mille Trophy, 99-mile speedboat race.
September 10, sloop race.
September 22 & 23, sloop race.
September 30, powerboat race for 610 class, Outer Harbor.
October 6 & 7, sloop races.
October 13 & 14, speedboat races for the second heat of the Nordlinger trophy, free-for-all.
October 20, elaborate dinner and dance with presentation of trophies for regatta winners.
The Outer Harbor Station was established for California Yacht Club members who preferred to anchor their yachts at a point nearer to the open ocean than the Inner Harbor afforded. This was the same site formerly used as a landing and anchorage by Los Angeles Yacht Club prior to its consolidation with Los Angeles Motor Boat Club and finally with CYC. A building was erected containing a reception room, galley and quarters for the keeper, ladies rest room and twenty lockers, along with eighteen garages and adjoining yard.
A late winter meeting was held in San Francisco of the three inter-club associations of the Pacific Coast: the Southern Yachting Association of Los Angeles, the Pacific International Yacht Association of Seattle and the Pacific Coast Interclub Yacht Association of San Francisco were represented at the conference by delegates. The visiting delegates were entertained with a luncheon at the Bohemian Club. Among the visiting delegates were Admiral Albert Soiland of California Yacht Club and Southern California Yachting Association, Shirley E. Meserve of Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Commodore A. R. Pedder of Santa Barbara Yacht Club, E. C. Gardiner of Newport Harbor Yacht Club and Daniel L. Pratt of Seattle Yacht Club. The result was the formation of the Pacific Coast Yachting Association, with Soiland elected Admiral of the new association.
A week later, Commodore Overton was elected Admiral of SCYA, following Admiral Soiland who served in that position for the two years since its founding. While LAYC had “consolidated” with CYC, the special and respectful relationship between the two Clubs preserved the LAYC heritage, exemplified by Captain G. B. Wilson of LAYC being chosen Vice Admiral of SCYA.
From Mercury on March 17, 1923, “Announcement was given out last week that the racing activities of Los Angeles Athletic Club Motor Boat Racing Association had been handed over to California Yacht Club and will hereafter devolve upon the racing committees of the latter Club. This action, it is believed, gives CYC the unique distinction of being the only all year-round yachting club in the United States and one of the very few in the entire world. Some of the events handled heretofore by the Association, the Annual Mile Speed Trials, the DeMille Gold Cup Race, Nordlinger Trophy Race, Dyas Cup Race, Citizens National Bank Class Boat Race, Fellows Day Race and a new Pacific Coast Championship event for the Pacific Motor Boat Magazine Trophy will now be handled by CYC officials. As a pioneer in speedboat racing, CYC established an unlimited speedboat class for the Gold Cup.” (A half century later, the Catalina Challenge for offshore speedboats would reaffirm the Club’s continued involvement with powerboat competition.)”
In recognition of his herculean efforts, CYC President Bernal Dyas was elected to the Los Angeles Athletic Club Board of Directors. Local publications noted, “Dyas is head of Ville de Paris, a leading department store of the Southland. Dyas has taken a prominent role in the organizing of CYC. It was principally through his efforts that the older yachting and motorboating clubs of Los Angeles consolidated with CYC. His club and social connections are numbered by the score.”
Further establishing the Club’s wide spectrum of on-the-water activity, the Rowing Club of CYC was established. The rowers held their first meeting during Spring, 1923 at Los Angeles Athletic Club under the leadership of Al Treloar, Los Angeles Athletic Club physical director and former Harvard stroke. CYC, along with San Francisco Rowing Club, San Diego Rowing Club and two others, formed the five leading rowing organizations in the state.
The tradition of Opening Day for yacht clubs was established in the Eastern United States in the 1800’s and even earlier in Europe. When the snows of winter abated, members would open up the clubhouse, get everything shipshape and put their boats back into the now unfrozen water. Of course, in Southern California, that problem does not exist, but the tradition of Opening Day is still followed as a matter of protocol. It’s a time for ceremony, great fun and activity.
Another long held tradition is inspection of the Club’s fleet. Through the eyes of Mercury are seen a bit of 1923’s Opening Day, “Ten yachts entered for the inspection, all ten receiving reprimands according to their lack of condition and equipment. In the power cruisers, VALERO II owned by G. Allan Hancock, scored highest with 99 points out of a possible 100. In the sailing yacht entries VIKING IV also secured 99 and thereby won in her class. VALERO II just missed 100% through the condition of her bright work. VIKING IV, Admiral Soiland’s yacht, failed in reaching the perfection mark by being without a deviation card for compass correction.
“The inspectors were visiting yachtsmen, thorough and conscientious in the performance of their painful duty, and consisted of Commodore S. Meserve, Newport Harbor Yacht Club; Staff Commodore Frank Smith, also of Newport Harbor Yacht Club; Thomas Hammond, San Diego Yacht Club representative to SCYA, and Ed G. Gourley, Santa Barbara Yacht Club, who had the most unpleasant part of any, being appointed official ice box sniffer.”
One of the first published articles recognizing the participation of CYC’s women appeared in Mercury on May 23, 1923, “EXPRESS CRUISERS WANT TO RACE – LADIES PROMOTE BIG EVENT. Several new express and fast cruisers are about to be launched in addition to the existing fleet of this popular type, a number of which are owned by yachtswomen. To encourage racing among these fine vessels we take pleasure in announcing three silver trophies having been donated for this purpose by the following well known yachtswomen: Mrs. Fairfield, wife of Doctor George Fairfield, (CYC express cruiser NAME MENTIONED IN ARTICLE?????); Mrs. Herbert L. Cornish, wife of Vice Commodore Cornish, CYC (also shortly to launch the new 45-foot express cruiser MANDARIN), and Mrs. Thos. Mix, wife of Thos. Mix, owner of the 69-foot express cruiser MISS MIXIT.
“There are at least eight other fast cruisers all of which it is proposed to handicap in a race (under the auspices of CYC) to Newport and return, with a break for lunch at Newport Harbor Yacht Club. This exciting race will be observed by thousands of spectators along the coast, and being given the handicap at the start of each 26-mile run, will result in the most spectacular finish ever witnessed in Los Angeles Harbor.”
Sailing activities in 1923 continued to grow. Owen Churchill, sailing his yacht MAIA won the Star Title for CYC in the Pacific International Yachting Association regatta held at Vancouver. In 1924, Joe Jessop of San Diego Yacht Club would win sailing WINDWARD and in 1935, Tommy Lee would recapture the title for CYC sailing SATELLITE. CYC’s CALIFORNIA won the 1923 Times Cup. Later, that Fall, Ben Weston made a strong showing in the Star Boat International Races on the East Coast, until his mast carried away in high winds. But he did come back home elected Vice President of the Star Class.
CYC sailors would rent a barge to take their boats to Santa Barbara or San Diego for competition, but sailed them on their own bottoms to Newport Beach. Decades later, Churchill said in CYC’s Breeze magazine, “Newport was a real experience. There were no jettys protecting the harbor and you could really run into trouble on the sandbars at the mouth of the harbors when the surf was up or the tide was low. We never thought about trailering boats in those days.”
California Yacht Club now numbered 1,300 members. The Southern California Yachting Association also flourished with Clubs under its banner doubling since its inception. The Lipton Cup, presented to San Diego Yacht Club in 1902 by Sir Thomas Lipton, was turned over to SCYA by SDYC. The Cup and several other prestigious awards were objects of the competition in SCYA’s Summer Regatta in Santa Barbara. Ben Weston won the Lipton Cup sailing Sil Spalding’s ANGELA. Owen Churchill swept to victory in Star 47, MAIA. CYC’s Dan Laubersheimer won the large yawl competition in his ORTUNA. The starting gun for the Honolulu Race, also started from Santa Barbara at the conclusion of the Summer Regatta, rang down the curtain on the weeklong competition during the best SCYA regatta yet.
The Pacific Motorboat Trophy was contested at the Los Angeles Athletic Club course under the auspices of CYC and won by Frank A. and Frank E. Garbutt’s MYSTERY.
With the continued growing strength of CYC’s Sailing Program, Frank Garbutt challenged Corinthian Yacht Club of San Francisco Bay for the San Francisco Bay Perpetual Challenge Cup, one of America’s most prestigious trophies. Only twice before, from the old South Coast Yacht Club, had challenges been posted from the Southland, the Bay Area defenders winning in 1907 and 1909. Most gave the defending LADY GAY of the defending club the odds over CALIFORNIA, skippered by Matt Walsh. Walsh had but one week to study the wild wind and water currents in San Francisco Bay, but took good mental notes and jotted a few reminders on paper.
In one of the most hard fought regattas in memory, Walsh displayed superb starting tactics and once on the course, tacked inshore to give CALIFORNIA a fast breeze and flowing tide. LADY GAY in the meantime lay becalmed for more than a minute. This bit of seamanship clinched the race for Walsh. CYC’s R Boat racing prowess was firmly established and together with Owen Churchill and Ben Weston capturing victories in Star Class competition, the Club was beginning to receive recognition for its accomplishments across the country and from abroad.
California Yacht Club’s imposing Clubhouse housed many gatherings that were not to be missed. The typical crowds for such events as Installation of Officers and Opening Day were festive affairs, although the speechmaking was occasionally too long for some. On the other hand, much of the news and opinion of the day involving yachting was communicated through leaders of the sport regaling their audiences.
CYC’s capable chefs were well known among social circles. While fine meats and poultry were carefully prepared and presented to appreciative diners, seafood entrees inspired enthusiastic appreciation of the attentive kitchen and dining room staff. Prominent yachtsmen, government dignitaries and corporate leaders with membership in other clubs throughout America and around the world made certain a visit to CYC at lunch or dinner was part of their traveling itineraries. Mercury generally published a list of visitors to the Club, which always made interesting reading for the many who received and reviewed the publication.
SIDEBAR FEATURING MERCURY (AND WITH A COUPLE OF THE ADS AS EXAMPLES):
Advertising in Mercury Magazine 65 Years Ago
With Mercury reaching all Los Angeles Athletic Club and California Yacht Club members, members of SCYA, all members of other organizations associated with Los Angeles Athletic Club and most prominent Los Angeles area business and government leaders, it was a magnet for upscale advertising. In a typical 1923 issue, 89 separate ads appeared, including the following:
Fellows and Stewart – Wilmington – Universal Motors (9 – 12 hp inboards) – Boat gears and controls. – Hyde propellers
Edson B. Schock – Los Angeles – Naval Architect and broker.
Seacraft Corporation – Wilmington – Scripps 10 – 100 hp Gas & Diesel Engines (“First gasoline engine to drive a boat all the way across the Atlantic under its own power.”)
Emil Arrup – Los Angeles – Red Wing and Van Blerck marine motors and engines.
- E. Geary – Seattle – Naval architect, engineer and broker.
Mullen & Bluett – clothiers and furnishers to SUCCESSFUL men.
Citizen Trust and Savings Banks
Bekins Moving and Storage
Bullock & Jones Shirtmakers
N.L. Biehl Men’s Tailor
Coulters Dry Goods
Alexander & Oviatt Mens Clothiers
Automobile Club of Southern California
Ford / Chandler Six / Chevrolet / Oldsmobile / Rolls Royce / Dorris / Lincoln / Buick / Franklin /
The Club’s membership lived throughout Los Angeles County, with many coming from even a further distance. Weekends and holidays throughout the year, and practically every day during the warmer months, found a happy throng of members and guests enjoying the pleasant weather and closeness to the water. Racing in the Inner Harbor was viewed from the Clubhouse terrace and large French windows of the dining room and bar. Many would take runabouts to the Outer Harbor to observe races held closer to the open ocean. Post-race parties and trophy presentations often lasted well into the evenings. Overnight sleeping rooms and the spacious dormitory provided overnight respite for those without boats (or for boatowners who found it more accommodating to houseguests off their vessels).
Men’s dinners and smokers were far more prolific in those days than in more recent years. A half-hour to forty five-minute drive on surface streets brought attendees from most points throughout the County and along the coast from Santa Monica to Newport. Without question, the physical facilities of the Club were a perfect setting for the many on-the-water activities and other pursuits enjoyed by the growing membership. The Clubhouse facility provided a fashionable location for members’ weddings, family gatherings, business meetings, organization events and other activities more enjoyable held at CYC than a hotel or town club.
The Signal Service Insignia was instituted in 1923, to be worn by those who have so distinguished themselves by providing outstanding service to the Club and to yachting, over and above what would normally be expected. The first to be presented with the insignias were Honorary Commodore Edward L. Doheny, Paul Jeffers, Charles Hubbell, Alvin Frank and Benjamin Weston. Official comments from Mercury follow:
Commodore Doheny provided to the Club his unqualified personal and financial support and was one of its first life members.
Jeffers laid out the anchorage and located the moorings for the Club in addition to taking an active and indispensable part in its initial sailing activities.
Hubbell made possible the building of the Outer Harbor Station, one of the Club’s finest adjuncts.
Frank raised the funds for the Club’s first R Boat campaign. His efforts also brought the Northern boats to the first Southern R Boat regatta and in addition made possible the successful challenge for the San Francisco Bay Perpetual Challenge Cup.
Weston’s unselfish efforts revived the area’s class sailing races and represented the Club, with brilliant success, on both Coasts.
During the Club’s two decades in Wilmington, S. M. Spaulding (helping send CYC’s R Boat racers to other parts of the country) and A. D. MacLeod (untiring efforts heading the Club’s Powerboat Racing Program) would also receive the Award. Weston would receive a second star (for having represented the Club’s Star Boat efforts in San Francisco and Long Island Sound).
Access to nearby Terminal Island was slated to be much better accommodated by a new bridge being built from the mainland. That new route would make the planned Los Angeles Athletic Club Yacht Club on Terminal Island available to easy vehicle traffic.
Herbert L. Cornish was elected 1924 Commodore. His stylish new yacht MANDARIN, built of Chinese teak, was a popular craft as Race Committee Boat and for squiring friends and important visitors around Los Angeles Harbor. One of his first acts as Commodore was to pen an article for Pacific Coast Yachting. Noting that CYC and the four other major Southern California yacht clubs claimed several times as many members as boats, the Commodore stated, “There is one very important division in all yacht clubs that should be given serious consideration, for upon this division the future of yachting is dependent to quite a degree. This division is sometimes referred to as the ‘rocking chair’ fleet. We must bear in mind that a great many of our future boat owners and a great many of our future first and second mates will be recruited from this fleet. Therefore, it seems to me that the boat owners should make it a point to pay some attention to this ‘rocking chair’ division. When you see them on the front porch, invite them for a ride, ask them to come out and look your boat over, even if it is only tied to the mooring, show them what a boat is like. I am sure that by doing this we will add more boat owning members to our fleets and will be promoting a class of ship mates that will react to our credit in the future.”
In early 1924, Los Angeles Athletic Club’s program of building top-level clubs took another step forward. Club officials made a January announcement of the acquisition of a magnificent 210-acre site in Pacific Palisades. A polo club and golf course would be built. The entire sporting world would watch the development of this singular site, soon to be named The Riviera Country Club.
During this year, California Yacht Club continued its rise in prominence as a result of the successes of its members. Ben Weston was elected Commodore of the Southern California Yachting Association. Owen Churchill won the Lipton Cup in Santa Barbara sailing his Star MAIA. The United States amassed 255 points in the Olympic Games in Paris, 46 of those points won by members of Los Angeles Athletic Club.
CYC’s W. W. Pedder followed his 1923 Honolulu Race victory on DIABLO by a convincing win of the San Diego Regatta in 1924. Edson Schock was regularly featured in his column on sailing activities in Mercury. Ben Weston sailed for the third consecutive year in the Star Boat Internationals on Long Island Sound. He and crew B. Rey Schauer took third place.
Churchill purchased ANGELA, an R Boat 35 feet overall, 24.2 feet on the waterline, a 7-foot beam and 600 square feet of sail. He also owned a 60-foot powerboat and his Star Boat. Syl Spalding purchased DEBRA from Ben Weston.
The annual cruise to Ensenada proved another success. John Hussong, representing Mexican officialdom welcomed some 40 boats with 175 yachtsmen from California Yacht Club, Santa Barbara Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club. Four days of barbecues, dinners, hunting and fishing kept the visitors busy in the Mexican sun. The 1924 Stag Cruise headed for Catalina and Johnson’s Landing.
It was not at all uncommon for active sailors and affluent cruising yachtsmen to hold membership in more than one yacht club. Many Los Angeles Yacht Club members kept their LAYC memberships in force while actively participating as CYC members in the consolidated Club. As other yacht clubs were formed, some CYC members would also join them in order to utilize club accommodations closer to home or as a compliment to their CYC membership.
More often, members of other yacht clubs would also join California Yacht Club in order to receive full member advantage of CYC’s active yachting calendar and spacious physical facilities. A list too long to include in this publication would include those admirably serving the interests of more than one yacht club at the same time. All organizations sought the leadership qualities which made Southern California yachting so prominent.
Perusing some of the yacht club publications of the day found: a CYC Vice Commodore elected as Commodore at an Orange County yacht club, a CYC Race Committee Chairman serving as Commodore of a nearby yacht club at the same time, a CYC Vice Commodore becoming Commodore the following year at another club, then returning to CYC to serve as Rear Commodore. The list goes on and on through the 1920’s and 1930’s with men who gave much of themselves and their resources to the sport they shared together. In the process, CYC continued to grow in membership, quality of yachting leadership and as a social center of the Western United States.
On his GOODWILL, one of the most striking sailboats of all time, CYC member Keith Spalding, his wife, their physician, crew and guests departed for the balance of the year on a cruise to the South Pacific islands of the Marquesas, Tahiti and Hawaii, to return by way of Alaska. During their extended cruise, the world excitedly learned by wireless radio about their rescue of over a dozen guests and crew aboard a large schooner that had sunk off the South Seas island of Nassau. For three months, the survivors had existed on coconuts and fish until rescued by the Spalding party.
Caption for GOODWILL’s picture:
At 161 feet in length, GOODWILL’s power was legendary with a total sail capability of thirty thousand square feet of canvas to harness the wind. This topsail schooner carried two enormous spinnaker poles, each larger than many open ocean sailing yachts. It took a half dozen strong men to carry GOODWILL’s mainsail from CYC’s storage buildings to the boat. In 1969, forty-seven years after her keel was laid, GOODWILL ran aground on Mexico’s Sacramento Reef with all on board lost to the sea.
Commodore Ben Weston took charge of CYC’s 1925 Opening Day. The Club had now grown to upwards of 2,000 members with an impressive fleet of 400 yachts. During this year of continued growth and activity, Cecil B. DeMille won CYC’s annual race to Catalina’s Ithsmus in 2 hours and 13 minutes. On the following day’s return trip, his 106-foot yawl, formerly owned by Germany’s Crown Prince, lay becalmed for 10 minutes at the start, but finished at Los Angeles Harbor in the record time of 1 hour and 58 minutes. DeMille enjoyed speed and was also active in the CYC 151 Class hydroplane association.
Commodore Weston, sailing the chartered ALOHA from San Diego, won the coveted Times Cup. The Davis brothers sailed PATRICIA to victory for the Nordlinger Cup. Hal Roach used his yacht GYPSY many times in the filming of his “Our Gang” comedies. California Yacht Club and various Catalina locations were used for filming scenes in the comedies as was Los Angeles Athletic Club and Riviera Country Club.
Tommy Lee and Harry Fisher commissioned the building of R Boats. A total of four R Boats were built for CYC members this year, bringing to Club’s fleet to twelve. The R Boat was now the leading racing class on the Coast with fleets in yacht clubs from Vancouver to San Diego. CYC’s R Boat fleet was the largest of all.
Chapter Eight – CYC Supports Revival of the Honolulu Race
California Yacht Club was named sponsor of the 1926 Honolulu Race in an attempt to revive the famous regatta. The Race was deferred in 1925 to allow the 3,700-mile San Francisco to Tahiti Race to be conducted with a clear field. In addition, some yacht owners debated whether they wished to finish the Race at Honolulu. The reception by the Honolulu yachting community had been most welcome in previous years. However, in August of this year, the yacht ELOISE was seized without legal right by the Honolulu customs authorities, later being returned to her owner, San Francisco Yacht Club Commodore John C. Piver. This caused great expense and disrupted Piver’s business schedule. Many yachtsmen were suggesting the race be finished at Hilo unless and until assurances were given that this type of outrageous behavior would not be repeated.
Dr. Albert Soiland was appointed the race organizer and was elected Chairman of the Racing Committee. Members of the Committee included Paul Jeffers and Eugene Overton of California Yacht Club, Frank Garbutt representing Los Angeles Athletic Club, Joe Beek and Claude Putnam of Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Owen Churchill and Milton Hesselberger representing Catalina Island Yacht Club (Churchill had been elected Commodore of CIYC this year), Charles Stanton of Southland Sailing Club, Clem Stone from San Diego Yacht Club, Dr. A. Q. Spaulding and Harry Doulton representing Santa Barbara Yacht Club and Harry Warren, at large.
At this time, an effort from the several clubs capable of providing competitors for this race was needed more than a singular titular head. CYC stepped up in concert with other clubs that would also take their turn reviving this open ocean classic. With strong and cooperative leadership, the greatest ocean race in the world was being guided back to a proper course. Sir Thomas Lipton offered a $500 cup to be awarded to the boat first clearing Diamond Head Light as winner of the Race.
CYC member Don Lee took top honors on his yacht INVADER. Walter Horne’s POINSETTIA was second and John Barrymore’s MARINER took third. To broaden the base of participating clubs, the Committee asked Newport Harbor Yacht Club to stage the next Honolulu Race, two years hence.
SCYA was asked to become a member of the newly organized American Yacht Racing Union, headquartered in New York. Dr. Soiland traveled to the East to confer with AYRU officials and learn more about the purpose of that organization. Commodore Weston, returning from an Atlantic cruise on Edward L. Doheny’s CASIANA, stopped in New York to attend a meeting of the AYRU. Weston was chosen as a member of its Executive Committee.
The August 11, 1926 Mercury reported, “With a large fleet and a larger membership, the California Yacht Club has grown so large that a serious problem has presented itself, or will in the not too distant future. The huge yacht basin in front of the Clubhouse at Wilmington has little space left for additional yachts, and the outer anchorage in the Outer Harbor, the mooring place for all the big windjammers, will soon be full.”
Chapter Nine – Continued Growth in Southland Sailing Events
February 1927 saw the first Midwinter yachting regatta on the West Coast conducted under the auspices of the CYC Skippers Club. San Diego yachtsmen sent ALOAHA, ANGELA and CANUCK to Los Angeles Harbor for the novel event. Newport was represented by the Farwell brothers aboard CALIFORNIA. Local defenders from CYC were the Davis brothers’ PATRICIA, Syl Spaulding’s DEBRA, Tommy Lee’s PIRATE, Al Christie’s HEATHER and Owen Churchill’s GALLIANO IV.
In a 45-knot gale, CYC’s Don Lee on 1926 Honolulu Race winner INVADER set a record for sailing from Catalina to Los Angeles Harbor: 1 hour and 50 minutes. A rowing competition of 30 miles in skiffs, dories and all manner of small boats with a minimum beam of 3′ and depth of 14″ – with one man to a boat – was scheduled from Long Beach to Avalon. Owen Churchill built a new R Boat FRIENDSHIP, and captured the Times Trophy on August 27, 1927. Just one week later, he skippered FRIENDSHIP to victory in the Nordlinger Trophy competition. A new Six Meter Boat was also under construction to represent Southern California in the national Six Meter race to be held in Los Angeles. At 36′ feet in length, a 22′ waterline, beam of 6′ 4″ and 485 square feet of sail, displacement of 7,613 pounds and keel of 4,800 pounds, it was one of the longest ever built. CYC once again hosted the Midwinters. The Six Meter was the newest class with entries coming in from across the country, Sweden and Norway. A large number of R Boats and the 45-Foot Class also competed. Owen Churchill’s R Boat FRIENDSHIP was sailed to victory by Ted Conant in the Nordlinger Cup, beating Matt Walsh who was sailing Roger Marchetti’s PIRATE.
The romantic South Pacific islands proved a continued attraction, with four CYC yachts cruising these fabled waters: Clem Wilson’s RIPPLE, Staff Commodore Eugene Overton’s DWYN WEN, Keith Spalding’s GOODWILL and Harvey Bissell’s WANDERLUST.
MISS RIOCO (formerly known as ANGELES I) became national champion of the 151 Class hydroplane and also held the Duke of York Trophy for competition in England. Joe Fellows and Joe Fellows, Jr. made a clean sweep of speedboat races in the Pacific Southwest Exposition Regatta. James Talbot, Jr. was driving MISS LOS ANGELES in hydroplane races on the West Coast.
PIRATE unsuccessfully bid for the San Francisco Challenge Trophy on that northern bay, Art Rousseau’s ACE defeating Matt Walsh.
Commodore Samuel K. Rindge was 1928’s titular head of CYC during an active and most successful season. Matt Walsh built THOROBRED later in the year to qualify for the 45-Foot Sailing Association and swept through its races until he withdrew from active offshore sailing. Later he brought out the Commonsense Class, smaller but containing many of the sailing features of his P Class champion.
Regular weekly Wednesday luncheon meetings were inaugurated at the Athletic Club by Los Angeles Yacht Club Commodore Robert Millsap. The economy was doing well. Fortunes were being made in the stock market and in real estate. With the rewards of growing businesses and investment gains, the sport of yachting captured an increasing number of enthusiasts.
Entertaining at CYC’s spacious Clubhouse became a way of life for many members. Social events sponsored by members attracted their friends to enjoy the ambience of waterside banquets and dances. This experience enticed many visitors to ask their hosts to sponsor them for membership in California Yacht Club, enhancing the organization’s growth.
- Park Dougall was elected 1929 Commodore. Dougall was born in Scotland, moved to New Zealand where he received rigid training aboard a government lighthouse steamer cruising in the Antarctic. Dr. Dougall joined the Naval Reserve in 1911 and sailed on every type of U.S. Naval vessel, including submarines and flying on planes, earning the “old salt” moniker from admiring friends and fellow Club members.
The third Midwinters were hosted by CYC. Matt Walsh’s THOROBRED won handily in the 45-Foot Class, Churchill’s BABE was bested by MARIN of Seawanaka-Corinthian Yacht Club of Oyster Bay, New York in the Eight Meter Class and MAYBE of San Francisco’s Corinthian Yacht Club won the Six Meter competition. The Eight Meter Boat was becoming quite popular and was destined to be designated as an Olympic Class in 1932. That boat measured about thirty feet on the waterline, with a nine-foot beam and carried about 825 square feet of sail. In foreign waters and on the East Coast, these boats were extremely popular and were campaigned in many top ranked regattas.
The Olympics were on the minds of all yachtsmen. Frank Garbutt and William May Garland had long stumped for Los Angeles to be awarded the 1932 Olympic Games. A resounding cheer echoed up and down the Coast when the announcement was received that Garbutt and Garland were successful in their quest. Garland, as President of California’s 10th Olympiad Association left for Switzerland for a demanding schedule of planning and promotion in connection with the Los Angeles Games.
In June, 1929, Albert Soiland, Pacific Coast Yachting Association Senior Flag Officer and Honolulu Race Committee Chairman, noted that “in 1926, CYC staged the most remarkable pageant that has ever occurred on the Southern Coast of California. At that time the Club was host to and conducted the sixth Honolulu Ocean Race. The waters off San Pedro and Long Beach have never presented a more beautiful picture than on that occasion, when they were covered by a fleet of warships of the United States and several hundred decorated yachts of the Southern Clubs. The racing ships got off to a beautiful start in a spanking breeze on this never to be forgotten day.”
He added, “Next year, the eighth Transpacific classic will start from the same waters under similar conditions – this time sponsored by the Transpacific Yacht Club. One of the members of the California Yacht Club, S. A. Selover, has put up one thousand dollars for a permanent winner’s trophy. Sir Thomas Lipton and other noted sportsmen will also present splendid trophies.”
Soiland further stated, recalling the origin of this race, that the yachtsmen of Honolulu were the first to challenge for and establish this epochal race. At the 1926 Race’s closing banquet, the governor of Hawaii stated, “This race has done more to cement the friendship of sea-loving citizens between the Islands and America than any other single event with which he was familiar.”
The governor suggested that this race should become an annual event. The yachtsmen present were outspoken in their appreciation of this wonderful tribute and invitation from Hawaii, but they and the Committee felt that it would be more advisable to hold the event in alternate years. One of the reasons was the positive reaction to an earlier article in Mercury by Commodore Dougall headlined, “Yachtsmen Clamor for Race to Far-Away Tahiti.” The article indicated that owners of yachts capable of racing to Hawaii were also interested in racing to islands south of Hawaii and even Tahiti, including many from California Yacht Club. With that support, the Transpac Committee said it would carry on correspondence with interested yacht owners to determine their commitment in participating in a race to the South Pacific.
Matt Walsh skippered the R Boat PIRATE to victory during the 1929 Larchmont Race Week, defeating the pride of the Long Island R Boat fleet. This marked the first time a western designed and built boat had ever competed in an Atlantic Coast championship regatta. A total of 1,452 yachts started in the six-day series of races, which established a new record for American Corinthian history.
Commodore Dougall announced that a syndicate led by CYC would build an Eight Meter Boat to defend the King of Spain Trophy won by Owen Churchill the previous March in his boat BABE. He noted that San Francisco had for several years been financing winning boats in this fashion and units at the level of fifty dollars each would be available.
The stock market crash of October 24 affected all of America, as well as members of the Club. Yet, the impact of the greatest financial crisis ever facing America seemed almost to sweep by boating enthusiasts in Southern California. While the value of sailboats and powerboats dropped dramatically, owners continued to enjoy their use in competition and for pleasure on the water.
FIRE SWEEPS CALIFORNIA YACHT CLUB!
Under the Mercury headline above, “Fire of unknown origin broke out in the Clubhouse, presumably in the basement, last Thursday afternoon (Thanksgiving Day, 1929) while the service crew was busily engaged in preparing Thanksgiving dinner. As the waiters were putting the finishing touches to the festal preparations, smoke began pouring through the ventilators to the main floor. The alarm was given immediately, but the fire had gained such headway unnoticed that it had spread throughout the interior of the structure before the arrival of the engine companies. The employees barely had time to escape with their lives, let alone save a part of the furniture . . .”
However, member Paul Hiller and his wife were eating Thanksgiving dinner in their Wilmington home and rushed to the Clubhouse. Thinking quickly, they rescued the Club’s trophies. Only a beautiful model of the USS Constitution was destroyed. The remaining trophies survived to grace CYC’s Clubhouse in Marina del Rey today.
The fire was contained to the Clubhouse and did not spread to the surrounding buildings or the anchored fleet. It was determined that, although furniture was burned beyond repair and the Clubhouse largely ruined, reconstruction would begin immediately. Light meal service was resumed a week later, operations continued from the surviving buildings and the magnificent Clubhouse would emerge from this tragedy even better than before. Mercury published a gracious letter from Newport Harbor Yacht Club extending privileges of their clubhouse and anchorage to CYC members during the reconstruction.
By the following March, the Clubhouse had been completely restored with new furniture and equipment replacing any that was damaged or destroyed.
end of sidebar . . . . . .
Architect Pierpont Davis was elected 1930 Commodore. Owner of the famous R Boat PATRICIA, he was known as one of the most formidable sloop masters in Southern California. Dr. Albert Soiland, Chairman of the Transpacific Races for 1930, brought the good news that the Tahiti classic would draw a field of at least seven schooners. This assured the greatest long distance ocean race in the history of yachting. The Pacific Coast was established as the leader in long distance ocean sailboat racing.
The Eight Meter syndicate boat was named ANGELITA and christened on February 15th. It would represent host California Yacht Club at the 1930 Los Angeles Midwinter Regatta, held under the auspices of the Civic Regatta Committee of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce. ANGELITA was beaten by Lewis Luckenbach’s MARIN. Churchill handed over the King of Spain Trophy to be taken to the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club of New York City. Not one to lose easily, Churchill purchased ANGELITA from the syndicate. He now owned the R Boat FRIENDSHIP and the Eight Meter BABE.
Also in Churchill’s fleet was GALLIANO, a powerboat that would be a winning yacht (one leg) in the upcoming Long Beach to San Francisco Race. That race would help powerboating begin a comeback after three years of relative inactivity. D. M. Callis, noted naval architect, proposed the first Predicted Log race. Entrants would predict the time it would take their powerboat to travel from point “A” to point “B.” They would not have benefit of watches or chronometers. Contestants would have to rely on instruments that provided engine speed, utilize the compass for direction and allow for wind and tide affect on the boat’s course. To win, they had to come closer to their prediction than any other contestant. In other words, they had to know their vessel very well.
This competition was a mammoth challenge to skippers. Los Angeles Harbor to San Francisco was to be run in three legs involving one-day layovers in Santa Barbara and Monterey. This unique trial of competent navigation would prove to capture the interest of powerboaters for decades to come. This manner of contest came about following a challenge issued by CYC’s Paul F. Johnson, owner of the 85-foot cruiser SEYLELYN. The Los Angeles Junior Chamber’s Civic Regatta Association programmed the 374 nautical mile course for the event to be run under the auspices of CYC.
Among the first entries were CYC members Goetz and Wilson, who put a new Liberty engine in their boat BLUEBOY and pushed Northward for three days through rough waves. With their bailing pumps working much of the way and water flooding the bilges, they headed for the nearest boat yard immediately after finishing so that the craft would not plunge to the bottom of San Francisco Bay. While CYC was not victorious, the race was hailed as a success.
Captain G. Allen Hancock was building a third major yacht in Spring, 1930, VALERO III. A 193-foot, 16-knot, 890-ton vessel, it could carry 18 people in the owner’s party plus a crew of 12. VALERO would travel exclusively up and down the Pacific Coast, from Alaska to South America. Commodore Davis chartered BABE, now configured as a cruiser, as flagship of the fleet.
Chapter Ten – A Heartfelt Review of California Yacht Club by Henry “Skip” Warren
One of the best-loved sailors on the West Coast was Henry B. “Skip” Warren, an active water rat since emigrating to Southern California from Illinois in 1913. Skip was one of the motivating forces in the development of ocean racing on the Coast and one of the founders and first Secretary of Transpacific Yacht Club.
Warren was an editor of Sea Magazine and enchanted his legion of readers with a written history of California Yacht Club up to the early 1930’s. With a slight bit of editing (to not overly repeat events already mentioned), Skip Warren’s obviously heartfelt comments about California Yacht Club are shared with the readers of this Album:
Human institutions are judged by the results they produce. They are organized with a definite purpose, and so long as they adhere to it they are likely to fill a place in the scheme of things.
Most yacht clubs are hampered by financial difficulties, in spite of the fact that yachting is generally considered a sport only for the wealthy few. Prior to the founding of the California Yacht Club, the yacht clubs at Los Angeles Harbor had a long struggle with poverty, as all yachtsmen of this territory well know. Nor has the California Yacht Club itself been immune to trouble of this kind. It was organized, however, with the primary aim of giving the yachtsmen a first class club, in which the owners would carry the load of financial responsibility, leaving the members free from liability of worry in this respect. Many yacht clubs are blessed with an “angel” or two, men with an unselfish love of yachting and the ability to come forward at periods of stress and foot the bills. Fortunate indeed are the organizations that possess such members. Yet, considered in another light, they are in a precarious position, since individuals may die, or resign or lose their fortunes.
It was, therefore, for the purpose of providing unfailing financial support that the California Yacht Club was provided with two distinct sets of officers. The first is composed of the usual officers of any corporation and a board of directors. The ownership resides in this body (the Los Angeles Athletic Club), together with full liability for all debts incurred. The other body consists of the usual officers of a yacht club and an advisory board. These officers are in full charge of all races, regattas and social functions. They have their separate funds, given voluntarily by the yacht owners, and over these funds have entire sway. The management, under the (Los Angeles Athletic Club) corporate officers, is responsible for the maintenance of the clubhouse and mooring areas, the restaurant service, shore boat service, etc.
In practice, this system works as though the membership acted as lessees of the Club’s facilities, but without any liability for its debts or any of the unpleasant details of actual management. The only expense to the members are their dues, and on the part of the boat owners a voluntary contribution of two cents per foot of overall length of their yachts per month. The initiation fee for non-boat owners is $25.00 and their dues are $1.10 per month. A boat owner pays $100.00 initiation fee and $5.50 per month dues. The only other costs are those deliberately incurred by the members in using certain of the club’s facilities, such as the restaurant, the (residential) rooms in the clubhouse and other charges which are the regular ones in any club. The California Yacht Club costs its members less than many other yacht clubs, without saddling them with any of the unpleasant financial worries.
As a matter of information, it can be stated that the club has not, on the whole, been a great financial success to its owners, particularly during the Depression. The fact remains, however, that this condition has never interfered with its carrying out the purpose of providing a first class yacht club for the yachtsmen of the Los Angeles area.
It may be objected that such an organization will fail in securing the enthusiastic support of the rank and file of its membership, since this feeling is inherent only as a part of the pride of ownership. And indeed, frankness compels the admission that there has been some feeling of this sort, but it has been confined to a small portion of the members. The faithful work done year after year by its advisory board, flag officers and committee men attests the genuine interest of the many members who have served the Club. The success of its races and social events has always been very marked. The corporate officers have followed a policy of absolute non-interference with the flag officers.
There have been formed several independent yachting organizations, composed mainly of members of CYC, that are entirely self run and self supported. These are the Skippers Club, made up of the racing men, the Southern California Forty-Five Foot Sailing Association, which promotes racing among the auxiliary yachts, and Los Angeles Yacht Club, which affiliated itself with California Yacht Club at the time (CYC) was formed, but has always preserved its individuality. (Editor’s note: The Forty-Five Foot Association, boaters generally with ketches and yawls, banded together to promote competition among themselves. Sloops of that size were simply too fast for them.) These organizations make use of California Yacht Club’s facilities and race committee, and work with it for the advancement of yachting. They provide the enthusiasm that goes with ownership and California Yacht Club does all in its power to encourage them.
(Warren included a description of the Club’s extensive facilities.)
But, as every experienced yachtsman knows, no yacht club can prosper unless it makes a particular effort to promote the racing spirit. It gives a feeling of unity and solidarity to the membership and a pride in flying the club’s burgee at regattas and the inter-club races that can be attained in no other way. In 1922, therefore, California Yacht Club formed syndicates for the building of two R Boats and three Stars. These provided a nucleus around which were soon formed large fleets of these two desirable classes of racing yachts. Interest in them soon spread to Newport Harbor, San Diego and Santa Barbara, but it was the original yachts of California Yacht Club that pioneered these classes in Southern California.
The two boats of the R Class were CALIFORNIA, designed by Charles D. Mower and built by Garbutt & Walsh, and ANGELA, designed by John G. Alden and built by the Wilmington Boat Works. Both proved highly successful in the weather conditions for which they were designed. CALIFORNIA was always a threat in the racing at Los Angeles Harbor and won the famous Perpetual Challenge Trophy on San Francisco Bay for the Club in 1923. ANGELA carried off the Southern California championship of her class in 1923 and 1924. Shortly after they were launched these two yachts took part in the regatta of the Southern California Yachting Association at Newport Harbor in 1922. The following year, three more R Boats made their appearance in the Club’s fleet. These were MACHREE, purchased in San Francisco by John M. Langton, PATRICIA, brought down from Vancouver by the Davis brothers and F. W. Conant and PEGGY, a Six Meter which Harry Fisher brought out from the East and converted for racing in the R Class.
The class continued to grow until it reached its zenith in 1928, with the following yachts racing continually in Southern California:
R Boat Class
Yacht Owner Club Designer Built
CALIFORNIA L. H. Farwell CYC C. D. Mower 1922
ANGELA E. L. Peterson SDYC J. G Alden 1922
DEBRA S. M. Spalding CYC E. B. Schock 1924
PIRATE Tommy Lee CYC L. E. Geary 1926
MARIBEL Samuel Dauchy SDYC C. D. Mower 1925
ZEPHYR Oswald Zahn SDYC Lester Stone 1915
ALOHA George S. Gay SDYC E. B. Schock 1924
HEATHER Al E. Christie LAYC E. B. Schock 1927
PATRICIA Davis Brothers CYC C. Nicholson 1921
FRIENDSHIP Owen P. Churchill CYC N. S. Potter 1927
ALERT IV Charles D. Wiman SBYC C. D. Mower 1928
Thanks to the very fine work of Newport Harbor Yacht Club, the Star Class, which originated in Southern California with our club, grew until it became very numerous. San Diego, Santa Barbara and Long Beach Yacht Clubs also developed large fleets of Stars, until this class outnumbers all other racing classes at the present time and has some of the world’s very best Star skippers. The Newport Harbor Fleet won the International Star Class Championship in 1927, while the Long Beach Fleet carried it off in 1932.
In 1928, the (CYC) Skippers’ Club originated a Midwinter Regatta, which was held in March of that year, with California Yacht Club acting as host club. This event has since become an annual fixture. Eastern yachtsmen were asked to enter R Boats and Six Meters in this event. At that time there were no Six Meters on this coast, but our yachtsmen quickly rallied to provide them to meet the easterners, who brought out a formidable team. Clifford D. Mallory, President of the North American Yacht Racing Union, headed it with LANAI. The other two yachts were Henry B. Plant’s CLYTIE and W. A. W. Stewart’s PRISCILLA, two of our members, T. S. Smith and Hugh Angelman, owners of the Wilmington Boat Works, built the Six Meter HARPOON from designs by N. S. Potter to give the Club an entry in this class. A syndicate of members of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club purchased the Six Meter SYNNOVE in Norway and had her shipped here in time for the regatta. John C. Stick, owner of the old PEGGY, which he had renamed SMILES, put his boat in commission to give California Yacht Club a second entry. San Francisco yachtsmen came gallantly to our support by bringing down three Six Meters, A. F. Rousseau’s MAYBE, Stuart Haldorn’s AYAYAY and the CLIO, owned by a syndicate of members of Corinthian Yacht Club.
The eastern yachts were victorious, as was to be expected, but the Pacific Coast had made an excellent start with this fine class of racing yachts. Since Six and Eight Meter yachts had been designated at that time as the classes to compete in the Olympic Games, which were to be held at Los Angeles in 1932, we had to secure boats for these races. Owen P. Churchill, therefore, bought the Eight Meter BABE, which he sailed as the American representative at the Olympic Games at Amsterdam in 1928.
In 1930, a syndicate of our members joined with those of the Los Angeles Yacht Club for the building of the Eight Meter ANGELITA to defend the King of Spain Trophy, then held by our club. This yacht was designed by N. S. Potter especially for Southern California waters and was built by the Wilmington Boat Works. Although she lost the trophy to MARIN of Manhasset Bay Yacht Club that year, she won it back for California Yacht Club in 1932, and so justified the hopes of her builders. The syndicate soon sold her to Owen P. Churchill, who took her to Long Island Sound and Marblehead, flying the Club’s burgee. ANGELITA also won the Olympic Championship for the United States (with Owen at the helm) in 1932.
At the present time, the Six and Eight Meter fleets on this coast are as follows:
Six Meter Class
Yacht Owner Club Designer Built
HARPOON Morgan Adams LAYC N. S. Potter 1928
SYNNOVE Alfred E. Rogers NHYC J. Anker 1928
SMILES John C. Stick CYC C. D. Mower 1921
MAYBE A. F. Rousseau CorYC G. A. Estlander 1927
AYAYAY Stuart Haldorn SFYC G. A. Estlander 1927
CLIO R. S. Simmons CYC F. M. Hoyt 1921
CAPRICE Tommy Lee CYC N. S. Potter 1930
NAIAD Cyril Tobin SFYC C. H. Crane 1928
RIPPLES Walton Hubbard, Jr. NHYC F. C. Paine 1930
LANAI L. N. Slater CYC C. H. Crane 1925
MYSTERY W. A. Bartholomae NHYC J. Anker 1928
GALLANT Donald Douglas LAYC J. Anker 1931
Eight Meter Class
Yacht Owner Club Designer Built
SANTA MARIA Pierpont Davis LAYC W. S. Burgess 1928
MARINA (between owners) CYC N. S. Potter 1929
ANGELITA Owen P. Churchill CYC N. S. Potter 1930
But it is not only in the promotion of strictly racing classes that California Yacht Club has played its part. Many famous trophies are competed for each year by a large fleet of auxiliaries, and even our power cruisers take part in regattas and races. The Club has never failed to have an entry in Long Beach Yacht Club’s annual race from Long Beach to San Francisco. This is the longest open water race for power cruisers held anywhere in the world.
The early years of the Club saw much fine racing in the unlimited speedboat class for the historic DeMille Gold Cup and the Pacific Motor Boat Trophy. Frank Garbutt’s MYSTERY IV, powered by two Liberties, was one of the outstanding contenders, but was always battled hard by Alvin H. Frank, who named her LUCKY STRIKE II, and won many trophies with her. Joe Fellows built a number of fast speedboats, all noted for their consistency. These were the FELLOWS IV, TWO FELLOWS and the FELLOWSHIP. Harry Fisher not only raced R Boats and Six Meters, but speedboats as well, his MAGNA being his best-known boat of this type. Cecil B. DeMille’s DEFIANCE and Dustin Farnum’s MISS LOS ANGELES I and MISS LOS ANGELES II always had to be reckoned with. (Followed was a review about Gar Wood coming out West with MISS AMERICA to battle Frank Garbutt’s MYSTERY.)
When the 151 (hydroplane speedboat) Class came into prominence in the years between 1925 and 1930, one of our members, Dick Loynes, won national fame with his SMILING DAN III and MISS CALIFORNIA. Other members who took interest in this class were Vernon L. Walker, Del Lord, Harold Barneson, Lionel Barneson, James A. Talbot, Ralph Snoddy and A. D. Macleod.
During the winter just past, the Club has promoted successfully the racing of dinghies, and this bodes fair to become the most popular racing class we have ever known.
In spite of the racing record of our Club, it is in cruising boats, both sail and power, that we find the preponderance. This is due in large part to the proximity of Catalina Island, with its many beautiful coves, which are within three hours’ sail of the Club anchorage, and to the many other islands and ports of great attractiveness that can be made the objectives of longer cruises. The weather is almost perfect for yachting the greater part of the year. This after all, is the great reason for the growth of the sport during the years since the war.
Figures will tell the story of this growth more graphically than it can be told in any other way. When California Yacht Club was founded in 1921, the yachts at Los Angeles Harbor had a total value of $1,280,000. Here is the tabulation for 1921 and subsequent years:
Subsequent to 1929, the value has fallen, even though the number of yachts has continued to increase. This is due mainly to the great drop in prices on a falling market, which of course, has affected all human activities in a similar way.
Whatever the causes of the remarkable growth of yachting at Los Angeles from 1921 to 1929, one fact is most significant. That is that during all that time there was only one yacht club at Los Angeles Harbor – California Yacht Club. Had it failed to satisfy the requirements of yachtsmen, it is obvious that they would have organized other yacht clubs. To men having such an investment in yachts, the cost of starting a new club would have been a minor consideration. The fact is, therefore, self-evident that California Yacht Club must have functioned to their entire satisfaction.
Chapter Eleven – A March Toward Olympic Gold
Commodore W. L. Valentine took command of the CYC helm in 1931. While the effects of the Depression were now inhibiting leisure activities, California Yacht Club kept a full schedule of regattas and other events for the membership. To aid entries for the Midwinter Regatta at CYC, Eastern yacht owners were offered free shipping by the Civic Regatta Committee of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce aboard American-Hawaiian Steamship Company ships. The only qualification was that their vessels had to meet the specifications of the classes included in the race events.
An opening dinner was held on February 20th for the Midwinters, which were sailed in the same waters as the 1932 Olympic Games sailing competition. Interest all over North America was heating up for the world’s greatest athletic event visiting California. Sailors aspiring to qualify to represent the United States in the Olympics would find sailing the Midwinters excellent training and an advantage to gaining knowledge of the local waters.
Owen Churchill steered ANGELITA to victory in the King of Spain Regatta and brought the heralded trophy back home to CYC. Dr. Albert Soiland, Admiral of Pacific Coast Yachting Association, was appointed Chairman of the committee to handle the 1932 Olympic sailing events. The majority of the other eight Southern California yachtsmen on the committee were CYC members. The many committees and varied interests among the Club’s membership were caught up in the Olympic fever although the Games were still a year away. Anticipation of the Olympic Games and the commerce associated with that event was a welcome tonic for the economic worries of the growing Depression.
Commodore A.N. Kemp presided over Opening Day, 1932, CYC’s ninth season. The huge audience was reminded that CYC was represented in the 1928 Olympics and would take a major role in the 1932 Games. An active calendar included the annual cruise to Ensenada, the annual Stag Cruise to Johnson’s Landing on Catalina and the annual joint regatta conducted in Santa Barbara. The Commodore’s Cruise to Catalina’s Ithsmus would be conducted in conjunction with Los Angeles, Catalina Island and Newport Harbor Yacht Clubs.
The Club inaugurated late afternoon racing during the summer months for those who needed a break from the workweek. Named the Sunset Series, the regatta attracted many types of boats, including an array of skiffs. Fellows and Stewart promoted their “A” dinghies and catboat rigged 14-foot punts entered. Even pointing punts made their appearance. Participants and spectators enjoyed the fun made possible with longer summertime daylight hours and the later sunset (hence the name), plus beer and dinner at the Club afterwards. One year, the sleek Rainbow Class would venture up from Alamitos Bay, providing an exotic new dimension to the Series. Aviator Donald Douglas built Potter-designed 12-foot “B” lapstrake catboat dinghies for use by participants in these races.
1932 Port Captain Donald W. Ayres headed up a Junior Sailing Division designed to promote sailing berths and boats for Junior members of the Club, working in association with the Sea Scouts. Judge Advocate John C. Stick was appointed to develop and sponsor sailing races and boats for university students, similar to a program used for years in the Eastern United States. CYC sponsored intercollegiate yacht racing among the 14 major colleges and universities on the Pacific Coast in California, Oregon and Washington. The Club endeavored to obtain use of yachts suitable for this activity. Their favorite was the Star Boat, which was in great use and very competitive.
Commodore Kemp was also elected 1932 Commodore of Southern California Yachting Association and Dr. Soiland was once again elected Commodore of Newport Harbor Yacht Club. ANGELITA won the Times Trophy Race. SANTA MARIA was second (Staff Commodore Pierpont Davis) and GALLANT placed third (Donald Douglas LAYC/CYC). Mercury notes that Mrs. Lucas Smith had her ketch ALICIA in the running. This seems to be the first published record of a competitive CYC woman sailor, although some old salts recall hearing of other women who did quite well at the helm.
The Los Angeles Athletic Club played a prominent role in the 1932 Olympics. Count de Baillet-Latour, president of the International Olympic Association and all the top officials attended a huge welcoming party sponsored by the Athletic Club. Honors were accorded Los Angeles Athletic Club President William May Garland for having secured the Games for Los Angeles. Los Angeles Athletic Club athletes qualified for 30 spots in the Games, more than any other single organization in the United States.
CYC member Paul Hiller was appointed General Chairman of the yacht racing events. Commodore Kemp’s talents assured the necessary financing. Also joining as leaders on the Olympic Race Committee were Morgan Adams, Al Christie, Pierpont Davis, Max Fleischmann, Paul Hiller, Douglas Radford, Alfred Rogers, Dr. Albert Soiland, S. M. Spalding and Ben Weston. Owen Churchill qualified to represent America on his Eight Meter ANGELITA, edging out Staff Commodore Pierpont Davis’ SANTA MARIA, both flying the CYC burgee. The crews of the two boats were combined under Churchill to win America’s first Gold Medal for sailing in the Games’ history. Also representing the United States was Donald Douglas’ Six Meter GALLANT (LAYC and CYC boat), with Tommy Lee’s CAPRICE chartered by Canada (also LAYC and CYC). In fact, SANTA MARIA was also chartered by Canada to provide competition for the class.
Churchill and his crew convincingly won the Eight Meter Class. Los Angeles Athletic Club’s Allied Clubs provided a total of 49 athletes representing the United States. Eleven others, in addition to Churchill, won Gold Medals in the Games and captured 18 more Silver and Bronze. The Allied Clubs’ athletes on their own would have finished among the very top nations, an incredible accomplishment that was honored time and time again in post-Olympic celebrations. (Up to the time of the printing of this album, some 200 Los Angeles Athletic Club members have been Olympians, garnering more than one hundred medals, fifty of which are Gold.)
Following the greatest Olympics to that date, Churchill and CYC’s other sailors continued their competition on the West Coast sailing circuit. A few days later, they all won top medals at the SCYA Annual Summer Regatta in Santa Barbara. Famed Coast R sloop PIRATE, Arthur Stewart at the helm, won the 1932 Nordlinger Cup in a 50-mile race around Catalina’s Ship Rock. This was Stewart’s first appearance in competition since his acquisition of PIRATE a few months ago. Second was taken by Owen Churchill in his Eight Meter ANGELITA. Third was Staff Commodore Pierpont Davis’ Eight Meter SANTA MARIA and Mrs. Lucas Smith came in fourth on ALICIA.
By this time, Frank Garbutt had amassed under the banner of the Los Angeles Athletic Club the Hollywood Athletic Club, Riviera Country Club (Pacific Palisades), Los Angeles Athletic Club Gun Club (Kern County), Pacific Coast Club (Long Beach) and Santa Monica Deauville Club. Along with CYC, this assemblage, known as “The Allied Clubs,” constituted the world’s largest group of clubs under the same umbrella. Members of any would receive privileges at all clubs for a fee as economical as belonging to just one. Two additional clubs, Surf and Sand Club in Hermosa Beach and Santa Monica Sand and Sea Club would also become members of The Allied Clubs. The boxing mecca of Los Angeles, Olympic Auditorium came under the Athletic Club sphere of influence.
This conglomeration of interest groups was a mighty empire and a fabulous boon to members who enjoyed wide and varied interests. One of Frank Garbutt’s admonitions was that the Los Angeles Athletic Club and clubs associated with it would not be restrictive in their membership policies. The content of that policy was a forerunner of allowing a true cross section of the community to be involved in sporting activities and in the organizations that supported those activities. Another opportunity that mirrored the ascension of Southern California as a leading world community was that enterprising young citizens in California Yacht Club and the Athletic Club (including the Associated Clubs) would have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the leaders of business, education and society.
Garbutt was a visionary whose imagination sometimes outstripped the treasury to support it. In spite of good membership results, the Depression Years were telling on the Allied Clubs. Realizing he needed help in the accounting office, he enticed his daughter, Melodile, to take on the task of managing the Allied Clubs’ cash flow. As her responsibilities began to grow greater then she had expected, her husband of eight years, Charles Hathaway, Sr. offered to help. Hathaway gradually took over the inside responsibilities for administering all of the clubs as full time general manager. Garbutt cut back his duties to an advisory role. The conservative Hathaway took steps to steady the operations of the several clubs as the country worked itself out of the Depression.
In spite of these financial challenges, CYC’s on-the-water activities and booming business in the dining room were bright spots in Club operations. Another sparkling example of success was canny old Matt Walsh, who continued to be in what seemed a class by himself. Match racing, the highest form of competition, where similar boats race against one another with no handicap allowances, seemed to provide more than enough challenges against Walsh by every level of excellent sailor.
CYC’s Arthur Stewart issued a challenge against Walsh. Stewart’s own boat, PIRATE, had won the 1929 national championship, with Matt himself at the helm. The challenge would have Stewart on the larger PIRATE and Walsh on his daughter’s little 27-foot COMMONSENSE, a lightweight creation of Walsh’s. Although Walsh was giving up boat length, he asked for no allowances and acceded to every condition of the challenge, confounding Stewart and everyone else.
As it turned out, the 18-mile course off Pt. Fermin was marked with light five-knot winds. Sailing with his daughter Helen (who was receiving compliments and awards as a competitive sailor in her own right) as crew, Walsh gained a lead on a constant basis, finishing nearly an hour earlier than Stewart. The sly old fox had done it again.
L.N. Slater of LAYC and CYC, and President of the 45-Foot Sailing Association of Southern California, purchased Al Christie’s Six Meter sloop LANAI. LANAI had won the past two Midwinter Regattas in her class. This purchase was the beginning of a dynasty of winning ways by L.N. and his son, Bill, with this boat. Churchill’s ANGELITA, CAPRICE (Tommy Lee of CYC/LAYC), SANTA MARIA, Bill Bartholomae’s MYSTERY Six Meter and Don Douglas’ GALLANT Six Meter were acknowledged as among the era’s most competitive boats.
All this activity was taking place under 1933 Commodore Sloan Flack and his flag officers. J. Paul Getty, member of the Allied Clubs, purchased SOBFE LAS OLAS, a 101-foot diesel cruiser. Owen Churchill, now Rear Commodore of CYC, handily won the 1933 Midwinters. The 45-Foot Class group consolidated with LAYC. Saturday evenings featured informal parties at CYC, when larger events were not on the calendar, at a cost of fifty cents. For $1.25 a full dinner was available. The Benito Mussolini Trophy rested in CYC’s trophy display case, the prize awarded for winning the annual Santa Barbara regatta for the 90-mile offshore jaunt around Richardson Rock, northernmost point of San Miguel Island. In November 1933, Tommy Lee’s Six Meter sloop CAPRICE won the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy for CYC.
Chapter Twelve – The Club Supports Small Boat Sailing
CYC’s continued high level of membership brought together individuals from many backgrounds and talents. Yachting in the financially turbulent Thirties was obviously a pastime enjoyed by people of means. It took a reserve of money to enjoy boats through the Depression. Yet, a recovering economy allowed men and women from the workaday world more leisure time, and many became exposed to boating. California’s great year-around weather didn’t hurt the growth of on-the-water pursuits, nor did the area’s accessible ocean and inviting harbors. Ambitious individuals working diligently in a wide range of occupations were making money and using their free time to begin enjoying new avocations. A second generation of CYC families was in high school, college or beyond, adding to that base of active younger folks interested in boating.
Responding to these emerging demographics, 1934 Commodore George Hand announced CYC’s inauguration of the Sunkist Series, featuring 10 races in January and February for Rainbows and dinghies. Over 40 small boats immediately participated in this series, just off the Clubhouse terrace, and proved to be a popular regatta for many years. Among those competing were spouses and children of members, developing their sailing skills. From these beginning boaters would grow future yachting leaders.
Sunday dinner at CYC, a seven-course meal with entree choice of swordfish, rabbit, lamb, pork tenderloin or prime ribs of beef, was one dollar. A popular regatta was the W.L. Stewart Auxiliary Handicap Race to Catalina’s Ithsmus, with 24 sailing auxiliaries answering the starting gun following a luncheon provided by CYC Flag Officers. Awaiting their arrival was an evening party with entertainment and dancing to a 10-piece orchestra imported from the mainland. All this merriment and a delicious dinner were framed by the light of a roaring bonfire on the beach.
CYC again sponsored its annual Around Santa Barbara Island Race, a circuit of 90 nautical miles. Defending titleholders were W. L. Stewart, Jr’s., PAISANO among schooners and ketches and Matt Walsh’s COMMONSENSE among sloops and yawls. Mercury reported that young industrialist Howard Hughes’ steam yacht arrived at her new home port. SOUTHERN CROSS was 320 feet overall, displaced 1,851 net tons and acknowledged as the largest private yacht plying Western waters.
Soon after 1935 Commodore Donald B. Ayres was installed with his Bridge of Flag and Fleet Officers, the Los Angeles Times carried a February article on the amazing Corinthian efforts and accomplishments of Matt Walsh. Many in sailing circles had hailed the 67-year old legend as the outstanding skipper on the West Coast, if not the country. He had never raised a protest flag, had won every offshore race at one time or another, accepted every race challenge offered and at that time had sailed for 52 years. In just the previous 10 years he had won fourteen major trophies and titles in Southern California plus additional victories racing in San Francisco and the East. Many felt Walsh was America’s greatest example of sailing’s Corinthian spirit.
Donald Douglas was elected to the first of his two terms as Commodore of Southern California Yachting Association. Merritt H. Adamson on his PIRATE won the Nordlinger Trophy. Ted Geary assisted as tactician.
During 1936, under the leadership of Commodore John C. Stick, the spacious Deauville Club of Santa Monica was designated as California Yacht Club’s Santa Monica station. The entire Club was open for the use of CYC members and their families. A special room was set aside on the second floor as a “haven” which could be visited in work clothes and other informal wear. With this new station, CYC was once again involved in supporting the Honolulu Race as the starting point for this ocean classic was Santa Monica. The Deauville Club served as race headquarters and a number of CYC members served on the Regatta Committee. Record crowds edged for space on the Santa Monica Pier to watch the spectator fleet and the competitors all maneuvering for their respective space on the water, close to the starting line. Following the start, members and guests repaired to the Club’s nearby facilities for a day of relaxation in sunny surroundings and to catch an occasional report of the Race’s progress on radio speakers.
On the world scene, CYC was again represented by members participating on nearly every navigable ocean, sea, river and lake. When the 1936 Olympic Games convened in Berlin, Bill Bartholomae, Jr.’s MYSTERY competed and Owen Churchill also participated. Los Angeles Athletic Club also provided an impressive array of athletes who brought home a handsome collection of Olympic medals.
As Burton C. Baldwin was elected the Club’s 1937 Commodore, the country was working itself back into financial health. Members, guests and participants in Club regattas continued to lavish acclaim on CYC’s excellent cuisine. Of particular renown was CYC’s seafood. Succulent lobster caught from under CYC’s dock often found its way on the dining room menu. Fresh fish of all types drew appreciative diners to the dining room. Old timers revered the steamed finnan haddie. The Club’s clam chowder by itself was cause to drive to Wilmington for a meal. Apple pie was another “must” for diners. For fifty-five cents, a cup of coffee, melted cheese sandwich and delicately flaked apple pie enticed members to drive an hour from Pasadena and enjoy the ambience of the magnificent Clubhouse.
Staff Commodore John Stick was elected as Commodore of the Southern California Yachting Association, a position in which he would serve for three consecutive terms.
Over a fifteen-year period, members of Los Angeles Yacht Club had shared CYC’s Clubhouse as CYC members. It was a special relationship during that time with some of those friendships enduring for decades after. The two Clubs were the source of astoundingly successful teamwork enhancing Southern California’s ascendancy in the sport of yachting and providing a most helpful financial boost to both Clubs. But LAYC’s leaders felt the time had come for that venerable organization to move to its own location. They built a clubhouse on Terminal Island at Fish Harbor, close across the channel from CYC. It was a venue their members revered and one they would occupy for nearly six decades. The two Clubs, though now separate, continued to share many members and participate jointly in several yachting activities.
Owen Churchill won the Lipton Cup for the first time in 1937. Having won practically all other trophies for which he was eligible over the past fifteen years, the capture of the esteemed Lipton Cup was particularly rewarding. The same month, CYC members Dick Powell and Joan Blondell purchased fellow member Jascha Heifetz’ 68-foot yacht GALATEA and arranged a mooring at the Club. Spencer Tracy often entertained friends in the Club dining room and young hoofer Buddy Ebsen was beginning his sailing pursuits. Movie producers and directors found the relaxed Club life a welcome sanctuary from the pressures of Hollywood.
A particularly active and competitive membership participated in a full schedule of sail and power activities in 1937. In his closing report, Commodore Baldwin noted that, “During the past race season of some 150 races, (members of) our Race Committee have shown their untiring interest and willingness to serve their Club.” As the year closed, CYC’s William A. Bartholomae, Jr. was elected to his second consecutive term as Commodore of Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
Arthur C. Stewart was elected Commodore of California Yacht Club in 1938 and at the same time, his brother William L. Stewart, Jr. was elected Commodore of Los Angeles Yacht Club. At the weekly Wednesday Yachting Luncheons at Los Angeles Athletic Club, the two brothers produced merriment for the attendees with their regular “fraternal wit-sharpening encounters.” The brothers Stewart took the schooner SANTANA as first ever West Coast entry to sail in the Long Island to Bermuda race. She was the first schooner boat to finish and took 8th on corrected time out of 45 contenders.
Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors retained consultants to plan a Playa del Rey Harbor, which would run from the Ballona flood control channel on the south to within one block of Washington Boulevard. The promoting organization was the Playa del Rey Harbor Association, supported by the communities of Venice, Beverly Hills, Palms, Hollywood, Westwood, West Los Angeles and others. This development was watched closely by Athletic Club management as well as other yachting-oriented organizations. A letter from Frank Garbutt to the County strongly encouraged additional harbors for the growing number of recreational yachts as well as refuge for boaters along the coast in the event of foul weather. This turned out to be a creative idea well before its time, as the proposition did not go forward.
Colorful Errol Flynn purchased SIROCCO, a 72-foot ketch, which made a leisurely 109-day passage through the Panama Canal to her CYC mooring. The Club constructed 28 permanent slips. Four of them were used for service needs, ending the wait at the busy service dock to load supplies or board directly from shore. The other 24 were quickly snapped up by members who appreciated the advantages offered.
Marine designer Ted Geary was now commuting regularly between Seattle and Los Angeles, eventually settling in the Southland. His daughter, Sharon, would later marry CYC’s Merritt Adamson who had earlier purchased the Geary-designed PIRATE. Both families shared a consummate love of the sea.
CYC again sponsored the annual race for the Pacific Motor Boat Trophy (held permanently by California Yacht Club) among speedboats of unlimited classes at Newport Bay. C. King Brugman was Race Chairman for CYC with Wesley D. Smith representing the American Power Boat Association as Regional Manager. Hugh Angleman, head of the Wilmington Boat Works, built a unique 36-foot ketch, SEA WITCH. Capable of worldwide cruising, it attracted the largest crowd to ever view a yacht at the Boat Works. Many predicted that the SEA WITCH design, already specified by a number of buyers, would become a classic.
When Russell Simmons took office as Commodore in January, 1939, sixteen clubs were shown as members or affiliated with Southern California Yachting Association: Alamitos Bay, Balboa, Cabrillo Beach, California, Catalina Island, Coronado, Hi-N-Dri, Hollywood, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Mission Bay, Newport Harbor, Pacific Writers, San Diego, Santa Barbara Corinthian and South Coast Corinthian Yacht Clubs. Even before World War II, old salts around the harbor looked back to the “old days.” Fellows and Stewart was the oldest boat building firm in Southern California, with Garbutt & Walsh another builder of long standing. These old-timers liked to talk of the perennial feud that raged between Frank Garbutt and Joe Fellows as to which one had the fastest speedboat. Their rivalry was a classic each year that held the interest of all racing enthusiasts. It was still an open question, according to the veterans who witnessed these racing duels, as to which one finally emerged champion.
CYC’s Norman Pabst was elected 1939 Commodore of the Southern California Yachting Association. One of his major roles was to take over the annual Midwinter Regatta. The energies of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce were now being concentrated on the Los Angeles Open Golf Tournament as one of the golfing world’s premier competitions. It was time to pass the Midwinters to a full-time yachting organization. W. L. Horton was appointed Chairman of the Regatta Committee. The Los Angeles Yacht Club was assigned actual operation of the sailing events, Long Beach Yacht Club supervised the power cruiser competition and California Yacht Club’s famed Clubhouse was the scene for all of the social events connected with the Regatta.
Sailed faultlessly on every leg of an 18-mile course, Commodore Simmons’ sloop AYAYAY won the 35th running of the Times Cup on July 8th, finishing 50 feet astern of Staff Commodore Pierpont Davis’ Eight Meter SANTA MARIA, but winning in corrected time. On October 24, 1939, severe hurricane winds up and down the coast interrupted the fourth day of CYC’s Gold Cup Series. LAYC’s recently completed facilities suffered severe damage. Commodore Simmons offered Club privileges and anchorage facilities to all LAYC members who required them.
While great athletes in most sports nearly always compete for one college, professional team or country, a significant number of talented boaters have historically belonged to more than one yacht club, creating a bit of an identification challenge. Active yachting competitors traditionally fly the colors of a club to which they belong when sailing in an event sponsored by that club. In events sponsored by other clubs or organizations, they often rotate their identification among the clubs in which they hold membership.
In the late 1930’s, Los Angeles Yacht Club Staff Commodore L. N. Slater was one of the most well known yachtsmen on the coast. He and his son Bill and daughter Peggy were to further the Slater name worldwide. Bill sailed his Six Meter LANAI to victory after victory in races across the United States. As a little girl, Peggy both frustrated her father and at the same time made him proud of her. She took on everyone on the race course, including the men sailors, besting most of them handily.
Peggy’s Transpac skippering, her singlehanded long distance voyages and her exotic canoe adventures are detailed more fully in her 1992 book Peggy, a popular review of her exploits during her six-decade love affair with the sea. While L. N., Bill and Peggy all had first loyalties to LAYC, they also held membership in CYC. L. N. contributed actively on CYC’s Advisory Board. Some years later, Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club also benefited from Peggy’s enthusiasm for yachting. The Slater family had enough energy and talent for a hundred yacht clubs. As they flew California Yacht Club’s burgee, CYC saluted them as “members of the family.”
Chapter Thirteen – Clouds of War Begin to Gather
From Mercury in December 1939, “Succeeding Russell Simmons, whose term of administration is studded with achievements for California Yacht Club, Charles A. Page has been elected Commodore for season 1940. New flagship is the fast sloop WESTWARD, long considered the most hospitable yacht in the CYC anchorage. (His) flag officers include: Vice Commodore Douglas Radford, Rear Commodore J. J. Jakosky, Fleet Captain D. R. Overell Hatswell, Port Captain Dr. D. W. Cady, Fleet Surgeon Wm. H. Rambo, Judge Advocate C. H. Pansing and Fleet Secretary Erwin C. Jones. The Advisory Board: Hugh Angelman, Asa V. Call, Ira Copley, Cecil B. De Mille, Donald Douglas, G. Allan Hancock, H. T. Morrow, Eugene Overton, W. H. Rohl, Albert Soiland, W. L. Stewart, Jr., Matt Walsh, Burton Baldwin, Russell Simmons, Grover T. Garland, D. B Ayres, Owen Churchill, Pierpont Davis, Dr. J. Park Dougall, Joe Fellows, A. N. Kemp, W. W. Murphy, S. K. Rindge, L. N. Slater, Sy Spalding, W. L. Valentine, John C. Stick, Wm. A. Bartholomae, Jr., A. C. Stewart and R. S. Redington.”
This loyal group was a veritable Who’s Who from past and present sailing and power greatness. Many of them were pillars of the Southern California community as well. Like many previous CYC Bridge Officer groups and Advisory Committees and those to come, they were strong thinking individuals and active doers. As the dark clouds of war began gathering in Europe and predatory plans were afoot in other parts of the world, the collective wisdom and genius of this impressive group would be severely challenged over the upcoming months. One of these leaders, aviation pioneer and winning yachtsman Donald Douglas, active member of CYC, LAYC and the Los Angeles Athletic Club, was awarded the Guggenheim Award for his contributions to transport plane designs and construction.
CYC hosted the 1940 Midwinter Regatta and increased the power cruiser category from one event to three. The Ninth Annual CYC Gold Cup Regatta was a resounding success with a full compliment of yachts entered. The member yacht clubs of SCYA endorsed a move to make that organization’s annual August Championship self-financing rather than a costly burden to the sponsoring club. In addition, the summer schedule from all clubs was streamlined, boosting the popular regattas and placing the lesser attended ones on hold, allowing skippers more time for cruising weekends with their families.
- King Brugman noted in the May 25, 1940 Mercury that Predicted Log navigation cruising (on powerboats) was coming into its own in Southern California. “For the 1940 season, the master calendar of Southland yachting events contains twelve Predicted Log navigation cruises . . . with one of the largest fleets in its history to be on its way to the Newport Harbor Yacht Club season opening.”
The svelte Island Clipper sloop, 44’3″ in length, sail area of 715 square feet, Kenny Watts sails, was advertised by Fellows & Stewart Boatyard for $7,495 delivered in the water at Terminal Island. Errol Flynn’s boat SIROCCO was chained by the Club manager to the dock for being in arrears with dues and mooring fees. Robert Schiffer, who at the date of this Album’s publication holds the distinction of being CYC’s member with the most years of membership, recalls Club member Charlie Chaplin’s frequent visits to his boat in the 30’s and 40’s. “Charlie sure had a lot of attractive young ladies who seemed to enjoy the nautical ambience on his 55-foot power cruiser PANACEA.”
According to Sea Magazine in September 1940, “When Owen Churchill visited Tahiti a few years ago he found that the natives used fins on their feet to gain added speed in swimming. This gave him an idea, so he had some scientifically designed fins made of rubber on his return. The results surpassed his wildest dreams, for the fins actually enabled ordinary swimmers to break world’s records. The demand soon became so great among his friends that Churchill decided to manufacture them, and he has not been able to keep up with orders ever since.”
CYC again sponsored the Pacific Motorboat Trophy Race and the Gold Cup. CYC and LAYC combined to sponsor the annual Santa Barbara Island Race. CYC presented trophies to winners in two classes under the Universal Rule allowances while LAYC presented awards under the Ocean Racing Rule. At the same time, the Navy Department issued a bulletin soliciting yachts for potential use in a national emergency. Statistics were presented regarding yacht measurements needed to mount anti-aircraft and machine guns. As conflict gained momentum in Europe, all Southern California yachtsmen received a letter indicating that they could qualify for a direct commission as Ensign in the Naval Reserve. Whether contributing use of their yachts or to directly take their places in America’s fighting forces, CYC members would become more involved in the war effort than anyone could have ever anticipated.
While heading the Club as 1941 Commodore, C. E. Vesy won the Ten Meter sailing championship at the helm of his sloop SIRIUS at the Southern California Sailing Championships in Santa Barbara. CYC members were active on the LA Harbor Commission. Staff Commodore Eugene Overton was Chairman. CYC’s Morgan Adams (who was Past Commodore of SCYA, Trans-Pacific Yacht Club and LAYC) was named as a new member. The Club sponsored the third annual Predicted Log Power Boat Race from Los Angeles Harbor to Newport Bay. An active calendar of on-the-water events and social activities continued, in spite of the war in Europe and other troubles brewing in Asia.
On December 7, 1941 America was thrust irrevocably into World War II with the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor. Many left for the military, others stayed to run vital businesses and governmental functions. CYC members active in the entertainment industry helped with War Bond drives. Cecil B. DeMille, Charles Chaplin, Ronald Coleman, Dick Powell, Errol Flynn, Roland Reed, Buck Jones, Jack Warner, Johnny Weismuller and others always took time from work and play for patriotic and community causes.
Small sailboat enthusiast and aircraft pioneer Donald W. Douglas was elected 1942 Commodore. While the international chaos severely curtailed spare time for most citizens’ personal pursuits, CYC and other yacht clubs still offered brief respites from the turmoil of a country at war. The first official yachting event under Commodore Douglas’ administration was the 11th annual Gold Cup series for Six Meter, Star and Pacific Interclub yacht classes in April in Los Angeles Harbor. Additions to racing rules included: “Yachts must give the right of way to all Navy, Coast Guard and large vessels. Cameras are also strictly prohibited on board all yachts.”
CYC’s Power Boat Committee Chairman, C. King Brugman, was elected Commodore of the Pacific Coast Yachting Association and also served as 1942 Commodore of Long Beach Yacht Club. William L. Stewart, Jr., Staff Commodore of Los Angeles Yacht Club and long time California Yacht Club member was elected as a member of the North American Yacht Racing Union Executive Committee. Dr. Glenn Thorpe (who years later would become quite active in California Yacht Club as a founder of the Radio Amateur Group) was elected 1942 Commodore of Santa Monica Yacht Club.
However, the carefully constructed plans of these men and focus of their organizations were not to be realized as World War II ground yachting to a halt. Due to War restrictions, sailing was limited to inner harbors. Many members volunteered for the armed forces, others finding their way into the service via the Draft. In addition, restrictions on fuel and marine supplies increased the decline in boating activities, except for some whose vessels were utilized as picket boats and other emergency uses as America geared up to fight on two fronts. Coveted for its strategic location, CYC’s grand Clubhouse was commandeered by the Coast Guard for the War effort. Due to the precarious financial condition of the Athletic Club’s Allied Clubs, downtown management could not put up much of a fight. California Yacht Club was gone forever from her birthplace in Wilmington.
A number of members left at home plus some now serving in the military moved their memberships to other yacht clubs, most to Los Angeles Yacht Club. Their fervor for boating continued as a result of CYC’s longstanding close relationship with LAYC, although in a far different dimension than during the previous two decades.
The Los Angeles Athletic Club continued CYC’s corporate entity. The trophies and privileges of the few remaining members were moved to CYC’s Santa Monica Station at the Deauville Club. While social activities continued in special quarters at the new location until its 1944 seizure for use by the U.S. Army, boating in Santa Monica was just as restricted as it was in Los Angeles Harbor.
Commodore Douglas served again in 1943, D.R. Overell Hatswell was Commodore for 1944, 1945 and 1946 and Erwin C. Jones served in 1947, endeavoring to continue CYC’s lineage. In spite of their devoted service, the California Yacht Club Clubhouse was so run down from use by the military it made no economic sense to refurbish it as a yacht club. America’s effort to defeat the enemy and the demands upon the economy and citizenry immediately following the War simply overpowered any efforts to maintain a yachting organization in the traditional sense. The memory would linger and would nurture a rebirth a decade and a half later. In the interim, CYC as a club was solely a corporation on paper.
CYC’s Outer Harbor site was renamed by others as “California Yacht Anchorage,” according to some present at the time. A few loyal former CYC members continued to illegally fly their burgees. The CYC spirit was not about to be extinguished.
During the War, Charles Hathaway, Sr. had successfully struggled with the Athletic Club empire’s finances, making do with what a wartime economy could provide. Frank Garbutt was in failing health. Hathaway’s oldest son, Frank G. Hathaway, moved into a Second Vice President’s position at age 22 after college and a wartime stint as an Air Force pilot. Garbutt died on November 19, 1947. Charles Hathaway, Sr. was elected President of Los Angeles Athletic Club and Frank Hathaway moved up to First Vice President.
The two nursed the corporation back to health. Reminisces Frank Hathaway; “Dad and I found spots where the Athletic Club’s carpeting had worn through. We painted the exposed floor underneath the color of that carpeting, saving cash to be used for member services.”
Unfortunately, the Senior Hathaway was in failing health for several years and died on December 22, 1948. Frank Hathaway, who vowed to continue the reforms and initiatives his father had planned for the clubs now headed the future of Los Angeles Athletic Club and its associated businesses.
Chapter Fourteen – California Yacht Club Reorganizes in Marina del Rey
In 1954, the County of Los Angeles approached the Los Angeles Athletic Club about the possibility of a long term leases in a yet-to-be-built harbor in the Venice marshlands. The site, also known as “Mud Lake,” was a watery, muddy tideland where hunting for ducks had been great sport for decades. At the prodding of County Supervisor Burton Chace and a group of local business leaders, the State Legislature had allocated $2 million in March of that year for the purchase of 1,000 acres and the Federal government would be asked to provide more than twice that amount, to start.
Responding to the County’s solicitation, Frank Hathaway wrote to the County Board of Supervisors advising that the California Yacht Club, indeed, wished to lease land in the new marina, when available. His August 21, 1954 memo to the Board noted, “Our Club presently contains many magnificent perpetual trophies as well as a current, but of necessity, dormant Flag Officers group, and the know-how which was gained neither lightly nor inexpensively.” Unfortunately, the entire project soon encountered legal roadblocks and more than five years of delay.
Frank Hathaway’s younger brother, Charles, graduated from college and in 1956 became the Assistant Manager of the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Having purchased a home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Charles and his bride Patty became active in sailing and yachting activities in nearby Los Angeles Harbor. They enjoyed membership in Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club and subsequently joined Los Angeles Yacht Club.
Los Angeles Yacht Club’s weekly yachting luncheons were held in downtown Los Angeles at the University Club, but Charles convinced them to change the venue to the Athletic Club. Attending those meetings, as well as serving a year as Program Chairman, gave him an opportunity to forge friendships with the Los Angeles area yachting gentry, including Fritz Overton, Fred Harris, Charlie Tanner, Dick Terkel, King Brugman and others. Every week or so, someone would ask, “Charlie, when are you folks going to reactivate California Yacht Club?”
Good question. That possibility was discussed with increasing frequency among the Los Angeles Athletic Club management and some potentially interested members such as local yachtsman Bill DeGroot. With over 30 individuals identified as potential members, CYC was reactivated on paper in 1957 with Frank Hathaway elected as President. Charles took a year away from his duties at Los Angeles Athletic Club to obtain his Masters Degree. During this period, Frank kept lines of communication open with various interested parties.
By then, the new harbor was taking form. The development of what would be called Marina del Rey was becoming a reality. The grand plans were to create the world’s largest manmade small boat harbor.
Frank Hathaway recalls, “Rex Thompson, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Harbors and Marina, visited with me. The County was eager to button up some long-term leases to recover the millions of dollars it would take to dredge the old Mud Lake for Marina del Rey’s main and side channels, to build streets and other infrastructure. People were not exactly lining up at the door to snap up leases from the County at the time.
“Rex said, ‘We’d like you folks to build a first class club here in Marina del Rey. If you saw your way clear to do so, about how much do you think you’re prepared to invest?’ I thought for a few minutes and offered the sum of some $300,000.
“Thompson retorted, ‘Won’t work. You’d better raise your sights.’ I told him I’d think about it, then got in touch with Charles to keep him informed. I visited with Bill DeGroot and the CYC fleet leaders several times. I knew Charles was absolutely dedicated to rebuild CYC in Marina del Rey and I was certainly in his corner, even with the fact that we didn’t have the wherewithal to fund it without borrowing. At the same time, I remember our father who told me, ‘Don’t ever borrow money for anything. And, don’t get into the yacht club business again. Yacht clubs have problems creating enough cash flow to pay their bills. Most of them end up in financial trouble on a fairly regular basis. Our own experience from the 1930’s bears this out.'”
Charles Hathaway returned to Los Angeles in the late summer of 1959, was appointed to the CYC Board of Directors in 1960 and elected President on January 16, 1961. Fleet by-laws and regulations were enacted. He recommended adoption and reactivation of boating and other CYC activities. Nine days later, a steering committee of Tanner, Overton, Harris, Charles Hathaway and Athletic Club membership director Ned Weiner was appointed to bring CYC back into the yachting community in a meaningful way. They set an initiation fee of $50 and annual dues of $12 until facilities could be planned and constructed.
Eugene “Fritz” Overton was persuaded to become Commodore in 1961, nearly four decades since he had carried out the same responsibility with distinction at the “old” Club. (“Don’t worry, Fritz, you be the Commodore and we’ll do the work!”) Long loved and respected by yachtsmen the world over, Overton was a winning sailor and cruiser for decades. The Commodore was a saintly figure who proved to be a wonderfully enthusiastic leader at exactly the right time.
The Club’s first meeting was held on May 23rd at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. From Mercury magazine in July 1961, “The meeting room was decorated with burgees, some of the famous CYC trophies and other souvenirs of former CYC days. Some forty members attended, along with representatives of the local press, and many were the tales that were told of the great activities and sportsmanship of earlier days.”
The Commodore’s first appointments were Charles Schoenheider as Fleet Secretary, Charles Tanner as representative to SCYA and C. King Brugman as Chairman of Power Boat Activities. Club dues were then set at $30 per year. The group approved application for membership in the Southern California Yachting Association.
The Club was not admitted to SCYA due to its lack of facilities. After some negotiation, CYC was admitted as an SCYA Associate Member. California Yacht Club could now sponsor yacht races and other events, and Club members could participate in SCYA races. CYC was back in business!
The enthusiasm of bringing California Yacht Club back into prominence was contagious. Members scheduled impromptu cruises to Catalina and visits to the County’s new creation at Marina del Rey. This initial group attracted others, some who remembered the grand days at the old Club, others from existing yacht clubs and the balance, folks new to yachting. All felt that the Athletic Club could provide the assets to establish a top-level yacht club; that the Club would have a real opportunity in this new harbor. In just a matter of weeks, the fledgling Club had grown to 100 members. It was determined that $10 per month dues would be needed to move effectively toward their objectives.
Longtime yachtsman Richard B. Terkel, former Commodore of Transpacific Yacht Club, succeeded Fritz Overton as Commodore in 1962. In planning the members’ activities and helping instill the sense of bringing more members aboard, Commodore Terkel and his Fleet and Flag Officers spent countless hours, but with gratifying results. Leading yachtsmen from Southern California joined, including those who were CYC members at the old Wilmington site.
Catalina continued to entice members with its appealing coves and harbors. Plans were drawn up for a CYC facility on the Island, a 20′ x 40′ building with barbecue, toilet and lockers. A bid was made for a site on Big Geiger Cove for 1962 at an annual rent of $1,500. The Big Geiger Cove bid was rejected, but Charles Hathaway had already begun negotiating for another location at Catalina Harbor. Three months later, Commodore Terkel announced that a lease had been obtained for a very basic shore site at $500 per year. A small spot on land would serve as a meeting place, provide room for a barbecue and the Club flagpole.
It was also becoming obvious that this growing organization was in dire need of a waterside location on the mainland to call home. Working with Club President Charles Hathaway, Commodore Terkel appointed a Facilities Committee to study and develop plans for a Clubhouse. One of Marina del Rey’s first commercial structures was the $3,000,000 Sheraton-Marina Hotel on Bali Way, located at the tip of a quarter-mile mole, surrounded by water on three sides and situated on the new harbor’s main channel.
Active cruising sailor Fred Friendly Harris was elected 1963 Commodore. In February, a lease was negotiated for 7,200 square feet of space on the ground floor, including a meeting room, office and modest kitchen and dining facilities. The lease term was for 15 years at $2,000 per month. Construction was begun. Board minutes note a meeting of CYC directors held on Bill DeGroot’s 55′ Chris Craft Constellation CAVALIER IV on May 28th. The directors toured the Marina and examined the progress of the new facility. On the agenda were plans to formalize a calendar of Club activities.
Chapter Fifteen – A Major Yacht Club – The Second Time Around
Over ninety CYC members attended a Thursday Yachtsmen’s Luncheon to hear about a new trophy for midget ocean racing yachts. Originally known as the Matt J. Walsh Common Sense Class Trophy, the new trophy would continue the tradition that Walsh began many years before of smaller, reasonably priced yachts to compete in open ocean races.
Plans were drawn up for the California Cup, California Yacht Club’s first major regatta. A magnificent sterling silver trophy was donated by a group of members who purchased it from Southern California Trophy Company. The majority of the Club’s membership turned out to conduct the regatta or bring their vessels out to the course and observe the competition. Walt Podalak, skippering his 10 Meter COQUILLE, was the first winner of the California Cup.
Four weeks before the Sheraton Hotel officially opened, California Yacht Club dedicated its new Clubhouse in the center wing of the three-wing hotel on September 22, 1963. Over two hundred members celebrated with Commodore Harris presiding. A program of social activities, some competitive sailing contests and the beginning of a Junior Sailing Program soon blossomed. The hotel had promised slips, but they were slow in performing the construction. Some hastily erected pipe racks with rope handholds served during the interim for small boats. Visiting boats of any size were forced to anchor off the Clubhouse. Steve Newmark’s EVENTIDE was often anchored just a few yards from the Clubhouse. But at least, CYC was in operation!
John Cirner was hired to provide full time service to CYC members as Club Manager, overseeing the growing physical operations. Members loaned and donated pictures and paintings to dress up the Clubhouse. Many brought ships models to display for a month or two at a time.
Marina del Rey’s early days were not exactly smooth sailing. Ocean surges rolled into the harbor (at the time, there was no breakwater capping the channel entrance), making life uncomfortable for boats moored inside. During one stormy period, a virtual tidal wave thundered down the main channel and bounced into the side channels. One third of all the boats in the Marina were destroyed, another third heavily damaged and the owners of those remaining were in shellshock. The fortunes of the Sheraton Hotel were also sinking in stormy seas with failing financial results.
In spite of this turmoil, the Thursday Yachtsmen’s Luncheon had grown substantially, now attracting greater attendance than at any other yacht club luncheon in Southern California. A four-page Club Bulletin was begun by Carolyn West, replacing periodic letters sent out from the Commodore and Management.
Longtime sailor and Santa Monica Yacht Club Staff Commodore Charles Tanner assumed CYC’s helm at the February, 1964 Installation of Officers Dinner. A modest $7.50 per person, including tax and gratuity, covered the cost of a very festive evening.
CYC’s membership began the year at 341 strong. A membership goal of 400 was set to allow the dining room to operate five days each week. A Women’s Auxiliary was formed under the guidance of founder Irene Tanner and first Chairman Robin Hill. The Auxiliary initiated monthly luncheons, weekly Bridge lessons on Wednesdays and other activities. From the beginning, many of the ladies enthusiastically took instruction in dinghy sailing.
George Roosevelt and Sharon Adamson gathered a fledgling core of thirty Junior CYC members to begin what would grow through the years to become one of yachting’s finest Junior Programs. Kathy Kerwin took over duties of the CYC Bulletin as Editor. A lavish Easter Sunday Brunch was offered for $3.50 per person, drawing a capacity crowd.
Over 1,200 slips were now available in Marina del Rey, with growth to more than 2,000 expected before year’s end. The five area yacht clubs, California, Del Rey, Santa Monica, South Coast Corinthian and Windjammers’, joined to plan an exclusive, year-around racing calendar. Jack Weber and Bill Downs headed CYC’s Catalina Harbor activities as Co-chairmen. Jack West was elected Commodore of the Southern California Cruiser Association.
The California Yacht Club Epicurean Society was formed by members interested in sharing exceptional cuisine and fine wines from around the world. The Family Cruise was helped immeasurably by Bill Downs carrying food, supplies, Sabots and several dozen people on his yacht THUNDERBIRD to Catalina Harbor, including the Club chef and helpers. Two hundred CYC families attended the cruise.
Steve Hathaway was awarded the Juniors High Point Trophy for the 1964 season. Bert Grimes and his navigators, Ralph and Gloria Chadwick on NYNA ROSE won the Pabst Trophy Predicted Log Contest Class A. Class B winner was George Pardee on PAR D PAK. John Joannou, World War II veteran of the British Navy, was hired as Club Manager.
A fine sailing fleet of Cal 40’s, the hot new racing Class, provided excitement at the second California Cup Regatta. Don Gumpertz skippered TANGENT to victory over Barney Flam’s FLAMBOUYANT, Davy Crockett on SHIBUI and Wade Hill on PIRATE II. United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 42 was formed by twenty-five CYC members with Larry Pringle named Commander. Southern California Yachting Association elevated CYC from Associate status to Regular membership, recognizing the Club’s impressive growth in remarkably short time. In only a few years, CYC would earn Senior status, the highest yacht club ranking in the Association.
The Big and Little Blooper Awards were inaugurated at the Trophy Award Dinner. These two trophies, large milk cans donated by Adhor Farms’ Merritt Adamson and suitably engraved, would eventually bear mute testimony to bonehead acts by some of California Yacht Club’s otherwise capable men and women over the next three decades. A review of these misdirected deeds, inscribed on the awards, brings to life events which those who caused them hope would be forgotten by the passage of time.
CYC was formally informed that the hotel would be filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy and have to cancel the Club’s lease. This news caused consternation and a mild panic among CYC’s membership, now 341 strong. In the long run, however, this was a fortuitous event, causing the Club to focus its thinking on where it should locate permanently. During these events, plans were being hastily carried out by an embarrassed County of Los Angeles to construct a protective $4,200,000 breakwater at the harbor entrance.
CYC was now staying in its hotel Clubhouse on a month-by-month basis. Construction of slips at the hotel was still proceeding slowly and some Club members would move their boats there the following year. Marina del Rey was still suffering growing pains. By no means did the early years of the Marina constitute a land boom. A modest growth pattern for the area still lived largely in the minds of County officials and was shared by a few positive-thinking business leaders.
In 1965, dinghy sailor and longtime powerboater William A. DeGroot, Jr. was elected Commodore. Jules and Virginia Rubens masterfully handled the agenda and entertainment for the Installation Dinner as they would for many future Club events. Active member Jack Weber also juggled the responsibility of serving as Commodore at both King Harbor Yacht Club and Southern California Yachting Association.
The Midget Ocean Racing Fleet (MORF) was established in the Los Angeles area to provide for serious racing of 20- to 30-foot sailboats, recognizing the increasing costs of campaigning larger yachts. Ed Sundberg was elected MORF representative from Santa Monica Bay and this Fleet quickly gained in popularity. While Los Angeles Athletic Club’s Mercury continued to carry news about California Yacht Club, the CYC Bulletin took another step forward with Oscar Brodney taking over as Editor. A naming contest bestowed the winning entry, the Breeze, upon the publication. A more professional appearance soon appeared with graphics, pictures and typeset articles. Since its inception, Breeze has been a monthly Club publication.
At a Thursday Men’s Luncheon, Commodore Emeritus Fritz Overton, age 85, spoke about the very first TransPacific Yacht Race in 1906 and plans he was currently making for a future trip to Tahiti. Entrants for the 1965 TransPacific Yacht Race included (for his eighth time in a row) Larry Pringle and his 78′ Hershaft schooner QUEEN MAB, plus a first time race to Hawaii by Milt Smith on MAMIE.
The first CYC Commodore’s Cruise was a stag affair with over 100 members attending at Emerald Bay, Catalina. The powerboaters established an intensive six-week course class under the instruction of Carolyn West and Shirley Ritts which graduated women as well qualified Predicted Log observers. The Club’s powerboat program prospered as Herb Ritts captured Class A and George Liddy won Class B in Long Beach Yacht Club’s Hall Scott Race. Ritts then won Class A in CYC’s Pabst-Bendix Log Race, besting 26 other entries and Bob Bowditch capturing Class B honors. Ritts then won the coveted Martini and Rossi National Predicted Log Trophy, the Herbert L. Stone Trophy and the George Codrington Trophy, gathering three of the five national awards in the sport. Herb Ritts won a total of 26 races for the year, a new national championship record for Log racing. His average percentage of error for all of his 1965 races was only 0.829%.
The Club reactivated the Catalina Challenge for powerboats “Around Catalina.” A new record was set for the 79-mile course of 1 hour and 32 minutes, eclipsing the existing record of 1 hour and 48 minutes set back in 1920 by Frank A. Garbutt driving his MYSTERY V.
Two big ocean racers competed in an exciting California Cup with Jim Kilroy’s KIALOA besting Pat Dougan’s COLUMBIA in a very close match. Captain Irving Johnson, on one of his frequent visits to CYC, shared his recent 1,200-mile trip up the Nile in YANKEE.
The Club’s tenuous situation at the Sheraton Hotel required an immediate solution. Where CYC would continue to operate had to be addressed. Charles Hathaway and Commodore DeGroot searched around Marina del Rey for an appropriate site for a permanent Clubhouse. Challenges of the search for a new home and nervous financial decisions are reflected in the sidebar (opposite), “A Leap of Faith at a Crucial Time.”
In 1966, Commodore Hays McLellan, well experienced in dinghy and open ocean racing, assumed the leadership of the Club. Another CYC member with the title of Commodore during this year was Walter Del Mar, elected to head the Southern California Cruiser Association. The popular Women’s Auxiliary adopted a more formal organizational mission, “to support the activities of the men, participate in all facets of yachting, to plan social activities and to promote activities which will be interesting and enjoyable to all members of the California Yacht Club,” as well as to continue their sailing, luncheon, bridge and other interests.
Staff Commodore Fritz Overton and his new bride Leah made plans to move to Tahiti and enjoy the islands where he made landfall so many times. He sold his yacht TIARE to a San Francisco couple who planned to continue the boat’s wanderlust by sailing around the world. On May 21, ground was broken for CYC’s new Clubhouse across F Channel from the hotel venue of the then- existing Clubhouse. The new facility was planned on two levels containing 15,000 square feet of space for the growing membership. A welcomed 225 slips, ranging from 80′ down to 24′ would eventually, with dry storage, allow more than 400 families to keep their vessels at the Club.
Dozens of official boats and spectator craft followed the progress of the 1966 California Cup, won by Arnold Haskell’s CHUBASCO (Newport Harbor Yacht Club) over Los Angeles Yacht Club’s NARRAGANSETT (once flagship of New York Yacht Club), skippered by Gordon Curtis.
Well over three hundred participants turned out for another of George Pardee’s patented Family Cruises at Catalina. At this year’s Pabst Log Race, Mrs. Norman Pabst, whose family donated the trophy, told the crowd that all of her late husband’s trophies were melted down and formed into one huge Paul Revere punch bowl. That bowl was donated to California Yacht Club as the event’s winning trophy. Herb Ritz recognized the potential of encouraging powerboaters to begin competing in Predicted Log racing. He knew that first-time racers can face sometimes-cockeyed challenges. Ritz scoured the streets of Wilmington, gathering ersatz components for his visually off-balance Ritz Trophy, which would be awarded to winning Novice Log racers.
The stag Commodore’s Cruise was repeated at Emerald Cove with dinghy and canoe races, egg tosses, volleyball, baseball and other sports designed to keep the men occupied. The Women’s Auxiliary, now free for a weekend to concentrate on planning, finalized details for the first Birthday Ball, celebrating the Club’s founding in 1922. This formal event was a resounding success and eventually became the Commodore’s Ball, which has continued as the Club’s most popular and elegant social event to this day.
Junior sailor Steve Hathaway participated in the hotly contested Finn Nationals, raced in heavy weather on San Francisco Bay. Stan Dashew’s son Skip breezed well ahead of the fleet to completely outclass his competition in the Shark Catamaran National Championships.
Sharon Adamson and Kathy Loewy ardently supported women’s sailing activities, Ralph Chadwick headed another very successful Catalina Challenge speedboat race and Jack and Carolyn West wrote a wildly successful book, Cruising the Pacific Coast. Dr. Blake Watson was inducted into Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame (the equivalent of America’s Baseball Hall of Fame) for (among other successes) his on-the-ice leadership of Canada’s Gold Medal Olympic Team. Larry Pringle sailed only an average Mazatlan Race, but there was a widespread rumor he would have finished much higher in the fleet had he not loaded the boat down with his usual bountiful supply of haute cuisine and beverage.
Cruising yacht TE AMO owner Carlton Rogers donated a beautiful trophy for the winner of an open ocean race, The Pacific Cup, as a real challenge to “two sticker” sailboats. Larry Bartlett captured many trophies in the growing Schock 25 Fleet, while gaining a reputation for successfully attracting many single ladies to help him crew in his winning efforts.
After examining many alternatives, the decision to move the Club from the Marina-Sheraton Hotel to a leasehold site directly across F Basin had been made. With a $1,300,000 financial commitment (the better part of $20,000,000 in the 1998 economy, nearly half that amount due to inflation alone) now underwritten by the Athletic Club, plans were drawn up by architect Bob Faxon. In April 1966, a $375,000 contract with Huntington Engineering Corporation was signed to construct 235 slips following the layout design of Port Captain Walter Del Mar. On May 21, 1966, Commodore Hays McLellan presided over the official groundbreaking for slips at the new location. While construction on the uniquely designed, six-sided modern Clubhouse and adjoining slips progressed, members continued their activities at the hotel on a month-to-month basis.
On October 2nd, 110 members moved their boats to the newly completed slips and had a front row seat as the Clubhouse took shape. The October Breeze noted, “It looked like a Twentieth Century version of the Spanish Armada on October 2 when 110 California Yacht Club boats moved into their slips at our new Clubhouse site.”
New members continued to join California Yacht Club. As the membership grew, the number of activities in which they were involved multiplied. From just a handful of leaders making the decisions, an impressive number of Club committees evolved to conduct on-the-water and social activities. CYC was developing once again into a formidable yacht club, shaping the course it would follow in the future.
Chapter Sixteen – CYC’s New and Permanent Home
With the hotel venue now completely inadequate, the good news arrived that the building inspectors approved California Yacht Club’s move to its new Clubhouse. The imposing new edifice officially opened on June 10, 1967, although construction was not fully completed. Commodore Wade Hill presided over the weeklong celebration, carried out with framing still allowing the blue sky to show through to a banquet held on plywood floors. The chef had resigned two days prior to the opening. The newly installed plumbing stopped up with 1,000 members and guests in the building. Heard from one enthusiastic member, “Who cares? We now have our home!”
Monthly dues increased from $18 to $26 and the membership rolls increased toward the 600 mark. Additional leasehold fronting on Admiralty Way was purchased for $88,171. The Club received a jolt when the County proposed building a new land and water fire station next to the CYC site, where the County library now stands. Fireboats speeding down the narrow basin on emergency calls would roil the Club’s anchorage. Fortunately, with the help of one of Los Angeles Athletic Club’s law firms, this matter was satisfactorily resolved by the County building the station on the other side of the property.
In 1967, active keelboat sailor Commodore Wade Hill began his year by formally instituting CYC’s Sail Committee, recognizing that the Club’s burgeoning sailing talent deserved better structure and promotion. At the Installation Dance, the CYC Signal Service Award, the highest recognition for exceptional service to the Club and yachting, was awarded to Fleet Captain Walter Del Mar for his outstanding service as Port Captain. Signal Service Awards had been awarded on only two occasions since the Club’s founding in 1922. Pauline Jessup assumed the responsibility as Editor of the Breeze.
CYC challenged another CYC, Cleveland Yacht Club. Al Edgerton (who belonged to both Clubs) ably managed these home and home regattas, and assisted by the promotional activities of Fleet Secretary Jack Weber, who had just been elected Commodore of Pacific Coast Yachting Association. The first regatta was raced by teams of Cal 40’s and 36’s with the West Coast CYC winning the contest 3-2. California Yacht Club challenged for the Lipton Cup and won with Phil Murray’s Eight Meter ALBATROSS. CYC’s improving Junior Program had an active year chaired by Ed Jessup and Richard McClellan who selected top young Club sailors Buzz Boettcher, Dave Croshere as instructors. Two of their students were already successful competitors: Ben Mitchell, Jr. and Bobby Burns.
The Catalina Challenge course for the Hal Roach Trophy was extended to 165 miles from its previous 95 miles. Jim Kilroy on KIALOA II demonstrated excellent tactics in the California Cup, but the lighter STORMVOGEL was able to carry “acres of nylon” from her ketch rig as she turned the weather mark and won the Cup for owner Cornelius Bruynzeel. Catalina proved an irresistible attraction to 90 self-styled “flower children,” otherwise reputable, grown men enjoying the Club’s Stag Cruise at Emerald Bay. Steak, lobster tail at meals morning, noon and night plus an open bar guaranteed a first class weekend for all who participated.
Without a doubt, the premier event of this year was the opening of CYC’s new Clubhouse. From the starting cannon at 2:30 PM on Saturday, June 10th to the wee small hours eight days later when the last happy celebrants left for home, members and their guests were treated to an ongoing series of exciting events.
Staff Commodore Fred Harris headed the SCYA Mid-Summer Regatta. The 903 boats and 49 yacht clubs represented in the event set a United States record. Fleet Captain Walter Del Mar was Operations Chairman and Ralph and Gloria Chadwick outdid themselves helping on the Committee. CYC sailors did quite well, winning first place in five separate classes. Soon afterwards, CYC’s Phil Chace became National Champion of the PC Class. The Club’s sailors traveled east for another CYC vs. CYC competition, hosted by Cleveland Yacht Club and raced in R Boats. The racing was close, but local knowledge told the tale with Cleveland winning to even out the series.
The Club’s powerboaters sponsored October’s Davis-Fulton Predicted Log Race from Marina del Rey to San Francisco, one of the longest Log races in history at 7 days, 371 miles and 34 checkpoints. Weldon and Eleanor Fulton won on FULTANA with 1.770-% error for the entire series. Predicted Log racer Bert grimes captured the King Brugman Trophy.
P-28 sailor and film executive Seymour Friedman wrote, directed and produced a CYC documentary film, covering the growing Club’s many activities, bringing great recognition to CYC as the film was distributed to many other yacht clubs throughout North America.
Champion small boat sailor and bluewater racing navigator Tracy Holmes became Commodore in 1968. The Club continued to grow, now nearly 600 members. With the members now enjoying their new Marina del Rey Clubhouse, California Yacht Club was again emerging as one of the premier Yacht Clubs in the Country. Gratifying results continued from the huge amount of volunteer effort and professional management which went into CYC’s rebirth.
Carl Carlson chaired a record-setting Catalina Challenge that saw Bob Spratte and Gene Rieck complete the 105-mile run from Marina del Rey around the island and back in one hour and fifty five minutes in their 18-foot Glastron TRAV’LER. Cory Moll came aboard as General Manager and the supreme moniker of “Master of Mixes” was bestowed on head bartender Nick Karaly by CYC’s own Burt Hixson, whose Marina del Rey Warehouse Restaurant was receiving worldwide recognition. The California Cup saw two identical Columbia 50’s race for victory, Charles Hathaway on GEM defeating Hank Grandin, Jr. of St. Francis Yacht Club on CYGNUS. GEM later captured top honors in the offshore Santa Barbara Island Race.
Bruce Eels, Ned Wiener, Blake Watson and Ed Rabbitt headed a “Stagless Stag” Cruise to Emerald Cove. A new era of Club Cruising was emerging, the men recognizing that the entire experience is a whole lot more fun shared with their ladies. CYC was honored by Los Angeles Beautiful as one of 35 outstanding organizations taking care that their facilities reflected Southern California’s natural beauty. The third annual match between CYC and CYC resulted in California besting Cleveland three to two in an excellent team race. The long distance Davis-Fulton Predicted Log Race to San Francisco ended up with just one boat finishing the marathon effort, the Fultons’ FULTANA.
The Women’s Auxiliary hosted CYC’s Peggy Slater and her mother at their November luncheon. Peggy held the audience spellbound with an account of her recent solo voyage from the mainland to Hawaii. She told of her terrifying fall overboard in heavy weather, to be trapped between her downed headsail and VALENTINE’s hull. Finally hauling herself back on deck, she lay in fever-racked semiconsciousness. The Coast Guard gave her up for lost after an exclusive search for the overdue open ocean adventuress. The audience breathed a visible sigh when she described her rescue by a Japanese freighter after airplane pilots at a party in Hawaii surmised Peggy may have sailed opposite to the course radioed to her after she hauled herself back on board. The freighter found her six hundred miles off course.
As 1969 began, George Roosevelt, Jr., Star Boat skipper and open ocean sailor on J Boats and square-riggers, assumed the office of Commodore. Bob Guhl was installed as Commodore of Southern California Cruiser Association. Brutal gale force winds caused the SCYA Midwinter Races finals to be canceled, except for Los Angeles Harbor where the biggest boats raced and disaster reigned. CYC’s WINDHOVER was sunk with Bob Taylor and Mike Levin hospitalized. However, ODIN (S. Parks) won Class D, SUNDOWNER (Ed Sundberg) captured the Cal 36 competition, GEM (Charles Hathaway) tied for the Columbia 50 trophy and MAMIE (Milt Smith) took a close second in the K-40 group. Hathaway had a fine year at the helm, capturing the Mayor’s Trophy race, the Pt. Dume Transbay competition and the Santa Barbara Island race while placing highly in several other contests.
The January 28th Installation Dinner was also a stormy but memorable affair. Not solely for the lively proceedings as popular Commodore Roosevelt and his Bridge were installed and outgoing Commodore Tracy Holmes, his Bridge and chairmen praised for their contributions. While dinner was being served, a tragedy unfolded in the skies above Santa Monica Bay. After taking off from Los Angeles International Airport, a United Airlines Boeing 727 crashed into Santa Monica Bay. The Coast Guard reached Larry Pringle and longtime friend Kaarin Hays at the Dinner. The two of them immediately took MONEY BUCKET through pouring rain to search for survivors at the crash scene. Among others quickly responding to the emergency were Mel Grau, piloting POOKA VI with Alan Allan, also Vice Commodore Walter Del Mar at MINORCA’s helm with Oscar Brodney, Ned Weiner and Steve Deskey, all still dressed in formal evening wear. Unfortunately, no survivors were found. Flotilla 42 members who went out in search of possible survivors were awarded the right to wear the Club’s Signal Service Award insignia on their Club blazers.
St. Paddy was dutifully recognized in March with Anna Maria Alberghetti and the Pearce Sisters performing at the Leprechaun Ball as guests of Seymour Friedman . . . all enjoying the CYC headwaiter sporting symbolic green dyed hair. Seymour was successfully establishing himself as the informal Entertainment Chairman of the Club for this and many additional well run events.
The California Cup saw Ken Demeuse’s BLACKFIN edging Bob Johnson’s WINDWARD PASSAGE in one of the West Coast’s hardest fought on-the-water competitions. The Club’s sail and power racing exploits were highlighted by the award of engraved pewter mugs to skippers of winning boats. The mugs were kept and enthusiastically utilized at the main bar. Fred Harris II completed an extended archeological cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean, crossed the Atlantic to French Guiana and returned to CYC, leaving his yacht NEPHELI for charter in the Caribbean.
Junior sailors Buzz Boettcher with tactician Steve Hathaway, tied for second place in the prestigious Congressional Cup with fellow Juniors Dick Loewy and Craig Scott. Two slightly overage ex-Juniors Harrison Hine and Steve Carlson assisted this group of youngsters. A coveted highlight of the Woman’s Auxiliary was its annual luncheon aboard Larry Pringle’s QUEEN MAB. Larry was always more than accommodating by providing use of his stately schooner for Club groups. (PUT PICTURE OF QUEEN MAB NEXT TO THIS COMMENT, NOTE THAT QUEEN MAB SAILED IN OVER NINE TRANSPACS).
Fleet Captain Jack Weber addressed the growing congestion in Marina del Rey’s main channel by proposing three buoyed lanes, one for seaward vessels, another for homebound vessels and the middle one reserved for boats under sail. Gene Grant won the Walter Del Mar Perpetual Trophy for Log racing on his CIRCE and Bill Pagen emerged as CYC outstanding new Log racer, garnering the Herb Ritts Novice Trophy.
Enthusiastic powerboater Walter Del Mar took CYC’s helm as 1970 Commodore. The Club’s slips continued to overflow with a waiting list. Next door, the newly completed Marina City Club gave slip lease preference to CYC members who wanted to be close to their Club friends. Dan and Mesa Lundberg took a break from four years of voyaging throughout the world on their 48-foot ketch PASSAT, allowing themselves and their children an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with life back in America.
Two of CYC’s major regattas were inaugurated, the Matt Walsh Series for the Midget Ocean Racing Fleet and the Overton Series for Ocean Racing Yachts. January 24th’s Malibu-Transbay Race kicked off the first legs of both Series. The marathon first race of the Overton finished 27 hours after its 11:00 AM start.
Just prior to his 90th birthday, Staff Commodore Fritz Overton died on March 5th, after a short illness. His death left the entire membership with gratitude for his significant impact upon this Club and the other yacht clubs and yachting organizations with which he came in contact as the sport was born and flourished in Southern California.
CYC’s long standing relationship with the movie industry carried over to television programs increasingly venturing outside studios and sound stages to film their programs on location. Images of the Club began to frequently appear on the small screen. Two programs often filmed at CYC were “Marcus Welby, M.D.” and “Name of the Game.”
Predicted Log racing prowess continued to be enhanced with an active novice skipper’s instructional series as well as training for observers. CYC’s Women’s Auxiliary took over two classic sailing vessels for their 1970 Spring Regatta, Larry Pringle’s QUEEN MAB and Rex Oxford’s LEIBCHEN. The Club’s dinner special was being offered for $2.95, including beverage.
At CYC’s Catalina Ballast Point location, a basic deck was completed under the leadership of Walter Del Mar, ably supported by Roger Wilson’s construction expertise just in time for the big July 4th weekend. Twenty or more members, stalwarts of the Catalina Station Committee, had become talented carpenters and mechanics in the building process. Eighty Club members toasted the Committee’s dedicated efforts during an inaugural barbecue. The flag and burgee were lowered at sunset to touching sounds of the “Star Spangled Banner” sung by the entire group and echoing off the island’s nearby hills.
The Del Mar Trophy Predicted Log Race kicked off an outstanding cruise all the way to San Francisco, tying in with the Fulton-Davis Race. It was so enthusiastically received that several sailboats accompanied the powerboaters, some even engaging in Predicted Log competition on the way to the Golden Gate and St. Francis Yacht Club. Bill Ficker at the helm of Patrick Dugan’s COLUMBIA of Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club bested George O’Brien’s ENDLESS SUMMER from Royal Vancouver Yacht Club to capture the California Cup.
In 1971, Bill Berssen, prolific boating writer, small boat sailor and navigator, was elected Commodore. His first proclamation was to champion the progress at Ballast Point. Half a roof was added to the Club’s Catalina Harbor platform and a small structure was added that would eventually house a galley and storage lockers. Bob Wilson donated a 500-gallon water tank. This was the year of the monomatic head as the new convenience was introduced to Ballast Point. “Quite an improvement over the cactus patches out back,” was reported in the Breeze, now being edited this year by Carol Weis and Esther Newmark.
WESTWARD, with Don and Ann Gumpertz at the helm, began her cruise southward as escort vessel for the Los Angeles to Mazatlan Yacht Race. They stopped on the way to give 200 gallons of water, spark plugs, fishhooks and other gifts to the local residents at Magdalena Bay, helping to make their lives more pleasant. After the regatta, they planned to transit the Panama Canal and stopped at Panama’s Coiba Island. Like any cruising sailors, they dropped anchor in protective waters. Their anchorage, however, happened to be located just yards from the weekend retreat of Panama strongman General Omar Torrijos. A high speedboat loaded with machine gun toting soldiers immediately pulled up. Don and Ann invited the military and government personnel aboard for drinks. Their hospitality resulted in an invitation to visit the General ashore in his villa as well as hosted visits to high level Panamanian fishing tournaments and parties for CYC’s goodwill ambassadors.
Recently returned Dan Lundberg recounted his family’s four years of worldwide adventurous cruising to an appreciative Thursday Yachtsmen’s Luncheon audience.
Bob Wilson encouraged potential Predicted Log powerboat racers from the Marina del Rey area to attend Novice Race Seminars, a unique event among yacht clubs. The seminars filled the meeting rooms and resulted in a number of new participants participating in the events, some of them joining the Club. Fierce competitors GRAYBEARD and KIAOLA II finished behind Bob Lynch’s SIRIUS (Newport Harbor Yacht Club) with Burke Sawyer at the helm in The California Cup. Gene Grant captured the James Craig Trophy, the second CYC Predicted Log racer to win America’s top award in that competition. The Craig Race was initiated in 1907 with a race from New York to Bermuda.
CYC hosted the 1971 Soling North American Championships, chaired by George and Harrison Hine. Four weeks later, the Pacific Catamaran National Championships were hosted by the Club and chaired by Terrell Greene. Milt Smith captured a first place trophy on MAMIE in Transpac, Terry Green’s YELLOW JACKET took a second, Gordon Armstrong’s FLYING CLOUD garnered a third and Jack Scott, skippering LYNIA, took a fourth.
More trophy winning Cal 40’s were owned by California Yacht Club members than by any other yacht club. This exciting Class set long distance racing records and preceded the larger ultra-light displacement boats by two decades. The Club’s Overton Series attracted a hundred or more boats with the Cal 40’s dominating that event since its beginning in 1965. Merritt Adamson’s PIRATE II was overall winner in 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969. Other names sharing this coveted trophy were Allen Puckett’s ALSUNA II for 1967 and Bill Allen, Jr. for 1970 with his MADGRADOR. Rear Commodore Ed Sundberg broke the hold of the Cal 40’s this year by winning on SUNDANCER, a Cal 43, although Jackson Scott’s Cal 40 LYNLA finished close behind in second place.
(PICTURE CAPTION) At a Thursday Yachtsmen’s Luncheon, several renowned sailors and world travelers were guests. (PUT THE PICTURE AND IDENTS HERE, PAGE 2, MARCH 1971 BREEZE. – Left to right: Dwight Long, globe girdling sailor as a youth; Commodore Berssen, noted for his Boating Almanacs; Ed Boden of the Los Angeles Adventurers Club, singlehanded sailor of many open ocean crossings and Captain Irving Johnson, lecturer and writer who, with his wife Exy, cruised Europe’s waterways and canals on YANKEE and made numerous circumnavigations.)
Bob Guhl was the top West Coast Log racer competing for the American Power Boat Association National Championship, leading California racers in the national George W. Codrington and Herbert L. Stone Trophy contests. Bob Wilson won the Pabst Trophy and Gene Grant captured the King Brugman Trophy to continue CYC’s domination of Predicted Log racing.
Women’s Auxiliary Executive Chairman Evelyn Grant reported on an outstanding year for that group, reaching and exceeding their primary goals: increased participation of all women members; to strengthen their sailing skills, seamanship, hospitality and bridge playing; and have fun doing all these things. For the first time, women were directly represented on the Staff Officers Council by the Executive Chairman serving as a member of that group. Particular high points this year were over fifty women participating in at least one sailing event, and the Auxiliary’s Sailing Committee bringing home trophies in Interclub Regattas and other events under the chairmanship of Willie Hjorth.
CYC’s kitchen and dining room staff were honored by the Wine and Food Society of Southern California, which presented their esteemed Cordon Bleu Award for the CYC Epicurean Society’s outstanding Christmas Dinner. Member Walter Matthau keynoted the Annual Christmas Luncheon to the glee of all in the audience.
Chapter Seventeen – A Half-Century Anniversary Celebration
CYC’s Golden Anniversary Year, 1972, was headed by Commodore Jack Weber, longtime dinghy and keelboat sailor. Bob Leslie was elected Commodore of the Southern California Yachting Association. Skipp Calvert took over as Editor for Breeze. Bob Nordskog was elected President of Pacific Offshore Power Boat Racing Association and Claude Smith served as Commodore of Catalina Island Yacht Club.
CYC hosted the Tahiti Race Dinner for 170 Tahiti-bound sailors and friends to kick off the world’s longest sailboat race. Several CYC members sailed on the seven competing yachts. The following week, the new Erickson 46 was the match race boat competing for the California Cup. America’s Cup skipper Bill Ficker sailed Bill Pascoe’s BRIGHT STAR against Ted Hood sailing his own ROBIN WEST. In one of the world’s most widely observed match races of the year, Ficker engaged Hood in a ferocious downwind tacking duel, moving ahead of Hood to win the deciding race of the Cup.
The first Lobster Broil and Clambake Cruise was held at the Catalina Ballast Point facility, helping set the stage for years of members enthusiastically participating in themed weekend cruises there. Curt Olson, with a crew of top CYC Junior sailors on a Cal 25, captured the highly regarded Balboa Yacht Club Governor’s Cup; symbol of Junior match racing’s championship. Olson and Jim Grubbs were also winning trophies in the 470, an Olympic Class boat. The Sailing Championship of North America was decided at host California Yacht Club in the Mallory Cup Regatta, held for the first time on Santa Monica Bay. Bob Guhl won the Predicted Log Lipton Trophy Race, Tom Leweck sailed to victory in the Lehman 12 Championship and Mickey Colich captured the Overton Series on BORBA. Twenty-six boats participated in the Club’s Golden Anniversary Cruise to Mexico.
Port Captain Terry Greene won the Mexican Olympic Trophy for Sportsmanship after the Mazatlan Race, having altered his course to aid a competitor who sustained damage. Greene then continued on to win the First Place Trophy in his class. The Women’s Auxiliary meticulously planned the Golden Anniversary Ball, transforming the Clubhouse upper level into a fantasy setting. The Los Angeles Times stated, “Yacht Club Goes Formal – For One Golden Evening.” Formal it was . . . a turnaway crowd in black tie and ball gowns celebrating an elegant event under the direction of Ball Chairman Rosemary Stewart. Golden drapes and crystal chandeliers highlighted one of the finest social events the Club had ever conducted. Lloyd Dunn capped a year’s planning with the Golden Breeze, a special edition of the Club’s magazine that celebrated CYC’s First Fifty Years.
Staff Commodore Fred Friendly Harris passed away, but his memory lived on in his memorial services as Staff Commodore George Roosevelt shared, “In the beginning years of my friendship with Fred Harris, I accused him of being a cross between Walter Mitty and an elf. The NEMISIS was not a Cal 40. It was the HMS VICTORY. And in his Porsche he had General Patton riding shotgun. He smiled at this but he didn’t deny it.” Commodore Roosevelt concluded his remarks stating what everyone there knew, that Fred Harris was a gentleman as well as a great competitor. Soon after, the popular Fred Harris Series was established in his honor.
Long distance sailboat racing and cruising veteran Ed Sundberg raised his thirteen star Commodore’s flag for 1973, and received the news that the January edition of American Boating listed California Yacht Club among the top ten yacht clubs in America. Burt Hixson was traveling around the world, mailing postcards from exotic worldwide cruising venues. CYC’s activities were reported by David Zetlin, new Editor of the Breeze, including Commodore Sundberg winning Los Angeles Yacht Club’s traditional Opening Day race and bringing the Commodores’ Flagship Trophy to CYC for the first time. Port Captain Robert Wilson was elected Commodore of Southern California Cruisers Association. The Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs (ASMBYC) remembered Staff Commodore Fred Harris as its first Yachtsman of the Year at that organization’s January Awards Banquet.
Allen Puckett overcame some fierce competition to again win the Overton Series. His effort included changing three spinnakers during one race leg plus enduring a trial in The Room with the Protest Committee to unscramble The Rules. Puckett on his 46′ Ericson BLACKBIRD also won the Ensenada Race and his class in the Pacific Ocean Racing Conference. He later was first to finish in a fleet of 108 boats in the inaugural Fred Harris Series race.
After sixty years of owning sailboats, Staff Commodore Charlie Tanner surprised Club members by purchasing a powerboat, IRENE. It was unique, befitting Commodore Tanner in that it was an open hulled, 28-foot craft powered by a kerosene burning, steam generating engine. Staff Commodore Bill DeGroot was named Honorary Commodore of the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs.
CYC powerboaters did well this year. Wendell Fulton won Balboa Yacht Club’s Lipton Trophy Race and, a week later, San Diego Yacht Club’s International Predicted Log Race. Dr. Morris Edelstein captured the Pritikin Trophy, Bob Guhl made it two in a row by bringing home the Barusch Trophy and Fleet Captain Robert Wilson won the Captain A. A. Oakley Trophy.
Two of the most celebrated racing boats of all time competed in the California Cup. RAGTIME and WINDWARD PASSAGE had finished just four minutes apart in the Transpac and resumed their dueling ways at California Yacht Club. RAGTIME inched across the finish line ahead of PASSAGE by a mere nine seconds in a zero visibility fog.
Frank Hathaway was named Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 42 after years of active participation. A heartwarming effort by Art Cretura, Bud Shank, John Hjorth, Chris Hansen, Walter Del Mar, Vice Commodore Bart McAllister, John McKennon, George Firth, Howard Ryan, George Hoffman and other Club members completed an eight-year dream of Carroll Moser. When Moser took ill and was unable to complete his 42′ sloop AURELIUS, this volunteer crew stepped in. They completed the project in four weeks and commissioned AURELIUS for the use of Moser and his wife.
At the Annual Dinner Dance on January 12, 1974 CYC’s Fleet came under the leadership of Commodore Hobart S. McAllister, an active cruising and gentleman yachtsman. The offshore speedster group conducted the first Pacific Offshore Powerboat Racing Association Fun Run to Catalina. Among the competitors were Elmore Nelson, Staff Commodore Walter Del Mar, Dr. Morris Edelstein, Irv Phillips, Bill Pagen and Hank Messmore . . . all left in the wake of Bob Nordskog’s run on AMERICAN VIKING, which averaged 76 mph. Barry Labow was elected Commodore of the Southern California Yachting Association. Bill Herrschaft was honored by ASMBYC by being selected as that organization’s first Junior Yachtsman of the Year.
Former R Boat sailor Al Edgerton and Dr. George Hoffman were honored for their herculean contributions to CYC race management, having expertly set the course for some eighty major regattas over the past several years. With racing rule changes keeping many of the world’s most prestigious racing yachts out of the winners circles, Jim Kilroy unveiled plans for his new aluminum hull maxiboat KIALOA III, a 79′ ketch built specifically to the new rule. At the same time Jake Wood won the Nassau to Jamaica Race on his maxiboat SORCERY. He then won the Tahiti Transpac Race and continued on the water to Australia to compete in the Sydney/Hobart/Cape Town/Rio de Janeiro Races.
Scott Stolnitz and Roy Disney won the Marina del Rey to San Diego Race, Scott skippering his father Art’s Newport 30 TRIAD. This was a good year for Disney, capturing the top Class A IOR trophy in the Ensenada Race as well as top Divided Rig honors in this race as well as the Mazatlan Race.
At CYC, the host Club, Kathy Loewy won her second consecutive Coronado 25 Ladies’ National Championship. David Meginnity won the coveted Richard Rheem Perpetual Trophy on San Francisco Bay and Ben Mitchell, Jr. captured the Douglas Cup, highest honor in national intercollegiate sailing competition. At the same time, Ben Mitchell, Sr. was helping RAGTIME to victory over NEWSBOY in the California Cup.
Powerboater Marylyn Ritchie became the first woman to win the Herb Ritts Series and Dr. Morris Edelstein captured the Barusch Perpetual Trophy. Junior sailor Matt Schweitzer won the Windsurfing World Championship in a field of 66 of the world’s finest competitors. Town and Country Magazine lauded CYC as one of America’s finest yacht clubs in a glowing article chronicling the Club’s accomplishments since its reorganization at Marina del Rey.
Chapter Eighteen – Juniors and Rowers Add to the Club’s Strength
In 1975, open ocean racing skipper Terrell E. Greene was installed as Commodore. Vance Holdam established an Observer Corps for Predicted Log racing, bringing the fun of the sport to non-boat owners. Observers served as official representatives of the Race Committee during Log competition.
Jake Wood’s SORCERY, winner of the Nassau to Jamaica and the Tahiti Races, was selected as the CYC boat to face JOLI of Seattle in the California Cup. These two identical C&C 61-foot deepwater sloops slugged it out in the 1974 Mazatlan Race with William Niemi, Jr’s JOLI edging SORCERY. Out for blood, SORCERY engaged JOLI in a vicious tacking duel, 43 tacks in 4 miles to catch up to the leading boat, but was edged by 26 seconds in the first race. However, the two boats battled each other with splendid tactics over the three-day regatta that concluded as SORCERY claimed the Cup on Sunday with a total difference of 1 minute and 26 seconds over 54 miles of superb racing.
The Commodore’s Cruise meandered down the Coast to Mexico, then back to Catalina just in time for the Family Cruise Weekend. Milt Smith, in his sixth Transpac Race, captured first in Class C and second overall on MAMIE as CYC yacht SUNSET BOULEVARD won Class A and eleventh overall with John Calley at the helm. Jim Kilroy on KIALOA III, bested all other competitors in heavy winds and seas on the Sydney to Hobart Race, Down Under. Helped by Ben Mitchell, Sr., one of open ocean racing’s premier navigators, Kilroy’s time of 2 days, 14 hours, 36 minutes and 56 seconds would stand as a record for the next 21 years.
Years later, Milt Smith talked fondly about his enjoyment of open ocean sailing during eight Transpacs and on coastal races on three MAMIE’s. Milt had a particular affection for his crew members, including Dave Croshere (“excellent sailmaker and very talented helmsman”), Fred Shorr (“a perfectionist, always thinking and doing everything to make MAMIE go faster”), Steve and Charles Hathaway (“during rotten conditions and being soaked to the skin, always stood their watches with determination and great attitudes, there could not be better crewmen than these two”), Steve Griggs (“a real competitor, he felt if you lost a race, you wasted your time, always worked hard and loved to win”) and bride Virginia (“cooked every meal for our crews, froze them in aluminum casseroles she would label with names none of us could read or understand or much less pronounce, we ate well”). Milt was in love with the sea, with racing and getting the very best out of a well-found boat with a hard-working crew.
Jay Rainwater concluded an exhaustive study of Junior Sailing and recommended a substantially enhanced program, which was positively received by the Staff Officers Council. Plans were put into place for a greatly expanded Junior Activities Committee. Club Manager Tony Dicks moved to the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Assistant Manager Rainer Gehres was promoted to General Manager and Steve Hathaway was appointed CYC’s Assistant Manager. Ken Young, Bobby Burns and Harrison Hine sailed their Etchell 22 to victory, winning the Prince of Wales Trophy at the Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, Massachusetts to claim the North American Match Racing Championship. Tom Leweck won the Cal 25 National Championship.
Longtime powerboater Robert S. Wilson was elected 1976 Commodore. Restaurateur Burt Hixson designed his new 68′ Chris Craft NO RESERVATIONS and commenced a leisurely cruise from the Great Lakes down the Mississippi and back to CYC via the Panama Canal. Club member Robert Goulet was enjoying his boating activities so much he moved full time on his yacht ROGO in the Marina. Ralph Chadwick was elected Commodore of the Southern California Cruisers Association. Bob Leslie was elected ASMBYC’s Yachtsman of the Year.
Staff Commodore Walter Del Mar captured the Mid-Winter Predicted Log Contest, following champions Gene Grant in 1975 and Vance Holdam in 1974 to retain the Bobrick and Britton trophies for CYC. Del Mar then set a new West Coast Log Racing record by winning the Pritikin contest with an error of 0.0218% and becoming the first West Coast skipper to join the American Power Boat Association “300” Club. CYC’s dominance in the sport was continued with Ralph Chadwick capturing the 175-mile Craig Race to San Diego and back and later in the year, the Club receiving the Bendix Trophy as the area’s top Club in powerboat racing.
Jim Kilroy brought KIALOA III home to CYC after winning trophies around the world, setting line honors in 28 races, capturing 11 elapsed time records and winning 9 races on corrected time as well. He gave his championship sailboat a rest before setting off on another string of international conquests.
The roof of the Ballast Point facility was completed and Don and Ann Gumpertz returned to CYC on their classic yacht WESTWARD after a six-year, 47,000-mile and 60 country world cruise. Marylyn Ritchie, whose Grand Banks BOBBER II was proudly serving as the Club’s Race Committee boat, deeded the Marylyn Ritchie Trophy to be awarded annually to the season-winning yacht competing in the Sunset Series. Ken Young sailed his Soling WOOMERA to victory in the Series to capture that award.
Charles Hathaway captured the imagination of middle aged men everywhere when he rowed his heavy oak dory FRITZ from Catalina to Marina del Rey to celebrate his 50th birthday. This unique effort resulted in the beginning of CYC’s Rowing Club.
Longtime racing sailor D. Stephen Deskey took the Club’s helm as 1977 Commodore. Jeff Clarke came on board as new General Manager, replacing Rainer Gehres, who was promoted to manage Riviera Country and Tennis Clubs. Barry Labow received the Yachtsman of the Year Award for Santa Monica Bay. The California Cup Trophy spent a short time at the Sydney’s Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, homeport of BALLYHOO, winner of the 1976 California Cup Regatta. One of the Club’s most well received educational seminars featured Dave Croshere, Tom Leweck, Andy Lockton and Ken Young teaching fundamentals of buoy racing slanted toward the beginning sailor.
CYC Juniors’ high standards of sportsmanship resulted in an invitation extended by St. Francis Yacht Club for the Juniors to attend a John Bertrand seminar at Tinsley Island. Olympic Gold Medalist Bertrand later traveled South to head the Juniors’ Catalina Ballast Point Seminar. CYC women sailors continued the popular Sabot racing events with their 12th annual Spring Regatta, the series attracting as many as 70 entrants through the years. Two of the world’s fastest yachts, Jim Kilroy’s KIALOA III and Mark Johnson’s WINDWARD PASSAGE battled it out in the California Cup with PASSAGE winning the three race series.
The Club’s Sunday Brunch consistently packed the dining room with members and guests. The Breeze noted that the weekly Friday night Seafood Buffet “is an orgy of ocean dishes that can palpitate your palate line a struck marlin.” Several Club cruises to the Catalina Clubhouse drew hundreds for weekends of fun and sun. The First Mates’ Cruise turned back the clock to “The Fabulous Forties,” with many of the men digging into their closets to retrieve their armed forces uniforms as costumes. Most found they could still fit into their service issue togs!
The First Annual California Yacht Club Catalina to Marina del Rey Rowing and Paddling Derby was won by CYC Assistant Manager Steve Hathaway, who covered the 33 miles from the Ithsmus to CYC in eight hours and seven minutes in an Alden Double. The new Rowing Club began with a series of activities coordinated with Marina del Rey’s 15th Anniversary celebration and was on its way to establishing itself as another of CYC’s first class committees. Milt and Virginia Smith won the Mixed Doubles competition in the Annual Paddle Tennis Tournament and the Mamie Trophy, named in honor of Virginia’s mother.
Powerboat Predicted Log Champion Gene Grant became CYC’s 1978 Commodore. The Club’s membership was 706 members, the highest since reorganizing in Marina del Rey. At his Installation Banquet, the Commodore noted that over 2,000 individuals would be using Club facilities during the year, counting spouses and children. A sizeable committee list, an active event calendar and excellent physical facilities would provide a satisfying selection of activities for the varied interests of such a sizeable membership. ASMBYC named Craig Leweck as Junior Yachtsman of the Year.
Matt Schweitzer won the North American Windsurfing Championship, later in the year leading a victorious U.S. Team in the World competition as well as winning the individual long distance 7-kilometer race and freestyle competition. CYC hosted the Olympic Classes for the Midwinter Series with over 60 entries.
Three generations of the Charles Hathaway family departed Marina del Rey for a six-month cruise to Tahiti on their 65-foot auxiliary ketch TIARE: Charles and wife Patty, daughters Sally and Robin, son Steve and his wife Cyndy and their 17-month old son Cory. After their arrival in Tahiti, a group of over one hundred CYC, Los Angeles Athletic Club and Riviera Country Club members flew to the Southern Hemisphere to meet up with the TIARE adventurers for a rollicking July 4th celebration at Moorea’s Club Mediterranee.
John MacLaurin survived fog, rain and holing of his hull by a log on the home stretch to win the prestigious 3/4 Ton World Championship in Victoria, British Columbia.
Commodore Grant extended an invitation to a new breed of boat to compete in The California Cup. Bill Lee’s MERLIN and Harry Moloshco’s DRIFTER, 67 and 69 feet overall, respectively, were built expressly for long distance racing: Transpac, down the coast to Mexico and similar open ocean contests. Super lightweight, they had battled each other on their maiden long distance race in the ’77 Transpac, MERLIN winning by a scant 18 minutes. Soon after in the La Paz Race, DRIFTER won by 5 minutes and then the Manzanillo Race saw MERLIN finishing but 22 miles ahead of DRIFTER. The stage was set for a showdown in one of the great California Cup competitions. DRIFTER edged MERLIN by 1 minute in the first race on Friday with MERLIN winning on Saturday by 1 minute and 46 seconds in the second. In the final and deciding race on Sunday, a series of exciting spinnaker jibe-sets enabled DRIFTER to hold off a hard-charging MERLIN to win the Cup by 14 seconds amid a pandemonium of whistles and horns from the wildly cheering spectator fleet on Santa Monica Bay.
Bob Nordskog celebrated his 65th birthday by smashing the San Francisco to Marina del Rey waterspeed record by over two hours, speeding through fog, heavy swells and carefully threading his way through weekend pleasure boaters in 7 hours, 2 minutes and 39 seconds. Jake Woods’ SORCERY was first to finish in the Transpac Tahiti Race and the Club’s Power Fleet scored the highest number of points in the season-long series of competitions on Santa Monica Bay.
Cruising and racing sailor Doug Levi took over the Club’s helm for 1979 and emphasized CYC’s active social program. Commodore Levi, Judy and their children moved on board their yacht SUMMERWIND to be close to the Club. Milt and Virginia Smith were holding forth as winners on the paddle tennis courts as future paddle tennis leaders Dick and Lita Dulgarian joined as new members. Bruce Kay helped develop new rules to handle the flood of players wanting court time.
Steve Hathaway, returning to the Club as Assistant Manager, wrote excellent pictorial articles for the Breeze about his family’s recent cruise of the South Pacific (“One of the most beautiful memories of [the island of] Tahaa was our last evening watching the sunset behind Bora Bora a few miles away.”) Dr. Glenn Thorpe (WA6FJE) kept in radio touch with the Hathaways on their cruise by ham radio, an important impetus in the formation of CYC’s Radio Amateur Club. Dr. Morris Edelstein actively recruited members to share the collective satisfaction of communicating worldwide over the airwaves.
Tom Leweck’s son Craig continued to hone his sailing skills as an active Junior member, coming off a great 1977 and 1978 capturing regional and national Sabot championships. Roy Disney continued to enjoy his 52′ yawl SHAMROCK with son Roy Pat, taking respite from long hours tending to the growing entertainment business at Walt Disney Studios. With offshore wins last year and this year (1st in Divided Rig, 1977 and 1978 in the Ensenada Race), Roy was catching the sailing bug that would soon propel him headlong into long distance racing. Jack and Barbara Woodhull’s Cal 40, PERSEPHONE, was also a winning force on the racing circuit. PERSEPHONE would establish an amazing record, wining practically all the Cal 40 National Championship Regattas ever held. Jake Wood acted as navigator on Lee Newfield’s 33′ WINDFALL.
Stan and Rita Dashew built their new DEERFOOT in New Zealand and sailed her back to CYC. DEERFOOT was a 67′ new generation cruising sailboat which would form the basis for a new line of world class yachts. Hugh Beatty skippered his 57′ yawl TEMPTATION past famous old-timers ANTIGUA and KELPIE to win the One More Time! Wooden Boat Regatta.
Scott Stolnitz’ progress on his around-the-world sailboat cruise was featured in the Herald Examiner at the same time seafarers everywhere mourned the untimely death of member Philippe Cousteau. John MacLaurin proved that winning the World 3/4 Ton Championship in 1978 was no lucky turn of events by rolling to victory in the 1979 World 1 Ton Championship on his purple PENDRAGON. Sailed at New York Yacht Club’s Ida Lewis facility in Rhode Island, heavy weather made the 1 Ton competition a battle for survival. John Pagen captured the Santa Cruz 27 Class National Championship.
On the powerboat scene, Bob Nordskog continued to set world records and renamed his 1,650 horsepower Scarab THE SKYHAWK. With the enthusiastic support of Fishing Chairman Bud Miller, Roger Brindamour and Dave Ritchie paced the Power Fleet’s fishing activities by bringing home impressive numbers of marlin on RATED X and DIAMOND LIL.
CYC’s Mal de Mers band, actively performing at Club events under the lead of Gene Wickham, was invited to play onstage at the Academy Awards. The Fish Fry, spearheaded by John and Kathy Isaksen, was one of several popular annual cruises to Ballast Point. Stan and Jeanne Strasberg left on an extended cruise on QUE PASA for Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and up the East Coast, an odyssey that would continue for nearly three years. Bud Vandervort signed on as the Club’s dockmaster. The Rowing Club initiated its Celebration of Henley Regatta, held from UCLA’s Marina del Rey rowing facility. Dick and Suzanne Zimbert chaired the Commodore’s Cruise to the Channel Islands and landside yacht clubs “up North.”
Sailor and powerboater Roger Wilson was elected 1980 Commodore, he and his fellow Predicted Loggers recently capturing Log Racing honors up and down the coast and across the country.
The King of Spain Trophy, originally dedicated by King Alphonse of Spain in 1929 to promote racing in the Eight Meter Class, was rededicated this year for competition in the International Star Class. Owen Churchill had won the trophy six out of eight times and playfully enforced his “ownership rights” to the trophy which he officially retired by taking it to Mexico as part of his huge collection of trophies. In 1968, Churchill was convinced to bring it back to CYC where it was rededicated for presentation to winners of Olympic Class competition. CYC hosted the 1980 Star Class Regatta and the newly redeeded trophy was awarded to winning CYC member Trigve Liljestrand. Marylyn Ritchie was recognized for her gracious use of BOBBER II as CYC’s Race Committee boat.
Joe Castagna and Vance Holdam conquered heavy seas as co-skippers on CASTAGNA RESULTS to win the Harry Brittanin Trophy in the SCYA Midwinters Predicted Log Races and first place in the Santa Monica Power Fleet Series. Later in the season, longtime Cal 40 sailor Bob Leslie’s Predicted Log prowess captured the Donaldson and Palmer Cups. Robin Grant won the Pritikin Cup, Santa Monica Bay Log Championship and Ritts Trophy, while Dave Ritchie won the Santa Monica Bay Power Fleet Race #3 including two legs with zero error. Bob Nordskog captured the Parker, Arizona Enduro 7-hour competition with straightaway speeds averaging 115 miles per hour on his 38-foot, 1,650 horsepower Cigarette Boat POWERBOAT MAGAZINE. Nordskog then smashed the 1,284-mile Canada to Mexico powerboat record.
Dockmaster Bud Vandervort accompanied Phil Kamins on a quick trip to the Bahamas to take engine parts to Kamins’ classic sloop SERENADE. This beautiful vessel was first built for Jascha Heifetz who treasured sailing her out of the Club’s former location in Wilmington. Hart Issacs grew up sailing the sloop that more recently flew the CYC burgee with owner Phillipe Cousteau, who then sold SERENADE to the Kamins family.
The California Cup saw Malin Burnham on ENTERPRISE defeat Dennis Conner on FREEDOM in a battle of Twelve Meter Boats to determine who would sail off against Ted Turner to decide the defender for the upcoming America’s Cup. Actress Bo Derek was a guest aboard FREEDOM, which some traditionalists said stirred up an ancient jinx of the sea or distracted the crew. The Thursday Luncheons continued to grow under the leadership of Paul Eitel.
With about one third of the Club’s membership being single, Lillian Fiore, Helen Crowder, Frank Gleberman and Ed Wohl formed the nucleus to begin a Singles Committee and planned mixers, harbor cruises, trips to Catalina and excursions to other venues. Single members of other local yacht clubs were invited to attend, as were those from Los Angeles Athletic Club and Riviera Golf and Tennis Clubs. Over the next several years, the four to five annual Singles mixer events would host two to three hundred Singles enjoying the Club’s hospitality.
During one memorable Singles Urban Cowboy theme party, some four hundred guests joined to sing Club Manager Steve Hathaway a Happy Birthday song, punctuated by one very exotic dancer on the stage doing what could best be described as a “free form” dance. The next several Singles events were more sedate. David Hagenow, Christine Cubbon, Martin McCarthy, Cartwright Sheppard, Jerry Eckermann, Julie Rosen and others would take active roles through two decades chairing the sometimes-eclectic activities of the Singles Committee. Income from Singles events, amounting to well into five figures, was donated to purchase appreciated capital equipment for the Race Committee and the Clubhouse.
As the Los Angeles Athletic Club approached its 100th Anniversary, a myriad of celebratory programs were developed in recognition of the downtown Club’s first century of existence. Our First Hundred Years, written by Betty Lou Young, served as one of a number of excellent references for the publication you are reading. Copies may be checked out from the Athletic Club by those interested in perusing a most interesting history of one of the great institutions of Los Angeles.
During that Centennial celebration in 1980, an exceptional endeavor by Charles Hathaway, involving CYC’s three sister Clubs, captured the imagination of California Yacht Club members. Hathaway’s earlier solo crossing of the Catalina Channel would pale by comparison. A similar row from the island’s Ithsmus formed the first leg of an ambitious triad, which would visit each Club. In an ocean shell, Charles set out at 2:00 AM with a steady 20 strokes per minute for the 33-mile crossing to California Yacht Club.
Eight hours after his start, a welcoming group cheered Hathaway’s arrival at CYC’s guest dock. Ceremony of his successful crossing was brief, as he set out on a 7-mile run north along the coast through Venice and Santa Monica to the edge of Pacific Palisades, then up a tortuous grade to Riviera Country Club. Scant time was allowed for congratulations before 54-year-old Hathaway jumped on a 10-speed bicycle for his final 20-mile leg. Navigating the traffic on Westside streets, then through midtown Los Angeles, he finally arrived at the Los Angeles Athletic Club to a roaring greeting by an assemblage of friends, family, Athletic Club members and media. With his personal physical effort on Los Angeles Athletic Club’s 100th birthday, Charles Hathaway’s unique triathlon graphically reminded Los Angeles of a central theme embodied by the Athletic Club through its years of existence: the value of maintaining fit physical condition and staying the course to success. His accomplishment was a fitting cap to Los Angeles Athletic Club’s Centennial Celebration.
In 1981, William R. Pagen assumed CYC’s helm as Commodore. Commodore Pagen, a very active powerboater, saw fellow member Bob Nordskog elected President of the Pacific Offshore Power Boat Racing Association with Bob Leslie and future bride Uta Ferguson as Vice Presidents.
CYC was honored to be selected as host for the 1983 Star Class World Championship Regatta in addition to its traditional role hosting two yearly Star events: the Star Class competition during the annual Midwinter Regatta and the King of Spain Regatta. Commodore Pagen, the Merrit Adamsons, Frank Hathaways, Charles Hathaways and Tom Heberts were among those participating in President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in Washington. The Club’s favorite restaurant impresario, Burt Hixson, recounted to a large throng of Santa Monica Bay sailors at a CYC seminar his recent survival while yachting during fierce storms.
While CYC was winning trophies on the sailing, power and rowing circuits, many members were taking time satisfy their wandering spirits as cruisers. (See sidebar on Cruising, page XX.) The Peter Kruse family took leave of their land life with an extended cruise to Mexico and Hawaii. Rudy and Wendy Eisler, Martin McCarthy and crew made a Transatlantic crossing on UNICORN, making landfall in Portugal and continuing to sail other countries. Coming back home from their 3-year cruise, the Strasburgs enjoyed visiting with Walter Cronkite on the Intercoastal Waterway and swapping cruising tales. George and Margie Agajanian were also busy cruising in Mexico, then decided to establish themselves professionally in Marina del Rey by purchasing Aggie Chris Craft.
Dr. Morris Edelstein departed on a leisurely cruise of Mexico aboard his powerboat 4 ME TOO. The tables groaned under the weight of gleaming silver trophies at CYC’s largest Trophy Night ever, capping the end of a superb season of on-the-water competition. Jim Bishop ended a decade as Editor (and sometimes Co-Editor with J.J. Quinn) of the Breeze and handed over that stewardship to Marylyn Wilson and Frank Gleberman.
CYC’s popular “kissing Commodore,” racing and cruising sailor Howard Ryan, assumed the Fleet leadership in 1982. He kicked off the year with a Commodore’s Breakfast, gathering the ever-growing number of committee chairs and officers together to feel the strength of their combined activities for the following twelve months. 1972 Olympic Bronze Medal winner (rowing) Anita DeFrantz, an attorney for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, joined the Club to participate in its Rowing activities.
Staff Commodore Robert Wilson received recognition as ASMBYC’s Yachtsman of the Year for his activities in 1981. Nick Karalay, CYC’s head bartender (and veteran of 17 years as a Club employee) was interviewed for the Breeze . . . but would not disclose the ingredients for his famous Bloody Mary mix.
The Cal 40’s continued to move in, re-establishing dock F-700 as “Cal 40 Row.” Wine connoisseur Harrison Hine kept everyone apprised of CYC’s continued growth in Star Boat racing through his well-written Breeze columns. Realizing that members’ boats (particularly Marylyn Wilson’s BOBBER II) were being overworked as Race Committee boats, the Club purchased a twin engine Luhrs 32 and christened it OWEN CHURCHILL.
Fielding a rowing team for the first time, CYC rowers under the tutelage of Stan Mullin took four firsts, one second and one fourth at the San Diego Rowing Club Regatta in March. Opening Day celebrated CYC’s 60th Anniversary. In Oscar Brodney’s “Yachity-Yachity” column in May’s Breeze (Oscar used his movieland script writing expertise to entertain CYC members for years), “A few days ago, Pam Blumenthal, who recently had a four-way heart bypass, went aboard LA PETITE to visit Joe Harris who had recently undergone a four-way bypass. Then both went aboard MISS PATT to visit Maurie Swatt who recently had a four-way bypass; then all three went aboard PATTY M to visit Jack Brown who recently had a four-way bypass. We’re happy to report that all sixteen bypasses are doing beautifully.” Pure vintage Oscar.
The purchase of four Laser >>’s (a modern reference to Laser II’s) was a major advance in CYC’s Junior Activities Program, helping hone the youngsters’ Olympic Class skills. The Commodore’s Cruise sailed South to Mexico. CYC hosted the MORC International Championships. Rower Ken Jacobs took two gold medals and one silver at the U.S. National Rowing Championships in Detroit. In Miami, Chuck McClelland won two silver medals in the Master’s National Rowing Championships. CYC’s Rowing Team was on the ascendancy.
The California Cup featured two of sailing’s grandest boats, maxi’s CONDOR, owned by Bob Bell and KIALOA III, pride of CYC’s Jim Kilroy. A hard fought competition ended up with CONDOR winning the Cup. An extra bit of excitement included the huge Malibu fire breaking out on Saturday. Several CYC Race Committee members literally jumped ship off Malibu to return to their threatened homes, all of which fortunately survived the conflagration. California Yacht Club stepped into the computer age with a Hewlett Packard 125 computer (nicknamed “Howard”) and Don Hill’s new International Yacht Race Management System providing the bits and bytes to chronicle the race results with amazing (at the time) style and accuracy.
Charles Hathaway, as a special advisor to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, wangled invitations for himself and son Steve to compete in the New York City Marathon. They pushed themselves beyond all former personal limits and both finished in the top third of a field of 16,000 competitors.
Chapter Nineteen – Evolution of the CYC Sail Committee
A winning racing sailor on his yacht INSATIABLE, Tom Armstrong took the Club’s helm as 1983 Commodore. The Commodore devoted much of his time strengthening the depth of talent on the Sail Committee and Race Committee, helping enhance the Club’s record of sailing competition and conduct of top-level regattas. Commodore Armstrong was instrumental in the formation of the California Corinthian Foundation for the purpose of raising funds for Corinthian sailing in Marina del Rey.
A very successful Mississippi Riverboat Gamblers’ evening raised thousands of dollars to get the Foundation off to an excellent start. Part of the funds were used to purchase CALIFORNIA ONE, a Six Meter Boat from vaunted designer Pelle Petterson. CALIFORNIA ONE raced with an all star crew of Bob Burns II, Ed Lorence, Ben Mitchell, Jr., Bill Stump, Kimo Worthington and George Yueh, in the California Cup. CALIFORNIA ONE handily won the fleet races, but was narrowly defeated in the sudden death final by ST. FRANCIS VII. Shortly after, however, CALIFORNIA ONE bested America’s top Six Meter sailors by winning the National Championship and to cap it off, garnered the World Championship the next week in Newport Harbor.
While being towed to San Francisco to compete in the American/Australian Challenge Cup on San Francisco Bay, CALIFORNIA ONE fell off her thriller. While crews worked feverishly to repair the damage, complete restoration could not be accomplished. While the actual competition almost saw the miracle of miracles, Ben Mitchell, Jr. and his crew again bowed to ST. FRANCIS VIII in a hard fought competition.
Hundreds of members and visiting dignitaries participated in Opening Day festivities featuring the transformation of CYC’s docks into scenes from Greece, Great Britain, Mexico, France, Spain and other colorful venues. Audrey and Dick Campbell, with the help of Dr. Glenn Thorpe, formed the CYC Ham Radio Club that eventually grew to some 150 members. The Thursday Yachting Luncheons were drawing from forty to one hundred people each week and became known as “Yachting’s Town Hall.” The California Coastal Commission approved CYC’s plans for the addition of several dozen 35-foot to 120-foot slips to accommodate the larger yachts owned by members.
The International Star Class World Championship Regatta was held at CYC, challenged by unseasonably warm weather and fluky winds. The Race Committee did a skillful job setting the marks and calling the course changes during the weeklong regatta. Many of the world’s top sailors participated, always delighted to compete in Star battles with each other and particularly at California Yacht Club.
A CYC team, with Bill Herrschaft, sister Sue Herrschaft, brother Tom Herrschaft and Paul Yates plus Del Rey Yacht Club member Doug McLean as crew, sailed their Merit 25, SEA DREAM to victory in the MORC International Championships in Toronto. Jake Woods’ huge new 82′ maxi SORCERY was launched and took her place among KIALOA IV, CONDOR, NIRVANA, BUMBLEBEE, BOOMERANG and other multi million-dollar racing machines on the maxi around-the-world racing circuit with owner/skipper Woods, sailing master Ed Lowrence and navigator Ben Mitchell, Sr. WOW (Women on the Water) competition saw a CYC team garnering second place under co-skippers Cheryl Mahaffey and Erma Darling. They made plans to build a top-notch 1984 team to bring home the WOW first place trophy, deeded by CYC Staff Commodore Robert Wilson.
Catalina Harbor’s Ballast Point facility was upgraded. Ballast Point was now constantly utilized year around by individual cruising boats as well as being filled to capacity by several annual summertime Club cruises.
This year’s Christmas Luncheon featured an outrageous rendition of Dickens’ (with apologies to him) “A Christmas Carol,” played out by CYC members. Oscar Brodney write a cameo portion of the script, which brought the crowd to its feet when Scrooge (Club Manager Steve Hathaway) was told by the Ghost of Christmas Future (Don Gomes) that “CYC” means “Count Your Crowd!”
Chapter Twenty – CYC’s Contributions to the Los Angeles Olympic Games
Veteran sailor and yachting organization leader Millard Rosing assumed the CYC Fleet leadership as 1984 Commodore. Four days later, one of CYC’s earliest members at the Marina del Rey Clubhouse, Dr. Blake Watson, was honored by St. John’s Hospital (Santa Monica) naming its new nursery after him. Dr. Watson, long active in the Club’s Epicurean Society, had delivered over 7,000 babies since the hospital’s opening in 1942. Harold Berkman was re-elected Chairman of the California Boating and Waterways Commission. Whit Shaffer was elected Commodore of the Southern California Cruiser Association.
Commodore Rosing locked up plans for the late summer Commodore’s Cruise well in advance as he and Rear Commodore Steve Curran would be heading up CYC’s participation in the 1984 Olympics yachting events. A February Mardis Gras Party featuring the CYC Gleezettes proved a great social event. In March, a lovely lady came back home to California Yacht Club. ANGELITA, the boat on which Owen Churchill won America’s first Olympic Gold Medal more than a half century before had been refurbished by Los Angeles Olympic Games President Peter Ueberroth. In a special ceremony held on the Club’s lawn, Ueberroth donated the vessel to serve as flagship for the upcoming Olympic Sailing events off Long Beach.
The Club’s committees now numbered over sixty. So many new and ongoing projects were taking place throughout the year that Commodore Rosing identified the need to prioritize membership activities and better coordinate them with the goals of management. He asked Commodore’s Liaison Frank Gleberman to institute a Long-Range Planning Process addressing the Fleet’s most important current needs as well as set the stage for future endeavors. This year-long undertaking (known as the Delphi Process) involved all the Club’s top Fleet Officers and several Staff Commodores, helping coordinate the activities of the Club’s various interest groups. It also set the stage for the Fleet and Club Management to examine and more efficiently accomplish their complimentary objectives. The Staff Officers Council and Bridge took a more active role in planning budgets and allocating funds. This was extremely helpful in allocating funds to enable the Club to host additional national and international yachting events.
Richard Rogers, on SHADOW, blew away the competition by winning the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit (SORC) Offshore-A crown with five straight victories, the sixth race going to Jake Woods’ SORCERY. Opening Day saw the return to dock parties featuring themes from various nations. The day’s activities were capped by a visiting dance troupe from Rarotonga, Cook Islands, presenting a wildly enthusiastic performance delighting everyone present.
Harrison Hine was awarded the Don Buck Memorial Trophy by Pacific Mariners Yacht Club for his outstanding job as General Chairman of the Star World Championships. Harrison was also named Santa Monica Bay’s Yachtsman of the Year. Port Captain Tom Leweck hailed Allen Puckett in a Breeze column for his many years of competitive sailing. Puckett skippered countless long distance and coastal races aboard his BLACKBIRD and served as navigator on other ocean-going speedsters, all this while running Hughes Aircraft as CEO.
The Clubhouse interior was refurbished, and sorely needed new trophy cabinets were constructed to grace the atrium (the Club had completely run out of space for its burgeoning collection of trophies).
The 1984 Olympic Games yachting events were held at Long Beach Harbor. CYC’s Rod Davis, as crew, captured a Gold Medal in the Soling Class. CYC served as lead group for the 150-person Santa Monica Bay contingent conducting the Windglider sailing competition on Olympic Circle Alpha. (See Commodore Rosing’s Olympic Games report on page XXXXXXXX.)
Juniors Mike Sturman and Sandy Adler won the National Sea Explorers Championship in Laser >>’s. They joined the ranks of CYC Junior sailors Tom Herrschaft, Grant Hill, Ron Baerwitz, Sharon Higginbotham and John Morris, who had won this United States Yacht Racing Union Championship in one or more previous years.
Bob Nordskog, holder of 44 current world records in offshore powerboats, shattered the world speed record for Long Beach to San Francisco with a time of 6 hours, 49 minutes, 21 seconds.
The “biggest” California Cup ever (“big” meaning that sailing’s biggest and most powerful racing machines, the Maxis, were competing as a fleet) saw the fleet and elimination races whittle the finals down to two of these majestic craft, CYC member Jim Kilroy’s KIALOA III and New Yorker Georgo Coumantaros’ BOOMERANG. BOOMERANG captured the Cup, with CYC’s Jake Wood on SORCERY winning the consolation race against Sumner “Huey” Long’s ONDINE.
An odder sort of on-the-water competition entered its third year, the CYC Singles Committee ET (Energetic Team) competition in inflatable dinghies, using only hands for paddles. Erma Darling skippered a soaked team to win the event.
A more dignified watercraft competition involved rowing a dory. What was unusual was that this dory was rowed for over 26 hours. CYC’s 58-year old CYC President, Charles Hathaway, rowed his 200-pound dory FRITZ from Santa Barbara to Marina del Rey through day and night toward California Yacht Club. Pea soup fog in the Marina del Rey area caused hardy rower and escort boat DOS ROSES (with Commodore Rosing and the Charles Hathaway family on board) to pass the harbor entrance. But they quickly recovered their navigational bearings and proceeded up the Main Channel to a welcoming crowd at the Club’s guest docks. On another long distance event, Len Sheridan’s newly acquired Nelson Marek 41, RELIANCE, took second place in the Los Angeles to Mazatlan Race on Sheridan’s first attempt at a Mexican coastal race.
In 1985, one of Great Britain’s sons, racing sailor Fred Brown, was elected Commodore for 1985. Marylyn Wilson passed the baton of responsibility for editing Breeze to Bunny Rippel. In the space of a few weeks, Buddy Melges (addressing his desire to bring the America’s Cup back to the U.S.), Rod Stephens (the great J Boat designer and racer), Peggy Slater (arguably the greatest woman skipper in history) and Melodile Garbutt Hathaway (who competed in a laminated paper shell on Playa del Rey Lagoon in 1904 – with son Charles and grandson Steve began three generations of rowers in the family) were speakers at the Thursday Yachting Luncheons, furthering the superb level of those programs. From the Club’s earliest days in Marina del Rey, these luncheons were open to the entire yachting community as a public service.
More trophies at the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs annual dinner meeting went to CYC than any other club. Among those honored were CYC member (and Staff Commodore of Santa Monica YC) Glenn Thorpe as Yachtsman of the Year and Mike Sturman as Junior Yachtsman of the Year. At the Southern California Yachting Association annual meeting, Barry Labow was honored for his outstanding participation as Co-Director of Competition for the 1984 Olympic Games yachting events.
Opening Day social activities, 1985, ventured up landside from the docks under the Chairmanship of Betta Mortarotti. Following the conclusion of the official ceremonies, hundreds of members and visitors attended a lively carnival nestled between the Clubhouse and the swimming pools. The Club’s many committees headed up games, exhibits and other merriment lasting for several hours.
An ambitious Commodore’s Cruise was carried out under the leadership of Chuck Vinnik, John O’Halloran and Jason Hailey. Half the participants cruised to Mexico for several days, then returned back to the States where they were met by other CYC yachts that had harbor-hopped their way South to meet them in San Diego.
The California Cup hosted a new breed of racing sailboats, the ULDB (Ultra-Light Displacement Boat) “sleds.” These 68-foot maxiboats were built of space age materials for extreme lightness, weighing less than one third of a regular Class A Maxi. Their extremely light displacement allowed these speedsters to surf down the surface of big waves at speeds approaching 30 knots at times on ocean races to Hawaii – thus the “sled” moniker.
Hosting this event would catch the interest of several CYC competitors who commissioned ULDB-70’s of their own, including Roy Disney (PYEWACKET), Hal Ward (CHEVAL), John Wintersteen (HOTEL CALIFORNIA), Bob Doughty (building EVOLUTION after chartering KATHMANDU), Mitchell Rouse (BARRACUDA and TAXI DANCER) and Brack Duker (EVOLUTION). Racing these ocean-going ULDB-70’s around the buoys was a first for a regatta. The boats’ size and configuration created the condition for some interesting collisions on a closed course, keeping Marina del Rey’s fiberglass and carbon fiber repair experts busy and happy. Yet, the sleds would enthusiastically return to compete at The California Cup for nearly a decade.
After his exhilarating Mazatlan Race the previous year, Len Sheridan and his RELIANCE traveled to San Diego to compete for the heralded Lipton Cup. With superb crew tactics during the race, RELIANCE won the Cup, bringing her home to a magnificent welcoming party honoring Sheridan, Bob Burns, Dave Croshere, Mike Downing, Bill Herrschaft, Jim Hammitt, Tom Leweck, Ed Lorence, Ben Mitchell, Jr., Bill Stump and George Yueh for an exceptional accomplishment.
A new regatta, the Santa Monica Bay Challenge, designed by CYC to promote racing teams from all the area’s yacht clubs, was won by California Yacht Club. Vice Commodore Steve Curran co-skippered MAGIC to victory in Transpac. John MacLaurin and his new bright red PENDRAGON, with Kimo Worthington at the helm, walked all over the opposition to win the Big Boat Series on San Francisco Bay. This was the first of four Big Boat Series victories MacLaurin would capture – the other three would be in 1987, 1988 and 1989. Larry Bartlett skippered SAIL ME II to victory in the Sunset Series to capture the Jack Weber Trophy while Steve Hathaway won the Marylyn Ritchie Trophy on PACIFIC HIGH.
A drive to place pictures of members’ boats on the walls of the Gallery Room got off to a quick start. The walls soon filled. A capacity crowd attended an outstanding social event, “A Salute to Musicals in Black and White.” A generous gift of a 15- and 20-meter antenna from Charles and Patty Hathaway strengthened the Ham Radio Club’s worldwide operations when the new addition was erected on the CYC Ham Shack.
As longtime sailor Steve Curran was elected 1986 Commodore, he was helping the Fleet strengthen its planning with a more comprehensive Fleet budget planning process. The strengths of Management and the Fleet were brought more into balance to fund the Club’s wide range of activities. Bob Roth was installed as Commodore of the Southern California Cruiser Association. Staff Commodore Millard Rosing was elected Commodore of Pacific Coast Yachting Association, joining CYC Staff Commodores Donald Douglas, Charles Tanner and Jack Weber who had served yachting in that position. Mike Sturman was again elected ASMBYC’s Junior Yachtsman of the Year for his 1985 successes in sailing.
A repeat of the popular Riverboat Gamblers’ Night (renamed Casino Night) again raised thousands of dollars for the California Corinthian Foundation.
The construction of a new 35-foot Race Committee boat, also christened OWEN CHURCHILL, was authorized to accommodate the Club’s continuing growth in regatta management. CYC hosted the USYRU Women’s Week Offshore Racing Clinic, enhancing the Club women’s sailing efforts. Small boat sailing took a more prominent role with the inauguration of the Sunstroke Series, sailed in several dinghy classes each summertime Thursday evening. The Club’s Capri-14 Class blossomed.
Steve Hathaway completed his service as Club Manager to move downtown as General Manager of the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Athletic Club Manager Tony Dicks returned to manage CYC after a decade downtown. A new annual Mammoth Mountain skiing tradition was started by a large contingent of Club members. After their active days on the slopes, they gathered to celebrate with gusto at Mammoth Village’s Mortarotti and MacCulloch mountain homes.
For this year’s Opening Day activities, celebrated by CYC and the other eight yacht clubs in Marina del Rey, a welcome change was about to take place. Santa Monica Yacht Club traditionally kicked off Saturday’s schedule of five clubs consecutively celebrating the “opening of the season.” The remaining four clubs followed a similar schedule on Sunday. Hundreds of visiting yacht club officials from up and down the coast would spend an active weekend visiting the nine clubs, joined by local and regional government and civic officials. Those who made it through two days of libations, hors d’oeuvres, more libations, shotguns and cannons signaling the official commissioning of each club, speeches by proud Commodores, a sumptuous lunch on Saturday at CYC and a bountiful brunch at Del Rey Yacht Club on Sunday gained a few pounds, an overexposure to sun and some new friendships.
One price to pay for all this fun, however, was enduring each yacht club’s Opening Day recitation of the name of every visiting dignitary and spouse by the Commodore from a master list. The Commodore then followed each introduction with a courtesy salute. By the end of the second day, this lengthy process had consumed a total of nearly four hours. The important visitors enjoyed hearing their names announced and members of each club were suitably impressed that these stalwarts of Southern California’s boating community were present at their Opening Day. But by the first afternoon, eyes from the contingent of visitors glazed over as the introductions droned on and on.
It was time for something to be done. A simple CYC solution sped up the process. Vice Commodore Tom Leweck read the names, leaving Commodore Curran free to quickly render a salute as Leweck began reading the next name. Thirty minutes were reduced to eight. Literally thousands of audience man hours were saved with the happy result that more time became available for the visitors to enjoy their libations, a nice luncheon and visiting with good friends during their two-hour stopover at California Yacht Club. Praise the Lord, fire the cannon, commission the Club and pass the Chardonnay!
CYC standout Rod Davis was called into service by the Newport Yacht Club America’s Cup syndicate as helmsman for their Cup hopeful EAGLE. Kimo Worthington and Bob Little joined in that effort, serving as crew. Jennifer “J.J.” Isler was named to the U.S. Sailing Team.
(CAPTION FOR PARTY PICTURE FROM ROMAN HOLIDAY) Ballast Point sported all the trappings of ancient Rome at the Roman Holiday Cruise. (Names of the people in the picture) could have stepped right out of the Roman Senate.
One of the most striking in an outstanding series of cruise parties held at the Ballast Point facility in Catalina Harbor was the Roman Holiday Party. Decorations, costumes, cuisine served by the Club Staff and the overall revelry would have made Julius Caesar proud.
Jake Wood’s 80.5-foot, 80,000-pound maxiboat SORCERY powered through heavy winds to take all the honors at Hawaii’s Kenwood Cup with CYC’s Norm Davant as sailing master, Vice Commodore Tom Leweck as navigator and a crew of 26 (including six from EAGLE, at that time being shipped to Australia). The official dedication of the CYC Amateur Radio Group Communication Center was held, with a special tribute to Dr. Glenn Thorpe (WA6FJE) as the driving force in making this top quality facility a reality. Thorpe’s early efforts were a solid foundation for CYC radio enthusiasts maintaining an active high seas radio net program, staying in touch with Club sailors on their cruising odysseys throughout the world.
J.J. Isler was named Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year for her impressive 1986 accomplishments in competitive sailing. New course records were set in the tenth running of the 33-mile CYC Catalina to Marina del Rey Rowing and Paddling Derby. New rowing records were: Single Boat – 5 hours, 27 minutes, 2 seconds; Men’s Double Boat – 4:37:23; Mixed Double Boat – 5:10:51 and Women’s Double Boat – 5:28:26.
Longtime winning small boat sailor Thomas B. Leweck assumed the helm as 1987 Commodore. Commodore Leweck also specialized as navigator on long distance, open ocean races. Jody Brightman took over the Breeze Editorship. The Club’s Capri-14 fleet staged a unique Mini-America’s Cup Regatta with cutthroat match racing. Dick Sawyer was installed as Commodore of Santa Monica Bay Power Fleet. Staff Commodore Millard Rosing was honored as ASMBYC’s Yachtsman of the Year and John Sturman as ASMBYC’s Junior Yachtsman of the Year.
A popular series of sailing seminars took place at the Club, covering rules, tactics, developing speed and other facets of competition on the water. Sailmaker Bill Petersen joined another CYC member, Peter Isler, to become part of Dennis Conner’s STARS & STRIPES America’s Cup effort in Freemantle, Australia. Their contributions helped win back the Cup for the United States. Club rower Anita DeFrantz, President of the Amateur Athletic Foundation, was elected a member of the International Olympic Committee.
CYC’s additional new boat slips, originally approved more than three years earlier, were finally dedicated and instantly filled by appreciative members. Dr. Robert Kahn presented still another of his excellent “Medical Emergencies at Sea” seminars to a sizeable audience, one of many similar public service events for yachting he has supported through the years. Opening Day festivities were pelted by heavy showers. Without a hitch, the entire program of official ceremonies and the planned Carnival events to follow were moved intact into the Clubhouse pursuant to “Plan B.” While a bit crowded, the wall-to-wall attendees thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
The California Cup Silver Anniversary Regatta attracted eight ULDB sleds which fought through a series ending with only 1.25 points separating the top four competitors. CITIUS won in the closest finish in the quarter century history of the Cup. In the MORC Pacific Cup, Mike Braney, Dick Hampikian and an all-star CYC crew on LIZZIE B handily bested the competition
More leisurely inclined skippers cruised their boats on an inaugural Firecracker Cruise, mooring near the QUEEN MARY for July Fourth festivities under the chairmanship of Bill and Adrian Armour. Juniors John Sturman and Kevin Hall won the United States Yacht Racing Union National Championship in Laser >>’s and qualified for the World Championships in Australia where they placed fourth. Kevin later won the California State Laser Championship. At the beginning of the year, Commodore Leweck had adroitly arranged the Club’s active calendar to accommodate his racing schedule, including the 1987 Transpac (he navigated the sled CHEETAH to a respectable nine-day finish, enjoying meals of steak and lobster en route).
Jim Kilroy, sailing his maxiboat KIALOA V, survived a season-crushing series of races against the world’s best sailors to win the Porto Cuervo (Sardinia) Series, clinching the 1987 Maxi World Championship. To top it off, he also won the match racing championship the following day. At the same time, John MacLaurin was busy repeating his 1985 supremacy at the Big Boat Series in San Francisco, capturing the Richard Rheem Trophy. CYC’ers John Wintersteen on HOTEL CALIFORNIA, Roy Disney on PYEWACKET, Dr. Bob Khan on JANO and Jack Woodhull on PERSEPHONE also placed highly in the Series.
Back home, Dr. Scott Stolnitz won all the marbles in CYC’s Sunset Series, garnering the Marylyn Ritchie Trophy (which Commodore Leweck had won twice in previous years). The Club’s women racers continued their winning ways at the Women on Water series. Cheryl Braney won Class C on DAUNTLESS, Suzanne Conklin and Gwen Able topped Class B on THUMPER and Cheryl Mahaffey, Kathy Patterson, Marney Buchanan and Sue Schneible sharing the heavy work on CALIFORNIA GIRL to capture Class A and the highly coveted Robert O. Wilson Overall Series Trophy.
For his years of unflagging support of CYC’s Fleet, Club President Charles Hathaway was voted Honorary Commodore by the Staff Officers Council. This distinguished honor has been bestowed only one other time in the Club’s history.
Chapter Twenty One – A Long-Needed Expansion of the Clubhouse
Tallship veteran and worldwide cruising sailor Frank M. Gleberman was elected to lead the Fleet as 1998 Commodore. Huge numbers of members gathered in the Club’s Main Bar to enjoy the Rose Bowl and Super Bowl parties. These premier sporting events were beamed in on the big- screen TV that Vice Commodore Betta Mortarotti lobbied the Fleet to purchase for viewing the America’s Cup and other competitive events.
The Power Fleet assembled a large cruising contingent for a multipurpose “Comedy Cruise” to Long Beach Yacht Club. The group visited Checker’s Comedy Club in Anaheim for a hilarious evening revue. Following the Cabo San Lucas Race, in which many Club boats and members competed with fine results, Dr. Bob Kahn won MEXORC (Mexican Ocean Racing Circuit). The Club’s Race Committee instituted a unique series of teaching seminars on race management with “The Race Committee Drama,” acting out a humorous, yet highly informative script to help volunteers fine tune their roles conducting regattas. CYCWA Chairman Bunny Rippel was again appointed Breeze Editor after a top quality year by Jody Brightman. ASMBYC honored Diane Armstrong as Yachtsman of the Year.
CYC was selected as one of twelve finest yacht clubs in America to compete in the United States Yacht Club Challenge (“Best in the US”). Qualification was based on “distinguished records in yacht racing,” club facilities, well balanced programs for members, member service in yachting organizations and other demanding criteria. Bill Petersen skippered CYC to three wins in five races, but finished 1-1/2 points behind Manhasset Bay Yacht Club among a group of five fierce competitors, any of whom could have captured the event in the final race.
The Yacht of the Year Award went to Jack Woodhull, whose PERSEPHONE garnered an impressive string of victories up and down the California Coast. Opening Day’s Mardis Gras with Dixie Land bands attracted standing room only crowds. Craig Leweck and crew Erma Darling sailed their Capri-14 to victory in the Mini-America’s Cup and Staff Commodore Roger Wilson was installed as Commodore of the Southern California Yachting Association. Five CYC boats competed in the Manzanillo Race, David McGinnity winning IOR-B in DECEPTION.
Twenty-two years previously, CYC’s Clubhouse was constructed with the idea that membership might eventually reach 1,000. That number was reached and exceeded with over 1,100 members now calling California Yacht Club their own. While the physical facility capably handled the overall membership activities as well as an active banquet and business meeting calendar, one of Commodore Gleberman’s longtime priority goals was to enlarge the Clubhouse and provide more comfortable member facilities for “quiet time” relaxation. He developed a plan for a well appointed member lounge, adjacent al fresco dining terrace, an expanded snack bar, additional storage space and a new General Manager’s office. After presenting his concept to LAACO’s board of directors, the idea was approved. California’s Coastal Commission signed off on the project and construction began soon thereafter.
Competitive offshore powerboat racing continued to be dominated by CYC’s Alan Shapiro, winning the high point Pacific Offshore Power Boat Racing Organization trophy, while veteran Bob Nordskog added to his unprecedented string of world speed records.
Meanwhile, the America’s Cup saga was boiling between Dennis Conner and New Zealand’s Michael Fay. Fay decided the 12-Meter Class was passé. So he tweaked the rules and elected to build a huge 135-foot, 83,000-pound sloop to challenge Conner with the largest racing boat built in over a half century. (Conner later countered with a catamaran.)
While Fay was building this huge craft, he was rebuffed in his attempt to bring his side of the story to America. John MacLaurin, Commodore Gleberman and Staff Commodores Tom Armstrong and Tom Leweck arranged, in the name of sportsmanship, for Fay to speak at CYC. As it turned out, a black tie audience at California Yacht Club was shown pictures of Fay’s new boat two hours before his own countrymen saw it unveiled in New Zealand. Funds from that event and a more informal turn-away crowd at the Club the following evening were dedicated to the California Corinthian Foundation. A few days later, Dennis Conner attended a Western Australia Tourism Council event at the Club to share his side of the “lopsided Cup competition” saga.
Judge Advocate Bonnie Bechtol wrote in the Breeze that the Sail Committee ran nearly 70 days of sailboat racing this busy year with more than 3,800 boats crossing CYC starting lines. Roy Disney was elected President of the new ULDB-70 Association, cementing an exciting step forward in open ocean and coastal racing. He would be re-elected for a second term, followed by Mitchell Rouse serving for two more terms.
The annual Ballast Point work party drew over a hundred volunteers to spiffy up the Club’s Catalina facility for an active season of cruising. David Hagenow and an enthusiastic committee averaged over three hundred guests at a successful series of Singles Receptions. The Rosings and Jerry and Gloria Terris followed years of winning sailing competition by becoming powerboaters. BLONDIE bested a fleet of eleven ULDB’s in an exciting California Cup, an impressive fleet of 92 boats trooped the line as CYC hosted the Laser National Championship and a record 67 boats entered the Thursday night Dinghy Series.
At Pusan, Korea, CYC’s Hal Haenel and San Diego Yacht Club member Mark Reynolds won Olympic Silver Medals in the Star Boat Class. They would have won the Gold had they not experienced a mast failure. Martin and Diane McCarthy produced a remarkable “Around the World in Eighty Days” Commodore’s Ball, complete with a full scale hot air balloon in the Clubhouse atrium, reflecting Commodore Gleberman’s intercontinental traveling and sailing odysseys.
John MacLaurin and the Commodore formally explored with a group of other leading Los Angeles business and civic leaders the feasibility of developing a CYC America’s Cup syndicate. After months of investigation, they determined that CYC possessed the sailing and management skill to mount a successful effort, but that the probable price tag of twenty five to fifty million dollars was simply too expensive for the benefits gained. However, CYC was asked to host a meeting of potential America’s Cup challengers from around the world to sort out the questions raised by the Michael Fay/Dennis Conner race and to retire the Twelve Meter Class in favor of a new America’s Cup boat.
David Voss captured the ASMBYC High Point Championship for his 1988 prowess on HIT & RUN, an honor he would repeat on his new boat PIRANHA in 1989. Gene and Virginia Ford departed in December on a long cruise aboard WINDRIFTER for Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska.
In 1989, racing sailor and many-times regatta chair Betta Mortarotti was elected CYC’s first woman Commodore. A packed Installation Dinner and Ceremonies honored the outgoing Fleet Management Team and welcomed the new Fleet and Flag officers. Dick Hampikian was awarded the Signal Service Award for his substantial contribution of constructing the Club’s current computerized race management system, plus many other contributions to CYC’s Racing Program. CYC racers collected the lion’s share of racing awards at the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Club’s Annual Dinner, where Dean Dierks was named Sportsman of the Year, Steven Kelley the Junior Yachtsman of the Year and Stacey Carnahan the Junior Sportsman of the Year for their 1988 accomplishments. At Pacific Coast Yachting Association’s annual meeting, Joe Castagna was installed as Commodore.
A regatta for CYC members only, the first King of the Hill Regatta featured three-boat teams. The participation was enthusiastic and the competition intense with Bill Petersen’s “Team Big Dog” surviving thirty knot winds to win the trophy. The Race Committee borrowed some ideas from nearby Hollywood by producing “The Race Committee Drama.” This humorous event featured members of CYC and the other local yacht clubs in roles simulating on-the-water Race Management duties to help all organizations conducting regattas to heighten the efficiency of their efforts.
After six months of construction delayed by heavy rains, the new Club addition was finally finished. A huge crowd attended the ceremony for the Member Lounge dedication as the “Garbutt / Hathaway Lounge,” honoring Frank A. Garbutt for his role in founding CYC in Wilmington in 1922 and Garbutt’s grandson Charles F. Hathaway for leading California Yacht Club’s reactivation in Marina del Rey.
After 1989’s Opening Day ceremonies, Commodore Mortarotti commandeered a full-grown elephant, present to provide members and guests rides around the Club grounds at the after-lunch circus. Few will forget the Commodore hopping on board with the aplomb of an experienced pachyderm trainer. Her spur-of-the-moment decision to lead the assemblage from the lawn to the Clubhouse was met with resounding cheers from the hundreds in attendance. Hannibal would have been impressed!
CYC members travel regularly to every corner of the world, the Breeze including fascinating articles about their travels. Peter and Mercedes Giannini brought back outstanding pictures and experiences from their journey to Easter Island to share with Breeze readers. CYC’s Shorty Rogers kept an audience spellbound, playing his saxophone at a special, miniature “Hollywood Bowl” on the Club lawn.
Mitchell Rouse’s TAXI DANCER won IOR-A Class on the Transpac. CYC’s Rowing Club garnered an impressive seven wins in the Men’s categories at the Master’s National Championship in Oakland, plus wins by the Club’s Women’s Quad and Doubles and Singles entries. A few weeks later, in the CYC Catalina to Marina del Rey Rowing and Paddling Derby, Steve Hathaway and Craig Leeds set a new Doubles record for the 33-mile trip of 4 hours and 32 minutes.
Five Marina del Rey Juniors sailors were invited to represent Los Angeles, sailing a regatta in Nagoya, Japan. Three were from CYC; Andy Garnett, Cinnamon Hampikian and Stacey Straw, all placing well in the competition. Commodore Mortarotti instituted a new wrinkle for the Commodore’s Cruise. Following the traditional cruise on Club members’ yachts, a group boarded the cruise ship SOUTHWARD for a second week of revelry, surrounded by comfort and service.
Office Manager Dorothy Wigant, affectionately known as “CYC’s Godmother,” retired after 23 years of extraordinary service to all the members and an appreciative series of Commodores. The Women’s Association Annual Fashion Show featured their members as outstanding models, garbed in classic apparel for the upscale woman. CYC’s women served as outstanding models. This year’s festive Commodore’s Ball had a decidedly Italian flair.
Sailor and powerboater Richard Zimbert assumed the Club’s 1990 helm. His first official comments as Commodore included, “The institution that the Club has become, the years of building programs and experience and the thousands of hours of time devoted to its development ought to command respect but not awe. The Club is not a personal possession. Our activities will not be free from error. We have the obligation to learn, do good work and leave CYC better than we received it. This will be our 1990 theme.”
ASMBYC elected Cinnamon Hampikian as Junior Sportsman of the Year. Jerry Eckermann was appointed Editor of the Breeze and the Epicurean Society entered its second quarter century of elegant dining and wine tasting.
Craig Leweck ventured North from his new home in Mission Bay and captured the Mini-America’s Cup with crew Fran Gallo. Dr. Bob Kahn on JANO won the Manzanillo Race’s IOR B and IMS Classes, then edged out fellow CYC’er Jack Woodhull’s PERSEPHONE for MEXORC honors. For the Manzanillo contest, Staff Commodore Tom Armstrong was sailing master on chartered sled SWIFTSURE III, supported by syndicate masters Dick Squire and Port Captain Dick Hampikian. They clipped off the miles along the way with fine winds and well-coordinated crew assignments, besting the former record held by Jake Wood’s winning effort aboard SORCERY. Unfortunately, so did nine other sleds finishing ahead of SWIFTSURE!
Honorary Commodore Charles and Patty Hathaway and Frank and JoEllen Hathaway, LAACO’s Managing Partners, hosted the first Silver Tribute to Membership, honoring 106 CYC members and their families holding at least a quarter century of continued membership in the Club. This would become an eagerly anticipated annual tradition. Opening Day ceremonies had a decidedly Hollywood flair reflecting Commodore Zimbert’s professional responsibilities of helping run Paramount Studios. Chocolate Oscars served for dessert at the Opening Day Luncheon received rave reviews by the crowd of over four hundred members and guests in attendance. Staff Commodore George Roosevelt held forth as the senior Staff Commodore participating.
Included among the Radio Amateur Group’s activities was a quarterly dinner with Gene and Virginia Ford sharing a marvelous video of their just completed 1,000-mile cruise to Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska. The Radio Amateur Group was also appointed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff to serve as a Marina del Rey Disaster Control Center, backing up the Sheriff’s Department in event of an emergency or natural disaster.
Bob Doughty, captivated by the excitement of racing ultra-light ULDB-70’s completed the construction of his EVOLUTION. Doughty finally realized his elusive dream of winning the California Cup, hoisting the Cup with his crew as winner after an exciting Regatta.
Honorary Commodore Charles Hathaway retired as LAACO, Ltd. Managing Partner after 40 years of service to the Los Angeles Athletic Club and 29 years with California Yacht Club. However, he and Patty permanently reserved their positions as CYC’s chief cheerleaders. First-year powerboater Arnold Kaufman bested some of America’s finest Predicted Log racers to win the Leland Cup. David MacCulloch and navigator Bob Roth capturing the Barusch Trophy just a few weeks later.
Shorty Rogers was honored by his fellow jazz greats at an industry celebration which included fellow member Bud Shank leading the legendary Lighthouse group. Shorty held forth soon after for a second appreciative audience on the Club’s front lawn, supported by Pete Jolly, Chuck Bergerhofer and other top jazz performers. Another tradition was started at the Catalina Ballast Point facility with the First Annual Great Buffalo Watch and Lobster Broil Cruise, followed a few weeks later by the popular Fish Fry. These excellent cruises successfully lived up to everything their titles promised.
John MacLaurin, following a sterling record as an amateur racer, was showing his stern to all comers in the professional racing circuit and winning six figures of prize money and the Ultimate 30 Class Series Overall on his SPOT SPORT. Dick Schmidt and Gwen Gordon captured the Schock 35 North American Championship. Records fell once again in the CYC Catalina to Marina del Rey Rowing and Paddling Derby. Brack Duker purchased the ULDB-70 EVOLUTION and launched his new vessel’s campaign by winning Los Angeles Yacht Club’s Kenneth Watts Trophy Series.
The Rowing Club sponsored a Masters Rowing Challenge Cup for “older” rowers over the age of twenty-seven. To reflect Commodore Zimbert’s role as a leading entertainment executive, the Club sparkled in every way imaginable for the Commodore’s Ball, “A Hollywood Premiere.” It was a memorable night, indeed.
Bill Stump, former Junior Commodore of San Diego Yacht Club and college rower, longtime Star Boat and big boat sailor, was installed as CYC’s 1991 Commodore. He announced that continuing to enhance the Club’s Junior Program would be one of his top priorities. The Women’s Auxiliary began the year with a new identity as the CYC Women’s Association, reflecting the growing number of Club activities in which they played a supportive role.
California Yacht Club yachts raced as a team in the Puerto Vallarta Race and blew away the competition. Roy Disney with his just-launched PYEWACKET won the Class A division, Dave Meginnity’s DECEPTION showed the Class B fleet her stern, Dr. Bob Kahn on JANO was first in Class C with Hal Ward (CHEVAL) and Brack Duker (EVOLUTION) also finishing well to the applause of a large CYC contingent who had flown down to cheer their finish in “PV.” Club members Bobby and Gail Dubois captured the Mini-America’s Cup, and Jr. Staff Commodore Dick Zimbert took satisfaction in leading an effort to purchase a 23-foot inflatable chase boat for race management duties. The first name selected for the craft: RUBBER DUCKIE.
The SCYA Midwinters, which California Yacht Club originated more than six decades earlier, attracted over eleven hundred boats at twenty-one yacht clubs, easily America’s largest sailing regatta. At the CYC course, Dick Schmidt and Gwen Gordon continued their mastery of the Schock 35 Class and the Charlie Kelley family scored four straight bullets (wins) in the Merit 25 Class.
One of the year’s highlights was CYC hosting the Olympic Pre-Trial Regatta for the Tornado Class, the two-person catamarans that would sail the following year in the Barcelona Olympics. Fleet Captain Dick and Betty Hampikian expertly co-chaired an abundantly well run event, hailed by the U.S. Olympic Committee for its intense competition among American Olympic hopefuls on the water and warm hospitality provided contestants, officials and visitors. The trials evoked fond memories of CYC’s participation in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
The intensity of top-level sailboat racing continued with the California Cup following a few weeks later. EVOLUTION repeated her previous victory in the California Cup for her new owner, Brack Duker and his crackerjack crew. The entire sled fleet was then on its way to Honolulu a few weeks later, competing in the Transpacific Yacht Race.
The Women’s Association took a chartered bus full of motivated shoppers to invade Los Angeles’ downtown designer clothing stores on a shopping spree. Great prices had been carefully researched in advance. Returning to the Club with sartorial selections galore, the bargain hunters declared this one of the most popular field trips the Association had ever taken.
July Fourth honored America’s Desert Storm heroes as well as 215 years of United States independence. CYC’s Power Fleet was doing its part conducting a cruise from CYC to Long Beach Harbor for a memorable tour of the battleship USS MISSOURI.
This year’s Santa Monica Bay Challenge ended CYC’s domination of that event with San Diego Yacht Club defeating CYC by 1/2 point. The four-boat team competition was particularly exciting with a Schock 35, a J-24 and two Lasers entered from each yacht club. The Power Boat group had better luck with Staff Commodore Walter Del Mar capturing the Del Mar Perpetual Trophy in the race originally named for him some years before. Del Mar’s effort led CYC into first place among the 21 yacht clubs making up the Southern California Cruiser Association.
The Juniors concluded a superb Summer Sailing Program with the five-day Advanced Racing Clinic at Catalina Island attended by over eighty participants under the direction of Junior Program Director Dean Dierks. CYC’s Juniors had the highest finishes as a yacht club at the Flying Junior National Championships by capturing 1st, 4th, 10th and 12th places as well as winning three of the top five places at every major U.S. Sabot regatta the sailing team attended. J.J. Isler was honored for a second time as the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year.
Southern California was in the second year of a deepening recession. Many yacht clubs lost twenty to forty percent of their members as a result of the worsening economy. Regattas hosted by all clubs missed seeing some of their familiar racing participants. CYC membership slipped slightly over ten percent in the early 1990’s, but fortunately held steady at that point.
More than 200 paddle tennis players participated as CYC hosted the Western Paddle Tennis Championships with Greg Lawrence and Susan Levin winning first place trophies. Commodore Bill and Jody Stump enjoyed a delightfully informal Commodore’s Ball with a “Sock Hop” motif. CYC’s Florence was selected as Grand Marshall of the Marina del Rey Christmas Boat Parade, one of the most popular Grand Marshals ever in the history of the event. The crowd of 60,000 called out, “Hello, Mrs. Brady,” all evening, a pleasant flashback to her hit TV series, “The Brady Bunch.”
CYC’s 1992 helm was turned over to its new Commodore, active J-35 racing sailor Robert Patterson. Mike Sturman and Bob Little were in high gear with their “Gold Rush” campaign to qualify to represent the United States in the 470 Class at the Barcelona Olympics. Peter Wells was twice honored, selected as Santa Monica Bay’s Junior Yachtsman of the Year as well as Santa Monica Bay’s Junior Sportsman of the Year.
Frank G. Hathaway retired from LAACO after 46 years of service. LAACO’s Board of Directors elected Karen Hathaway as President and Managing Partner of the Company.
After years of being runners up, Susie Klein and husband Jim Hammitt captured the Mini-America’s Cup. David Hagenow added to his service in many CYC chairmanships by taking on the responsibility as Breeze Editor. Dave MacCulloch was installed as Commodore of the Southern California Cruiser Association. Longtime CYC and Los Angeles Athletic Club Vice President General Manager Tony Dicks began a well-deserved retirement. Tony continued to enjoy the Club and his many long time friends as an active member. Opening Day, 1992 featured an Olde English Spring Faire with hundreds of guests relishing the antics of minstrels, magicians, jesters and even Maid Marion!
Following their efforts a year before in the Olympic Pre-Trials, eighteen world class Olympic aspirants in the Tornado Class returned to CYC from all over the country to race in the official Olympic Trials. All were vying for a single spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. In hard fought competition, Florida’s Randy Smyth and Keith Notary defeated their rivals and won the right to represent the United States in Barcelona. Smyth and Notary were popular guests and were quite complimentary of CYC’s management of the Trials.
It was subsequently learned that the Club placed very high, conducting the Trials, in consideration for the 1992 St. Petersburg Trophy for outstanding race management. Rear Commodore Dick and Betty Hampikian once again helped conduct a superb racing event with the support of over one hundred CYC volunteers. Staff Commodore Tom Armstrong and Bonnie Bechtol handled the on-the-water duties, Staff Commodore Millard and CYCWA Executive Officer Barbara Rosing coordinated onshore activities. Many visiting competitors stayed as guests on members’ boats, some for more than two weeks. California Yacht Club exuded the exciting ambience of an Olympic Village. Club members participated en mass to help ensure that the Trials exemplified CYC hospitality, as well as standing by a commitment to conduct the very best yachting event possible.
California Yacht Club contributed to America’s fine sailing results in Barcelona’s Olympic Games. CYC’s Hal Haenel and teammate Mark Reynolds (San Diego Yacht Club) won the Gold Medal in the Star Class and J.J. Isler captured the Olympic Bronze Medal in the 470 Class.
Dennis Conneally, who some years before had worked at CYC, returned to become the Club’s General Manager. Dr. Bob Kahn captured first place for the third consecutive time in MEXORC. David MacCulloch attained a level of consistent winning never before matched in Pacific Coast Yachting Association racing by capturing that organization’s Pacific Coast Championship (he won in 1990 and placed second in 1991).
At age 79, only weeks before he passed away, venerable champion Bob Nordskog won the CYC-hosted Marina del Rey Challenge – Race for Sight. He averaged 90.7 mph on the open ocean driving his POWERBOAT MAGAZINE SPECIAL high performance speedster, helping raise funds for Guide Dogs for the Blind. This was Bob’s 51st offshore win.
Staff Commodore Walter Del Mar captured powerboating’s biennial Craig/Internacional Corredores de Baja Predicted Log Race. Another team with a hot hand, Dick Schmidt, Gwen Gordon and their crew garnered a third consecutive Shock 35 National Championship. CYC’s powerboaters fashioned their own hat trick by sweeping the top spots in both the Pabst and the Champagne Cups, David MacCulloch and Herb Dover respectively taking home first place trophies.
The Mixed Doubles Rowing record from Catalina was lowered to 4:43:14 by Margie Cate and Craig Leeds. That record stands to this day.
In another exciting wire-to-wire Santa Monica Bay Challenge, CYC bested 1991 winner San Diego Yacht Club by 1/4 point to win back “The Sword” (Staff Commodore Tom Armstrong Trophy). Determined to not let the oldsters win all the glory, Junior John Diskant won the Junior Division of the U.S. Sabot National Championships and in the Senior Division, Junior Sailing Team Coach Peter Wells captured top spot. In bringing these two national titles back to CYC, Diskant, Wells and other members of the CYC sailing team won every single race in their class. Earlier in the year, Wells and Robbie Dean were champions of the Orange Bowl Regatta. Dave Dillehay captured first place in both the IMS and PHRF divisions of the Cabo San Lucas Race on his ALDORA.
Chapter Twenty Two – Another Era of National Prominence for CYC Teams
In 1993, Commodore Martin H. McCarthy, small boat racing sailor and long distance cruising master, took over the Club helm. To ensure the best balance of activities possible for the Club’s more than one thousand members, the Commodore reinstituted the Delphi Process to ensure that the current- and long-term planning needs of the entire Fleet were being met. Jody Brightman Stump returned to help chronicle CYC’s accomplishments as Breeze Editor.
An awesome set of Junior accomplishments unfolded as Robbie Dean was honored as ASMBYC Junior Yachtsman of the Year, Drew Stauffer was honored as ASMBYC Junior Sportsman of the Year, Derek Simms received the ASMBYC Junior Championship Trophy and the Bemis USSA ASMBYC Harbor Championship Trophy was awarded to Robbie Dean and Peter Wells for their 1992 sailing efforts. Staff Commodore Frank Gleberman was awarded the Signal Service Award for many years of active service to the Club and yachting. J-24 sailor George Antarr was awarded the U.S. Sailing Association’s national Sportsmanship Award while the J-24 Fleet continued to gain numbers in Marina del Rey.
General Manager Dennis Conneally resurrected the Club’s theme parties, which gathered the clan to celebrate symbolic holidays – his and Commodore McCarthy’s heritage a most appropriate excuse for a St. Patrick’s Day Pub Party. Several hundred shamrock-wearing, blarney-speaking members and friends celebrated until the wee hours.
To the Club’s delight, CYC’s reputation for top regatta management attracted the world’s largest one-design keelboat design fleet, the J-24 Fleet, to hold its first ever National Championship on the West Coast. Sailing rock star Vince Brun was helped to his first place win by CYC stalwarts Ben Mitchell, Jr. trimming and Bobby Burns calling it correctly as tactician. Port Captain Charlie Kelley with son C.T., Pam McClure and Jim Hammitt captured second, Staff Commodore Tom Leweck and crew garnered sixth and Bob Little skippered the tenth place boat. CYC made by far the greatest impact on this regatta . . . as competitors as well as hosts.
Officials from Japan’s Prefecture of Osaka had spent several years planning to commemorate the opening of its stunning new international airport with an international sailboat race from five starting points throughout the world. A unique, coordinated finish of all five racing fleets would occur in Osaka Harbor. Initial inquires included visits with Staff Commodores Betta Mortarotti and Bill Stump over the past year as well as with several other prominent West Coast yacht clubs. Commodore McCarthy picked up the baton. While on several of his consulting trips to Japan, he met with race officials and successfully consummated selection of California Yacht Club as the exclusive departure point for both the North and South American continents. A committee was appointed to begin months of diligent efforts for this event still a year away.
The Paddle Tennis Committee was also instrumental in attracting a celebrated event, the Women’s National Doubles Tournament. CYC’s Emily Reid took home an A-Division second place national trophy with a superb effort, with Dolly Bretter and Bette Bergsman also taking second in the B- Division. A few weeks later, the Club players returned the Interclub Trophy from the Westside back to California Yacht Club.
CYC’s rowers returned to Boston’s Head of the Charles Regatta to compete against 3,500 men and women in this classic event. The CYC team captured several first place trophies in front of over 35,000 spectators. Competing in the Catalina to Marina del Rey Rowing Derby, four rowers (Bill Cabeen, Margie Cate, Steve Hathaway and Craig Leeds) set today’s record for the 33-mile crossing of 4 hours, 14 minutes and 40 seconds.
Another unique and envied group, members living aboard their yachts at the Club, held their annual Progressive Dinner. Spoiled by their daily enjoyment of the world’s most unique back yard, the liveaboards turned out in such numbers there was little room for guests.
San Diego Yacht Club repeated as the only other yacht club to win CYC’s Santa Monica Bay Challenge. It was CYC’s turn to host the Sabot National Championships. In his home waters, John Diskant repeated as National Champion. Later in the year, Peter Wells and Robbie Dean placed fourth in the Laser >> World Championship on Lake Como, Italy.
California Yacht Club’s women sailors competed against the country’s finest yacht club female crews in Newport Harbor for the Bettina Bents Trophy. In close sailing during the entire regatta, CYC ended victorious, winning the award emblematic of the best women’s yacht club team in the United States. Just weeks later, the women captured top honors at the Second Annual Women’s One-Design Challenge held in Long Beach.
The California Yacht Club Women’s Association celebrated Commodore Martin and Diane McCarthy’s year with an outstanding Commodore’s Ball, “An Evening in the Old South.” The Club was transformed into a magical scene reminiscent of Tara from “Gone With the Wind.”
Active Midget Ocean Racing Fleet Champion and experienced regatta chairman Dick Hampikian led the Fleet’s activities as 1994 Commodore. Staff Commodore Betta M. Mortarotti continued her long record of service to the Club as she was installed CYC Women’s Association Executive Officer. Dr. Jerry Terris was installed as Commodore of the Santa Monica Bay Power Fleet and Herb Dover was honored for his racing accomplishments by receiving that organization’s prestigious Fleet Trophy Award. J.J. Quinn was honored as the ASMBYC Yachtsman of the Year and Trevor Simms was selected as Santa Monica Bay’s Junior Sportsman of the Year.
In the pre-dawn hours of January 17, 1994, the Northridge earthquake hit Los Angeles County. CYC liveaboards were jolted awake by huge swells. Eyewitnesses reported that their boats and the docks raised up by some six feet, then dropped abruptly as water piled up against the seawall and then washed out. In one case, a liveaboard reported that the keel of his sailboat hit the Marina floor.
The Clubhouse weathered the jolt, but the Club’s docks sustained $1.4 million of damage. The docks most heavily damaged were the oldest ones, which had been installed in the early 1960’s. During the next several months, plans were drawn up to reconstruct and replace more than one third of the docks in the Club’s anchorage. At the same time, portions of the anchorage were redesigned to eliminate many of the old 25′ slips and to replace them with larger slips of varying sizes to accommodate current member boat slip needs.
Winter racing favored CYC sailors. Roy Pat Disney skippered the family’s PYEWACKET to a record-setting victory in the Manzanillo Race. At the SCYA Midwinters, Ben Mitchell, Jr. and Staff Commodore Bill Stump captured first place in the Star Class, the CFJ competition was won by John Diskant and Robbie Dean and the J-35 Fleet saw Staff Commodore Bob and Kathy Patterson walking away with top honors. The rain demons chased Opening Day indoors, but the spacious Clubhouse played host to a wonderfully active ceremony, luncheon for nearly three hundred visitors plus a scintillating Mardis Gras celebration for all in attendance.
California Yacht Club’s Power Fleet carried the burgee to three wins in four contests. Dr. Jerry Terris won the Cyrano Race on SEA TERRIS, David MacCulloch captured the Donaldson Trophy on SWISS CONNECTION and Herb Dover brought home the first place trophy from the Shultz Easter Catalina Race on COASTWATCHER.
CYC was once again selected to compete in the United States Yacht Club Challenge at Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Yacht clubs from across America were selected on the basis of their overall excellence in yachting. Bragging rights for the next two years as “Best in the US” would be settled on the water by teams from each club sailing Catalina 37’s and Juniors competing in Lasers and CFJ’s on courses of four to six miles. At this high level of competition, several clubs sailed to first place finishes during three days of racing, CYC’s crews also doing well. But it came down to the two races on the final day to determine who was America’s best.
CYC Juniors John Diskant and Robbie Dean on the CFJ and Derek Simms on the Laser had competed well against Juniors in the other clubs, so the CYC crew sailing the Catalina 37 was in a position to win it all. In the final race, Ben Mitchell, Jr., Bill Petersen and Dan Crowley masterminded a dramatic win that won the trophy for California Yacht Club by one point over San Diego Yacht Club and two points over St. Francis. The Best in the U.S. was now California Yacht Club. Not only was that win a sweet success, but the way the Juniors handled themselves in the Protest Room while losing two protests during the series caused the judges to award Robbie Dean the Cadillac Award of Excellence for outstanding sportsmanship. The victory party continued for hours and resumed after the winning crews (also including Dean Dierks, Bill Herrschaft, Staff Commodore Bill Stump and George Yueh on the Catalina 37, Alan Field as alternate and Mike Braney as Challenge Chairman) arrived back home at California Yacht Club.
The next 1994 sailing event was the long-planned Pan Pacific Yacht Race from Marina del Rey to Osaka, Japan. A special part of this event was a week celebrating the tradition of symbolic social exchanges revered by CYC’s co-sponsors from Japan. Exemplary gourmet offerings from Chef Hector Guiterrez’ kitchen staff heightened the experience. Nine boats in three racing classes then departed California Yacht Club on a sensational single leg race for the Far East. High winds and heavy seas accompanied the start with the spectator fleet bobbing like corks in white capped waves on Santa Monica Bay. Even Norman and Janet Semler’s posh yacht GALATEA proved a challenging, bouncy platform for visiting Japanese governors and race officials. But true to CYC Race Management tradition, the contestants got underway on time for the finish line, thousands of miles over the horizon in the longest race ever started from America’s West Coast.
CYC sent a delegation to Japan to participate in ceremonies coordinated with the finish of the race. In addition to racers who had crossed the CYC starting line, boats completing legs from Vladivostok, Russia; Shanghai, China; Brisbane, Australia and Pusan, Korea arrived in Osaka Harbor. During all this excitement, one contestant who had singlehanded his 43-foot yacht from Japan for Marina del Rey for the race start never arrived and was feared lost at sea. Three months after setting out from home, 56-year-old Kiyoji Moroi was rescued 2,000 miles northwest of Hawaii. Moroi’s recovery was a thankful conclusion to not only his own odyssey, but to an extraordinary and far-reaching yachting event in which CYC was honored to participate.
An exhilarating finish to the California Cup saw seven ULDB-70’s finishing the last race within seconds of each other after fighting for position on a 7.5-mile course. Roy E. Disney and son Roy Pat steered PYEWACKET to victory by less than a boat length over VICTORIA. The venerable Snipe Class asked CYC to host its District VI Championship Regatta and fittingly, former CYC Junior sailor Craig Leweck made Staff Commodore Tom and Barbara Leweck proud by winning the event with bride Lisa as crew.
CYC’s new Junior Racing Center was finally a reality, thanks to Jr. Staff Commodore Martin McCarthy and General Manager Dennis Conneally shepherding the challenging and frustrating permit process through several governmental agencies. Commodore Hampikian had long campaigned for this Racing Center and presided at the dedication of the new sixty-foot facility, named in honor of Staff Commodore Bill DeGroot. Much needed classroom space and a spacious deck would greatly enhance the Club’s year around Junior Program.
A few weeks later, the United States Championships for the Laser Class was hosted by the Club with 132 boats trooping the starting line in a spectacular display of small boat competition. The energy and ambience associated with hosting this popular group of sailors from across America created a very special experience for competitors and Race Committee alike. CYC had been highly recommended by participants in previous regattas for consideration for the St. Petersburg Trophy, which recognizes the country’s premier effort in yacht racing management. The Club discovered that, as had happened in the past, the racers in this regatta considered it one of the finest run regattas in the United States. While being included among the clubs considered as conducting America’s top regatta is an honor, the St. Petersburg Trophy still lay tantalizingly just outside CYC’s reach.
Top Southern California yacht clubs again vied for the Tom Armstrong Trophy in CYC’s California Challenge. While San Diego Yacht Club had recently won the event, the trophy came back to CYC with the host club winning against strong competition.
Some of the competing yachts during the weekly summer Sunset Series developed a reputation for casual sailing and fun loving camaraderie. John Carroll’s ARANA furthered the image of that laid back ambience. However, appearances belied top-notch crew work as evidenced by Carroll winning the Marylyn Ritchie Trophy for amassing the highest point total for the Series. During the same Sunset Series races, Commodore Hampikian made it a point to include Juniors on his LIZZIE B, with the youngsters contributing to some first place finishes. The excellence of CYC’s Junior sailors continued with John Diskant winning his third consecutive U.S. Sabot National Title.
Roy Disney captured f first place honors in PYEWACKET in St. Francis Yacht Club’s Big Boat Series. In November, PYEWACKET would also win the Cabo San Lucas Race, finishing ahead of the second place sled by over 24 hours.
Honorary Commodore Charles Hathaway repeated his legendary 1976 crossing of the Catalina Channel by rowing his self-constructed, 15-foot dory FRITZ the 33-mile distance from the Ithsmus to Marina del Rey during the CYC Catalina to Marina del Rey Rowing and Paddling Derby. Although Craig Leeds had a jousting match with a huge container ship in mid channel during his crossing, he set a new singles record of 4 hours, 50 minutes and 33 seconds.
For the first time in history, the Santa Monica Bay Power Fleet Commodore’s Trophy and the Vice Commodore’s Trophy were won by the same team, Herb and Nancy Dover. Nadine Franczyk and her crew won the J-24 West Coast Championship. The Commodore’s Cruise attracted nearly seventy members for a week’s cruise from Vancouver to San Francisco on the cruise ship WINDWARD.
Active racing sailor Cheryl Mahaffey was elected CYC’s 1995 Commodore. ASMBYC’s Annual Award dinner recognized Derek Simms as Junior Yachtsman of the Year, Robbie Dean as Junior Sportsman of the Year and many CYC sailors as tops in other categories. CYC did well in the SCYA Midwinters with Dick Schmidt and Gwen Gordon capturing the Schock 35 Class on their OUTLIER and Ben Mitchell, Jr. winning the Star Class with Staff Commodore Bill Stump. Longtime competitor Allan Puckett skippered his AMAZING GRACE to a 1st place overall in the Puerto Vallarta Race Performance Cruising Class, Staff Commodore acting as navigator. Opening Day continued the Club’s tradition of themed afternoons following the official ceremonies with a colorful Country fair entertaining all that attended.
Greater Los Angeles was California’s last area to claw its way out of the latest recession, with people from industries decimated five years previously now reinventing themselves in many new business pursuits. Membership in the Club began to grow. It was satisfying to see other clubs beginning to prosper once again.
Mike Sturman and Bob Little won the Silver Medal at the Pan Am Games in Argentina, returned home to win the 470 National Championship and days later took 2nd in the 470 Pre-Olympic Trials. CYC’s long relationship with the Star Class continued by hosting the Star’s Western Hemisphere Championships. Hal Haenel with fellow Olympian Mark Reynolds took 2nd place in a field of intense competitors. The California Corinthian Foundation gave financial support to the campaigns of Sturman, Little, Haenel, Reynolds, the CYC Women’s teams and many other competitors in yachting. Support of the Foundation has been measured in the hundreds of thousands of dollars since its inception. The Foundation continued to help defray expenses otherwise borne entirely by sailors from CYC and other yacht clubs in their pursuit of competitive and Corinthian excellence.
After ten years of fielding a fleet of ULDB-70’s for the California Cup, smaller boats captured the imagination of the Sail Committee. The Commodore extended an invitation to many of sailing’s top competitors to sail the popular Melges 24’s in this year’s Cup. The shift to the smaller boats created a strong field with only one boat winning more than one race, but the Cup went to Balboa Yacht Club’s Dave who bested King Harbor Yacht Club’s Steve Grillon in the final race to win the series. Ullman and his crew also benefited from a bold experiment, undertaken for the first time this year in lieu of expensive parties: a $5,000 prize for the Cup winner.
The Transpacific Yacht Race suddenly went topless as CYC’s Hal Ward saw his CHEVAL II mast break within sight of the finish line at Diamond Head. Drifting perilously close to the shore, CHEVAL’s crew jury-rigged sails and booms which allowed them to drift across the finish line, capturing the Barn Door (first to finish trophy) in perhaps the most unique win of this race’s history.
During still another of their winning seasons, CYC’s powerboaters journeyed to Chicago, invited to participate in the North American International Predicted Log Championship on Lake Michigan. Herb Dover with first mate Nancy Dover, helmsman Joe Castagna and navigator David MacCulloch bested the fourteen finest Predicted Log competitors in North America. Their calculations and assessment of the borrowed yacht they would use in the contest were startlingly accurate and the operation of the vessel flawless. At the end of competition, CYC’s crew came closer to the numbers they had projected than any other competitors. The National Championship Trophy would be proudly displayed in California Yacht Club’s trophy case for the following year!
CYC rowers captured two Firsts, five Seconds, two Thirds, two Fourths and a Fifth in the trophy competition at the U.S. Master Rowing Nationals in Minnesota. They also gathered up far more than their share of first place trophies in the Head of the Charles competition and were also gracious (and winning) hosts for the sixth annual CYC Masters Challenge Regatta.
Frank Glynn won the Laser Masters of the Pacific Coast Championships at Long Beach. CYC’s women sailors, led by skipper Liz Hjorth, captured the Women’s One-Design Challenge for the second time in the regatta’s four-year history. Racing at Long Beach Yacht Club, they bested eleven top crews from throughout California.
The Paddle Tennis group again hosted the National Men/Women and Mixed Doubles Championships with Emily Reid capturing a Gold Medal in Women’s A Division.
In 1996, longtime power and sail enthusiast Charles M. Wright was elected Commodore. Southern California Yachting Association recognized Rear Commodore Dick Squire as Sportsman of the Year, awarded Peggy Redler the Glenn Thorpe Maritime Order of the Golden Key for her promotion of amateur radio use in yachting and presented Transpac’s Yacht Race Trophy to Hal Ward for his first place finish in the last race to Honolulu. ASMBYC also honored Rear Commodore Squire as its Sportsman of the Year, Staff Commodore Tom Leweck as Yachtsman of the Year and Kevin Tominga as Junior Sportsman of the Year. Commodore Wright headed a sizeable Club contingent visiting Avalon’s Casino Ballroom for a huge fundraiser for the Catalina Conservancy. In their effort to represent the United States in Olympic Sailing competition, Mike Sturman and Bob Little were ranked second in the U.S. 470 Class.
Installation of a new 15-KW generator at Ballast Point assured CYC’s cruising partygoers of ice cubes as well as plenty of night lighting and power for visiting musicians.
The popular Melges 24 high performance yachts were again invited to compete for The California Cup. The racing community enthusiastically responded, quickly filling the available sailing billets. Joe Londrigan of San Diego Yacht Club won the Cup and took home the $5,000 first place money. The Regatta parties were memorable. Saturday’s Dinner Party and Poetry Night were as ribald as ever!
One of this year’s Epicurean Society dinners took an interesting twist, featuring distinctive foods acquired for meals aboard during a 1906 West Coast cruise by Frank Garbutt’s 96-foot topsail schooner SKIDBLADNIR. Smoked trout, sautéed abalone, wild game paté, crab bisque, Pacific Mallard, medallions of venison, cheese baskets of smoked chicken and wild greens and other treasured table fare graced the grand table of the Society as it did the dining salon of SKIDBLADNIR at the turn of the Century.
Staff Commodore Martin McCarthy was honored with his election by the surrounding community as Marina del Rey’s first Honorary Mayor. CYC hosted the Schock 35 National Championship. The Club’s usual dominance in this outstanding event was limited to fourth and fifth place with visiting WATER MOCCASIN taking home the Regatta Trophy. Hal Haenel and fellow crewmember, San Diego Yacht Club’s Mark Reynolds, were honored as U.S. Sailing’s Athletes of the Year for their long wining record among top competition.
Margie Cate, Jan Palchikoff, Dr. Bill Cabeen, Craig Leeds, Pat Cotter, Eric Loberg and Sr. Vice President Steve Hathaway participated in thirteen events at the U.S. Masters Rowing Championship in Syracuse. The result: a most impressive eight gold medals, two silver and three bronze. The 20th Annual CYC Catalina to Marina del Rey Rowing and Paddling Derby found fine weather but no new records as sixteen rowing shells and their escorts crossed the shipping lanes to the Club’s guest dock.
CYC hosted another storied event, the U.S. Match Racing Championship for the Prince of Wales Bowl. CYC’s team of Ben Mitchell, Jr., Kevin Crane and Bob Little earned a hard-fought second place, finishing close behind Southwestern Yacht Club. During the past several years, the Commodore’s Cruise featured holidays aboard cruise ships, an easy task with the meticulous planning of Staff Commodore Millard and SEO Barbara Rosing. This year’s version pulled out all the stops with a marvelous week’s cruise on board WINDSONG, sailing through French Polynesia. The Commodore’s Ball similarly featured a stunning “FantaSea” motif.
An exhaustive, two-year reconfiguration of the Club docks was completed, increasing the ratio of large slips to small to serve Club members bringing larger and larger yachts to the anchorage. The multi million-dollar, logistically challenging upgrade resulted in new docks ranging up to 225 feet in length, one of the largest yacht club slip accommodations in the world.
Erin Heminway expertly planned her second Lexus Classic Men/Women/Mixed Doubles National Championships, held at the Club’s paddle tennis complex. CYC players captured a satisfying array of gold, silver and bronze medals.
Late in the year, the Unites States Sailing Association reviewed the Nation’s top regattas for 1996 pursuant to awarding the heralded St. Petersburg Trophy. This award takes into consideration in-depth reports from the participants sailing in a yacht club sponsored regatta. Following the CYC-hosted Schock 35 National Championship earlier in the year, the competitors collectively lavished praise for the overall quality found in every facet of the regatta. After California Yacht Club had come so tantalizingly close on several occasions, the Club was awarded the St. Petersburg Trophy, emblematic of the best-run regatta in America for the calendar year. This honor was appropriate recognition for CYC’s Race Committee, consistently acknowledged for conducting many of the country’s most capably run sailing events over many decades.
Chapter Twenty Three – CYC’s Diamond Jubilee Year
Active J-24 racer Charles T. Kelley took the Club’s helm for 1997, CYC’s Diamond Jubilee Year. John Diskant was honored by ASMBYC as Junior Yachtsman of the Year. While CYC’s unparalleled recent national and world level accomplishments provided a glow of satisfaction for competitors and event volunteers, sights were already being set on continuing a top level of activities into the next Millennium. Commodore Kelley took the Fleet’s several strategic planning processes of previous years to the next level, establishing an annual process providing long-term perspective for and coherence to CYC’s major Fleet activities. The Strategic Planning Committee was formalized as a standing committee, Commodore Kelley serving as its first Chairman.
The Commodore also established a competition fund to support the ever-growing efforts of Club competitors in on-the-water activities in several disciplines throughout the world. Tens of thousands of dollars contributed by members helped enhance the future endeavors by CYC athletes in sailing, power and rowing.
Staff Commodore Tom Leweck sailed his 51st long distance race from Southern California to Mexico, capturing the Navigator’s Trophy on race winner BUSHWACKER, skippered by CYC member Harry Smith. Commodore Leweck’s first Mexican race was the 1971 La Paz Race with Smith on a previous BUSHWACKER.
Staff Commodore Roger Wilson was elected Commodore of the Pacific Coast Yachting Association. Construction of an upgraded Banquet Office on the lower level allowed Fleet activities and computer operations to be expanded in a larger, coordinated Fleet Center on the upper level. This reconfiguration also provided additional display space for the Club’s ever growing collection of trophies.
The top-rated television series “Baywatch,” filmed in Marina del Rey, was featured at the Women’s Association monthly luncheon through the courtesy of new member Greg Bonann, Executive Producer of the popular show. While the glamour of the show’s actors entranced the audience, the quality of the Marina’s real life Harbor Patrol and lifeguards were extolled during the presentation. Rear Commodore Alex Benson developed a state-of-the-art CYC Internet Home Page (www.calyachtclub.com) to provide up to the minute race results for Club sail, power and rowing events plus information regarding a myriad of additional member activities.
Opening Day festivities continued long into the night with several hundred members celebrating the Club’s 75th Anniversary at a magnificent reception featuring sumptuous food and beverage created by CYC’s talented gourmet kitchen staff. The Women’s Sailing Team again did California Yacht Club proud by capturing a very close second and the Sportsmanship Trophy during the intense competition for the Bettina Bents Memorial Trophy Regatta at Newport Beach.
Brad Van Liew announced that he would represent California Yacht Club in the rugged 1998 Around the World Alone, previously known as the BOC Around the World Race. His CALIFORNIA CHALLENGE would be the only American entry in this grueling test of courage and endurance.
The Club’s Power Fleet won first place Predicted Log (now popularly known as Cruiser Navigational Contests) trophies in the Shultz Race, Cyrano Cup, Masters Perpetual Race, Pritikin Cup and Barzilay Regatta. Ten winning powerboat trophies would find their way to CYC’s trophy cases this year, an astounding total.
A new sailing event, the HiPer (High Performance) ’97 Dinghy Regatta made its debut under the caring chairmanship of David Collins, featuring high speed small boats like the new 49’er Class (the new Olympic Class, originated in Australia) and other top performance vessels. It was an immediate success and set the stage for these exciting new boats to return to CYC regattas in the future.
Rear Commodore Alex Benson’s Schock 35 RICOCHET represented CYC in the Lipton Cup. Going into the final race in second place off Newport Harbor, Coronado Cays Yacht Club won the Cup, heading off a valiant come from behind effort by RICOCHET skipper Frank Glynn and his crew. CYC fared better in its own California Cup Regatta, which again extended an invitation to the popular ULDB-70’s. Club member Brack Duker, on EVOLUTION, won out over the other competitors, capturing the Cup for his second time. Two classes of the magnificent sleds competed in this year’s event: the Classic 70’s and the new supercharged Turbo Sled Class lavished with taller masts and other exotic go-fast equipment.
A few weeks later, the Star Class North American Championship was hosted at the Club, with the first three races scored for the King of Spain Trophy. Many of the world’s finest sailors competed in a weeklong whirl of spirited on-the-water competition and after-race socializing among competitors who have trooped the starting line of all the world’s major sailing events. San Diego’s Joe Londrigan remembered the local waters well from his previous year’s victory in the California Cup as he and crew Mark Strube were crowned North American Star Champions. PYEWACKET won Transpac, obliterating the old record by 20 hours.
The Junior National Olympics saw CYC Juniors John Diskant and Chris Toft capturing three first places in the Laser >>’s lower half group, ending with eighth place in a tightly bunched, competitive field. Back home, the Club hosted still another major regatta, the Laser U.S. Championship, with 61 boats entered from across the U.S. and Canada. This four-day regatta once again brought the Olympic Village ambience to California Yacht Club with many competitors staying on members’ boats or in their homes, thanks to the efforts of Regatta Chair Alice Leahey and dozens of volunteers.
At Bel Air Bay Club, Marion Tumen and Jessie Robinson captured top women’s honors for CYC in the InterClub Paddle Tennis Tournament with Lois Bailey and Joanne Swanson taking second. Heinz Dallmann and Gary Greenbaum came back with second in the men’s division. Later in the year, CYC’s team won the Bill LaVallee Invitational Seniors mixed doubles contest over four other paddle tennis clubs at the Beach Club.
Honorary Commodore Charles and Patty Hathaway launched their striking new 110-ton, 74-foot power yacht STARR in Anacortes, Washington. They began an odyssey down the Pacific Coast to CYC, to Mexico and Central America, then to transit the Panama Canal, cross the Gulf of Mexico, sail up the East Coast and sail beyond, following the lure of their love of the sea.
August featured a ten-day celebration of CYC’s Diamond Jubilee, beginning with a weekend cruise to Catalina, a huge birthday cake at Wednesday evening’s Sunset Series and the Junior Awards Dinner. The weekend was chock full of hors d’oeuvres, included an All Sports Day and concluded with hundreds of members attending a Big Band Bash in honor of those who helped shape the Club’s greatness over the decades.
During the evening’s many highlights, Commodore Charles Kelley perhaps defined the moment best with his remarks to the audience, “When Jo-Anne and I joined California Yacht Club – probably like when many of you joined – our beautiful Clubhouse was here, the docks were in and filled with boats of all kinds and sizes, the paddle tennis courts were here, the pools were here, the dry dock area was filled with boats and we had established our facility at Ballast Point.
“It wasn’t always like that of course. Photographs taken in the early 60’s show this property as not much more than a barren parcel of land. It took a remarkable vision to believe that a yacht club could be reestablished here. And tonight we have with us Honorary Commodore Charles and Patty Hathaway who made the reemergence of our Club possible. We know now, of course, that our Club was not only reestablished, but that it has become one of the leading yacht clubs in the country.” Those in the crowd applauded their agreement, knowing full well they would be the core to continue the heritage of thousands who had preceded them.
At the North American Cruiser Association’s annual meeting in Toledo, Joe Castagna was presented the Gandelman Hall of Fame Trophy, honoring his lifetime of achievement and contribution to Predicted Log Racing. Castagna joined Staff Commodores Gene Grant and Walter del Mar as CYC recipients of that sport’s most prestigious award.
The Rowing Group added to its treasure trove of medals as it hosted the 22nd Annual CYC Catalina to Marina del Rey Rowing and Paddling Derby, then sent seven members to Boston’s Head of the Charles Race to bring home armloads of awards. Sr. Vice President Steve Hathaway successfully defended his Senior Masters Single title over 56 competitors. Margie Cate and Jan Palchikoff set a new course record in the Women’s Master Double by an astonishing 62 seconds while winning this event for the third consecutive time.
J.J. Isler was awarded the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award for an unprecedented third time for her consistent winning efforts in sailing, a remarkable achievement. To commemorate CYC’s sailing heritage, Commodore Kelley donated a replica of Owen Churchill’s Gold Medal that was won at the Xth Olympiad at Los Angeles in 1932. The exact replica was cast from the original medal and is displayed at the Club with photographs of Owen Churchill and his crew taken at those Olympic Games.
The CYC Women’s Association presented a fitting finale to the Diamond Jubilee Year with “An Evening at the Crystal Palace,” honoring Commodore Charles and Jo-Anne Kelley. The Club was decorated in majestic proportions. A crisp agenda and outstanding dinner were planned by CWYCA Commodore’s Ball Chairs Bobbie Poledouris and Florette Mink. Once known as the Birthday Ball, this event marked the end of California Yacht Club’s first three-quarters of a century. The evening honored all who were part of the Club’s heritage from its founding and reaffirmed that the next twenty-five years will lead to even greater fulfillment to be celebrated at the Club’s Centennial in 2022.
California Yacht Club’s Diamond Jubilee was celebrated with pride and enthusiasm. The Jubilee Year regattas, cruises, social events and other activities were very special to CYC members and will be remembered for many years. They underscored the reality that hard-working and motivated members helped a yacht club, decimated by a World War, then reorganized two decades later and miles from its original location, staged a remarkable comeback.
Even as members and their families were caught up in the nostalgia of the Diamond Jubilee festivities, the administration of the Fleet and Management activities did not miss a beat. At year’s end, Commodore Kelley turned over the helm (and his Commodore’s parking space) to longtime singlehanded sailor and team racer Richard Squire. The Club’s destiny would now be in the hands of Commodore Squire, Vice Commodore J. Alex Benson, Rear Commodore Robert Sanguinetti, Fleet Captain Denny Haythorn and Port Captain Alice Leahey.
Entering California Yacht Club’s 76th year, J.J. Quinn was honored by his election as Honorary Commodore of Southern California Yachting Association. David MacCulloch was installed as Commodore of Pacific Coast Yachting Association and Nancy Dover as Commodore of the Santa Monica Bay Power Fleet. Chuck Wood serves as Commodore of the Pacific Singlehanded Sailing Association and Kathy Patterson as Vice Commodore of the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs. Hal Haenel is Team Leader for the United States Olympic Sailing Team. Brad Van Liew represents the Club in the Around the World Alone Sailboat Race. The sailors, powerboaters, rowers, paddle tennis players and other groups are already under way in an active and fulfilling seventy-sixth year.
One could easily imagine that, at anchor in a special harbor in Heaven, Staff Commodore Eugene “Fritz” Overton, Frank A. Garbutt, Bernal Dyas, Staff Commodore Otto Wildey, Staff Commodore Ben Weston, Owen Churchill and so many other icons of California Yacht Club’s heritage are viewing with pride the accomplishments of their Club and looking forward to an even more successful future.
YOUR DIAMOND JUBILEE ALBUM – A VOLUNTEER EFFORT
Assembling this album looking back a century or more at Southern California’s yachting activities has been an incredibly rewarding experience for a dedicated group of volunteers. LAACO’s management was most accommodating in allowing – and supporting – us to piece together our 75-year legacy for your eyes.
The Club’s early years were a feast of facts surrounding the trailblazers of West Coast yachting. Staff Commodore Tom Leweck contributed greatly with his review of CYC’s sailing activities in the 1960’s to 1980’s, Staff Commodore Dick Hampikian helped pick up sailing and race management activities to the present day. Staff Commodore Roger Wilson and Joe Castagna played the same role with our powerboating activities. SEO Bunny Rippel, CYCWA Second Officer Tracy Thiras and Breeze Editor Linda Liles were always there to provide copy, proofread, review photographs and help manage the flood of facts flowing into this volume.
SEO Zoe Harrison’s personal knowledge of the past three decades was more than helpful and fun for everyone to share. Staff Commodore Cheryl Mahaffey provided a great review of the women sailors’ contributions to CYC’s winning ways. Diane Armstrong’s caring commentary of our Junior Program with input from Jay Rainwater took us all back to our youth. Staff Commodores Millard Rosing, Jack Weber and Martin McCarthy, Bob Leslie, Diane Adler, Dean Dierks and David MacCulloch helped immeasurably.
CYC President Steve Hathaway, General Manager Dennis Conneally and LAACO Executive Assistant Audrey Rainboldt did far more than their fair share as did marine photographer Jeri Conser, Marina del Rey photographer Greg Wenger and Staff Commodore Martin McCarthy behind their cameras. Registrar Anne Wattson at the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum provided key support.
Retired LAACO CEO/Managing Partner Frank Hathaway and retired LAACO Managing Partner Charles Hathaway endured my continual quest for information with grace and style, while also realizing that they are the living links to much of our past. In recognition of Charles’ vision and his unflagging support of California Yacht Club, it was heartening and stirring that all associated with this project echoed the enthusiasm of the Staff Officers Council when that group unanimously elected Charles CYC’s only living Honorary Commodore. Over our 75-year history, that accolade has been proffered only once before, to Edward L. Doheny in 1922. To this day, Charles Hathaway and his bride Patty continue to serve as CYC’s chief cheerleaders and are loved by all.
I must give a special tip of the hat to LAACO President and Managing Partner Karen Hathaway, who spent many hours contributing to this Album, in the process helping ensure we covered all the bases.
Hundreds of names appear in this album. Hundreds more have contributed in a caring way to help make our Club an exceptional experience for several thousand members over three quarters of a century. As shipmates through the decades, all have been a vital part of our lives.
We now march toward our Centennial. Some of us will answer the starting gun for the One Hundredth Anniversary Album celebrating that event. There will be other men, women and youngsters who will come aboard along the way to join us in continuing the great tradition of California Yacht Club. As a result, yachting will be that much the better.
Perhaps it is most fitting to close with the Sailor’s Benediction that Stan Mullin shares at the close of CYC’s Epicurean Dinners: “Now it is time to part and, as we do, may God send us fair winds, safe harbors and true friends. And may he hold us in the hollow of his hand until we meet again.”
Frank M. Gleberman
Staff Commodore (1988)
To help preserve for posterity the record of some of California Yacht Club’s significant accomplishments, the following list of achievements by the Club and its members from the past generation are included. Many noteworthy exploits prior to the present generation have been mentioned in the pages of this album. When the Club’s next history album is compiled, likely to help celebrate its Centennial, those who undertake that endeavor will have this list as a foundation to which they will add CYC’s future leaders and champions.
THE SIGNAL SERVICE AWARD
This award is presented by the management of California Yacht Club. The Award is the highest recognition that can be given to a member or members who have distinguished themselves by outstanding service to the Club and to yachting, over and above what would normally be expected. Following are the recipients of the Award, which is not necessarily conferred annually.
1923 Edward L. Doheny
Paul E. Jeffers
Benjamin P. Weston
(Specific dates S.M. Spaulding
for these awards AD MacLeod
are not available) Benjamin P. Weston
1962 Eugene Overton
1964 Tracey S. Holmes
1966 Walter H. Del Mar
1967 Ralph G. Chadwick
1968 Seymour Friedman
1969 Members of Coast Guard Flotilla 42
1972 Lloyd Dunn
1973 Harris K. Lyle
1974 Millard R. Rosing
1975 Jay H. Rainwater
1977 Robert S. Wilson
1981 Diane R. Armstrong
1983 Diane Armstrong
1984 Olympic Yachting Participants
(Names appear on page XXX)
1986 Barbara and Millard Rosing
1987 Marilyn Hersh
Thomas K. Armstrong
1988 Dick Hampikian
1989 Dorothy Wigant
1990 Bonnie Bechtol-Armstrong
1991 Dean D. Dierks
1992 Frank M. Gleberman
1993 Anne Sanguinetti
1995 Richard K. Squire
1997 Bunny Rippel
SIGNIFICANT SAILING EVENTS
Hundreds of sailing events have been conducted by California Yacht Club in recent years. Following are those considered to be major events by those who have led CYC’s sailing efforts.
Event General Chairman Principal Race Officer
1982 MORC Internationals Chris Lee Bill Stump
1983 Star Worlds Harrison Hine Dave Croshere
1988 U.S. National Laser Championship Dick Hampikian Bill Stump
1989 Schock 35 National Championship Dick Hampikian Dick Hampikian
1991 Tornado Olympic Pre-Trials Dick Hampikian Tom Armstrong
1992 Tornado Olympic Trials Dick Hampikian Tom Armstrong
1992 MORC International Championship Ray Mahaffey Bill Stump
1993 Schock 35 National Championship Dick Hampikian/Charlie Kelley*
1993 J-24 National Championship Dick Squire Bill Stump
1994 Laser Nationals Charlie Kelley Bill Stump
1994 Pan Pacific Yacht Race Dick Squire Dick Hampikian
1995 Star Spring Championship of the Western Hemisphere Dick Hampikian / Charlie Kelley*
1996 USSA Prince of Wales Finals Alex Benson Bill Stump
1996 Schock 35 National Championship Dick Hampikian / Charlie Kelley*
1997 Star North American Championship Alex Benson Frank Glynn
1997 Laser Nationals Alice Leahey Bill Stump
SAILBOAT RACING ACHIEVEMENTS
One of the most important activities of a major yacht club is its sailboat racing program. California Yacht Club has been blessed with active racing sailors who consistently number among top competitors in major sailing regattas around the world. From the awesome maxi’s and speedy ULBD 70’s to America’s Cup competition and the Olympic Games to `round the buoys dinghy racing, CYC sailors win far more than their fair share of the trophies.
Following is a list of some of CYC’s better‑known sailboat skippers and crew and their more noteworthy racing achievements during the past two decades:
(Before Layout, we’ll remove the items with “*” before them. They are for the Press Book. See Frank Gleberman before removing.)
NAME NOTEWORTHY ACHIEVEMENTS YEAR(S)
SANDY ADLER NATIONAL SEA EXPLORER USYRU – 1ST 1984
MARK BARNARD BEMIS TROPHY U.S. JUNIOR DOUBLEHANDED – 1ST 1984
- ALEX BENSON AHMANSON CUP SCHOCK 35 – 1ST 1992
*AHMANSON CUP SCHOCK 35 – 2ND 1993
*SAN DIEGO YACHTING CUP SCHOCK 35 – 2ND 1994
U.S. SABOT NATIONALS – MASTERS CHAMPION 1994
*SCHOCK 35 U.S. NATIONALS – 2ND 1995
CARL BLOMQUIST *U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS STAR CLASS 1984
ASMBYC CHAMPIONSHIPS -1ST CLASS, 1ST OVERALL 1988, 1989
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PHRF CHAMPIONSHIPS – 1ST 1988, 1989
MIKE BRANEY WORLD CHAMPION IOR MINI-TON SKIPPER 1980
MORC INTERNATIONAL – 1ST CLASS, 2ND OVERALL 1986
MORC NORTH AMERICAN – 1ST CLASS, 1ST OVERALL 1987
MORC NORTH AMERICAN – 2ND OVERALL 1989
MORC NORTH AMERICAN -1ST CLASS, 1ST OVERALL 1991
*CORKETT SERIES 2ND OVERALL 1992
ROBERT BURNS III *PRINCE OF WALES CREW – 2ND 1982
6-METRE NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION CREW 1983
LIPTON CUP WINNING CREW 1985
*BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE
CREW – 3RD 1988
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE -1ST
SCHOCK 35 CLASS 1990
J-24 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS CREW – 1ST 1993
SUZANNE CONKLIN *ADAMS CUP CREW – FINALIST 1988
*ADAMS CUP SEMI FINALIST CREW – 2ND 1989
*SCHOCK 35 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 2ND 1990 LONG BEACH RACE WEEK 1ST CLASS CREW 1991
DAVE CROSHERE LIPTON CUP WINNING CREW 1985
DAN CROWLEY SOLING NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION 1985
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE
SCHOCK 35 CREW – 1ST 1990
*CALIFORNIA CUP CREW – 2ND 1991
ULBD 70 HI-POINT SERIES CHAMPION CREW 1991
*KENNETH WATTS TROPHY CREW – 1ST 1991
*SKYLARK TROPHY CREW – 1ST 1991
USSA LLOYD PHOENIX TROPHY CREW – 1ST 1992
NORMAN DAVANT KENWOOD CUP SKIPPER CLASS A WINNER 1986
ROD DAVIS OLYMPIC SOLING CREW, GOLD MEDAL 1984
AMERICA’S CUP ELIMINATION SKIPPER, EAGLE 1986
ROBBIE DEAN CALIFORNIA STATE LASER >> CHAMPION CREW 1990
*USYRU SEARS CUP SEMI FINALIST CREW 1991
ORANGE BOWL INTER. YOUTH REGATTA – 1ST 1991
*IYRU YOUTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP I420 CREW – 6TH 1992
*U.S. SAILING BEMIS TROPHY CREW – 2ND 1992
*LASER >> WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS CREW – 4TH 1993
*LASER >> MIDWINTERS CREW 1993 – 1ST 1993
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE OVERALL
CFJ CREW – 1ST 1994
DEAN DIERKS *USYRU SEARS CUP BRONZE MEDAL CREW 1986
ASMBYC JUNIOR CHAMPION (LASER/LASER >>) 1987
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE – 1ST
SCHOCK 35 CREW 1990
*MORC INTERNATIONALS 3RD CLASS – 3RD OVERALL 1990
MORC NORTH AMERICANS – 1ST OVERALL 1990
MORC INTERNATIONALS -1ST CLASS, 2ND OVERALL 1991, 1992
*CORKETT SERIES CREW – 1ST OVERALL CATALINA 37 1992
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE OVERALL CREW – 1ST 1994
CAL 40 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 1ST 1997
JOHN DISKANT U.S. SABOT NATIONAL CHAMPION 1992
U.S. SABOT HI-POINT CHAMPION 1992
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE OVERALL
CFJ SKIPPER – 1ST 1994
MARIN DISKANT JUNIOR WOMEN’S DOUBLEHANDED – 2ND 1998
ROY E. DISNEY *CALIFORNIA CUP – 2ND 1991
ULDB 70 HI-POINT SERIES CHAMPION 1991
SKYLARK TROPHY – 1ST 1991
KENNETH WATTS TROPHY – 1ST 1991
MEXORC – CLASS A 1ST 1991
USSA LLOYD PHOENIX TROPHY WINNING SKIPPER 1992
AHMANSON TROPHY WINNER 1992
ROYAL CORK (IRELAND) YC – FORK CORK RACE WEEK – 1ST 1992
KENNY WATTS TROPHY – 1ST 1993
CALIFORNIA CUP CHAMPION SKIPPER 1994
- FRANCIS BIG BOAT SERIES – 1ST 1994
MEXORC WINNER 1994
- FRANCIS TROPHY, BIG BOAT SERIES 1995
RON DOUGHERTY *PRINCE OF WALES AREA SEMI FINALIST SKIPPER 1989
ROBERT DOUGHTY SOVEREL 33 PCC CHAMPION SKIPPER 1986, 1987
*CALIFORNIA CUP SKIPPER – 2ND 1988, 1989
CALIFORNIA CUP WINNING SKIPPER 1990
BOB DUBOIS CAPRI 14.2 NATIONAL CHAMPION 1987
BRACK DUKER KENNETH WATTS TROPHY REGATTA 1990
SUMMER SLED REGATTA CHAMPION 1991
*ULDB 70 HI-POINT CHAMPIONSHIP – 3RD 1991
SKYLARK TROPHY CHAMPION SKIPPER 1992
CALIFORNIA CUP CHAMPION SKIPPER 1991, 1997, 1998
PETER EPSTEIN MEXORC CREW IOR A – 1ST 1981, 1983
BIG BOAT SERIES ATLANTIC CREW – 1ST 1983
LONG BEACH RACE WEEK CREW IOR C – 1ST 1983
*KENWOOD CUP CREW IOR CLASS IOR C – 2ND 1986
BIG BOAT SERIES IOR CREW – 1ST CLASS 1989
SOBSTAD RACE WEEK CLASS A – 1ST 1987
BIG BOAT SERIES ULTIMATE 30 CLASS CREW – 1ST 1991
ALAN FIELD *SIDNEY SABOT NATIONALS – TIE 1ST 1982
*CALIFORNIA CUP CREW – 2ND 1988
*AUDI/NORTH RACE WEEK CLASS D SKIPPER – 2ND 1989
*PRINCE OF WALES QUARTER FINAL CHAMPION 1989
*AUDI/NORTH RACE WEEK CLASS D SKIPPER – 2ND 1989
FRANK GLYNN *SAN DIEGO YACHTING CUP SCHOCK 35 – 2ND 1994
*SCHOCK 35 U.S. NATIONALS SKIPPER – 2ND 1995
PACIFIC COAST LASER MASTER CHAMPIONSHIP – 1ST 1995
GWEN GORDON SCHOCK 35 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 1ST 1990, 1991, 1992
AUDI/NORTH RACE WEEK AUDI QUATRO CHAMPION 1991 SCHOCK 35 PACIFIC COAST CHAMPS CREW – 1ST 1991
BETTINA BENTS CHALLENGE CREW – 1ST 1993
SCHOCK 35 HIGH POINT CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 1ST 1994, 1995
STEVE GRILLON PRINCE OF WALES WINNING TACTICIAN 1983
LONG BEACH RACE WEEK WINNING SKIPPER 1985, 1986
HAL HAENEL U.S. SAILING TEAM MEMBER 1987-1997
OLYMPIC GAMES STAR CLASS SILVER MEDAL CREW 1988
STAR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS CREW – 2ND 1988
COMMODORE CUP, MIAMI ‑ STAR CREW – 1ST 1989
BACARDI CUP, MIAMI ‑ STAR CREW – 1ST 1989, 1990, 1992
STAR NORTH AMERICANS CREW – 1ST 1989
*BARCELONA PRE-OLYMPIC REGATTA
STAR CREW – 2ND 1990
BARCELONA PRE-OLYMPIC REGATTA
STAR CREW – 1ST 1991
CAN-AM OLYMPIC REGATTA STAR CREW – 1ST 1991, 1992
*WESTERN HEMISPHERE STAR SPRING
CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 2ND 1995
OLYMPIC GAMES STAR CLASS GOLD MEDAL CREW 1992
*STAR BACARDI CUP CREW – 4TH 1995
STAR CLASS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 1ST 1995
OLYMPIC GAMES STAR CLASS CREW 1996
KEVIN HALL USYRU SINGLEHANDED YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP – 1ST 1986
IYRU WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP – 1ST 1986
SMYTHE TROPHY U.S. JUNIOR SINGLEHANDED – 1ST 1986
USYRU YOUTH DOUBLEHANDED CHAMPIONSHIP – 1ST 1987
JIM HAMMITT SARDINIA CUP U.S. TEAM HELMSMAN 1984
SORC HELMSMAN – 1ST CLASS 1984
*MORC INTERNATIONALS – 2ND CLASS
4TH OVERALL HELMSMAN 1986
ICAYA MATCH RACING SERIES TACTICIAN – 1ST 1987
*CAPRI 14.2 NATIONALS SKIPPER – 2ND 1989 ULTIMATE 30 SERIES TACTICIAN – 1ST 1989
ULDB 70 HI-POINT SERIES CHAMPION TACTICIAN 1990
MEXORC 1ST CLASS TACTICIAN – 1ST OVERALL 1990
CAPRI 14.2 NATIONAL CHAMPION 1991
*J-24 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SKIPPER – 2ND 1993
CINNAMON HAMPIKIAN *COLLEGIATE WOMENS WEST COASTS SKIPPER – 2ND 1993
DICK HAMPIKIAN MORC WEST COAST CHAMPIONSHIPS CLASS B – 1ST 1984
*SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MORC HIGH POINT – 2ND 1985
MORC INTERNATIONAL – 1ST CLASS, 2ND OVERALL 1986
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MORC HIGH POINT WINNER 1986
MORC NORTH AMERICAN – 1ST CLASS, 1ST OVERALL 1987
SAN DIEGO YACHTING CUP – 1ST CLASS 1987
*MORC NORTH AMERICAN – 2ND OVERALL 1989
*PRINCE OF WALES AREA SEMI FINALIST CREW 1989
MORC NORTH AMERICAN – 1ST CLASS, 1ST OVERALL 1991
*CORKETT SERIES – 2ND OVERALL 1992
STEVE HATHAWAY SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MORC HIGH POINT WINNER 1984
CAPRI 30 NATIONAL CHAMPION SKIPPER 1985
MORC INTERNATIONALS -1ST CLASS, 2ND OVERALL 1992
BILL HERRSCHAFT SORC CREW IOR B – 1ST 1981
BIG BOAT SERIES IOR C CREW – 1ST 1981, 1982
MORC INTERNATIONAL WINNING SKIPPER 1983
SANTANA 20 NATIONAL CHAMPION SKIPPER 1987, 1988
CALIFORNIA CUP WINNING TACTICIAN 1990, 1991, 1997
BIG BOAT SERIES CREW ULTIMATE 30 CLASS – 1ST 1991
SKYLARK TROPHY CHAMPION TACTICIAN 1992
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE CREW –
1ST OVERALL 1994
WATTS TROPHY ULDB TACTICIAN – 1ST 1995
LIZ HJORTH CALIFORNIA CUP CHAMPION CREW 1991
U.S. WOMEN’S CHALLENGE / BETTINA BENTS
MEMORIAL CHALLENGE CREW – 1ST 1993
WOMEN’S ONE-DESIGN CHALLENGE CREW – 1ST 1993
WOMEN’S ONE-DESIGN CHALLENGE SKIPPER – 1ST 1995
J.J. ISLER ROLEX YACHTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR 1986, 1987, 1997
470 WORLD CHAMPION 1991
OLYMPIC GAMES 470 BRONZE MEDAL SKIPPER 1992
*CONGRESSIONAL CUP PARTICIPANT SKIPPER 1993
KEY WEST YACHTING WEEK – 1ST OVERALL SKIPPER 1997
SAN DIEGO YACHTING CUP- 1ST OVERALL SKIPPER 1997
PETER ISLER CONGRESSIONAL CUP, WINNING SKIPPER 1983, 1984
KING EDWARD GOLD CUP, WINNING SKIPPER 1985
CITIZENS CUP, WINNING SKIPPER 1986
LYMINGTON CUP, WINNING SKIPPER 1986
NAVIGATOR, AMERICA’S CUP, STARS AND STRIPES 1987, 1988
YACHTING MAGAZINE’S NAVIGATOR OF THE YEAR 1988
ROBERT M. KAHN, MD *SCYA MIDWINTERS – 1ST IN CLASS IOR ?
*TANNENBERG SERIES 1ST OVERALL ?
*TANNER SERIES – 1ST OVERALL ?
*HARRIS SERIES – IST OVERALL 1986
*ASMBYC CHAMPIONSHIPS – 1ST OVERALL 1986
MEXORC IOR – 1ST IMS, 1st OVERALL 1988, 1990, 1992 SCORA CHAMPIONSHIP IOR – 1ST OVERALL 1989
SCORA HI-POINT CHAMPIONSHIP – 1ST 1990
SAN DIEGO YACHTING CUP IOR -1ST 1990
LONG BEACH RACE WEEK – 1ST IN CLASS ?
*BIG BOAT SERIES – 2ND IN CLASS ?
- W. KASTNER CAPRI 30 NATIONAL CHAMPION SKIPPER 1987
CHARLIE KELLEY MORC NO. AMERICAN CHAMPION PRODUCTION CLASS 1990, 1992
MIDWINTERS – 1ST IN MERIT 25 CLASS 1991
*J-24 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HELMSMAN – 2ND 1993
*ASMBYC CHAMPIONSHIP – 2ND 1994
STEVEN KELLEY ASMBYC JUNIOR CHAMPION (LASER/LASER >>) 1988
*USSA O’DAY FINALIST 1993
JOHN B. “JIM” KILROY LAYC WHITNEY SERIES, 1ST OVERALL 1959, 1968
BLOCK ISLAND RACE – 1ST TO FINISH, 1ST OVERALL 1966
RACE QUEENS CUP 1 RORC – 1ST OVERALL 1975
RORC CHANNEL RACE – 1ST 1975
WORLD MAXI-RACING CHAMPIONSHIP – 1ST OVERALL 1980, 1981, 1983
COPA DEL REY – PALMA MALLORCA
MAXI MATCH BOAT SERIES – 1ST OVERALL 1983
COSTA SMERELDA MAXI MATCH BOAT SERIES – 1ST OVERALL 1983
INTERNATIONAL CLASS A OCEAN RACING CHAMPION 1987
WORLD MAXI MONTE CARLO SERIES – 1ST OVERALL 1987
- THOMAS SERIES – 1ST CLASS, 1ST OVERALL 1988
LONG BEACH REGATTA – 1ST CLASS, 1ST OVERALL 1988
*ST. FRANCIS YC PERPETUAL TROPHY – 2ND CLASS, 2ND OVERALL 1988
*INTERNATIONAL CLASS A WORLD MAXI BOAT
CHAMPIONSHIP – 3RD OVERALL 1988
YACHTING MAGAZINE’S OWNER OF THE YEAR 1988
*ST. TROPEZ SERIES – 2ND CLASS, 2ND OVERALL 1989
SUSIE KLEIN INTERCOLLEGIATE WOMENS WINNING SKIPPER 1987
CAPRI 14.2 NATIONAL CHAMPION CREW 1991
TOM LEWECK SANTANA 22 NATIONAL CHAMPION 1969, 1971
WINDWARD SABOT NATIONAL CHAMPION 1971
CAL 25 NATIONAL CHAMPION 1975
MERIT 25 NATIONAL CHAMPION 1983
KENWOOD CUP CLASS A NAVIGATOR 1ST 1986
MEXORC CLASS A NAVIGATOR 1ST 1987
MORC NO. AMERICAN CHAMPION PRODUCTION CLASS 1989 SCHOCK 35 NATIONAL CHAMPION TACTICIAN 1989, 1990
CALIFORNIA CUP CHAMPION TACTICIAN 1990, 1991
*J-24 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SKIPPER – 4TH 1993
ROBERT LITTLE AMERICA’S CUP CREW, EAGLE 1987
*INTERCOLLEGIATE DOUGLAS CUP – 2ND 1988
INTERCOLLEGIATE DOUGLAS CUP – 1ST 1990
COLLEGIATE ALL-AMERICAN (USC) 1989, 1990
*470 OLYMPIC CLASSES REGATTA CREW – 2ND 1991
*470 MIDWINTER CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 3RD 1992
470 OLYMPIC CLASSES REGATTA CREW – 1ST 1992
*470 OLYMPIC TRIALS CREW – 2ND 1992
MIAMI CAN/AM REGATTA 470 CREW – 1ST 1993
*SNIPE NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP -3RD 1994
J24 NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION CREW 1995
470 NATIONAL CHAMPION 1995
PAN-AMERICAN TRIALS MEN’S 470 CREW – 1ST 1995
OLYMPIC CLASSES REGATTA CREW – GOLD MEDAL 1995
470 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 1ST 1995
PAN-AMERICAN GAMES 470 CREW – SILVER MEDAL 1995
470 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS – 4TH 1996
470 PACIFIC COAST CHAMPION 1996
470 NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION 1996
*LONG BEACH YACHT CLUB GOLD CUP – 2ND 1996
*USSA PRINCE OF WALES FINALS – 2ND 1996
*CONGRESSIONAL CUP CREW – 4TH 1997
ED LORENCE 5.5-METRE NORTH AMERICAN WINNING CREW 1983
LIPTON CUP WINNING HELMSMAN 1985
JOHN MACLAURIN 3/4 TON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER 1978
1 TON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER 1979
MARINA DEL REY TO SAN DIEGO RACE WINNER 1981
MORC CHAMPIONSHIP CLASS A WINNER 1985
SCORA CHAMPIONSHIP FIRST PLACE 1985
PACIFIC CUP CHAMPION 1985
1 TON RICHARD RHEIM SERIES WINNER 1985, 1987
BIG BOAT SERIES KEEF KILBORN WINNER 1988, 1989
BIG BOAT SERIES 1ST ULTIMATE 30 CLASS 1990
ULTIMATE 30 CLASS CORPUS CHRISTI – 1ST 1990
ULTIMATE 30 CLASS CHAMPION 1990
CHERYL MAHAFFEY *WOMEN ON WATER WINNING SKIPPER 1985, 1987
*USYRU ADAMS CUP 1/4 FINALS WINNING SKIPPER 1986
WEST COAST MORC CHAMPIONSHIPS – 1ST PLACE 1987
*CORKETT TROPHY CREW – 1ST CLASS 1988
*WOMEN ON WATER WINNING SKIPPER 1990
*SCHOCK 35 FLEET CHAMPIONSHIPS SKIPPER – 2ND 1992
YACHTING CUP SKIPPER – 1ST 1993
BETTINA BENTS CHALLENGE SKIPPER – 1ST 1993
WOMEN’S ONE-DESIGN CHALLENGE SKIPPER – 1ST 1993
WOMEN’S ONE-DESIGN CHALLENGE CREW – 1ST 1995
RAY MAHAFFEY *MORC INTERNATIONALS CREW – 2ND CLASS, 4TH OVERALL 1987
*MORC CORKETT SERIES – 1ST OVERALL 1987
ASMBYC CHAMPIONSHIP – 1ST OVERALL SKIPPER 1987
*HARRIS SERIES – 1ST IN CLASS 1987
*MORC CORKETT SERIES – 1ST CLASS 1988
YACHTING CUP 1ST TACTICIAN 1993
*PACIFIC CUP – 2ND 1997
LOREN McCLANATHAN NOOD REGATTA SKIPPER – 1ST 1993
*SCHOCK 35 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – 3RD SKIPPER 1993
BEN MITCHELL, JR. PRINCE OF WALES SKIPPER – 2ND 1982
5.5-METRE NORTH AMERICAN WINNING SKIPPER 1983
6-METRE NO. AMERICAN WINNING SKIPPER 1983
BIG BOAT SERIES – 1ST CLASS 1983
CLIPPER CUP U.S. TEAM – 1ST OVERALL 1984
*6-METRE WORLDS TACTICIAN – 4TH 1989
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE
35 TACTICIAN – 1ST 1990
CAL 40 NATIONAL CHAMPION TACTICIAN 1991
KENNETH WATTS TROPHY TACTICIAN – 1ST 1991
*CALIFORNIA CUP TACTICIAN – 2ND 1991
SKYLARK TROPHY TACTICIAN – 1ST 1991
*STAR OLYMPIC CLASSES REGATTA SKIPPER – 2ND 1991
ULDB 70 HI-POINT SERIES CHAMPION TACTICIAN 1991
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE SCHOCK
STAR OLYMPIC CLASSES REGATTA SKIPPER – 1ST 1992
USSA LLOYD PHEONIX TROPHY – 1ST CREW 1992
CALIFORNIA CUP TACTICIAN – 1ST 1993
J-24 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TACTICIAN – 1ST 1993
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB
CHALLENGE – 1ST OVERALL 1994
*STAR NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
SKIPPER – 4TH 1995
BEN MITCHELL, SR. OVERALL WINNING NAVIGATOR SORC 1982
(MANY ADDITIONAL TITLES PRIOR TO 1980)
KATHY PATTERSON *WOMEN ON THE WATER CO-SKIPPER – 1ST OVERALL 1988
WORSA NEWPORT TACTICIAN – 1ST OVERALL 1991
*LONG BEACH RACE WEEK J-35 CO-SKIPPER – 2ND 1992, 1998
BETTINA BENTS CHALLENGE CREW – 1ST 1993
YACHTING CUP CO-SKIPPER – 1ST 1998
ROBERT PATTERSON *LONG BEACH RACE WEEK J-35 CO-SKIPPER – 2ND 1992, 1998
YACHTING CUP CO-SKIPPER – 1ST 1998
BILL PETERSEN MORC INTERNATIONAL WINNING SKIPPER 1984, 1985, 1986
*1 TON RICHARD RHEIM SERIES – 2ND 1987
STARS AND STRIPES CREW, AMERICA’S CUP WINNER 1987
*CAL CUP TACTICIAN TO TOM BLACKALLER 1988
*BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE
SKIPPER – 3RD 1988
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE
SCHOCK 35 SKIPPER – 1ST 1990
ULDB 70 HI-POINT SERIES CHAMPION SAILING MASTER 1990
*CORKETT SERIES SKIPPER – 2ND OVERALL 1992
MEXORC WINNING HELMSMAN/TACTICIAN
CLASS A IOR 1993
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE
CATALINA 37 SKIPPER – 1ST OVERALL 1994
*BIG BOAT SERIES ULDB TACTICIAN – 2ND 1994
*SCHOCK 35 U.S.NATIONALS TACTICIAN – 2ND 1995
TOM PRIEST *OLSON 30 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 2ND 1989
*CALIFORNIA CUP CREW – 2ND 1989
CALIFORNIA CUP CHAMPION CREW 1990, 1991
MEXORC CREW IOR – 1ST OVERALL 1992
*SCHOCK 35 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 3RD 1994
35 HI-POINT CHAMPION CREW 1994, 1995
PEGGY L. REDLER *CALIFORNIA CUP NAVIGATOR – 2ND 1988
JOHN SANGMEISTER KENWOOD CUP CREW – 1ST OVERALL 1986
*CONGRESSIONAL CUP CREW – 2ND 1987, 1989
FORMULA ONE REGATTA (AUSTRALIA) CREW – 1ST 1992
AMERICA’S CUP ELIMINATIONS, STARS AND STRIPES CREW 1992
FORMULA ONE REGATTA (AUSTRALIA) CREW -1ST 1992
RICHARD SCHMIDT WINDMILL NATIONAL CHAMPION 1970
WINDMILL MIDWINTER CHAMPION 1970, 1971
*SCHOCK 35 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SKIPPER – 2ND 1987
ASMBYC CHAMPIONSHIPS CLASS A SKIPPER – 1ST 1987
*ASMBYC CHAMPIONSHIPS CLASS A SKIPPER – 2ND 1989
SCHOCK 35 NATIONAL CHAMPION SKIPPER 1990, 1991, 1992
AUDI/NORTH QUATTRO TROPHY 1991
*SCHOCK 35 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 3RD 1994
SCHOCK 35 HI-POINT CHAMPION SKIPPER 1994, 1995
W.D. SCHOCK MEMORIAL, SCHOCK 35 – 1ST 1998
LEN SHERIDAN LIPTON CUP WINNER 1985
DEREK SIMMS U.S. SABOT NATIONAL CHAMPION 1991
ASMBYC JUNIOR CHAMPION 1992, 1993
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE
LASER SKIPPER – 1ST OVERALL 1994
KIM SMITH AHMANSON CUP SCHOCK 35 CREW – 1ST 1992
SCOTT STOLNITZ ASMBYC CHAMPIONSHIP PHRF C – 1ST CLASS, 2ND OVERALL 1985
*MORC INTERNATIONALS CLASS D – 2ND CLASS,
4TH OVERALL 1986
AHMANSON CUP CLASS TACTICIAN – 1ST 1992
BILL STUMP *PRINCE OF WALES CREW – 2ND 1982, 1984
SARDINIA CUP U.S. TEAM CREW 1984
SORC CLASS CREW -1ST 1984
MORC NO. AMERICAN CREW – 1ST CLASS,
1ST OVERALL 1987
*BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE
CREW – 3RD 1988
*MORC NORTH AMERICAN CREW – 2ND OVERALL 1989
*PRINCE OF WALES AREA SEMI FINALIST CREW 1989
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE 1ST
SCHOCK 35 CLASS – CREW 1990
STAR OLYMPIC CLASSES REGATTA CREW – 1ST 1992
CALIFORNIA CUP CHAMPION CREW 1994
*STAR NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 4TH 1995
BEST IN THE U.S. YACHT CLUB CHALLENGE
CREW – CATALINA 37 – 1ST OVERALL 1994
JOHN STURMAN BEMIS TROPHY U.S. JUNIOR DOUBLEHANDED – 1ST 1984
USYRU YOUTH DOUBLEHANDED CHAMPIONSHIP – 1ST 1987
MIKE STURMAN USYRU NATIONAL SEA EXPLORER CHAMPIONSHIP – 1ST 1984
U.S. SAILING TEAM MEMBER 1990-1996
*470 OLYMPIC CLASSES REGATTA SKIPPER – 2ND 1991
*470 OLYMPIC TRIALS SKIPPER – 2ND 1992
470 OLYMPIC CLASSES REGATTA SKIPPER – 1ST 1992
*470 MIDWINTER CHAMPIONSHIP SKIPPER – 3RD 1992
MIAMI CAN/AM REGATTA 470 SKIPPER – 1ST 1993
PAN-AMERICAN GAMES 470 CREW – SILVER MEDAL 1995
470 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CREW – 1ST 1995
OLYMPIC CLASSES REGATTA CREW – GOLD MEDAL 1995
PAN-AMERICAN TRIALS MEN’S 470 CREW – 1ST 1995
CALIFORNIA CUP CHAMPION MELGES 24 CREW 1995
470 NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION 1996
470 PACIFIC COAST CHAMPION 1996
*470 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS – 4TH 1996
HAL WARD *ULDB 70 HI-POINT CHAMPIONSHIP – 2ND 1990
PETER WELLS ASMBYC JUNIOR YACHTSMAN OF THE YEAR 1989, 1990, 1991
ORANGE BOWL INTER. YOUTH REGATTA – 1ST 1991
COLLEGIATE FLYING JUNIOR NATIONAL CHAMPION 1991
USSA/NAUTICA YOUTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 1991, 1992
*IYRU YOUTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP I420 – 6TH 1992
*USSA BEMIS TROPHY SKIPPER – 2ND 1992
LASER >> NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION 1992
*LASER >> WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SKIPPER – 4TH 1993
LASER >> MIDWINTERS SKIPPER – 1ST 1993
JAKE WOOD KENWOOD CUP CLASS A – 1ST 1986
MEXORC – 1ST CLASS 1987
JOHN WOODHULL CAL 40 NATIONAL CHAMPION 1977, 1982, 1990,
1991, 1992, 1993,
1994, 1995, 1996,
SCYA MINDWINTERS – 1ST IN CLASS 1980, 1983, 1986
*BIG BOAT SERIES IOR – 2ND 1986
LONG BEACH RACE WEEK CLASS C WINNER 1987
AHMANSON CUP – OVERALL IOR WINNER 1987
WHITNEY SERIES IOR – 1ST OVERALL 1988
KIMO WORTHINGTON AMERICA’S CUP ELIMINATIONS EAGLE 1986
PAUL YATES MORC INTERNATIONALS – 1ST OVERALL 1983
NAME NOTEWORTHY ACHIEVEMENTS YEAR(S)
TOM ARMSTRONG OVERTON SERIES – 1ST OVERALL 1984, 1985
PUERTO VALLARTA CLASS C – 1ST 1985
ROBERT BURNS III TRANS PACIFIC YACHT RACE – 1ST TO FINISH 1991
SUZANNE CONKLIN ENSENADA RACE 1ST IOR A – 1ST OVERALL 1987
DAVE CROSHERE PUERTO VALLARTA HELMSMAN – 1ST CLASS C 1985
DAN CROWLEY *TRANS PACIFIC RACE – 3RD TO FINISH 1991
PUERTO VALLARTA – 1ST 1991
MANZANILLO RACE – 1ST 1992
*PUERTO VALLARTA 2ND CLASS, 2ND OVERALL 1993
TRANS PACIFIC YACHT RACE CREW – COURSE RECORD 1997
STEVE CURRAN TRANS PACIFIC CLASS A WINNER 1985
DAVE DILLEHAY CABO SAN LUCAS RACE – 1ST PHRF A, 1ST IMS 1992
ROY E. DISNEY SANTA BARBARA TO KING HARBOR RACE WINNER 1983
CABO SAN LUCAS RACE – 1ST IN CLASS, 1ST OVERALL 1987
PUERTO VALLARTA CLASS A – 1ST 1991
ENSENADA RACE CLASS A – 1ST 1991
*PUERTO VALLARTA – 2ND CLASS, 2ND OVERALL 1993
SANTA BARBARA TO KING HARBOR – 1ST TO FINISH, 1ST IN A 1993**
SAN DIEGO TO CABO SAN LUCAS RACE –
1ST TO FINISH, 1ST OVERALL 1994**
DANA POINT TO SAN DIEGO VIA SAN CLEMENTE –
1ST TO FINISH. 1ST OVERALL 1995**
VICTORIA TO MAUI RACE – 1ST TO FINISH, 1ST IN A 1996**
SWIFTSURE LIGHTSHIP RACE (CANADA) –
1ST TO FINISH, 1ST IN A 1997**
DANA POINT TO SAN DIEGO – 1ST TO FINISH 1997**
SAN DIEGO TO PUERTO VALLARTA – 1ST TO FINISH, 1ST OVERALL 1998**
ENSENADA RACE – 1ST TO FINISH, 1ST IN A 1998**
PACIFIC CUP – 1ST TO FINISH, 1ST IN A 1998**
** Course Record
ROY PAT DISNEY MANZANILLO RACE – 1ST CLASS, 1ST OVERALL 1992
SANTA CRUZ TO SANTA BARBARA RACE – 1ST OVERALL 1993
MANZANILLO RACE – 1ST TO FINAIH, 1ST OVERALL 1994**
TRANS PACIFIC YACHT RACE – 1st TO FINISH, 1ST IN A 1997**
** Course Record
ROBERT DOUGHTY CABO SAN LUCAS RACE CREW – 1ST IOR 1985
ENSENADA – 1ST OVERALL 1987
RON DOUGHERTY *CABO SAN LUCAS RACE CREW – 2ND OVERALL IOR 1985
BRACK DUKER *TRANS PACIFIC YACHT RACE SKIPPER
CLASS A – 2ND 1995
CABO SAN LUCAS RACE ULDB 70 – 1ST 1995
ALAN FIELD PUERTO VALLARTA IOR CLASS C CO-SKIPPER – 1ST 1981
BILL HERRSCHAFT CABO SAN LUCAS RACE CREW – 1ST IOR A 1981, 1983
MANZANILLO CREW – 1ST IOR A 1983
ROBERT M. KAHN, MD *CABO SAN LUCAS RACE – 2ND IOR 1987
*MANZANILLO RACE – 2ND IOR 1988, 1992
MANZANILLO RACE IOR & IMS – 1ST OVERALL 1990
PUERTO VALLARTA RACE – 1ST IOR C, 1ST IMS, 1ST OVERALL 1991
JOHN B. “JIM” KILROY ACAPULCO RACE – 1ST OVERALL 1962
SKAGEN-FERMAN SALE – 1ST TO FINISH, 1ST OVERALL 1968
TRANSATLANTIC RACE – 1ST TO FINISH 1968
TRANSATLANTIC RACE – 1ST TO FINISH, 1ST OVERALL 1969
MAZATLAN RACE – 1ST TO FINISH, 2ND OVERALL 1970
HOBART to AUCKLAND – 1ST TO FINISH, 1ST OVERALL 1972
MIAMI – MONTEGO BAY – 1ST OVERALL 1975
- PETERSBURG – FT. LAUDERDALE
1ST TO FINISH, 1ST OVERALL, ELAPSED TIME RECORD 1977
SYDNEY – HOBART – 1ST TO FINISH, 1ST OVERALL,
ELAPSED TIME RECORD 1977
“YACHTING” WORLD’S OCEAN RACING CHAMPIONSHIPS 1975 – 1977
TRANSPAC RACE – 1ST OVERALL 1977
CHINA SEA RACE – 1ST TO FINISH, 1ST OVERALL 1978
SWIFTSURE RACE – 1ST TO FINISH, 3RD OVERALL 1978
TRANSATLANTIC RACE – 1ST TO FINISH, 2ND OVERALL 1979
MIAMI – NASSAU – 1ST OVERALL 1981
TOM LEWECK PUERTO VALLARTA RACE NAVIGATOR’S TROPHY 1989
CABO SAN LUCAS RACE NAVIGATOR’S TROPHY 1981, 1986, 1992
PUERTO VALLARTA RACE – NAVIGATOR’S TROPHY 1997
JOHN MACLAURIN SORC MIAMI‑NASSAU RACE – 1ST 1982
BEN MITCHELL, JR. MANZANILLO RACE – 1ST 1992
*CABO SAN LUCAS RACE ULDB TURBO – 2ND TO FINISH 1995
TRANS PACIFIC YACHT RACE – COURSE RECORD 1997
BILL PETERSEN CABO SAN LUCAS RACE ULDB 70 WATCH CAPTAIN –
1ST TO FINISH, FIRST OVERALL 1994
TOM PRIEST *CABO SAN LUCAS ULDB CREW – 3RD 1994
*PUERTO VALLARTA ULDB CREW – 2ND 1995
PEGGY L. REDLER ENSENADA IOR A NAVIGATOR – 1ST 1987
*ENSENADA IOR A NAVIGATOR – 3RD 1988
*MANZANILLO RACE IOR A NAVIGATOR – 2ND 1989
MITCHELL ROUSE TRANSPACIFIC YACHT RACE 1ST IN IOR-A 1989
JOHN SANGMEISTER CABO SAN LUCAS RACE – 1ST OVERALL 1987
HARRY SMITH PUERTO VALLARTA RACE – 1ST IN CLASS, 1ST OVERALL 1997
RICHARD SQUIRE PUERTO VALLARTA IOR CLASS C CO-SKIPPER – 1ST 1981
AROUND GUADALOUPE ISLAND SINGLEHANDED RACE
1ST OVERALL (COURSE RECORD 1988) 1988, 1990
HAL WARD SANTA BARBARA TO KING HARBOR RACE –
1ST TO FINISH, 1ST OVERALL 1983
MARINA DEL REY TO SAN DIEGO RACE – 1ST TO FINISH 1987
OAKLAND TO CATALINA RACE CLASS A – 1ST 1990
MANZANILLO RACE COURSE RECORD 1990
TRANS PACIFIC YACHT RACE – 1ST TO FINISH 1995
CABO SAN LUCAS RACE ULDB TURBO – 1ST TO FINISH 1995
JAKE WOOD MANZANILLO CLASS A – 1ST CLASS, 1ST OVERALL 1986
JOHN WOODHULL ENSENADA RACE – 1ST OVERALL 1987
SANTA BARBARA TO KING HARBOR RACE – 1ST IN IOR CLASS 1987
*NEWPORT TO CABO SAN LUCAS RACE – 2ND CLASS 1991
Many additional trophies won in other regattas by these competitors and other Club members compliment these accomplishments.
POWERBOAT RACING ACHIEVEMENTS
Since the founding of California Yacht Club, many forms of powerboat racing have captured the attention and participation of members. Over the past three decades, competition in navigational contests (known in previous years as Log racing) has been the prominent form of CYC powerboat competition.
Following is a list of some of CYC’s better‑known powerboat skippers and their more noteworthy racing achievements during these years:
SCCA C. KING BRUGMAN CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY 1975
NACA CO-WINNER, GEORGE W. CODDINGTON TROPHY 1979
CO-WINNER SMBPF CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY 1979
CO-WINNER, SCYA HARRY L. BRITTAIN PERPETUAL TROPHY 1980
NACA CO-WINNER, CHAMPIONSHIP FOUR
(ST. PETERSBURG YC PERPETUAL TROPHY) 1980
SCCA CO-WINNER BATHKE PERPETUAL TROPHY 1991
NACA HALL OF CHAMPIONS PERPETUAL TROPHY 1997
WALTER DEL MAR
SCCA C. KING BRUGMAN PERPETUAL TROPHY 1964
NACA MARTINI & ROSSI TROPHY 1964
NACA GEORGE W. CODDINGTON TROPHY 1964, 1976
NACA 300 CLUB 1976, 1991
NACA HALL OF CHAMPIONS PERPETUAL TROPHY 1981
*SCCA PABST CUP 1992
SMBPF FLEET TROPHY AWARD, MEL LURIE PERPETUAL TROPHY 1993, 1995
SMBPF CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY 1994
*SMBPF VICE COMMODORE’S RACE 1994, 1997
*SMBPF CHAMPAGNE CUP 1994
*SMBPF LELAND CUP 1994
*SCCA RAMSEY RACE 1994
*SCCA SCHULTZ RACE 1994
SCCA BOBRICK TROPHY 1994
NACA NORTH AMERICAN INVITATIONAL (NAI) PERPETUAL TROPHY 1995
SMBPF FALL SERIES 1995
*SCCA PRITIKIN RACE 1996, 1997
*SMBPF CYRANO CUP 1997
*SMBPF BARZILAY CUP 1997
*SCCA MARINA CUP 1997
- MORRIS EDELSTEIN
PCYA HARRY BARUSCH PACIFIC COAST PREDICTED LOG RACE CHAMPION 1974
SCCA C. KING BRUGMAN TROPHY 1971
NACA HALL OF CHAMPIONS PERPETUAL TROPHY 1977
PCYA HARRY BARUSCH PACIFIC COAST PREDICTED LOG RACE CHAMPION 1969, 1973
SCCA C. KING BRUGMAN PERPETUAL TROPHY 1972
NACA CO-WINNER, CODDINGTON TROPHY 1979
SMBPF CO-WINNER, PERPETUAL TROPHY 1979
SCYA CO-WINNER, HARRY L. BRITTAIN PERPETUAL TROPHY 1980
NACA 500 CLUB 1981
SMBPF LURIE FLEET PERPETUAL TROPHY 1989, 1994
PCYA HARRY BARUSCH PACIFIC COAST PREDICTED LOG RACE CHAMPION 1990, 1992
SMBPF CASTAGNA PERPETUAL TROPHY 1991, 1996
NACA 500 CLUB 1991
SCCA FALL SERIES TROPHY 1992
PCYA JOSEPH V. CASTAGNA TEAM CO-CHAMPION 1992
SMBPF LURIE FLEET PERPETUAL TROPHY 1994, 1996
SMBPF SPRING SERIES 1996
SMBPF PERPETUAL TROPHY 1978
(THE ABOVE ARE ONLY XX REPRESENTATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS FROM AMONG
SOME XXX RACE WINS, WHICH INCLUDE XX WORLD RECORDS)
NACA 500 CLUB 1983
NACA NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND BANKS PERPETUAL TROPHY 1965
NACA GEORGE W. CODDINGTON TROPHY 1965
NACA MARTINI & ROSSI TROPHY 1965
SCCA C. KING BRUGMAN PERPETUAL TROPHY 1965
SMBPF PERPETUAL TROPHY 1977
NACA 500 CLUB 1983
Many additional trophies won in other regattas by these competitors and other Club members compliment these accomplishments
Note: Definition of abbreviations used above:
NACA = North American Cruiser Association
PCYA = Pacific Coast Yachting Association
SCCA = Southern California Cruiser Association
SCYA = Southern California Yachting Association
SMBPF = Santa Monica Bay Power Fleet
NACA 300 = Error of less than 0.3% in NACA sanctioned competition
NACA 500 = Error of less than 0.5% in NACA sanctioned competition
- WILLIAM CABEEN
US MASTERS NATIONALS – C2X – 1ST 1986, 1988, 1990
US MASTERS NATIONALS – C1X – 1ST 1987, 1990, 1991
US MASTERS NATIONALS – B4X – 1ST 1988
MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – MENS C SINGLE – 1ST 1988
MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – MENS D SINGLE –1ST 1988
CANADIAN HENLEY REGATTA – MASTERS SINGLE – 1ST 1989
HEAD OF THE CHARLES REGATTA – MASTERS DOUBLE – 1ST 1990, 1991, 1992
US MASTERS NATIONALS – C4X – 1ST 1991, 1994, 1996
GREAT CATALINA ROWING & PADDLING DERBY – QUAD – 1ST 1993*
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MXC2X???? – 1ST 1993
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MX4X???? – 1ST 1996
GREAT CATALINA ROWING AND PADDLING DERBY – MIXED DOUBLE – 1ST 1986, 1987, 1988,
1992, 1995, 1996
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – WOMENS MASTERS DOUBLE – 1ST 1988, 1993, 1995,
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – WOMENS MASTERS QUAD – 1ST 1988
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – MIXED 8 (WITH CXN???????0 – 1ST 1988
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – WOMENS MASTERS SINGLE – 1ST 1993
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – MASTERS MIXED B DOUBLE – 1ST 1993
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – MASTERS MIXED C DOUBLE – 1ST 1993
GREAT CATALINA ROWING AND PADDLING DERBY – MIXED QUAD – 1ST 1993*
HEAD OF THE CHARLES REGATTA – WOMENS MASTERS DOUBLE – 1ST 1994, 1996, 1997
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – WOMENS MASTERS B QUAD – 1ST 1995
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – MIXED MASTERS QUAD – 1ST 1996, 1997
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – WOMENS MASTERS C QUAD – 1ST 1997
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MENS B QUAD – 1ST 1993, 1996, 1997
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MENS C QUAD – 1ST 1996, 1997
HEAD OF THE CHARLES REGATTA – MASTERS SINGLE – 1ST 1988
GREAT CATALINA ROWING AND PADDLING DERBY – MENS SINGLE – 1ST 1988*
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MENS B SINGLE – 1ST 1989, 1990
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MENS B DOUBLE – 1ST– MI 1989, 1990, 1994
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MENS B QUAD – 1ST 1989, 1993, 1996,
GREAT CATALINA ROWING AND PADDLING DERBY – MENS DOUBLE – 1ST 1989*, 1990*
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MIXED B DOUBLE – 1ST 1989, 1991
HEAD OF THE CHATAHOOCHEE – MENS MASTER SINGLE – 1ST 1989
HEAD OF THE CHARLES REGATTA – MENS MASTER DOUBLE – 1ST 1990, 1992
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MENS C DOUBLE – 1ST 1990, 1991, 1994,
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MENS A DOUBLE – 1ST 1991
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MENS C QUAD – 1ST 1991, 1995, 1996,
GREAT CATALINA ROWING AND PADDLING DERBY – MIXED QUAD – 1ST 1993*
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MENS C SINGLE – 1ST 1994
HEAD OF THE CHARLES REGATTA – MENS MASTER SINGLE – 1ST 1995, 1997
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MIXED C QUAD – 1ST 1996, 1997
GREAT CATALINA ROWING AND PADDLING DERBY – MIXED DOUBLE – 1ST 1986, 1987, 1988,
GREAT CATALINA ROWING AND PADDLING DERBY – MENS DOUBLE – 1ST 1989, 1990, 1991
GREAT CATALINA ROWING AND PADDLING DERBY – MIXED QUAD – 1ST 1993*
HEAD OF THE CHARLES REGATTA – MASTERS QUAD (men?) – 1ST 1993
US MASTERS NATIONALS – B QUAD (TYPE) – 1ST 1993, 1996, 1997
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MIXED B DOUBLE – 1ST 1993
GREAT CATALINA ROWING AND PADDLING DERBY – MENS SINGLE – 1ST 1994
US MASTERS NATIONALS – B DOUBLE (TYPE?) – 1ST 1994, 1995
US MASTERS NATIONALS – C QUAD (TYPE?) – 1ST 1995, 1996, 1997
US MASTERS NATIONALS – C DOUBLE – 1ST 1996, 1997
US MASTERS NATIONALS – C SINGLE – 1ST 1997
US MASTERS NATIONALS – C QUAD MIXED – 1ST 1997
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MENS C EIGHT – 1ST 1990
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MENS FOUR W/CXN – 1ST 1992
CANADIAN MASTERS NATIONALS – FOUR W/CXN – 1ST 1992
CANADIAN MASTERS NATIONALS – FOUR C W/CXN – 1ST 1992
CANADIAN MASTERS NATIONALS – PAIR W/O CXN – 1ST 1992
CANADIAN MASTERS NATIONALS – EIGHT C – 1ST 1992
US MASTERS NATIONALS – MIXED C EIGHT – 1ST 1993, 1994
INTERCOLLEGIATE ROWING ASSOCIATION REGATTA – MENS MASTER EIGHT – 1ST 1994
CANADIAN MASTERS NATIONALS – DOUBLE D – 1ST 1996
CANADIAN MASTERS NATIONALS – PAIR W/O CXN D – 1ST 1996
CANADIAN MASTERS NATIONALS – EIGHT E – 1ST 1996
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – WOMENS MASTERS DOUBLE – 1ST 1988
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – WOMENS MASTERS QUAD – 1ST 1988
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – MIXED EIGHT C W/CXN – 1ST 1988, 1996, 1997
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – MIXED DOUBLE – 1ST 1988
HEAD OF THE CHARLES REGATTA – WOMENS MASTERS DOUBLE – 1ST 1994, 1995
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – WOMENS MASTERS DOUBLE C – 1ST 1996
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – WOMENS QUAD B – 1ST 1996
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – MIXED QUAD B – 1ST 1996, 1997
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – MIXED QUAD C W/CXN – 1ST 1996
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – WOMENS QUAD C – 1ST 1997
USRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – WOMENS DOUBLE C – 1ST 1997
NATIONAL SPORTS FESTIVAL – OPEN DOUBLE – 1ST 1985
US MASTERS NATIONALS – B DOUBLE – 1ST 1995
Many additional trophies won in other regattas by these competitors and other Club members compliment these accomplishments.
REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF YACHTING
***Somehow I’ve missed some of the other people like Barry Labow, Millard, Foyer and others. Look at the April 1988 Breeze listing, then the application for Best in US that I did and Dean Dierks took over to be sure folks are recognized., Isler, Leslie, Nordskog, Look at Frank, Steve and Charles Hathaway positions in club management.
FOUNDING COMMODORE, SANTA MONICA BAY POWER FLEET 1978
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1981
COMMODORE, PACIFIC COAST YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1989
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1976
COMMODORE, PACIFIC COAST YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1983
WALTER DEL MAR
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1966
COMMODORE, NORTH AMERICAN CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1979
COMMODORE, SANTA MONICA BAY POWER FLEET 1998
COMMODORE, ASSOCIATION OF SANTA MONICA BAY YACHT CLUBS 1976
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1978
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1974
COMMODORE, ASSOCIATION OF SANTA MONICA BAY YACHT CLUBS 1978
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1969
TEAM LEADER, U.S. OLYMPIC SAILING TEAM 1998 to 2000
COMMODORE, ASSOCIATION OF SANTA MONICA BAY YACHT CLUBS 1968
COMMODORE, ASSOCIATION OF SANTA MONICA BAY YACHT CLUBS 1964
COACH, U.S. OLYMPIC 470 TEAM 1981 to 1984
COMMODORE, ASSOCIATION OF SANTA MONICA BAY YACHT CLUBS 1972
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1974
PRESIDENT, RECREATIONAL BOATERS OF CALIFORNIA 1980
PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BOATING FEDERATION 1988
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1972
COMMODORE, PACIFIC COAST YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1975
PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA MARINE PARKS AND HARBORS ASSOCIATION 1975, 1976
PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BOATING FEDERATION 1983, 1984
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1992
COMMODORE, PACIFIC COAST YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1998
PRESIDENT, PACIFIC OFFSHORE POWERBOAT RACING ASSOCIATION MANY YEARS(1989)
PRESIDENT, AMERICAN POWERBOAT ASSOCIATION XXXXXX
(FRANK GLEBERMAN TO OBTAIN TOTAL YEARS)
COMMODORE, ASSOCIATION OF SANTA MONICA BAY YACHT CLUBS 1998
COMMODORE, ASSOCIATION OF SANTA MONICA BAY YACHT CLUBS 1970
COMMODORE, ASSOCIATION OF SANTA MONICA BAY YACHT CLUBS 1967
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1969
COMMODORE, PACIFIC COAST YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1986
COMMODORE, SANTA MONICA BAY POWER FLEET 1984
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1986
COMMODORE, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLUE GAVEL, DISTRICT 11 1985
COMMODORE, SANTA MONICA BAY POWER FLEET 1987
- WHITSON SHAFFER
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1984
COMMODORE, NORTH AMERICAN CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1994
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1957
COMMODORE, PACIFIC COAST YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1964
- JERRY TERRIS
COMMODORE, SANTA MONICA BAY POWER FLEET 1994
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1955
FOUNDING COMMODORE, ASSOCIATION OF SANTA MONICA BAY YACHT CLUBS 1962
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1965
COMMODORE, PACIFIC COAST YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1967
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1964
COMMODORE, ASSOCIATION OF SANTA MONICA BAY YACHT CLUBS 1980
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CRUISER ASSOCIATION 1973
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1982
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1988
PRESIDENT, RECREATIONAL BOATERS OF CALIFORNIA 1990
COMMODORE, PACIFIC COAST YACHTING ASSOCIATION 1997
CHARLES WOOD, DDS
COMMODORE, PACIFIC SINGLEHANDED SALING ASSOCIATION 1998
COMMODORE, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA OFFSHORE RACING ASSOCIATION 1989
THE CALIFORNIA YACHT CLUB WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION
An enormous resource which has helped the Club in ways too numerous to adequately chronicle is the California Yacht Club Women’s Association. Those leaders who founded and led that organization appear below.
Founder Irene Tanner
1964 Robin Hill
1965 Octavia Wilson
1966 Barbara Nevin
1967 Laurette Johnson
1968 Carmen Sebastian
1969 Dee Levi
1970 Peggy Taylor
1971 Evelyn Grant
1972 Marjorie Wallace
1973 Lois Pew
1974 Aida Dagort
1975 Thelma Smith
1976 Marylyn Wilson
1977 Virginia Clancy
1978 Jeanne Strasberg
1979 Carolyn Alter
1980 Eileen McEachen
1981 Billie Eitel
1982 Margaret Sell
1983 Lorraine Colich
1984 Maggie Schoditsch
1985 Pat Parcell
1986 Marilyn Hersh
1987 Zoe Harrison
1988 Bunny Rippel
1989 Beverly Archer
1990 Rita Schaefer
1991 Janice Baumer
1992 Barbara Rosing
1993 Kaaren Sullivan
1994 Staff Commodore Betta Mortarotti
1995 Margaretha MacCullough
1996 Ann Sanguinetti
- Melba Orlob
Race Committee Members in Recent Years
Stalwarts working on dozens of races in recent years in many roles on the course and ashore have included:
Staff Commodore Tom Armstrong
Vice Commodore Alex Benson
Staff Commodore Frank Gleberman
Staff Commodore Dick Hampikian
Fleet Captain Denny Haythorn
Port Captain Alice Leahey
Staff Commodore Tom Leweck
Ben Mitchell, Jr.
Staff Commodore/SEO Betta Mortarotti
SEO Anne Sanguinetti
Rear Commodore Robert Sanguinetti
Commodore Dick Squire
Staff Commodore Bill Stump
Staff Commodore Jack Weber
Staff Commodore Roger Wilson
Staff Commodore Chuck Wright
WHAT ABOUT PROTEST JUDGES?
ON-THE-WATER HAM RADIO?
. . . to name a few. Dozens more fill in from time to time, giving CYC’s overall Race Committee impressive, experienced depth.
Work In Progress Items
Dean: need names of Sail Committee Chairmen in modern club. Also, didn’t Robbie Dean win 1st place
in Laser II World Championships in 1995? Also, Nadine Franczyk, 1st place slipper, Women’s J-24
West Coast Championship?
Zoe, Diane Adler and Dick Hampikian re Race Committee (including drivers, inside committee).
Were first three races of Star No. American (1998?) scored for King of Spain Race? Ask Dean Dierks.
Review & Massage Big Boats
Leweck: Get XXXXXXX info on Overton (’62 to ’80 Sailing History), Review his other sailing and
Racing organization activity.
Jake Wood looks a bit sparse. Didn’t he win more?
Kimo Worthington win as CYC member? Ask John MacLaurin.
Matt Schweitzer World Champ Surfboarder both 1974 and 1978?
1983 Corinthian Party: Mississippi Riverboat Gamblers? Did it skip a year or so?
Millard Fax 562.861.8867 – Home is 4755246, new home phone 8232308, fax 8232309
Benny Mitchell re: his dad’s sailing accomplishments
Race Management – 3/4 page
Lipton Cup 97, was Coronado Cays or CYC in second place going into the final race?
1986 first year of Santa Monica Bay Challenge? 1991 was said to be “sixth annual,” so check on trophy (trophy has 1985 winners, Steve H. on Pacific High, etc.) to see if that jibes with “sixth annual” or should it be seventh?
Jack Woodhull – 1987 SDYC Yachting Cup Winner worth mentioning in credits? Check w/Leweck.
1998 SDYC Yachting Cup – Pattersons, Brack Duker?
Did I promote the Sunset Series adequately?
Tighten up on repeated references to Sunset Series. Consider a paragraph on Sunset Series in 80’s or 90’s.)
LEWECK: Long Distance Races: Leweck, Kahn (15 Transpacs, over 40 Mexican races, other?) – Tom on 51 Mexican races and 7 Transpacs! Asked Benny Mitchell to tell me. Benny said both Disneys may have a lot of Transpacs.
Ben Mitchell, Jr. on # of Mexican Races and Transpacs.
Check out Jack Woodhull’s winning races on Harris Series and Overton (see his letter if necessary).
Leweck – How many Transpacs for QUEEN MAB? MAB a cruising boat?
Need Mitchell Rouse’s Racing achievements. LA Taxi?
Power Boat Racing Accomplishments: be certain they’re complete.
Steve Hathaway re: specific names of Flotilla 42 members for Signal Service Award.
Paragraph on Robert Nordskog, or are his accomplishments simply too numerous to list? Also. we have Shapiro and others. Check with Jerry Nordskog.
1980-Check BREEZE – Nordskog= 7-hour or 70-hour EZ Enduro Competition?
Recheck w/David MacCulloch, Joe Castagna and Anne Sacks on Power Accomplishments
NEED PICTURE OF BIG POWERBOAT OR TWO FOR “BIG BOAT” SIDEBAR (Chula Mia interior? Plus another?)
Send fax to Dave MacCulloch & Joe Castagna, copy to Dover, Grant, Sacks and Del Mar re: power.
For Juniors Sidebar, check to see if Bill Stump was officer when chmn.
Buzz Boettcher re the 2 Congressional Cups for our Jrs.
Dean Dierks – Dinghy Cover for Congressional Cup Juniors? Also check w/Darien Murray.
Need to cut Junior Sidebar by up to 50% if possible.
Need a bit more from Comm. Bill Pagen’s year.
When did Dennis institute the Winemakers’ Dinners?
Millard on 1984 Olympics photograph.
Need some help from Steve Hathaway regarding Club Manager sidebar.
LAACO/LAAC – Half page
Should Bud V. be noted?
Coorea – how many years’ service to Clubs and when retired? ‘97 or ’98?
Not certain re: Signal Service Award to “Members of Flotilla 42” – Only those on rescue to “wear it”
Is Laura Priest a member (Women’s Team)
Cheryl Mahaffey: proofread Women’s Sailing and fill in the blanks
Cheryl – Was Gwen Gordon Tactician for 1993 Bettina Bents win? Also, list for others in CYC listing. Leweck to determine if Bettina Bents and Women One Design substantial enough to list in overall Sailing accomplishments?
Double check to be sure if Jan 77 was when Barry Labow was elected ASMBYC Yachtsman of
the Year. And, was Labow a member of CYC at the time? Check out some others, too.
Maxiboat or Maxi Boat?
Main Dining Room, Main Bar capitalized?
Dining Room Staff, Management, Staff capitalized?
Capitalize Summer Regatta, Winter Regatta, Midwinter Regatta
Scan for “foot”
Scan for ‘ for foot, ” for inch
Is there an “hour” symbol on Word instead of ‘?
Look at Typography for ‘ (foot) and ” (inch)
“S” Parks’ first name (1969)
“Mercury” 5/23/23 – Mrs. Fairfield’s “Express Cruiser NAME”
Page 40, Skip Warren, “Alvin H. Frank, who named her LUCKY STRIKE II (awkward)
Check page 7, October 1997 view of CYC to match against LOG chart of LA/Long Beach Harbor to determine exact location of Old Club.
Maybe two or three more examples of Epicurean main dishes..
Get details of Charles Hathaway’s row from Santa Barbara – especially
the fog at end of row.
First place trophies or gold medals or 1st place medals, rowing, pg. 101, Head of the Charles Regatta – ask Steve H.
Anita DeFrantz win any regattas while CYC member?
Check MdR Rowing Derby times in 1986 to be certain they are correct.
Get the Rowing Accomplishments copied here. Steve H. gave to me.What was Charles Hathaway’s
age at Triathalon in 1980? (Birthday 8/2/26)
Steve: is Charles’ dory FRITZ the one Fritz Overton gave him?
Steve: Fritz Overton: CFH said Fritz Overton sailed back to Tahiti, BREEZE said he sold it to couple.??
Steve Hathaway gave me: Craig Leeds, Margie Cate, Bill Cabeen, Jan Palchikoff, Eric Loberg, Pat Cotter, Ken Jacobs, Steve Hathaway as active rowers with trophies, and also Marshall (Martial) Rogers, Robert Salonites, Gordon Nash, Charles Hathaway and Anita De Frantz as other names.
Check “MI” after Steve Hathaway in Rowing Accomplishments. Did I erase “Mixed” somewhere?
Was Burt Hixson President of Marina Chamber?
Review of Chamber page by Bob Leslie.
Abe Lurie a CYC member when “Citizen of the Year?”
See the page on which Leslie made some notes. Zimmerman founding Pres of CofC?
Need best two Ballast Point Theme Parties (Catalina Byline)
Rework the Ballast Point (around page 128) byline some more.
Doug Oakland and Steve Heller articles on Paddle tennis.
Do we need a Paddle Tennis Sidebar?
Review that people like Marilyn Hersh, Gene Ford, Tracy Thiras, Jim McEachen, and others who have occupied important positions within the Club, but may not necessarily be included as heading a “major, major” activity be “mentioned” more than just “listed” if at all possible.
Also folks like Ray Mahaffey, Bill Moore, Larry Stewart, Mike Braney, Paul Eitel, Dick Schmidt, Diane Adler and others who are long time supporters get their names in the album.
Did I give enough play (and balanced through the pages) to the Sunset Series, Women’s Association, Power BoatBallast Point, Yachting Organizations.
BREEZE – Need outstanding cover or two for BREEZE sidebar
Catch Millard Rosing’s page number during the 1984 section.
Review and possibly rework the 1984 Olympics Byline.
CRUISING: Carl Rogers on TE AMO in Caribbean and Pacific, Robin and Wade Hill where?
Picture of Anita deFrantz (possible medal, or better as VP Olympic Foundation?
Good oldtime photo of downtown Los Angeles in area of LAAC around 1900’s (old cars, streetcars, horse-drawn lorries).
For sure photos: Owen Churchill Gold Medal, Rod Davis Gold Medal, Anita DeFrantz Bronze Medal, J.J. Isler Bronze Medal, Hal Haenel Silver and Gold Medals
FOLLOWING ARE SIDEBARS, WHICH WILL APPEAR ALONGSIDE THE CHRONOLOGICAL SPINE OF EVENTS AT THE CLUB’S MARINA DEL REY SITE. (Sidebars for the “Old Club” Chronological Spine are already presented within that Spine.) The following sidebars will be placed at or about the time reference is made to the subject in the chronological spine.
The Sidebar List:
1963 – CYC STARTS AGAIN AS THE “LITTLE KID ON THE BLOCK”
1965 – A LEAP OF FAITH AT A CRUCIAL TIME
1970 – CYC’s EARLY SAILBOAT RACING HISTORY – 1962 TO 1980
1973 – SANTA CATALINA ISLAND
1977 – CRUISING BOATERS CARRY CYC’S BURGEE WORLDWIDE
1980 – CYC’s POWER FLEET – KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE NATION
1982 – CYC’S JUNIORS DO THE CLUB PROUD
1984 – THE 1984 LOS ANGELES OLYMPIC GAMES
1985 – THE THURSDAY YACHTING LUNCHEONS ARE YACHTING’S “TOWN HALL”
1986 – ROWING CHAMPIONS AT A YACHT CLUB ARE UNIQUE
1987 – THE CYC WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION ADDS A TOUCH OF CLASS
1988 – THE BIG BOATS
1988 – BOB NORDSKOG: AGELESS SPEEDSTER ON THE WATER
1989 – EXCEPTIONAL FOODS AND WINES FEATURED AT CYC’S EPICUREAN SOCIETY
1990 – WOMEN’S SAILING AT CYC
1991 – CYC’S SAILING PROGRAM: 1980’S TO THE PRESENT
1992 – CALIFORNIA YACHT CLUB’S BREEZE
1993 – DOROTHY WIGANT: CARING CYC “GODMOTHER” FOR A GENERATION
1994 – CYC REACHES OUT TO SERVE ITS COMMUNITY
1995 – THE RACE COMMITTEE: ARCHITECTS OF TOP-KNOTCH REGATTAS
1996 – CYC’S CLUB MANAGERS ARE AT YOUR SERVICE
1997 – CALIFORNIA YACHT CLUB’S PARENT COMPANY
1997 – AN IDYLLIC WORLD: LIVING ABOARD ONE’S BOAT
CYC STARTS AGAIN AS THE “LITTLE KID ON THE BLOCK”
Milt Smith recalls visiting with Charles Hathaway in San Pedro, one day in 1963. A former UCLA Most Valuable Player and Philadelphia Eagle pro football player, Milt had developed a love for boating. Charles said, “Milt, we’ve formed a new yacht club in Marina del Rey. You should be a part of that.”
Milt’s always been a fellow to recognize a good thing and said, “Sounds good to me, Charlie, sign me up.” Not long after joining, Milt sailed his boat to Orange County for a Catalina to Port Regatta. When he drew up to one of the yacht clubs there, he fell victim to the fact that some clubs did not recognize a commercially owned yacht club as a “proper” club. Without much comment, he found another mooring. Anyone who knows Milt is well aware that for the entire 35 years he’s flown the CYC burgee, he has been exceptionally proud of the Club. So with some frustration, he later shared with Charles his unsettling experience.
Charles replied, “Milt, maybe what we have to do is simply continue all the activities with which we’re involved on the water. And we need to do them so well that clubs like that one will recognize we’re a capable Club of outstanding members with a strong capacity on the water.”
Back in the early 1920’s, when the Athletic Club was instrumental in helping the Southern California Yachting Association get its own start with a brand new California Yacht Club supplying much of the leadership to establish yachting in the area. At the time, most of 1963’s Southern California Yachting Association yacht clubs did not exist. Yet, a couple of these newer clubs were reluctant to allow what they saw as a “paper club” (one not owning its own clubhouse) into membership. They said, “CYC members do not own the clubhouse, a corporation owns it.”
Fortunately, an energetic discussion at one SCYA meeting, as well as CYC’s already winning ways on the water, paved the way for CYC to gain membership a few months later as a Regular Member. California Yacht Club was again on its way as a recognized club. Her members would once again play significant leadership roles in SCYA and other yachting organizations just as they had when the Club was located in Wilmington.
A LEAP OF FAITH AT A CRUCIAL TIME
With Sheraton-Marina Hotel’s imminent bankruptcy allowing CYC no choice but to seek a long term leasehold it could call its own, exploration for a new home began in earnest. Some of the earliest developers of Marina del Rey had negotiated leases with the County and had already built apartments, slips and commercial structures. But the Marina was by no means well subscribed. Far more bare space was evident around the waterfront than improved venues.
Charles Hathaway and Bill DeGroot methodically examined the various plots of available land in the Marina. One spot, commanding a stunning view of the main channel nearly a mile to where it bore right toward the open ocean, caught their attention. While several other attractive sites were also carefully evaluated, this one location brought them back again and again.
Charles shares the difficulty of the search. “Purchasing a lease in those days obligated you to a 60-year commitment. Quite frankly, we were as concerned with the future of the Marina itself as we were about our own financial situation. Into the picture came Lloyd Taber, a Los Angeles Athletic Club member who had acquired a master Marina del Rey lease. But he was having his own challenges developing his leasehold, like everyone else in the Marina. His leasehold was on the East Side of the Marina. I was not convinced it would be a good site with the prevailing Westerly winds, but the view was grand and the other potential sites had their own problems. We negotiated with Lloyd. Believe me when I tell you he was a tough negotiator.
“On October 25th, 1965 I reported to the California Yacht Club Board of Directors that we could purchase a leasehold from Taber that included four acres of land plus four acres of water for $150,000 cash, or $50,000 down and $110,000 over a four-year period with 6-1/2% interest. Further, we had to guarantee the County rental payments for five years, construction loans of $700,000 and prove our ability to provide operating funds. I well remember the day before this meeting when I stood with Commodore DeGroot on the point of land near where our flagpole now stands, and listened to his words of encouragement. The next day, after a sleepless night, I recommended to the Board that we proceed and stated, ‘We are on the threshold of becoming one of the great yacht clubs in America. I believe we should – and hope we will – step across.’
“I will be forever grateful to Lloyd Taber for his part, for the support of all of our Club’s members, plus the guidance and strength of the Los Angeles Athletic Club at that crucial time in our history!”
Frank Hathaway adds, “During these several years, Charles’ enthusiasm for establishing CYC in the Marina on a permanent basis never waned. Club members were so positive about the prospect of having our own Clubhouse, and the citizenry in the Marina so supportive, that our evaluation narrowed down to, ‘how do we pay for this?’
“So in anticipation of the time we’d have to make a substantial long term decision, I visited with our bankers at Citizens Bank. We discussed the prospect of borrowing the hundreds of thousands of dollars (eventually to total $1,300,000) it might take to see the project through. They quickly informed me that pledging a leasehold and the resulting Clubhouse wouldn’t be enough. The full faith, credit and assets of Los Angeles Athletic Club would have to be put on the line for a loan of that amount. Their position was not negotiable. Tough bunch of fellows.
“I recalled Dad’s admonition and then thought about Charles and Bill DeGroot and the men and women who had been meeting for three years at the little CYC clubroom in the Sheraton Hotel. Didn’t take me a moment to sign on the dotted line, a decision with which I’ve been pleased ever since. Let’s face it, this great contribution to yachting and to our members was developed by Charles. He had the perseverance to see it through. History has shown his judgement to be right on!”
CYC’S EARLY SAILBOAT RACING HISTORY – 1962 TO 1980
A newly reorganized Club, a new marina, a new Clubhouse and the chance to build a racing program from scratch. It was an unparalleled opportunity, and one that was not wasted.
In the early 1960s, the Cruising Club of America (CCA) handicap rule was used by the leading edge ocean racers and CYC had a lot of leading edge ocean racers. Recognizing this strength, 1962 Commodore Dick Terkel worked with Vice Commodore Fred Harris and Charles Hathaway to develop a “signature event” for the Club that would make a statement to the rest of the yachting community. This group developed the framework for what was to become the California Cup Regatta. It was described then as an “opportunistic event” — one that could use any racing format, and take place any time of the year – as long as it was the biggest attraction possible. The inaugural California Cup Regatta in 1963 set the tone for the event. Two prominent big boats — COQUILLE and SIRIUS — were invited to match-race for the trophy. The Ten Meter COQUILLE prevailed and was the first boat name engraved on what has become one of Southern California yachting’s most prestigious prizes.
California Yacht Club was also adding members with boats that raced under the arbitrary Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) and smaller keelboats (under 30 feet) racing with handicaps provided by the Midget Ocean Racing Fleet (MORF). In the early 60’s, the Marina was pretty much wide-open with few slips in place and very little boat traffic. It was a very nice setting for inside dinghy races, and by 1964 CYC was holding regular Sunday afternoon races right in front of its hotel facility. These races were well attended by Lido 14’s, Satellites, Super Satellites, Enterprise dinghies and occasionally Finns and Flying Dutchmen.
In 1964 the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs had anchored permanent marks in the general area of CYC’s present racecourse and developed a schedule of races for the handicap and one-design keelboats. During this period, the Cal 20 Fleet was Marina del Rey’s most popular one-design keelboat class, with more than 20 boats racing.
It was also in 1964 that CYC conducted its first Sunset Series race with 29 boats participating. Those early Sunset Series races were held every Thursday throughout the summer season. This Series continues as a popular Wednesday evening event, sometimes attracting over one hundred boats and six hundred sailors for a midweek getaway from the workaday world. The Club barbecue following the Sunset Series is a well-attended Marina del Rey social event as competitors await the results from the Race Committee computer wizards. Many casual sailors enter the Sunset Series to “find out what racing’s all about.” The racing bug captures a fair number of the participants each year, propelling them into the excitement of the higher levels of sailing competition.
The first overnight race beginning and ending in the Marina took place on June 13, 1964 with a CYC–sponsored race around Anacapa Island. It was described then as, “A classic course, with 50 miles dead to windward and 50 miles back.” Eight boats completed that race. Three months later the Club staged another island race—this one around Catalina Island. By this time CYC had an active fleet of Cal 40’s that were racing one-design.
The Matt Walsh Series for boats with MORF ratings was inaugurated in 1965. It consisted of daytime point-to-point races to Point Dume, Malibu, Paradise Cove and to Los Angeles Harbor. The first 1965 Sunset Series race produced 80 boats with entries from the following twelve yacht clubs: California (34), Santa Monica (19), Windjammers’ (9), Del Rey (4), Cabrillo Beach (3) and one each from Alamitos Bay, Hollywood, South Coast Corinthian, King Harbor, Santa Barbara Sailing, Malibu and Palos Verdes.
In the same year, CYC launched a new and challenging series for ocean racers—the Overton Series. This series included day races to Malibu and Point Dume, plus overnight races around Santa Catalina, Santa Barbara, Anacapa and San Nicolas Islands. The Club’s Cal 40’s dominated this series in the early years with Merritt Adamson’s PIRATE II winning in both 1965 and 1966.
During this period, CYC was also making plans to host a five-stop international ocean race from Marina del Rey to Cabo San Lucas on the tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. This idea was just a bit ahead of its time and the race never got off the ground.
While CYC’s many successful keelboat racers were building a solid racing reputation for the Club, the Club’s leadership was developing plans for a dinghy program to help enhance the skills of the next generation of skippers. The Snipe Class seemed to offer the most potential and the Club bought two Snipes for the use of CYC’s young adult members. At the same time, a number of members also bought Snipes, creating the critical mass for a one-design fleet. Throughout the 60’s, CYC had a group of active young members campaigning Snipes, Finns, Lido 14’s and other dinghies with considerable success. The names of Benny Mitchell, Bob Burns, Steve Hathaway, Dave Croshere, Harrison Hine and Tom Leweck appeared regularly in the Winner’s Circle.
The structure and timing of both the Matt Walsh Series and the Overton Series were being continually fine-tuned by the Club’s Sail Committee. MORF racing was prospering and CYC member Andy Lockton maintained an era of domination with a series of boats called SU-DY¼ named after his two children, Sue and Andy, Jr. For six consecutive years, Cal 40’s monopolized the Overton Series as the names of Allen Puckett’s ALSUNA, Bill Allen’s MADGRADOR joined PIRATE II on the Perpetual Trophy. However, when the CCA rule was phased out at the end of the decade in favor of the new International Offshore Rule (IOR), it also ended the domination of these venerable boats.
By the late 1960’s, the Sunset Series had moved to Wednesday evening and was becoming increasingly competitive. To reflect that change, the rules were modified in 1967 to allow the use of spinnakers outside the harbor for the second half of the series. It was also in 1967 that CYC member Al Edgerton organized a series of team races between California Yacht Club and the Cleveland Yacht Club in Ohio. CYC vs CYC. The racing alternated between the two venues with the home club providing the boats. It proved to be exciting and very equal racing, and demonstrated that CYC’s big boat racing crews could definitely hold their own with those of the long-established Eastern yacht clubs.
With all of this other activity, California Yacht Club also became one of the first yacht clubs in America to build a big and competitive fleet of Solings. At the same time, the Club hosted some of the world’s most magnificent big boats that came to match-race for the California Cup. Included in that number were KIALOA II, the Twelve Meter COLUMBIA, CHUBASCO, NARRAGANSETT, STORMVOGEL, BLACKFIN and WINDWARD PASSAGE.
The brain trust on many big boats included a critical position that around-the-buoys racers did not require, a navigator. The big boats, plus durable smaller craft, raced long-distance routes. Out of sight of land, the best boats in the world would quickly be out of the running if they strayed from the best course to the finish. One of the finest navigators in racing during the 1960’s and 1970’s was Ben Mitchell, Sr. In the vaunted Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC) Mitchell was winning navigator an impressive six times; four times for Dennis Conner and twice for Lowell North.
In the days when navigation was accomplished with sextant and reduction tables rather than laptop computers and high speed chips, Ben Mitchell, Sr. navigated two Firsts-to-Finish, two Firsts-Overall and four Firsts-in-Class on Transpac. Add navigating on a 1 Ton World Championship, the Bermuda Race First-to-Finish, two Firsts-to-Finish (including a record to stand for two decades) in the Sydney-Hobart Race and many more significant races, Ben Mitchell, Sr. took his place as one of sailing’s finest navigators of his time.
In the early 1970’s, a number of members saw a need for a summer Sunset Series for one-design dinghies inside the harbor. After several meetings and discussions, the Lehman 12 was selected. Almost overnight a fleet of more than two dozen of these dinghies was racing off the CYC docks on Thursday evenings.
One-design activities continued to grow at CYC and the Club’s annual Olympic Classes Regatta began to attract some of the nation’s top racing teams. California Yacht Club’s racing program had developed such a strong reputation that the sport’s national governing body, the North American Yacht Racing Union, asked CYC to host the 1972 Mallory Cup finals—the regatta used to determine the United States Men’s Sailing Champion. Tom Leweck served as the General Chairman of that championship which was conducted in Solings. The positive impact of this championship on the sailors and officials who traveled to this event from throughout the country further enhanced the national reputation of the Club’s racing program.
In the same year, Vice Commodore Ed Sundberg put together a task force to create a compact series of races for the month of September. It was agreed that the races should be approximately 20 miles long to make it easy for even the smallest boats to complete the course by late afternoon. Four new and innovative courses were designed-the Squirrel Bank, the Palos Verdes Bell Buoy, the Lazy Eight and the 5 O’clock Bell races. Because of the generally light winds in September, many of these races had long reaching legs.
Dedicated to, and named for late Staff Commodore Fred Harris, the new series was staged on successive Saturdays in September and open to ocean racers as well as boats racing with MORF and PHRF handicaps. The inaugural race in 1973 to the mythical Squirrel Bank attracted 108 starters, and the series was termed an “instant classic.” A year later, a similar spring series named for Staff Commodore Charles Tanner was launched.
CYC was also making its mark in ocean racing circles. With the races now handicapped by the International Offshore Rule, Allen Puckett’s BLACKBIRD, Terry Greene’s YELLOW JACKET, Milt Smith’s MAMIE, Charles Hathaway’s GEM and Ed Sundberg’s SUNDANCER were establishing enviable reputations. The annual Cal Cup regatta continued to showcase many of the world’s biggest and most exciting ocean racers. SIRIUS II, RAGTIME, BALLEYHOO, SORCERY, KIALOAIII, MERLIN and DRIFTER all came to CYC to compete for this sought-after prize.
By the mid-1970’s, interest in Solings began to wane in Marina del Rey. Although a potpourri of small boats were ably sailed by members (Ken Young, Bobby Burns and Harrison Hine won the North American Match Racing Championship on their Etchell 22, Tom Leweck won the Cal 25 National Championship and Matt Schweitzer captured the North American Windsurfing Championship and was on the World Championship team), John MacLaurin winning the 3/4 Ton and 1 Ton World Championships and Craig Leweck garnered the Sabot National Championship, attention began to turn to the venerable Star Boat. By the end of the decade, CYC would have a dozen Stars competing for the Club. During these years, a number of larger boats concentrated on utilizing space age materials for lightness, that strategy gathering momentum to pace construction of many new classes in the 1980’s.
SANTA CATALINA ISLAND
Since early in the 20th Century, Catalina Island has always been a prime destination for CYC boaters. Racing sailors would “leave the Island to port or starboard” on arduous races which often dragged through dropping winds into darkness before returning to the mainland. Some wiser competitors would lay over at a pre-designated harbor before sailing the next day’s leg back to the Club.
Cruising sailors, power and sail, relished Catalina’s beckoning coves as a weekend or weeklong haven from the rat race of a workaday world. Avalon was an eternally attractive destination and the Ithsmus a wonderfully bohemian venue frequented by scores of CYC waterborne escapists from the old Club in Wilmington and during the years California Yacht Club lay fallow. When CYC reorganized in Marina del Rey, organized Club cruises would arrange mooring and anchoring space at Emerald Bay, Fourth of July Cove and other island destinations. The DeGroot family yacht CAVALIER IV was always a target for water balloons and eggs during the Stag Cruises visiting Emerald. Fun times.
But the members yearned for a spot on the Island they could call their own. If one visualizes Catalina Island as a “figure 8,” the narrow part of the island facing the mainland is the Ithsmus. Just across a quarter mile of land at the narrow neck of the eight lies Catalina Harbor, graced with a rather protected entrance on the seaward side of the island. Inside the harbor is Ballast Point, a small spit of land just seaward of the site where an old Chinese junk sunk in the 1800’s. The point’s name came from a profusion of rocks scattered about which – some local lore fantasizes – were utilized by old time sailing ships as ballast in their holds. The superb shelter provided by the harbor made Ballast Point an ideal destination for pleasure boaters generations later.
About 50 Club members were individually leasing moorings at Ballast Point in the early 1960’s. In 1962, a small spot of land at the Point was leased, enough space for some tables, a barbecue and a flagpole on which the CYC burgee was raised. It was a beginning. Fire pits were built and a fairly rudimentary platform of 2 x 4’s constructed on the site provided some footing ashore. However, at high tide, the platform had the habit of floating all over the place.
Weber headed a drive to increase the number of members leasing moorings while the Club arranged a more substantial lease for use of the shore with the Wrigley family’s Island Company. That was one of CYC’s first of many pleasant encounters with Doug Bombard, who represented the Island Company at that time. Some slight improvements were made to the site over the next several years.
As CYC’s new mainland Clubhouse was completed in 1967, attention then turned in earnest to secure a more appropriate outstation on Catalina that would welcome members in the style they deserved after a cruise across the Channel. During this period of time, powerboater Walter Del Mar combined an active interest in Predicted Log racing with frequent cruising interludes. He visualized his yacht MINORCA moored at a California Yacht Club facility on Catalina. As he progressed through the chairs at the Club, he planned to turn his dreams into reality. Jack Weber shared similar views of upgrading CYC’s rather bucolic cruising destination at Ballast Point.
When he became Commodore, Del Mar moved on his dream for a more secure outstation by appointing oil executive Bill Pagen as chairman of a building committee. Bob Faxon, architect of CYC’s Marina del Rey Clubhouse, designed a 50’ by 50’ platform. Many luncheons were hosted for the working committee by Pagen at his Santa Monica office, often including Bombard who flew in to Santa Monica Airport to join the planning effort.
In 1970, member Roger Wilson lent his contracting prowess to the project. Carlton Rogers used his Brixon Trawler TE AMO to haul lumber from the mainland for the platform. At the first work party, he brought over the flagpole. After completing other projects, Merritt and Sharon Adamson, Harry Bellows, Charles and Patty Hathaway, Carlton Rogers and Louie and Doris Bush waded out to the anchored TE AMO to catch the flagpole as it was dropped overboard. The entire group sank to the bottom with the weight of the fixture, but recovered quickly and carried it ashore to be later set in concrete in proper fashion.
CYC member Bill Downs’ sizeable power yacht THUNDERBIRD also transported tons of lumber and fastenings from the mainland to the building site. Doug Bombard’s heavy-duty crane and tractor provided a welcome landside assist with the construction.
The platform and side rails quickly took shape. But when the group proudly stood on the completed foundation, wind gusts from the harbor entrance sometimes made steady footing uncertain. Even the more sedate breezes sometimes brought temperatures on the platform down to an undesirable level. This situation called for a windscreen, probably the most important phase of the new Catalina Station. The screen was built in short order and Club cruisers now possessed a Waldon Pond sort of salt-water getaway, nestled in an appealing natural setting.
With the intrusive wind out of the way, the ladies began to comment that the primitive nature of the old-fashioned pit toilets was not all that inviting. Innovative minds looked to the burgeoning Southland aircraft industry for a solution and found it in newly designed aircraft heads. Monomatic Andy Gumps, providing far more comfort and dignity, were brought over to Ballast Point.
After a couple of cruise events, it was decided that a galley would make life easier. Basic kitchen facilities were constructed on the platform. Of course, a platform in the wilds of Catalina had no trees for shade, so a partial roof was designed and constructed to provide some protection from the elements. With increased attention to comfort, a generator seemed the logical thing to add in order that blenders could mix exotic drinks. With fresh water in short supply on Catalina, Bob Wilson donated a 500-gallon tank to supply needed H20 for cooking and washing purposes. While some back-to-nature purists decried the citification of Catalina Harbor, nearly all were delighted at CYC’s new home away from home in this magnificent setting. Each spring, work parties of volunteers supported by CYC Staff repaired and repainted Ballast Point Station in preparation of another year of enjoyment.
Keeping in mind the generosity of other clubs that shared their Catalina facilities when CYC had no facility on the island, CYC has often shared Ballast Point with other SCYA yacht clubs. Between these visitors and friends visiting Catalina Harbor’s other permanent facility, Del Rey Yacht Club’s nearby outstation, the camaraderie of the boating world prospers among these sylvan surroundings. Only 35 miles from Marina del Rey as the cruiser sails . . . but a world away in ambience.
Today, cruises ranging from extravagant theme weekends replete with colorful costumes (PUT NAMES OF TWO THEME PARTIES HERE) to gastronomical adventures (Fish Fry Cruise, Lobster Broil and the like) are supported by an attentive Staff who enjoy these outings as much as the two hundred or more members who participate. One longtime Staff member, Arcelio Correa, assisting and supervising every facet of CYC’s getaways from the mainland, became an institution at the Club cruises. Mr. Coorea became a very special part of all members’ enjoyment of Ballast Point. After his retirement in 199__, after ______ years of service to the Athletic Club and CYC, summertime finds him returning on the cruises, sharing warm friendships built over the years.
Some cruisers stay on beyond Sunday to savor the serenity of this peaceful harbor during weekdays. Often, the sole recurring activity between weekends is a small group of buffalo grazing on the verdant hills surrounding Cat Harbor. Those relaxing on their boats or ashore savor the scene with satisfaction as one of the privileges of membership.
CRUISING BOATERS CARRY CYC’s BURGEE WORLDWIDE
Writers have rhapsodized since time immemorial about boaters and their love of the sea. They enjoy their vessels in a variety of ways. Some will race at every opportunity. Others enjoy just being out on the water. A five-hour daytime cruise on the bay is a wonderful tonic to escape land-locked pressures. Others see their boats as weekend and holiday minihomes (getting out of the slip once in a while). Still others are afflicted with a bit of wanderlust and thoroughly enjoy gunkholing along the coastline or setting out to cross the ocean.
There’s nothing quite like the anticipation and satisfaction of skippering your own boat from familiar home waters for distant lands. These odysseys lure cruising enthusiasts for weeks, months and years. Whether pulling into Ala Wai Harbor on Oahu, shooting the reef gap on Bora Bora, tying up to Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda Yacht Club, experiencing Old South hospitality cruising the Intercoastal Waterway or chipping and sweeping ice and snow from your decks in Scandinavia, bringing your traveling home with you while cruising the world brings an enormous rush of accomplishment.
California Yacht Club’s distinctive blue burgee has flown on members’ yachts making passage on every ocean and major body of water in the world. The CYC standard appears on burgee walls in yacht clubs on every continent (the several old research stations on Antarctica are the closest things to yacht clubs on that huge piece of land). In turn, California Yaacht Club members take great pleasure seeing the glow of recognition on the faces of arriving cruisers from Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Costa Smerelda Yacht Club, Bayview Yacht Club and scores of others from around the world as they spot their own burgees prominently displayed in the Clubhouse.
The Hathaway families set a fine cruising pace for the Club. Frank and JoEllen Hathaway initiated their sailing career at Lake Arrowhead Yacht Club in 1962, racing in a Lido 14 and collecting their share of cups and plates. Children Karen, Debbie, John and MaryAnn followed suit in their Lake Arrowhead Skimmer with a nice collection of trophies to their credit. When CYC’s new Clubhouse was built, however, it was time to look at getting out on the ocean with a larger craft. AIREL, a 50-foot cutter, became a member of the family.
After refitting this former long distance racing (Transpac and Mexico races) boat for cruising, the family became summertime fixtures at Cat Harbor. Frank would commute on weekends via the Catalina Airlines seaplanes with other CYC weekenders. “We started our charcoal fire early and loaned it to other members who wanted to burn their steaks before the fire was ready,” recalls Frank. In 1972, Frank took a sabbatical from his duties at LAACO and the family headed south on ARIEL to Mexico and the Gulf for a three-month visit. The two youngest kids, Susie and Pam, were on the crew for the entire voyage.
The four oldest alternated between Los Angeles and cruising. The stunning beaches, primitive topography and warm, friendly people of Mexico made the passing weeks a satisfying soliloquy for all until time came to return home, back up the coast in June. Slogging through howling headwinds from Cabo to Magdalena Bay, Hathaway finally nailed the canvas suncovers over the hatches to halt leaks coursing through the skylights from the continual cascade of water over the bow. Frank reminisces, “Nails into teak, yes. I made a promise to myself that I would never again come up that coast in anything smaller than the QE2. Still, I couldn’t have had better shipmates and crew then the six children and Jo. Their company made the trip worthwhile.
“We enjoyed ARIEL thoroughly until 1982 when, with considerable sadness, we donated this beautiful boat to a charity. We had her for 14 years and still have the frayed and dirty “private signal” from the Mexico trip on the wall at our Big Sur home.” (This signal is the same design used by Frank A. Garbutt on SKIDBLADNIR – a copy on the wall at CYC shows two red horizontal bars on a white field.)
Brother Charles Hathaway took two sailing sabbaticals; the first a 7,000-mile voyage of SEAFARER, a 60-foot, German-built ketch from the Caribbean through the Canal to Los Angeles. Their second long-distance voyage covered much more of the world and included three generations of Charles and Patty’s family, including children and grandchildren. After Charles and Patty lived aboard their 65-foot auxiliary sloop TIARE for several months at their CYC slip to familiarize themselves with the vessel, they set sail on a six-month odyssey to the South Pacific.
Over one hundred adventuresome CYC members and friends flew to Tahiti’s Society Islands with Frank Gleberman to personally say “hello” to the family and also enjoy their own vacation in July, 1978. The group arrived at Moorea’s Club Mediterranee about the same time the Hathaway family anchored TIARE in nearby Robinson’s Cove. A thirsty crowd piled on the boat for munchies and Hinano Beer. The hospitality was returned by inviting the family to join the revelers at Club Med for a July 4th barbecue. A typical Club Med body-painting contest preceded the feast.
Everyone’s eyes were firmly fixed on the shapely, living “canvasses,” so no one noticed the storm clouds approaching. Suddenly, a few realized that TIARE’s anchorage may not be so secure and tore themselves away from the festivities to warn TIARE’s crew. Fortunately, the seafaring instincts of Charles and Steve had already prompted them to run (thank Heaven for physical fitness) the six miles back to Robinson’s Cove. They found TIARE’S anchor line as taut as a violin string and her stern so close to shore they simply stepped aboard. The shore rode was cut and TIARE was maneuvered back into water deep enough to survive the high winds.
TIARE welcomed other visitors during her time in French Polynesia. The Hathaways explored Bora Bora, Tahaa, Riatea, Nuku Hiva and other islands before eventually sailing North to Hawaii and then returning home to California Yacht Club.
Many other Club members have cruised their sailboats or powerboats up and down the Pacific Coast, to Hawaii, down below the Equator and to lands far beyond. Their yachts (or personal insignia if on chartered vessels) are well known in distant cruising grounds worldwide. An entire volume could be written detailing their adventures and a dozen years of Thursday Yachting Luncheons would cover only a portion of their journeys.
Typical of the adventurous cruising spirit was Don and Ann Gumpertz’ four-year world cruise on WESTWARD, depending upon a single (though massive) Atlas diesel engine to make landfall. Stan and SEO Jeanne Strasberg piloted QUE PASA on a three-year journey through the Panama Canal and the East Coast. Les Wrable skippered his sailboat to the South Pacific for an enormously satisfying adventure before unfortunate errant crew help left his vessel lost on a reef in Fiji. Staff Commodore Howard Ryan cruised WINDBOURNE along the U.S. and Mexican Pacific Coast, Staff Commodore Frank Gleberman sailing SOLILOQUY similarly, both also skippering other sailboats on most of the world’s oceans. Commodore Dick Squire took a unique approach to both racing and cruising pursuits, racing SHOOFLY singlehanded to Hawaii and cruising solo to Mexico and Central America.
Roger Jones cruised ALLIDORO from the Club through the Canal to the Caribbean and the East Coast. John and Florence (Henderson) Kappas are regular visitors to Mexico on BIG FLO III, Russ Hand is a regular sight all over the Pacific Northwest aboard FLYING COLORS and Steve and Iretta Micskey thoroughly enjoy sailing RIGO in Mexican waters. Jason Hailey has cruised ARGO far and wide and Staff Commodore Terry Greene delighted in cruising the South Pacific’s Marquesas Islands. Longtime member Carlton Rogers cruised TE AMO throughout the Caribbean and to the South Pacific.
Gene and Virginia Ford sailed down the Mexican Coast, across the Pacific to Hawaii and returned to CYC via Alaska aboard WINDRIFTER, subsequently entertaining CYC audiences many times with sparkling slides and lively videos from their odyssey.
Burt Hixson supervised the construction of his powerboat NO RESERVATIONS, then cruised down the Mississippi to the Gulf and through the Canal back to CYC. Stan Dashew constructed DEERFOOT in New Zealand, then cruised her back to Marina del Rey, his yacht becoming the prototype for a new line of luxury cruising yachts. Dr. Robert Kahn always kept open the option of cruising after his long distance races to Hawaii, Mexico and other distant lands on his JANO. Recently building a new JANO in New Zealand, he enjoyed the charms of many tropical South Pacific islands as the boat was sailed on its own bottom back to CYC. The South Pacific was host to Dr. Harry Perlberg and his UNICORN for several years.
Racing skipper Jim Kilroy kept his KIALOA III as a cruising yacht, even while racing later KIALOA’s on the maxi circuit. Kilroy and his family continue to fly from Los Angeles year after year to enjoy new venues the world over aboard KIALOA III. In fact, KIALOA III continues to garner trophies as evidenced in the 1997 Antigua Race Week (1st in Cruising Class) and 1998 Bermuda Race (1st in Cruising Class, Non Spinnaker).
Avid racing skipper Roy Disney relishes the use of PYEWACKET as a cruiser to and around the locale of his castle in Ireland in addition to setting racing records galore. Norman and Janet Semler are well known along the Mexican Coast as consummate hosts aboard GALATEA. George and Margie Agajanian cruised their powerboats along that Coast for many years as well.
Jack and Carolyn West literally made a career of cruising the Pacific Coast of three countries on MONSOON in the 1960’s while researching for their series of outstanding boating books and articles in yachting publications. Peggy Slater took so many cruises on VALENTINE, other boats and even her canoe that no book could contain them all. Paul Eitel, who as a boy sailed the schooner BOWDOIN beyond the Arctic Circle, sailed with wife Billie on a series of their yachts BOWDOIN from San Diego to Alaska. Now living in Santa Barbara, they enjoy KULEANA on occasional cruises along California’s coast.
Dr. Hugh McIntyre has cruised ARIEL in Hawaii, Mexico, through the Canal and in the Caribbean, generally in conjunction with an offshore sailboat race, as does Jake Wood on SORCERY from time to time. Avid racing sailor, Staff Commodore Tom Leweck cruises on just about any boat which will give him and Barbara a ride (Allen Puckett’s AMAZING GRACE is a real favorite in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez).
Dr. Morris Edelstein loved his sojourns along Mexico’s West Coast aboard SAIL ME II. Sandra Andre is a familiar personality among cruising anchorages dotting that coast, skippering her ARC EN CIEL for a year. No log has been kept of cruisers who have flown CYC’s burgee proudly at anchor and alongside the quay in distant lands. But it is safe to say they number in the hundreds or more . . . proving that not all the Club’s yachties are solely racers or daysailors.
CYC’s POWER FLEET – KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE NATION
No one remembers for certain which boats came first when the reconstituted Club began in Marina del Rey, power or sail. All agree the most visible was Bill DeGroot’s Chriscraft Constellation CAVALIER, one of the first boats to lease a slip in the new Marina. As CYC’s membership grew and sailing regattas were established, the ratio of sailboats to powerboats in the CYC Fleet was established at about two to one. The powerboaters concentrated on cruises to Catalina and fishing in Santa Monica Bay. Spending weekends and holidays on one’s yacht in the budding Marina was a pleasant pastime. Close-knit “neighborhoods” formed on docks throughout Marina del Rey, coming together in the fine year-around weather. When CYC moved to its new Clubhouse, powerboats and sailing vessels alike quickly filled the more than two hundred available slips.
With this critical mass forming in the Club anchorage, the powerboaters began a more formal schedule of activities. Joe Castagna recalls joining CYC in 1973 as a novice powerboater (his previous boats had been sail). “I discovered that CYC had a Novice Seminar Series about Predicted Log Races taught by Gene Grant and Vance Holdam. The Club also ran the Ritts Series, a series of six contests for CYC Novice Predicted Log Contestants.”
Predicted Log races involve the skipper predicting exactly how long his or her boat will take to get from point A to point B. With details of the distance and route the race will take, each skipper plots a course taking into consideration the expected tides, likely winds, waves and other natural effects in setting compass readings and time to reach each checkpoint along the way. They calibrate the speed at which their boats operate at specific engine RPM levels to calculate the times they feel will elapse between each checkpoint. Then, with no speedometer or watch, solely using a compass, wind gauge and engine speed indicator, the skipper sets off on his course. A neutral observer on board records the time each checkpoint is reached. The skipper will have to adjust for changes in wind and waves along the way. The boat with the smallest overall deviation from its predicted time is the winner. It is astonishing how accurately some powerboaters call their times in advance. Trophy winners invariably miss the mark by about one percent or even less, even over long distances.
Continues Castagna, “Being somewhat naive, gung-ho and competitive, I became involved with Gene and Vance in 1974. We built up a series of Predicted Log Contests, recruiting contestants and other Marina del Rey yacht clubs and also starting an Observer Corps. Gene and Vance were really great. They put in a lot of effort and continued the seminars for several years. Staff Commodore Walter Del Mar had really got the Club started in powerboat activities when it was still located at the Sheraton Hotel. Commodore Robert Wilson strengthened our involvement with Grant and Holdam carrying on the tradition. From ’75 to ’77, primarily with Lou Gandelman of Del Rey Yacht Club, Mel Lurie of Marina Yacht Club and Paul Leland of Venice Yacht Club, we managed to set up an informal series of competitions on Santa Monica Bay. We had participation of 25 or more yachts with 10 to 15 from CYC alone.
“In 1977, we made it official and formed the Santa Monica Bay Power Fleet and Santa Monica Bay Observer Corps. Holdam designed the burgee and yours truly was honored to be the founding Commodore. What we all learn from Predicted Log racing about our boats is unbelievable, not just timing our speed but the myriad of characteristics of the boats themselves. A good skipper who knows his boat is a whole lot safer skipper than someone who doesn’t pay as much attention to the behavior of his or her vessel.”
Having long played a major part in Marina del Rey powerboating, CYC annually sponsors the Champagne Cup for the Santa Monica Bay Power Fleet, as well as the Del Mar and the Pabst regattas on an alternating (biannual) basis. The Club’s influence is evident by the title of The Pacific Coast Yachting Association Championship (team): the Barusch/Castagna Regatta. Members participating on a regular basis in local, regional, national and international contests have included Staff Commodore Walter Del Mar, Staff Commodore Gene Grant, Joe Castagna, Herb Ritts, Sy Miller, Robert Guhl, Dr. Morris Edelstein, Lou Viereck, Jack West, Ralph Chadwick, Dave Ritchie, Bob Leslie, Robin Grant, Staff Commodore Roger Wilson, Dick Sawyer, the team of Bob and Marilyn Roth, Burnell Blockhus, Arnold Kaufman, Ed Linsley, C. “Whit” Shaffer, Dr. Jerry Terris, David MacCulloch and Herb Dover. They have done CYC proud over the years by winning many awards for the Club’s trophy cases. Terris, MacCulloch and Dover continue to win a huge number of powerboat contests to this day.
This admirable record of powerboat Log racing and winning has brought home to CYC the premier individual West Coast honor, the venerable Barusch Trophy, twice by Guhl and MacCulloch and once by Edelstein. The National Championship has graced CYC’s trophy case six times, thanks to Del Mar, Ritts, Grant, Castagna, Holdam and most recently by Herb Dover capturing the 1995 North American Invitational Championship in Chicago. Dover was unique in establishing his impressive record of wins by capturing his first regatta victory just fifteen months after initially participating in Predicted Log competition.
Walter Del Mar was the first Commodore of the North American Cruiser Association. CYC was the first club to win the Association’s Hall of Champions Trophy three times. This honor is awarded to individuals for significant contributions to the sport of powerboating as well as winning championships over a long period of time. Vice Commodore Gene Grant was awarded the Trophy in 1977, Staff Commodore Walter Del Mar 1981 and Joe Castagna in 1997. CYC’s powerboating leadership continues in good hands with David MacCulloch as current PCYA Commodore and Nancy Dover as current SMBPF Commodore.
CYC’S JUNIORS DO THE CLUB PROUD
Youngsters and dinghy racing were part of the original California Yacht Club at Los Angeles Harbor. However, records do not exist for a formal Junior Program until the Club was reactivated in Marina del Rey. In 1964, Sharon Adamson formed a fledgling sailing program with eighteen youngsters sailing Naples Sabots off the Marina del Rey Sheraton Hotel docks. It was a challenge for those beginners. The Marina was not yet completed. Docks were finished only on one side of the hotel. Only ropes were affixed to the bulkheads on the other side to which capsized Sabot sailors could cling until help arrived.
The moving forces behind the early years of the Junior Program were Sharon Adamson and CYC Commodores William A. DeGroot, Hayes McClellan and George Roosevelt. Diane Armstrong, long involved with helping Junior sailing, recalls that the Club had some fine Junior sailors from those years. “In 1965, Buzz Boettcher took four firsts in Kites in Balboa. Juniors were an active part of the Family Cruises, racing Sabots and having lots of fun at Catalina Harbor. A topnotch crew of our Juniors; skipper Buzz Boettcher, Steve Hathaway, Dick Loewy, Craig Scott and Steve Carlson competed against some of sailing’s best competitors at Long Beach Yacht Club’s 1969 Congressional Cup. They tied for second place, which really thrilled us and spoke well for our Junior Program.”
In the 1970’s, Junior Advisory Chairman Jay Rainwater thoughtfully examined and reorganized the Junior Program. His leadership and enthusiasm won the full cooperation of the Staff Officers Council that unanimously endorsed his eight-point plan.
His vision stressed (1) a strong Junior Advisory Committee to take independent responsibility for the entire Junior Program, composed of adults and Junior Officers reporting directly to the CYC Commodore, (2) the need for a separate Junior clubhouse, (3) a broadly based program of activities for all Juniors, not just racing sailors, (4) a revised budget and fee schedule including separately raised funds solely for use by the Juniors year after year, (5) graded levels of achievement within the instructional sailing program, (6) a high caliber of instructors to be selected by the Junior Advisory Committee, (7) purchase of boats and equipment dedicated to Junior use and (8) pursuit of a viable one-design racing boat to be sailed by clubs throughout Southern California.
In succeeding years, Rainwater’s vision was carefully implemented. Today, the Junior Advisory Committee oversees an active year-around schedule. The Summer Sailing Program is clearly the Program’s heart and soul. Youngsters, age eight through eighteen, attend two and one-half days per week as beginners or two and one-half days as intermediate and advanced sailors. The Club’s “home grown” kids are encouraged to apply for instructor positions. The Committee knows first-hand who is being hired and also keeps a continuity of style and tradition that has built a strong program. A percentage of “outside” instructors has added fresh ideas and perspective to the mix.
While most children are from CYC families, non-members from the community who have shown promise as racing sailors are encouraged to enroll. In the summer, non-members also race as a member of the Club’s Junior Program. Many outstanding CYC sailors began as non-members and eventually joined on their own. In some cases, their parents so enjoyed this new way of life around the Club that the entire family decided to join.
The Catalina Advanced Racing Seminar is a special racing clinic held at the end of the Summer Sailing Program as a reward for the best and brightest of the Juniors. They participate in a four- or five-day adventure and clinic at CYC’s Catalina Island facility. Students and instructors sail over on big boats, eat, sleep, sail and learn from their home on the platform at the Ballast Point Station. Most students eagerly seek selection to attend this seminar.
The Junior Awards Banquet caps the Summer Session. Diane Armstrong muses, “In addition to the amazing sight of our youngsters in the Main Dining Room with scrubbed, shiny faces, brushed hair, nifty dresses or clean, pressed pants, and even an occasional sport coat and tie, there is the fun of the many in-jokes and rewards for all the young sailors and the special honors given to the best summer sailors.
“The rapport between the Juniors and their instructors is unmistakable on this glorious night. The 80’s began the tradition of showing a video taken throughout the summer, a real focal point of the evening. Winners of the Rindge Racing Achievement Trophy (for kids under thirteen), the DeGroot High Point Trophy, the Roosevelt Seamanship Trophy and the Zimbert Sportsmanship Trophy are then announced, the names thereon a veritable list of our best sailors over the years. This is truly one of the memorable evenings in Club life for both the kids and the grownups (many of whom participated as youngsters years earlier).
“The Shipmates Award is presented annually to especially honor an adult who has contributed mightily to the success of the Junior Program. The names engraved on the trophy are a Who’s Who of those in our Club who have given of their time, energy and talent to our Juniors.”
Jay Rainwater continues, “Sportsmanship and fair sailing have always been important character traits we earnestly endeavor to impart to the Juniors. As early as 1971, when our Juniors competed in the Congressional Cup, these teenagers were commended by Long Beach Yacht Club’s Commodore for the sportsmanlike behavior they showed while racing against the world’s adult sailors. In 1992, Peter Wells and Robbie Dean won the Sportsmanship Honor at the Nautica Youth Championships. Dean Dierks and Drew Stauffer have been honored as ASMBYC Junior Sportsman of the Year. Trevor Simms, Ian Zieger and Drew Stauffer have been winners of the Nagy Sportsmanship award. In 1997, Matthew Addison, Mia Edwards and Gwen Garnett were named Junior Sportsmen at the International Governor’s Cup.”
Four new Laser >>’s (pronounced “Laser Two’s”) were purchased for the Juniors in 1982, vastly improving their ability to sail doublehanded events successfully. They were first used at the California International Sailing Association (CISA) Advanced Racing Clinic, a top-notch four-day clinic held at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. Laser, Laser >>, and CFJ sailors learn from coaches of national renown, some of whom are Olympic medal winners. CYC Juniors have been attending this splendid clinic since it began in 1982. Club Juniors qualified for this clinic in 1994.
CYC Juniors have a long association with the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs Junior Championship Regatta, holding title to the event sailed in doublehanded boats the first day and in singlehanded boats the next. The ASMBYC has also honored many CYC Juniors as Junior Yachtsman of the Year. Ray Mahaffey, Cheryl Mahaffey and Diane Armstrong have served the Association as Junior Sailing Coordinator.
Regattas in which Club Juniors have competed over the Program’s thirty-four years include the U.S. Sailing Youth Championships, IYRU World Youth Championships, Laser >> U.S. Nationals, Laser >> Canadian Nationals, Canadian Olympic Regatta at Kingston (CORK), Leiter Cup, Women’s National Doublehanded Regatta, California Laser Regatta, Governor’s Cup, Club Flying Junior Nationals, Laser >> Worlds, U.S. Sabot Nationals, U.S. Sabot High Point Series, ASMBYC Junior Championship, Shadden, Perry and Ullman Series, and the SCYA Midwinters. The entire Club is pleased that CYC’s Juniors brought home more than their share of trophies; even more pleased that they earned the respect of their peers with whom they competed and shared the thrill of competitive sailing.
Two Juniors affectionately referred to as “The Boys” honed their skills and in turn worked to help other youngsters when they became instructors. Mike Sturman grew up in CYC’s Program and was a collegiate All-American at UC-Irvine. Bob Little joined as an older Junior. As a teenager, Little was tapped to crew on the America’s Cup challenger EAGLE and was a collegiate All-American at USC. Bob and Mike began sailing together on 470’s. They placed second in the 1992 U. S. Olympic Trials in the Men’s 470 Class, earning themselves a trip to Barcelona as trial horses for the first place U.S. team. They tried again for a berth to the Olympics in 1996. Both have sailed well in many top-ranked regattas and rain pride on all who have worked with them during their development. Mike and Bob continue to focus part of their time to share their talents with the next generation of young sailors.
The 1990’s have seen a strengthening of the depth and success of the Junior racing team. Travel has been emphasized and CYC’s young sailors have not only trekked regularly to local regattas in Westlake, Newport Beach, Alamitos Bay and San Diego, but also reached out to participate in regional, national and international challenges ranging from San Francisco to Texas to the East Coast to Canada.
Primary boats currently sailed by the Juniors are the centerboard Sabot, Laser, Laser >>, 420 and the Club Flying Junior. The 1997 Summer Sailing Program included eighty Juniors taught by eight instructors and equipped with four whalers, two 420’s and five CFJ’s owned by the Club. Each child provides his or her own Sabot or Laser to sail.
CYC’s Juniors continue to take part in the annual Marina del Rey Christmas Boat Parade, Opening Day, Summer Sailing Program Orientation Day and the annual Boat Equipment Sale. Many of them race in the Sunset Series and the Thursday Night Dinghy Series. Fall and spring sailing programs keep the enthusiasm high throughout the year, as does participation in many local regattas throughout the school year.
Jay Rainwater began the Junior Sponsor Fund in 1975. Today, over 170 CYC members contribute a monthly donation over and above their dues, giving a significant boost to the Program. Part of the Juniors’ travel expenses to regattas, plus the purchase of racing boats and equipment for their use is made possible by this support.
A splendid series of Chairmen have helped strengthen CYC’s future through teaching the Club’s youth: (from 1975 to today) Jay Rainwater, Bill Barnard, Steve Curran, Fred Brown, Don Willett, Peter Kruse, Bruce Brown, Robert Sanguinetti, Staff Commodore Bill Stump, Staff Commodore Steve Curran, Cheryl Mahaffey, Lois Good, Larry Straw, Betty Hampikian, Bill Moore, Denny Haythorn and Ray Mahaffey . . . some for more than just one year.
The dedication of the new Junior Sailing Center in 1994, a sixty-foot trailer with broad decks and well-used classrooms, was a welcome addition to a program that continues to grow in quality and quantity. Many young men and women now enrolling in the Junior Program are the third generation of CYC families at the Club’s current location. They and all the rest of CYC’s current Junior Program participants are the core of California Yacht Club’s future.
THE 1984 LOS ANGELES OLYMPIC GAMES
For California Yacht Club, Los Angeles and the world, 1984 was a memorable year. It was the year of the XXXIII Olympic Games. With the world beating a path to Los Angeles, California Yacht Club was asked to participate in the yachting events to be held in Los Angeles Harbor. The Long Beach Regatta Organizing Committee appointed Rear Commodore Millard Rosing and Port Captain Steve Curran as Chairmen and Principal Race Officers for the ninth class of yachts, the Windgliders. Competition for that class would be held at a racing circle in the Harbor designated “Alpha.” Rosing and Curran determined that this would be an all-Santa Monica Bay effort.
This assignment was a real challenge going in, complicated by litigation between two manufacturers of this class of sailing vessel. Lawyers battled long into the time window needed to properly prepare a proper yachting venue for the competitors. Other Olympic yachting classes were well under way, but the team that would conduct the Windglider competition was unable to begin training until the legal mess was settled just 18 months before the event.
Some 120 volunteers were selected from Santa Monica Bay area yacht clubs to conduct Alpha Circle’s Olympic competition. CYC provided the largest contingent. The 1983 Olympic Trials, held in the Long Beach Marina area, was an excellent testing ground for the newly assembled troops. Peggy Redler joined Rosing and Curran to develop the race manual book for the event, probably the single most important predecessor to CYC’s current Race Management computer program. With the intense development of this management program, it came with welcome relief that the entire 120-person team was racing ahead and was up to speed by Spring, 1984. The volunteers learned how to say, “Bienvenido,” “G-Day” and other welcoming remarks in languages spoken by competitors from 38 countries around the world. Levi-Strauss & Company delivered the official uniforms. Olympic “Alpha Racing Circle” was ready to go!
The behind-the-scenes work for an event of this magnitude is enormous. A small peek at the innards of the Committee work brings three vignettes to mind. First, when competing vessels are measured for qualification in the Olympic Trials, a set of procedures seems to transmogrify from one year to the next, confusing the competitors who have carefully constructed their boats and sails. Chief measurer John MacLaurin worked steadfastly to ensure that the procedures would remain as much the same as humanly possible, certainly bringing more than the usual smoke and mirrors to the process.
Second, a huge amount of fuel is consumed by on the water Committee boats in the Trials and the Games themselves. Staff Commodore Bill Pagen worked some magic in delivering thousands and thousands of gallons of Pauley Petroleum crude oil to the company that provided several types of desperately needed fuel to these Committee boats. This saved CYC and the Organizing Committee a five-figure sum in fuel.
Third, the Alpha Circle stalwarts were on the stump promoting and trading with some prominent American corporations to be certain the contestants and the Committee were well uniformed at the Games. Of course, this “commercialism” would have had some of the old time sailing purists spinning in their graves. But, more than $100,000 of savings came out of this typical American creativity.
One of the most touching experiences of the entire Olympiad took place when Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee President Peter Ueberroth and wife Ginny came to CYC for one of their always welcomed visits. They had come to participate in a very special ceremony. CYC’s Owen Churchill, Yachting Gold Medal winner in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, was present. Ueberroth had tracked down ANGELITA, the Eight Meter Boat Churchill had sailed 52 years earlier and restored it to glistening perfection with his own personal funds. ANGELITA was rechristened with more than just a few tears welling in the eyes of the large assemblage. Churchill (who brought with him two crew members from those days long ago, John Bibby and Dick Moore) was deeply honored to see his beloved boat in the same shape it was fifty two years earlier. Ueberroth, in his comments, said, “(ANGELITA) is the only piece of the 1932 Olympic Games that people can do something on. It’s really the only physical thing we’ll have from those games except for the Coliseum.”
ANGELITA was designated to be the Flagship of the 1984 Games. She served as lead ship from Marina del Rey to Long Beach Harbor when the tall ships sailed along the coast with the Rosing yacht DOS ROSES also joining the impressive parade.
Churchill, his crew and ANGELITA were not the sole legends associated with Olympic history on the minds of those present. Some gathered on that sunny day recalled that Athletic Club President William May Garland and Vice President Frank Garbutt were directly responsible for bringing the 1932 Olympics to Los Angeles. The efforts of Garland and Garbutt were mirrored over a half-century later by the dedicated efforts of California Yacht Club and Los Angeles Athletic Club member John Argue, a heralded civic leader and sportsman. Argue, “Father of the 1984 Olympics,” together with Los Angeles Athletic Club member and political leader John Ferraro, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, entertainment impresario David Wolper and Arco executive Rod Rood formed the Executive Committee that convinced the International Olympic Committee the 1984 Games should be awarded to Los Angeles. Argue’s energy and persevering faith in this community resulted in the entire world focusing on Los Angeles in the 1980’s.
The Games, of course, were a roaring success. The CYC-led Santa Monica Bay team was on station day and night over a three-week period. Alpha Circle performed with dispatch and elan. Commodore Rosing mentioned exceptional service at Alpha Circle by Club members, including:
Rear Commodore Steve Curran
Fred Harris II
Staff Commodore Wade Hill
Commodore Millard Rosing
Staff Commodore Jack Weber
among others. While Alpha Circle was functioning smoothly, John MacLaurin served as Chief Measurer for the Olympic Sailing events. Staff Commodore William Pagen provided great support by contributing fuel for the official CYC watercraft, Harrison Hine and Dean Dierks served as Race Officers at Delta Circle for the Star Boats and Anita DeFrantz served as a member of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and the International Olympic Committee. All of these members were awarded the Signal Service Award for 1984 in recognition of the exceptional caliber of their service to the sport of yachting.
The International Jury commended the job done by Santa Monica Bay’s yacht club members at Alpha Circle. The official Olympic Games yachting flags flown at Alpha Circle were presented by the Olympic Racing Classes Organizing Committee at a subsequent CYC Staff Officers Council gathering and are prominently displayed in the Club’s Fleet Activities Room.
THE THURSDAY YACHTING LUNCHEONS ARE YACHTING’S “TOWN HALL”
Wherever there are boaters, there are people talking about boating. CYC religiously held boating luncheons at Los Angeles Athletic Club in the days of the old Club. The tradition was reinstituted when CYC reorganized at Marina del Rey, the luncheons first held at La Marina Restaurant in Playa del Rey, then at the Pieces of Eight Restaurant in the new Marina until the Clubhouse at the Sheraton Hotel was constructed. Finally, the luncheons moved to the current Clubhouse when it was finished in 1967. In the beginning, they were called All Membership Luncheons, as they were one of the first regular activities. Crowds of a hundred would sometimes be in attendance.
As the Club grew, more activities developed and these luncheons began to be called Men’s Luncheons. It wasn’t long before the Club advertised that ladies were welcome. These gatherings attracted speakers ranging from local folks to those of world renown who not only spoke about boating activities, equipment and other scuttlebutt, but also enjoyed the camaraderie of being around others who loved the water.
A tasty buffet luncheon was offered for a reasonable price and the event was open to the community as a public service. As a newer member in the early 1970’s, Howard Ryan was asked to chair these events. He felt the Luncheons put the Club’s best foot forward in the yachting community as well as providing a focal point for members to congregate. He put a particularly high level of energy into ensuring a lively program each week. Ryan went out of his way to be certain all attendees were made to feel welcome.
Ryan passed the mantle of the Luncheon Chairmanship to others, but faithfully attended the majority of the luncheons for the following two decades. The Luncheons became informally known as “Yachting’s Town Hall.”
Many of the world’s most famous boaters have appeared at the luncheons over the years, including Rod Stephens, Peter Isler, Dennis Connor, Jim Kilroy, Peggy Slater, Dan Byrne, Roy Disney, Robbie Haines, Tom Blackaller, Olin Stephens and many more.
One remarkable program featured Maxiboat champion Kilroy after the infamous 1979 Fastnet Race. Several sailors died and yachts were sunk in that tragic regatta which was struck by a horrendous storm. Word was received that Kilroy was injured, caught between one of the huge winches on KIALOA and a burly crewman thrown against him by a powerful wave. CYC learned just a couple of days prior to the luncheon that, in fact, Jim would keep his reputation for punctuality in spite of broken ribs. When he arrived, one of the event’s largest crowds ever forced the entire upstairs of the Club to be set aside to hear, transfixed, his dramatic description of Mother Nature’s awesome forces and heroic crewmen fighting for their very lives.
Some very interesting personalities have been recruited to the speaking lineup. One of the most colorful was Mel Fisher, who was boosting his efforts of exploring for sunken gold on ancient Spanish galleons (and hoping to sign up investors from among the audience). While the program was quite well done and fascinating, those in attendance do not remember anyone jumping up to purchase shares in the venture. But not long after, Fisher ended up recovering hundreds of millions of dollars of sunken gold, silver and other treasures off Florida.
In addition to Club members, the (now named) Yachting Luncheons continue to attract an affable group of visitors, who enjoy the experience and CYC’s hospitality. A number of them eventually join the Club as a result of their pleasant experience.
ROWING CHAMPIONS AT A YACHT CLUB ARE UNIQUE
While dozens of rowing clubs in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Boston reflected a century of rowing competition in the East, the 1970’s saw only one such organization in Los Angeles County – in Long Beach. However, a birthday celebration provided a spark for CYC to step into that void. Charles Hathaway sought a challenge to mark his 50th birthday in 1976. That personal challenge compelled him to be the first person in modern times to row from Catalina Island’s Ithsmus to Marina del Rey. He carried out this exceptional test of endurance over a 14-1/2-hour period in his heavy, oak dory FRITZ.
Through the night and into the light of (date), Charles headed toward the mainland, up the coast and into the Marina del Rey main channel. Shoulders tired and back aching, but feeling the surge of new energy, he kept the cadence that took him across 33 miles of open ocean and approached a cheering throng at CYC’s guest dock. A final pull on the oars brought him across the finish line and the end of his ordeal. Among the crowd was his family, including his mother Melodile who greeted him with a salutation, “What took you so long?”
Melodile’s question signified a personal background, as she had herself rowed a racing single seventy years before, in 1906!
Hathaway’s adventure came to the attention of Stan Mullin, a resident of Marina del Rey and devoted rower who needed a home for his newly acquired and very special Pocok racing single shell. The basement of his apartment house was not a safe place for this fragile wooden racing boat, nor was it a particularly enjoyable task to extract it from the basement and launch on the sandy Mother’s Beach in Basin D.
Mullin was quite familiar with the old CYC venue in Wilmington, having crewed as a youth on local sailboats in regattas as well as passing by the Clubhouse many times as the Catalina steamer traveled down the inner harbor. His reputation for strategic thinking as a legendary downtown lawyer came to the fore. He observed that the local UCLA and Loyola Marymount University crews in Marina del Rey had no room for outsiders, plus the fact that UCLA crew captain Ken Jacobs was graduating and that Ken also needed a home for his racing single.
Taking Jacobs aside to put their heads together, the two opined that any man who’d row a flat bottom, 300-pound rowboat from Catalina to the Marina should be receptive to some other rowers joining him in the sport. This plan would allow Hathaway to be introduced to the fastest possible boats, which might make it possible for his mother to applaud his time if he repeated his harebrained marathon from Catalina to CYC. Without asking permission, Mullin and Jacobs quietly investigated the CYC grounds for a possible “boathouse” location. They found an area that could serve that purpose with some strategic canvas roofing and protective fencing. With a temporary low-float tied to an empty slip, the duo could be in business with facilities for storing and launching at least eight racing shells.
They quickly sold Charles Hathaway on the donation of their labor in helping build the new facility and joining the Club, in the bargain attracting other rowers to join with still more new shells. With some elbow grease, purloined used canvas from Riviera Tennis Club and three more rowers (Chuck McCullum, Ed Auston and Bob Butts) who had been car topping their shells to nearby Mothers Beach, an era was born. This core of dedicated rowers attracted others. CYC’s Rowing Club began to grow. They quickly developed the CYC Catalina to Marina del Rey Rowing and Paddling Derby, following on Charles’ solo effort. The first Derby was held in 1977 and has been repeated annually ever since, becoming the world’s second longest open ocean rowing event and drawing competitors from across the country.
With his son Steve taking readily to the racing single, Charles Hathaway began campaigning in the lighter boats. Using the Derby to test his abilities, his 1980 crossing was in an Olden Ocean Shell with the time of 7 hours and 17 minutes – half the time of his first crossing.
There are now several dozen active CYC rowers who own or share over 50 shells – singles, doubles and quads. Three CYC women were members of the United States Rowing Teams in 1980. One was Anita DeFrantz, winner of a bronze medal in the 1976 Olympics. DeFrantz currently serves as Vice President of the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board and the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Executive Committee. Her racing shell is always at CYC ready for her recreation.
The Rowing Club is also proud of its active competitors who have over the years won many gold medals at the United States National Masters Championships, as well as at the Head of the Charles held adjacent to Harvard University, the world’s largest annual rowing regatta. Participating in the Catalina to Marina del Rey event, Steve Hathaway has set several singles records (his best, a 5-hour, 13-minute effort) and the best-ever record set in a quad is 4 hours and 14 minutes (Craig Leeds, Steve Hathaway, Bill Cabeen and Margie Cate).
Many Club members have contributed to the Rowing Club’s success over the years. In addition to those mentioned, Pat Cotter, Eric Loberg, Gordon Nash, Jan Palchikoff and Marshall Rogers have been active competitors in California Yacht Club’s winning Rowing Club activities.
The Club’s rowers enjoy a common love of being on the water, beginning their frequent rowing routines at obscenely early dark hours. Of all ages and backgrounds, they share their sometimes-ghostlike parting of Marina del Rey’s waters with curious seabirds as the sun rises. Yet, in the quiet strength of enjoying their pastime they have become one of America’s champion rowing organizations. Many of their legion of trophies are housed in the Clubhouse today.
And what about Stan Mullin? He’s passed his 90th birthday, his rowing single still sparkles and he provided the majority of the copy for this review of California Yacht Club’s rowers!
THE CYC WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION ADDS A TOUCH OF CLASS
In the “good old days,” boating activities usually found men at the helm. Back at the Clubhouse, women in the CYC families took an active role in social activities. The results of their efforts were more than evident in the gala parties for which California Yacht Club was famous in the early years. Some of the women also crewed on racing boats. On many a long distance cruise, women often stood their share of watches and helm duties.
As society changed through the decades, California Yacht Club women assumed responsibilities in all areas of Club activities and management. Today, all of the Club’s leadership assignments have been enhanced by the efforts of CYC’s women who have served in them.
As California Yacht Club reorganized in Marina del Rey, several women members formed the California Yacht Club Women’s Auxiliary (CYCWA) in 1962. The group’s founder was Irene Tanner, but because her husband Charles was Commodore, the “men” didn’t think it appropriate she be appointed Chairman. So, Robin Hill was elected as first Chairman of this group.
It wasn’t long before the men realized the worth of this group that worked so well reviving the Club’s heritage of heralded social activities. The Women’s Auxiliary was soon put to the test with organizing the first Birthday Ball in 1966, commemorating CYC’s founding. This event was highly successful has evolved to become the annual Commodore’s Ball, California Yacht Club’s premier social event.
The Ball reflects a major interest of the presiding Commodore. In 1984, the theme was “An Evening of Oriental Splendor” for Commodore Millard Rosing and in 1988, “Around the World in Eighty Days” featured a huge hot air balloon and wicker basket dominating the Club’s atrium, reflecting Commodore Frank (Cap’n Ahab) Gleberman’s worldwide travels. “A Hollywood Premier,” with chocolate Oscars for dessert, was wonderfully appropriate for Paramount Pictures’ executive Commodore Richard Zimbert in 1991.
“An Evening in the Old South” was a great touch for 1993 Commodore – and Southern Gentleman – Martin McCarthy and “FantaSea” was a dazzling presentation for 1996 Commodore Chuck Wright who loves the sea whether boating on it or diving in its depths. At the 75-year Jubilee Celebration, 1997 Commodore Charlie Kelly appropriately entertained one and all at “An Elegant, Romantic Evening in the Crystal Palace.” Every Commodore’s Ball at the Marina del Rey Clubhouse has been one of yachting’s exquisitely graceful social events, long remembered by those in attendance.
Sweetheart Balls for Valentine’s Day, Bunny Hops for Easter, Beer Tastings for Oktoberfest and Shamrock Parties have all been developed and chaired by CYC women.
When looking back over some truly exceptional parties, most longtime members agree that one of their all-time favorites was conducted by the CYCWA in 1985. The “Salute to Musicals in Black and White,” thanks to the talents of Marilyn Hersh as producer and Bunny Rippel as director/choreographer, created a chorus line of members the envy of any entertainment company. Show tunes and superbly coordinated stage dancing made the evening pass all too quickly.
The CYCWA First Mates’ Cruise has sailed to CYC’s Ballast Point Station each September since 1974. Those cruising to Ballast Point are invariably surprised by the partygoers’ enthusiasm in creating their theme costumes for this always-enjoyable weekend. The inaugural First Mates’ Cruise was Barbara Tumbleson’s “Ballast Point Bonanza or How the West Was Won.” Some old wags living on Catalina thought Hollywood’s moviemakers had returned to film another Wild West extravaganza!
CYC boaters arrive at Catalina Harbor to find Ballast Point colorfully transformed as a vision of Jamaica, Tahiti, Scandinavia or Hawaii. Other cruise themes included celebrations of Mardis Gras, Oktoberfests, Italian Holidays, nostalgic revisits to the 50’s and 60’s and even the recreation of an African Safari.
Club social events and cruises aside, the CYCWA also conducts a full program of yearlong activities. A monthly luncheon features speakers and programs ranging from financial planning and the culinary arts to fashion shows and more. There is always a table set for the men, and often more than one is required for their attendance.
Whether wearing their smart blue blazers and white skirts at the front door, welcoming visiting dignitaries on Opening Day, participating on the race course as world level competitors, serving on every Club committee or in leading positions in other yachting organizations, California Yacht Club’s women help define CYC’s success through their talent and diligent efforts. Their contributions are invaluable and are appreciated by the entire membership.
THE BIG BOATS
Early in the Club’s history, big boats figured in the romance and excitement of the organization and its members. The CYC burgee was carried around the world on CASIANA, VALERO III, GOODWILL and other megayachts mentioned in the early pages of this album. In World War II, some of California Yacht Club’s proud yachts stood picket duty on the high seas while America’s mighty industrial machine swung into high gear to replace capital ships lost at Pearl Harbor. As battleships, aircraft carriers and other large ships were delivered, boat yards around the country also expanded the coterie of smaller vessels needed for support assignments. Eventually, most of CYC’s pleasure boats were allowed to return home, although several remained on duty until late in the War.
After CYC reorganized in Marina del Rey, large yachts came slowly onto the scene as the permanent slips were constructed. CAVALIER and QUEEN MAB were among the first and others followed. While powerboats constituted most of the first “big boat” fleet, the growing success of CYC’s enthusiastic sailing competitors led some of them to larger and larger craft in the pursuit of speed, conquest and perhaps a little more accommodating ride along the way.
Speed and conquest, to be sure. But “more accommodating” assumes a more sedate approach to racing. That simply didn’t happen. After the Club’s reorganization at Marina del Rey, one of CYC’s first worldwide, big boat campaigners was John B. “Jim” Kilroy. Jim learned sailing on more modest vessels, but was soon building his series of five KIALOA’s. He was moving quickly into the Maxi competition, boats crewed by up to two dozen beefy sailors and sailing on every ocean. When boaters gather, one of Jim’s favorite sayings with a quick smile and steely glint in his eyes is, “Mass times speed equals right of way!”
A million-dollar Maxi Boat, over 80 feet long and weighing 85,000 pounds, driven by 8,500 square feet of sail on 100-foot masts qualifies as mass. This is not a sport for the faint of heart. Maxi Boat sailing pits nerve and experience against the elements and the other competitors. Owners and crews on these big boats number among the finest sailors in the world. The incredible power of the wind on sails the size carried on big boats translates into tons of strain on the lines trailing to the oversize winches onboard. A false move could injure a crewmember or worse.
The big boats compete on closed courses and in regattas that will only see their second course mark thousands of miles away. Jake Woods’ SORCERY has been a familiar sight on Transpacs to Hawaii and Tahiti, as well as blowing away competing boats in the Kenwood Cup around Hawaii. Together with SORCERY, KIALOA has muscled and finessed position and captured free air on courses ranging from Monaco and the Fastnet to SORC and Sydney to Hobart.
When space age materials were used to build ultra-light displacement boats, the first sizeable group of ULDB-70 “sleds” came from California Yacht Club. At one-third the weight of the Maxis and still carrying impressive amounts of sail, the sleds can move at speeds far exceeding that of their heavier sister boats. CYC sleds EVOLUTION, HOTEL CALIFORNIA, PYEWACKET, BARRACUDA and TAXI DANCER all raced in the California Cup’s innovative ’round the buoys regattas as well as on Transpacs and Mexico races. This class of yachts can now be found throughout the world.
Picture the California Cup starting line on Santa Monica Bay with a dozen or more of these magnificent sleds, carrying nearly three hundred crew members, fighting for position and converging between the Committee Boat and the pin flag at the starting gun. You are viewing one of the majestic rituals of competitive sailing.
CHEVAL was first to finish in the 1995 Transpac, crossing the finish line with her mast missing, as described on page XXX. Roy Disney served as Team Leader for CYC’s boats on Mexico races, helping the Club win against Long Beach Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club during these popular winter events. Disney turned versatile PYEWACKET into a cruising boat, sailing to the family castle in Ireland. Of course, participated as the only American boat in the regatta at another of his brace of yacht clubs, the Royal Cork Yacht Club. This was the first time Europeans had seen a sled in their waters, astonished at the speed of the craft. Disney and his crew won their class in every race. Returning home, they raced in the Route of Discovery Race, retracing Columbus’ voyage 500 years before. Unfortunately, a broken rudder from storm conditions ended their quest for still another trophy only a few hundred miles from the finish line.
Roy and his top-notch crew worked long years to tune PWEWACKET for their objective of setting a new record in the Transpac. Boat and sailors were ready for an all-out assault in 1997. Unfortunately, Roy suffered an untimely automobile accident in Ireland and ended up in a full leg cast. Son Roy Pat took over and skippered the boat to a new record from Los Angeles Harbor to Diamond Head. Roy, Sr. watched with pride from a wheelchair ashore as PYEWACKET took her place in the winner’s slip at Waikiki Yacht Club. No power on Earth would keep him from welcoming his crew after Transpac’s fastest ever monohull crossing of 7 days, 15 hours and 24 minutes, breaking the record which was set 20 years previously by Bill Lee on MERLIN.
The following year, Roy, Sr. was at the helm for the Pacific Cup. His winning 6 day, 14 hour and 22 minute crossing from Northern California may have represented the fastest single-hull passage between the West Coast and Hawaii by a vessel of any size, including the famed Clipper Ship speedsters of the 19th century.
CYC’s big boats are not limited to sailing vessels. GALATEA, ENTREPRENEUR, BIG FLO III, CHULA MIA, DOUBLE EAGLE, STARR, QUE PASA, (Gary London’s old boat) and other yachts have helped make up Big Boat Row at California Yacht Club. Abundant powerboats proudly flying CYC’s burgee and capable of cruising around the world have carried their crews to legendary ports and exotic islands at all points of the compass.
BOB NORDSKOG: AGELESS SPEEDSTER ON THE WATER
Most boating endeavors are quite leisurely. “All-out speed” for the sailboat set is most often measured as a single number in terms of knots per hour. On the other side of the spectrum, a group of on-the-water devotees rival speeds achieved during Memorial Day “Indy 500” auto races. One of those speedsters was long-time CYC member Robert Nordskog, who was measured as best of the best in that group.
Nordskog began his motorboat-racing career in 1949. Over a period of 43 years, he won 162 motorsports races. In the process, he also set 50 world records in six different boat racing disciplines. California Yacht Club hosted a number of his Pacific Offshore Power Boat Racing Association events. Nordskog headed many national racing associations and was also Editor of Powerboat Magazine. A number of his efforts were fund raising efforts for his favorite charities, including Guide Dogs for the Blind, San Francisco Tall Ships and D.A.R.E. In 1984, he staged one of the greatest events in the history of boat racing, the Golden Gate to Spruce Goose Chase, raising a quarter-million dollars for the U.S. Olympic team. A few years later, celebrity/athlete Chuck Norris and a top rated race team set out to break Bob’s San Francisco to Los Angeles marine speed record. Bob was on the CYC guest dock ready to congratulate the popular former world karate champion, turned speedboat skipper. The younger speedsters came close, but when they arrived, it was Norris congratulating Nordskog on his still standing record.
Bob Nordskog pushed powerboating speed records into three figures. GIVE ONE QUOTABLE EXAMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Along the way, he personally tested 1,196 different boats. In 1992, the Iron Man (as he was known) still actively racing at the age of 79, astounded the sport by adding another win to his credit. One month later, he unexpectedly died. His many friends said he went out a winner and while still a winner. On June 4, 1997 Bob Nordskog was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame, joining such motorsports luminaries as Henry Ford, Bobby Unser, Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Dolittle, Richard Petty and Mario Andretti.
EXCEPTIONAL FOODS AND WINES FEATURED AT CYC’S EPICUREAN SOCIETY
A natural outgrowth of California Yacht Club’s longstanding tradition of outstanding clubhouse and first class dining facilities is CYC’s Epicurean Society. In late 1963, LAAC, Inc. Corporate Counsel Robert Van Buskirk, CYC President Charles Hathaway and Carl Carlson created the idea of a society within the Club. Soon joined by Dr. Blake Watson, Rear Commodore William A. De Groot, Jr. and a small group of food and wine enthusiasts, the group’s sole purpose was to gather friends together at the table to share their knowledge and love for pairing great foods and outstanding wines. Twenty-nine founding members met at the Club’s facility in the Marina del Rey Sheraton Hotel for the Inaugural Dinner on April 8, 1964. The tradition has flourished to this day.
For each dinner, one member from within the group is selected to be the Dinner Chairman. As such, the Chairman is responsible for researching the history and origin of the foods presented, including recipes. The official sommelier is charged with selecting and pairing the wines with the dinner menu, working closely with each Dinner Chairman to ensure a well-balanced pairing
A grand table is set with fine crystal and silver. A roaring fireplace, champagne and unmatched hors d’oeuvres beginning at 1900 hours greets Society members attired in black tie and red sash. A six- to eight-course dinner follows
CYC’s current Commodore traditionally chairs February’s Valentine Dinner which, with the other Epicurean Society dinners, are set to a variety of unique themes. These have included: Emilio Romano Dinner (Spanish theme by Richard Hamlin), A German Dinner from Baden (Club Manager Tony Dicks and John “Dutch” Woehler, A Tribute to the Gabrieleno and Chumash Indians (Club Manager Dennis Conneally – how often does one set a banquet table with a Catalina sea urchin salad and butter-soft abalone?), Sir Thomas Lipton (LAACO Chairman Frank Hathaway), An Evening at the Bristol Hotel, Paris (Ron Howard), An Adventure on the Orient Express (Lloyd Baumer), A Classic English Christmas (Staff Commodore Howard Ryan), Last Dinner Served Aboard the TITANIC (J. Stanley Mullin), From the Nights of the Czars (Imperial Russian theme by Staff Commodore Frank Gleberman), and A Dinner From the Cruising Log of the SKIDBLADNIR (Honorary Commodore Charles Hathaway and LAACO Sr. Vice President Steve Hathaway).
A memorable dinner on April 16, 1996 featured the California Culinary Olympic Team. Eighteen talented young chefs prepared a dinner for the Society, representative of the foods they would be presenting in the upcoming International Culinary Olympic competition later that year.
Hundreds of delicacies, prepared by Executive Chef Hector Gutierrez and his predecessors, have graced the Society’s baronial table through the years. A representative sample of the different courses and several of the wines which have accompanied them follows:
Noisettes of Lamb wrapped in Panceta
Heather, Rye, Honey, Sesame and Strawberry
Vodka in Frozen Glacier Ice
Escargot en Groute
Double Consommé of Veal
Crab Soup with Rice and Anchovy Essence
Black Mussel Bisque
Game Bird Pie with Pheasant, Duck, Partridge and Pork
Layered Fillet of Sole and Salmon with Lobster Sauce
Squab Braised with Truffles, Wild Mushrooms
and Covered with Puff Pastry
Tournedos with Morels on a Bed of Braised Cabbage
Mixed Grill of Game: Venison, Buffalo, Roast Boar,
Boar Liver, Game Sausage and Red Currant Jelly
Roasted Petite Fillets of Beef, Lamb and Pork
with Pomegranate, Currant and Cherry Sauce
Black Sesame Cured Wild Boar Loin with Guava Sauce
Expresso Chocolate Heart with Kahlua Carmel Sauce
Fresh Pears with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese and
Hundred-Year-Old Artisan-made Balsamic Vinegar
Assortment of Dutch and French Cheeses and Fruits
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne
Grgich Chardonnay 1982
Blanc de Lynch-Bages 1992 White Bordeaux
Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1970
Chateau Margaux 1986
Chateau Cordeillan-Bages Pauillac 1995
Smith Woodhouse Vintage Port 1955
Imported Cigars and Kelt X.O. Cognac in the Drawing Room
(These dishes are from several different occasions.)
Six General Chairmen have spanned the Society’s thirty-four years. Carl Carlson, Staff Commodore William “Bill” De Groot, Jr., Dr. Blake Watson, Staff Commodore Thomas Armstrong, Gene Wickham and J. Stanley Mullin have most ably headed this group of gourmands enjoying their culinary endeavors. A limit of fifty attend each dinner and there is generally a waiting list of Club members wishing to join the Society
Leading gourmet food societies throughout Southern California regularly approach the Club to hold their events at CYC. Their attention is a positive endorsement of the quality of California Yacht Club’s Executive Chefs and Service Staff, as well as their ability to work closely with some of America’s finest executive chefs in a visiting role.
WOMEN’S SAILING AT CYC
At the “old Club” in Wilmington, society operated on a different basis than today. While early on, California Yacht Club led clubby organizations toward a world that did not discriminate, active sailing was simply not crowded with the fairer sex. Certainly, successful women CYC sailors such as Helen Walsh (Matt Walsh’s daughter) and Peggy Slater prior to World War II paved the way. But it wasn’t until some years later that a core of talented women sailors emerged as a critical mass.
At CYC’s new Marina del Rey location in the 1960’s, a number of Women’s Auxiliary races were instituted. In serious racing, however, the most talented women would sail with men sailors, either as spouses or because a few owned their own boats. The Junior Program produced some excellent young women sailors with Bonnie Bechtol and ___________ among the earliest. Sailing with the men honed their skills, but an interesting evolution was taking place around CYC’s women sailors. Santa Monica Yacht Club (Racy Ladies), Del Rey Yacht Club (Got Guts) and Windjammers’ Yacht Club women began to train together and campaign their own boats in local regattas. Local sailing publication (The Dinghy) Editor Darien Murray, with the help of CYC Staff Commodore Robert Wilson began a Women’s Sailing Program, Women on Water (WOW) in 1980. That new series brought these individual contests to the next level, a bay-wide competition. Wilson contributed a magnificent, half-century-old silver trophy to be awarded to the winner of the WOW series. California Yacht Club ladies became active and enthusiastic participants.
Erma Darling was among CYC’s first active women sailors in Marina del Rey. “Through WOW, a bunch of us began to train together,” she recalls. “Betta Mortarotti, Elsie Brown, Jane Willet, Denise Anthony, Cheryl Braney, Olga Carnahan, Gail Brandt, Alice Leahey, Marney Buchanan, Meghan Johnson, Sue D’Alessio, Marilyn Butefish, Chris Mosier, Cheryl Mahaffey and Chris Cubbon, among others, began to train and sail together. We used sabots, my Erickson 29, J/24’s, Santa Cruz 27’s, New York 36’s and Martin 242’s as our platforms. Lots of fun, yelling, determination, hard work and an increasing amount of success.”
Staff Commodore Cheryl Mahaffey recalls, “My involvement with women’s sailing began shortly after the birth of my second child. I had noticed that on Wednesday mornings, Gloria Terris, Erma Darling, Julie Podolny, Gail Brandt and Chris Mosier were sailing sabots and learning how to race. I received a sabot as a Christmas present and joined the group. With Claudia Wainer from Del Rey Yacht Club as our instructor, the skill level quickly improved and we began to travel up and down the coast from San Diego to Newport Beach competing in sabot regattas. One highlight of that period occurred in San Diego when Dennis Conner, dressed in a business suit, was on the dock observing the sabot sailing. Before long, a challenge was issued and Dennis hopped in a sabot – suit and all – to compete in the last race.
“Julie was the organizer of our team. She noticed a Dinghy article announcing the upcoming Women on Water Series (‘WOW’) and decided it was time for us to learn how to compete on ‘big boats.’ Previous winners of the WOW Series were Pacific Mariners Yacht Club, King Harbor Yacht Club, Windjammers’ Yacht Club and South Bay Yacht Racing Club. We thought we should become part of the competition, since our own Staff Commodore Bob Wilson was such a great supporter of women’s sailing.
Our first challenge was to find a boat to race. Like Goldilocks looking for the “right” porridge, we searched high and low for the perfect boat. We first tried Julie’s IOR (International Offshore Rule) race boat, but it was too big. Next was Erma’s trusty Ericson 29, but it was too slow for the current competition. Then we took a spin on my Santa Cruz 27 SUNDANCE . . . it was just right. Since I brought the ball to the game, I got to be skipper. Problem was, I had worked foredeck on my own boat, not the helm, so some quick learning was in order.
“About this time, we could be found lurking about the Club docks or prowling the bar, looking for one of CYC’s well known sailors to walk by. We’d corner him and usually end up with our sailing instructor for the day. Some wonderful guys we hijacked to teach us were Peter Isler, Kimo Worthington, Andy Lockton, Steve Grillon and Billy Petersen, among others.
“Thanks to these great guys plus our own determination to be the best we could be, we began to shape ourselves into a pretty good team. Other yacht clubs in our harbor and up and down the coast had women’s teams who had been sailing together a long time, but we ended up winning three WOW Series over the next five years. Our group grew and evolved over these years.
“We really got excited about the opportunities for women in this sport. Jody Brightman, Marney Buchanan, Sue Horgan, Kathy Patterson and I worked to organize the Women’s Week Offshore, hosted by CYC in 1986. Anne Nelson was our inspiration and served as On-the-Water Event Chairman. Diane Armstrong and Zoe Harrison provided the race management for the effort. Ten teams of women sailors aboard Capri 30’s received a week of intense coaching. Once again, the CYC guys came to the fore as Bill Stump, Benny Mitchell, Vice Commodore Tom Leweck, Craig Leweck and Bill Herrschaft were among those providing the coaching talent. Dave Ullman stopped by to help Anne Nelson with some coaching support for our group.
“We were blessed by the fact that when asked, no one ever refused to help. Lowell North himself was sweet-talked by Jody Brightman into participating. When one of the boats was discovered to have a keel problem, Staff Commodore Steve Curran came to the rescue, finding another boat at the last minute so all teams could participate. The net result of all this effort was CYC women on several boats in Women’s Week Offshore, including several on 1st and 2nd place finishers.”
Throughout the 80’s, CYC’s women sailors continued to make themselves known in the sailing world. Peggy Redler established a reputation as a first class navigator on UDLB 70’s. Barbara Leweck was a key member of the Leweck team winning many regattas and Cheryl Mahaffey was part of a strong team that competed in the MORC Class. Women’s sailing was continuing to grow and mature with CYC continuing to play an active role.
This growth continued in the 90’s. 1993 would prove to be an auspicious year for CYC women sailors. Cheryl Mahaffey had been actively competing in the Schock 35 Fleet, having racked up a number of victories including 1st place at Yachting Cup. Kathy Patterson was actively campaigning FAST LANE in the J 35 Fleet and Gwen Gordon had just captured her second Schock 35 Fleet Championship on OUTLIER.
CYC women were successfully competing in numerous venues when Newport Harbor Yacht Club issued a National Yacht Club Challenge patterned after the “Best in the US.” Ten yacht clubs would be selected to compete in the first-ever U.S. Yacht Club for the Bettina Bents Trophy. Teams of eight women from each club would compete on Catalina 37’s in a grueling eight-race series. Yacht clubs were required to submit resumes dealing with their women sailors’ accomplishments. CYC jumped to the challenge with a 15-page resume detailing the Club’s women participation in inshore, offshore and junior racing, regatta management and yacht administration.
Newport Harbor Yacht Club selected CYC as one on the competing teams. Added to the core helm and tactician group of Cheryl Mahaffey, Kathy Patterson and Gwen Gordon, CYC’s “big boat” sailors were Laura Priest, Marney Buchanan and Maureen Lull for foredeck and ____________. These were all fairly “automatic” selections, given their successful sailing careers. The final selection was for sail trimming. While Liz Hjorth felt she didn’t have sufficient experience to qualify, she was selected and proved to be an outstanding trimmer. Eventually, Liz went on to establish herself as one of the best woman helmsman CYC has ever produced.
The CYC women went on to win the first U.S. Yacht Club Challenge for the Bettina Bents Trophy with a convincing seven-point win, besting teams from Texas, Florida, St. Francis, Newport and Balboa Yacht Clubs. (NEED TO BE MORE SPECIFIC WITH CLUB NAMES????) Later that year, CYC racked up another championship, dominating the Women’s One Design Challenge in Long Beach with Alice Leahey, Gwen Able and Nadine Franczyk added to the team. They captured first place with a low 8.5 score. (TWO DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF TEAM BY CHERYL. CHECK THIS OUT.)
In the next several years, CYC became the team to beat in the U.S. Yacht Club Challenge, taking 3rd place in the 1995 effort with Kathy Patterson steering and a team of Gwen Gordon, Cheryl Mahaffey, Liz Hjorth, Laura Priest, Nadine Franczyk, Marney Buchanan and Maureen Lull (thought a crew of TEN were in all subsequent races to the first one????). Liz Hjorth took the helm in 1997, finishing 2nd and winning the Sportsmanship Trophy with Patterson, Gordon, Mahaffey, Julia Olmstead, Stacey Straw and ________________ on board.
Gwen Gordon continues to be a mainstay aboard the winning Schock 35 OUTLIER, Nadine Franczyk on the J/24 circuit, and Kathy Patterson co-helming FAST LANE to many wins with husband Staff Commodore Robert Patterson. Liz Hjorth has achieved success sailing a variety of boats including Lasers, Europe, J/24, Catalina 37 and CSK42. Hjorth represented CYC at the Adams Cup finals, participated in the Olympic Trials sailing her Europe as well as winning the Women’s One-Design Challenge. She skippered the 1st in Class and 3rd Overall effort of STEALTH CHICKEN in the 1997 Transpac and the CYC Women’s Team to another win in the 1997 Women’s One Design Regatta. Susan Beckett actively sails her Europe dinghy and Schock 35. Alice Leahey (1998 Port Captain) has served as CYC Race Committee Chairman and the Laser National Championship Regatta Chairman as well as crewing on many race teams (including two Transpacs).
Rounding out the CYC Women’s Team are Allyson McQuade, Carol Patterson, Julia Olmstead and Kathy Ullrich. South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club Staff Commodore Mike Priest has graciously coached the team through recent years to help them achieve the racing edge. Surely, CYC’s women will continue to be leading contenders in women’s sailing circles for some time to come.
CYC’s SAILING PROGRAM: 1980’s TO THE PRESENT
The Club’s abundant membership and varied interests provided the opportunity for a number of active sailing classes. Jim Kilroy and Jake Wood started out with smaller boats, but their winning ways and competitive natures interested them in campaigning the really big sailing boats, the sleek racing vessels of the “Maxi” world. The maxis could exceed 80 feet in length, the pinnacle of size and strength in sailboat racing.
At the other end of the size spectrum were the sailors who loved the challenge and feel of dinghy sailing, small boats typically raced by one or two individuals. In between was a cornucopia of dozens of well-performing boats 20′ to 80′ in length. Sailboat racing was fun, fun, fun!
The Sunset Series brought out well over a hundred boats each summer’s Wednesday evenings. CYC sailors were found participating in many races sponsored by their own Club as well as those sponsored by other organizations. The Sail Committee sharpened its focus on race management. Many Club members had rather specific racing interests and a significant percentage of those fit into several popular racing categories. The Sail Committee allocated the Fleet’s financial and human resources to best support the Club’s long range participation in sailing competition. It examined its options on a local, regional, national and international basis.
Star Boats continued their popularity from CYC’s earliest days in Wilmington and Cal 20’s were a strong carryover from CYC’s first 20 years in Marina del Rey. ____________ and _______________ led the Club’s Star racing, winning _____________________. Tom Leweck and Bill Pistey were frequent names on the winner’s list for the Cal 20 Fleet, Leweck winning that Class’ National Championship __ times.
A more highly structured Sail Education and Race Management Education Program was examined and implemented under the leadership of Commodore Tom Armstrong in the early 1980’s. Closer coordination between the Junior Program and Sail Committee was developed. A Club-owned Race Committee boat was purchased so the Race Committee could standardize its conduct of complex regattas without having to rely on the use of different members’ boats.
Another impetus for increasing the scope of the Club’s sailing competition was hosting the 1983 Star World Championships and its participation in the 1984 Olympic sailing competitions. Members of the Race Committee received many compliments from competitors in both events, as well as having thoroughly enjoyed the task of carrying out their assignments in world level events.
Two Nelson Marek 41’s made their mark in the 1980’s. Staff Commodore Tom Armstrong twice won the Overton Series on his INSATIABLE while Len Sheridan’s RELIANCE brought home the 1985 Lipton Cup from San Diego Yacht Club.
A multitude of 25′ to 50′ keelboats were sailed under the PHRF Rule. Several distinct classes began to build. The Schock 35’s included Dick Schmidt and Gwen Gordon, who won the 1990, 1991 and 1992 National Championships on OUTLIER; Alex Benson _________________ on RICOCHET and Ray and Cheryl Mahaffey campaigning CALIFORNIA GIRL to __________________.
While the J-35’s were popular mostly at other Clubs, Kathy and Staff Commodore Bob Patterson gathered in ______________________ racing FAST BREAK. The J-24’s were supported by a number of CYC sailors, and Staff Commodore Charles Kelley skippered his XXXXXXXXXX to wins in ________________. Martin 242’s and Melges 24’s also maintained a strong presence among the CYC Fleet. NOTE THE PEOPLE WHO DID WELL.
Several CYC members built ULDB-70 “sleds” with the advent of the 72-footers with just one-third the weight of the regular Maxi Boats. Mitchell Rouse, Hal Ward, Roy Disney and Bob Doughty raced and won on the sleds, with Brack Duker joining the group in 1991.
The Midget Ocean Racing Club (MORC) attracted ____________________________ and the CYC-hosted Pacific Cup Races were well attended each year.
The 1980’s and 1990’s were also focused intently on the development of an outstanding Race Management Program which has become recognized throughout the United States. During CYC’s early history, the Race Committee Chairman was responsible for running all the Clubs races. This worked well in the formative years. But as the Club began to host a growing number of sailing events, managing these regattas became more complex.
Prior to the 1980’s, it had been sufficient for the Race Committee to “shoot the gun and take finishes.” Most of the races were distance races around fixed land and water marks. The 1980’s saw the style of racing change to racing around buoys set in the water. A fixed set of buoys on Santa Monica Bay were set in a circle, the “Olympic Circle,” to give some adjustment to varying wind direction and speed. However, these fixed buoys did not allow keeping the racecourse square to the wind and fair to the competitions. Therefore, California Yacht Club’s Race Committee began setting their own marks, even moving them during the races in response to wind shifts. Thus, a racecourse, square to the wind, was ensured on all legs of each race.
In turn, these changes required new approaches to race organization and management. Commodore Armstrong reorganized the Race Committee to include dozens of CYC members as sub-chairmen responsible for regattas, inside results, protests, trophies and equipment. Following his year as Commodore, Armstrong was appointed CYC’s first Senior Race Officer, further strengthening the Club’s administration of on-the-water activities. A decade later, Staff Commodore Bill Stump would step into that position.
Conducting dozens of racing days on the water required new automated tools to administer this increasingly complex on-the-water race management. Dick Hampikian designed a computer-scoring program to replace hand scoring and update an earlier computer race results program. The Inside Race Committee could now use their computers to concurrently score several racing classes, even those utilizing differing handicap methods. The popular Sunset Series race results could now be posted within an hour of the race finish rather than three to four hours later as had previously been the case.
Peggy Redler developed a sophisticated mark set program that coordinated the various mark set boats’ loran instruments. Run on the Race Committee boat, this allowed CYC to set highly accurate racecourses on the water. The computer adjusted variances between loran readouts. Use of this program guaranteed that any of the support boats could precisely set or move any mark without major degradation of the course configuration.
Licensed amateur radio operators joined the Race Committee, dramatically improving race administration since the Committee no longer had to rely on the congested VHF radio frequencies.
During the 1990’s, Betty Hampikian improved the mark set program to provide computer printouts for each support boat for all course configurations. The program also handled a full range of wind directions and kept track of all support boats for a regatta. Betty also rewrote the Race Management Program to accommodate a multitude of new features and take advantage of current computer technology. The current Race Management System, consisting of more than 20,000 lines of code, runs under the Windows NT operating system.
Onboard ship-to-shore faxes coordinate results between on the water Race Committee members and those stationed in the Fleet Activities Room on land. Complete regatta results are often available even before the competitors return to shore (assuming there are no protests). Race results are automatically uploaded to CYC’s Web Page (http://www.CalYachtClub.com) developed in 1997 by Rear Commodore Alex Benson.
To allow continual repositioning of race course marks during a race, the Club acquired two high-speed inflatable mark set boats (AIR FORCE ONE and AIR FORCE TWO) equipped with Loran, Ham Radio communications, VHF and depth sounding equipment.
Members from a large yacht club often sail many different classes of boats, which can cause a club to spread its sailing efforts far and wide. An informal group of Sail Committee members would sometimes suggest policy to members of the entire Committee in order to focus that larger group’s efforts more efficiently. This process was formalized after several years with the formation of the Sail Policy Committee in December 1997.
(REVIEW THIS SECTION TO REDUCE! See page 154 of KAREN HATHAWAY’s COPY.)
CYC’s Race Management Committee consistently examines how it conducts quality regattas, with the objective of providing as professional an event as possible for sailors often traveling halfway around the world to compete. Volunteers thoroughly enjoy participating as hosts for world class events. This enthusiasm, coupled with attention to conducting premier race management, has blessed California Yacht Club with top level regattas coming to Marina del Rey. The Appendix contains a number of significant regattas the Club has had the privilege to host in recent years.
CALIFORNIA YACHT CLUB’S BREEZE
At the “Old Club” in Wilmington, Los Angeles Athletic Club’s Mercury magazine reported on regattas, social activities, notices to members and other activities. The communication required to keep the membership of a large yacht club in touch with events in which they were interested was circulated on a weekly basis. CYC news was included with articles from the other clubs of the Athletic Club empire.
As California Yacht Club reorganized in Marina del Rey, Mercury and letters from the Commodore and bulletins from Management kept everyone up to date. CYC’s rapid growth, however, led to the establishment of its own magazine. Only four pages at first, the CYC Bulletin circulated announcements and scuttlebutt eagerly scoured by members and their families. A contest resulted in the title “Breeze” bestowed upon the Club’s main source of information. During the years since, the monthly Breeze has grown to twenty to thirty pages or more of glossy paper and full color coverage of CYC’s wide range of activities. It is one of the finest yacht club publications in America.
Breeze covers it all. From Olympic triumphs and national regatta victories, Club parties and cruises to Catalina, news bulletins about members and Eight Bells for those who have gone on to their destiny, CYC’s magazine arrives at members’ homes and offices to be eagerly read every month.
The research for this Diamond Jubilee Album would have been incredibly more difficult if those who wrote for Mercury and Breeze over this past 75 years hadn’t done their jobs and excelled. The Breeze Editor’s job has always been carried out with distinction by a CYC volunteer. This responsibility demands many of the same skill levels as for an editor of many top commercial publications. These talented men and women are mentioned throughout this Album. Their many contributions have been greatly appreciated by the entire membership.
As this Diamond Jubilee Album is completed, it will be the Breeze that announces its arrival. And for the next quarter century until California Yacht Club’s Centennial, it will be the Breeze, which continues the communication of the activities of this yacht clubs to its many members.
DOROTHY WIGANT: CARING CYC “GODMOTHER” FOR A GENERATION
An enduring CYC “godmother” began working on the Club Staff in 1966 as a secretary. Dorothy Wigant soon knew where everything was stored, who everyone was and how to help make the assemblage of staff, members and visitors productively flow together. It wasn’t long before she was promoted to Office Manager. Dorothy excelled in organization and coordination. She exercised supreme tact in the process. Commodores and Club Managers serving during Dorothy’s 23 years at the Club were thankful for her counsel and attention.
Dorothy’s friend Bunny Rippel was Breeze Editor off and on for four years. Dorothy would take a couple of hours each month to proofread the brownlines with Bunny for the upcoming month’s Breeze. Bunny relates another of Dorothy’s contributions, which enhanced members’ enjoyment of their Club. “Dorothy used to take meticulous care in assigning seating at social events. After all, she knew everyone, knew who could use a lift by being seated next to some CYC luminary and had a kind touch in her matching of personalities.
“I was flattered Dorothy would sometimes include me in this process, not exactly letting me dictate any seating placements, mind you,” Bunny cautioned. “But we had great fun reviewing situations where members should get to know one another better for a variety of reasons. Most of our members never knew Dorothy always looked out for everyone that way. Their Club experience was so much the better because of her thoughtful attention to us until her retirement in 1989.”
At Dorothy’s 1993 eulogy, Honorary Commodore Charles Hathaway added still another perspective, which says it all. “All we needed to say around the Club was, ‘Dorothy.’ No one needed to say her last name. Everyone knew who Dorothy was.”
CYC REACHES OUT TO SERVE ITS COMMUNITY
There is a perception that people who belong to a yacht club keep to themselves behind fences and ivy-covered walls of the institution. This has never been the case at California Yacht Club. CYC has long embraced the philosophy that providing a “sense of community” for members at the Club includes a responsibility to support the community in which the Club is located as well as the associations that directly serve yachting interests.
Many CYC members have assumed major roles in local, regional and national yachting associations. Many have also unselfishly given their support to civic, charitable and educational organizations throughout Southern California. No less an effort has been given to California Yacht Club’s immediate community, Marina del Rey.
The very foundation of Marina del Rey was shaped by banker Aubrey Austin and developer Jerry Epstein, two of the movers and shakers who helped transform Mud Lake into the world’s largest man-made small craft harbor. Staff Commodore Bill DeGroot was also prominent in Marina del Rey’s early days. DeGroot later served as President of California’s Department of Boating and Waterways, as did Harold Berkman some years later.
The Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce was formed in the 1960’s. Bob Leslie carefully nurtured the fledgling Chamber into a viable organization that grew to sponsor the Marina del Rey In-the-Water Boat Show, now one of the largest boat shows of its type in California. The Chamber also sponsored the community’s annual Fireworks Show and other community events as well as representing the interests of the area’s businesses. A number of Club members have served as Chairmen, Directors and Officers of the organization ever since.
Nearly all Chamber Presidents have been CYC members including founding President Ralph Zimmerman, Leslie, his wife Uta Ferguson Leslie, Bill Ramey, Club Manager Tony Dicks, David Neibert, Richard Hamlin, Staff Commodore Frank Gleberman, Mark Burnett and Bob Pratt. Staff Commodore Martin McCarthy was the long-time Executive Director of the Chamber and was elected Marina del Rey’s first Honorary Mayor. Gleberman also served as Honorary Mayor and as founding Chairman of the local Los Angeles County Sheriff Citizen’s Advisory Committee. (BOB LESLIE AND MARTIN McCARTHY FOR OTHER NAMES)
The Los Angeles County Small Craft Harbor Commission oversees the operations of this harbor. Staff Commodore Bill Pagen served with distinction as Commissioner as have Joe Crail and John MacLaurin. MacLaurin currently serves as Chairman of the Commission as well as President of the Marina Foundation.
Willie Hjorth served many years as President of the Pioneer Skippers Boatowners Association and with her husband John began and nurtured the famed Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade to national prominence. David deRuyter served as Chairman of the 1997 Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. LAACO Sr. Vice President Steve Hathaway is current President of the Marina del Rey Lessees Association and Vice Chairman of the Los Angeles Sheriff Citizen’s Advisory Committee. CYC members who have previously chaired the Marina del Rey Lessee’s Association are Jerry Epstein, Honorary Commodore Charles Hathaway, Frank Fleischer and Walter Hudson.
Many CYC members have brought recognition to the Club as a result of their community activities. The local community has been exceptionally supported by the Club, so it is no wonder that an incredible number of those honored as Marina del Rey’s Citizen of the Year have come from California Yacht Club including Aubrey Austin, Jr. (1973), Barry Labow (1974, Jerry Epstein (1975), Ralph Zimmerman (1976), Abe Lurie (1981), Uta Ferguson (Leslie) and Charles Hathaway (1982), Robert Leslie (1983), Burt Hixson (1984), William Ramey (1991), David Neibert (1992), Willie Hjorth (1993) and Staff Commodore Frank Gleberman (1996).
The Los Angeles County-owned Marina is entering into its “second phase” of development. Proposals are now being considered from experienced developers for renovation and expansion of many of the original properties within Marina del Rey. CYC is well positioned for Marina del Rey’s future with a superb physical plant and newly upgraded slips.
THE RACE COMMITTEE: ARCHITECTS OF TOP-NOTCH REGATTAS
Privileged to host the world’s finest sailors as competitors, a dedicated group of Race Committee members spends hours planning regattas down to the last detail. Racing rules are examined for clarity and conformance to established guidelines. Starting lines are set square to the wind. The regatta’s starting sequence is clearly signaled, timed to the closest tenth of a second. If the wind shifts, marks are also shifted to be certain the racecourse is as fair as humanly possible for every vessel.
While all regattas begin with extensive planning and development ashore, the floating nerve center on the day of the race is CYC’s Race Committee Boat, OWEN CHURCHILL. While the prospect of spending a day on the well equipped OWEN CHURCHILL doesn’t sound like terribly hard duty (and generally is not), conditions can change on the race course. Lumpy weather is rarely kind to a Committee Boat destined to stand fast at the start/finish line. Just ask the anchor crew who may need to set and reset anchor a dozen times. For that matter, the weather mark stake boat at the other end of the course can also play “lift and drop” a dozen times with two anchors during a multi-race regatta day. They will fight with both their own boat’s anchor as well as the one on the sometimes uncooperative weather mark.
Generally, Race Committee duty on OWEN CHURCHILL is a most enjoyable assignment. It’s all business as the Committee Boat nears the day’s starting line. Windspeed and direction must be calibrated. The starting line is set. Weather and reaching marks are set. Boat and race equipment are given a final checkout. A split-second countdown commences to the start of the race. Sound and visual signals assist the racers until “BANG” (the shotgun) signals the beginning of the race.
Short races often leave little time for relaxation, as boats will round weather and (sometimes) reaching marks, then quickly return to the starting area to finish or continue sailing another leg. The Race Chairman and Principal Race Officer are often aboard OWEN CHURCHILL overseeing the competition, but sometimes will get up close and personal to the activity on smaller, club-owned chase boats such as AIR FORCE ONE, a high-speed inflatable with state-of-the-art electronic aids aboard. Regattas consisting of three or four races a day can dictate morning to late afternoon activity aboard. Chase boats will also use OWEN CHURCHILL as a mother ship.
Other races featuring longer legs find the Race Committee enjoying the sun and water as the fleet sails away from the starting line for marks which may be two or three miles away. A more relaxed routine
between roundings allows time to swap sea stories or catch up on the Club’s latest social news. As the leaders return to finish or re-round, it’s back to well-rehearsed observation and timing onboard.
In the days when regattas might sail around Catalina or other Channel Islands, the Committee Boat often waited for finishers hours later than the expected finish times. Dying winds sometimes delayed winners crossing the finish line until late at night, into the wee hours or even after the next day’s sunrise. The Committee Boat was obligated to stand on station, ready to record competitors as they crossed the finish line. Racers prefer the shorter ‘round the buoys in recent years, so overnights onboard the Committee Boat are now the exception.
There is no shortage of Race Committee volunteers at California Yacht Club. While members used to volunteer use of their boats for Race Committee work, the increased demands of modern day racing demands a permanent vessel specially-equipped as is OWEN CHURCHILL.
CYC’s Public Relations Committee, the Ham Radio Group, the CYC Women’s Association and CYC’s Staff also play substantial roles in overall Race management. Advance publicity and promotion of CYC’s regattas help attract competitors and spectators. Visiting media require information and space on photo and observation boats. The Women’s Association helps host VIP’s and spectators, finds accommodations for visiting sailors, sells t-shirts and other regatta memorabilia and assists with social activities associated with the larger races. The Club’s popular food and beverage service is carefully coordinated by Club Staff, ensuring convivial post-race celebrations.
For some of the larger events, two to three hundred competitors may be on the water, a hundred Race Committee members tending to the myriad of details and several dozen CYC Staff working in many roles. Together, volunteers and Staff help elevate CYC’s regattas from good events to the best that they can be. Their dedication to excellence in Race Management is repaid many times over when a regatta concludes with a feeling it was the best event it could be. Their efforts are often rewarded by visiting sailors compliments, “Hey, great job. We always enjoy sailing at California Yacht Club and consider it our home away from home. Thank you!”
CYC’S CLUB MANAGERS ARE “AT YOUR SERVICE”
One of the most challenging careers imaginable is that of Club Manager. In an operation as diverse as CYC, the Club Manager works closely with a number of department heads and an overall staff of up to 90 employees. Keeping the docks, grounds, kitchen, dining room, banquet department, accounting department, office staff, membership acquisition and retention, member activities, community relations and other Club operations at the level one would expect from a top level club is a real challenge.
CYC has fortunately been blessed with fine Managers over the years. While experienced in the hospitality industry, they have been very receptive to creative suggestions from interested members. Club Managers actively participate with Fleet Officers, Committee Chairs and general members in the planning of new and recurring events. This furthers the California Yacht Club tradition of “getting the job done a little bit better each time.”
When CYC reorganized at Marina del Rey, Harry Schifke, who was Manager of the old Club in Wilmington, was still associated with Los Angeles Athletic Club and Riviera Country Club. Schifke always took time to share his experiences with CYC’s Managers. The first CYC Manager at the Marina del Rey location was John Cirner. Cirner helped get the Club off the ground and provided a five days per week operation. John Joannau, who came to the Club from the Airport Marina Hotel, followed Cirner as CYC grew. Following Joannou was Cory Moll, who came to CYC from Hawaii. Cory left to pursue another business venture and active tennis player Cliff Halstead came aboard to head up a growing staff at the new Clubhouse.
In 1972, Great Britain native Anthony Dicks moved over from Los Angeles Athletic Club Prior to joining the Athletic Club, he served as third officer aboard the QUEEN MARY,in charge of hotel operations. With the pressures of inflation, the Athletic Club and CYC tradition of providing an excellent kitchen and dining facility for members was becoming a serious financial challenge. Tony’s background proved quite helpful in keeping the food quality up while lowering expenses.
Dining room staff member Rainer Gehres was promoted to Assistant Manager. He exhibited a strong natural talent in expanding the Club’s banquet operations to address members’ social and business requirements. In turn, members referred additional business from their friends and other organizations. Rather than facing the prospect of diminishing food service to the membership or raising prices to an unacceptable level, Gehres spread CYC’s fine kitchen facilities and staff over a larger base of business to maintain the Club’s high dining standards and keep them at a reasonable price level.
When Tony Dicks was called downtown to manage the Athletic Club in 1976, Rainer Gehres was promoted to Club Manager. Charles Hathaway’s son Steve had been working at Los Angeles Athletic Club as a management trainee and came to CYC as Assistant Manager. They expanded the Club’s banquet operations. Gehres then left for a career in golf club management, including managing LAACO’s Riviera Country Club.
Suave Florida native Jeff Clarke was hired as Club Manager in 1977. With an extensive background in restaurant management, Clarke paid particular attention to CYC’s food and beverage services. He then also rotated to Riviera Country Club as General Manager. Steve Hathaway, who had served as Riviera Country Club’s General Manager for over two years, returned to California Yacht Club as General Manager in 1979. In addition to his Club responsibilities, Steve was able to add greatly to the Club’s sailing and rowing victories during his stewardship of the Manager’s office.
In 1986, Steve Hathaway moved to Los Angeles Athletic Club as General Manager and Tony Dicks was summoned back from his Manager’s position at Los Angeles Athletic Club to become CYC General Manager. Tony continued his strong attention to fine dining and special events at the Club and helped with the 1988 Clubhouse expansion. Upon Tony’s retirement in 1992, Dennis Conneally (who had worked at CYC a decade before, at the beginning of his hospitality industry career) moved from the Banquet Manager’s duties at Riviera to assume the CYC Manager’s position. Dennis brought a background in hotel and restaurant management as well as club operations. He has introduced a variety of appealing upscale touches to CYC’s overall operations and recently received the Certified Club Manager (CCM) designation.
The Manager’s door is always open to CYC members. Staff members are encouraged be on the “firing line” during member activities, are cross-trained in other responsibilities and many have been promoted several times at CYC. Some measure their service at CYC in decades. Members have enjoyed two and even three generations of their families being supported in their enjoyment of the Club by some members of the staff. For members and staff alike, this comfortable association is one of the treasured benefits of life at California Yacht Club.
CALIFORNIA YACHT CLUB’S PARENT COMPANY
When California Yacht Club was located in Wilmington, its business relationship with the Los Angeles Athletic Club varied, depending upon the time period examined. When the Club reactivated in Marina del Rey, it was operated as a direct subsidiary of the Los Angeles Athletic Club. An arms-length relationship was no longer required for purposes of leasehold laws.
In the 1970’s, recognizing that a number of diverse properties were being purchased by the parent organization, the Los Angeles Athletic Club changed its name to LAACO, but continued to operate Los Angeles Athletic Club, California Yacht Club and Riviera Country Club under those Club names. Another organizational change occurred in 1986, following the sale of Riviera Country Club, with LAACO becoming LAACO, Ltd. This new organization is a limited partnership and has evolved in the 1990’s with Los Angeles Athletic Club and California Yacht Club owned by the partnership. A number of other business concerns, including real estate interests and self-storage companies in four states, are also subsidiaries of LAACO, Ltd.
Frank and Charles Hathaway assumed the position of Managing Partners until their retirement. Today, the fourth generation of the Garbutt/Hathaway family manages the Company. Charles’ son Steve is Senior Vice President of LAACO, Ltd. with the responsibility for all Club operations and is President of CYC and the Athletic Club. Frank’s son John is Senior Vice President of LAACO, Ltd. with responsibilities for its real estate operations. Frank’s daughter Karen is LAACO’s President and Managing Partner.
One of the great strengths provided by the parent corporation is professional management and financial stability. California Yacht Club members cannot be assessed, no matter the financial results of the Yacht Club’s operations. CYC operates with the philosophy that families and individuals join a yacht club to enjoy yachting and the many other activities associated with membership in a major club. Management takes care of the physical plant and handles the financial affairs. This long-time partnership of volunteer energy and professional management has served the Club and its members very well, indeed. Every member, contributing in his or her unique way, has added to the heritage of California Yacht Club. In turn, the Club has provided the members a wide range of experiences that have become an important part of their lives.
AN IDYLLIC WORLD: LIVING ABOARD ONE’S BOAT
Most boaters have fantasized about living aboard their vessels. Living aboard one’s own boat at California Yacht Club is a dream fulfilled by many Club members over the years. From two to three dozen members call their yachts their principal residences at any one time. Longtime liveaboard SEO Bunny Rippel reminisces, “Through the years, there have been many liveaboards in CYC’s anchorage, including Honorary Commodore Charles and Patty Hathaway. On an invitation for one of the habitual liveaboard parties, Patty labeled the indigenous water rats as ‘Love Aboards.’ Could this be because they Love to Live Aboard?
“We have learned to address some of the unique challenges of living aboard. While some fellow liveaboards’ vessels are palatial yachts with the square footage of a comfortable home, smaller boats cannot accommodate a washer and dryer. Most who live on their vessels must carry their clothes to a good laundry facility for washing, drying, fluff and fold. They then trundle the clothing back to store onboard where space is at a premium. Fortunately, the Club provides us a small laundry facility, making our lives a lot less complicated. Some women say they cannot live without a walk-in closet. My answer? A strategically placed rod or two turns the guest stateroom into that closet. A handy hint which has helped many of us, ‘When you buy a new shirt, throw an old one out.’
“We’re also fortunate at CYC with an ample supply of storage lockers to store excess belongings. It’s often hilarious when a liveaboard gal is spotted all dressed up for a special Club event. She’s the one scurrying up the ramp in a cocktail dress or formal gown, wearing bedroom slippers on her way to her storage locker to find her dancing shoes.
“Liveaboards always feel they’re on holiday. Reading the newspaper with your coffee in the cockpit or on deck in the mornings as the ducks swim by and the birds are singing is wonderful. It can take us a half hour getting to the parking lot because we stop to talk to our neighbors.
“Grocery shopping can also present a bit of a challenge. There’s not only the long walk along the Club docks to some boats, but the often-limited pantry space aboard. Yet, shoehorning food, clothing and shelter while living aboard pale next to the absolute pleasures of enjoying your boat as your home.
“We also enjoy blissful solitude living on our boats. Some classical music and maybe a cocktail before dinner every night . . . not just on the weekends. We treasure those wonderful liveaboard parties, such as our progressive dinners. Libations on one vessel, salad at another, main course at another (always on the largest boat) and dessert at still another. Sure better than most neighborhoods with which I’m familiar. We can always count on our bachelors bringing plenty of bread, rolls and condiments, and we all remember at one party when Florence (Henderson) and John Kappas provided beer, wine and sodas for all the stops via a portable bar cleverly disguised as a dock cart.
“It’s a great life. No lawn to mow. Acres of peaceful water as a no-maintenance back yard. CYC’s terrific maintenance crew keeps everything spick and span. Best of all are a wonderful dining room and master chef just steps away at the Clubhouse. While a huge plus is not feeling the earthquakes living on our boats, we thoroughly enjoy the gentle rocking at night, resulting in a refreshing sleep.”
The idyllic community of CYC liveaboards beckons many Club members to stay aboard their vessels on weekends and holidays, or to stay over on a Sunday night after returning from a weekend at Catalina. Boatside barbecues and happy hour are in full swing throughout the weekends. The Clubhouse dining room is also filled with those making their boats and the CYC grounds a comfortable weekend resort. After some of CYC’s memorable parties, the ranks of those enjoying the seaside life aboard swells a bit more. During July 4th fireworks shows and the annual Christmas Boat Parade, the population on California Yacht Club’s docks may number a thousand or more. Great fun and fabulous camaraderie.
But then, there’s always the quiet, soliloquy and smell of fresh coffee as the sun rises on Monday morning. Life on the docks now returns to the comfortable level of a small resort community for several days. At least until several hundred competitors arrive on Wednesday evening after a summer Sunset Series Regatta!
– – – – – –
GRAPHICS AND PICTURES – Source Noted First, then caption of Picture
BREEZE 11/68 – Women’s Auxiliary October Luncheon was hosted aboard Bill Downs’ 85’ yacht THUNDERBIRD. Host Bill, with Luncheon Chairs Mary Grau, left, and Dee Levi, sports his blue and white trunks of 1890’s vintage. (SEE PICTURES OF BILL DOWNS plus PICTURE OF LADIES ABOARD THUNDERBIRD)
BREEZE 1/69? – Owen Churchill donates a portfolio containing information, pics and description of Olympic games Yachting events. In Library.
BREEZE 6/70 – Copy, no picture – Whole meal “Special” for $2.95 on Sunday evenings: salad, entrée, potato, vegetable, roll and beverage
PHOTO FROM KAREN HATHAWAY – Karen Hathaway onboard SWIFT OF IPSWITCH: Future LAACO CEO Karen Hathaway sailing with a group of Indian Guides onboard SWIFT OF IPSWITCH, a volunteer-run topsail schooner. The ship is actively used for educational groups to this date.
Memo to Staff Commodore Cheryl Mahaffey
If it is helpful to you, I went into the CYC Bar and copied the names of the women on the boats for 1993 and 1995 One Design.
I’m awaiting the final input from you on Women’s Sailing. I hate to leave anyone out, but you are obviously much closer to the subject matter of Women’s Sailing, even if I had the time to research Women’s Sailing at CYC. Should someone be left out, only that person and a couple of others would even notice. Please advise.
Womens One Design 1993 Women’s One Design 1995
Gwen Abel Alice Leahey Gwen Abel Julia Olmstead
Marnie Buchanan Cheryl Mahaffey Alice Leahey Carol Patterson
Nadine Franczyk Kathy Patterson Stacie Straw Allyson McQuade
Gwen Gordon Laura Priest Susan Beckett Cheryl Mahaffey
Liz Hjorth Stacey Straw Kathey Ulrich Livia Tomiselli