Fierce, yet friendly, competition: SoCal's yacht racing cups and regattas make for a lively scene both out on the water and on dry land.
By Annabelle Frankl
California Yacht Club
Marina del Rey
Sunset Series Wed. nights, April 11 – September 5, 2012; King of Spain Regatta July 21-22, 2012; Pacific Cup Deepwater Series Weekends; August 19 – October 7, 2012
Los Angeles Yacht Club
Whitney Times Bogart Series Around Santa Barbara Island – April 14, 2012
Santa Barbara Yacht Club
Wet Wednesdays March 14 – October 17, 2012
Spend any time gazing out at the Pacific along the SoCal coast from Ventura to San Diego and you'll no doubt spot a flotilla of white sails off in the distance. Thirty-one different yacht clubs, some dating back to the the late 1800s, line the coast and come under the purview of The Yacht Racing Union of Southern California, an organization with some 26,000 members, many of whom take their racing seriously.
A host of different series, regattas, and challenge cups keep skippers and their crew busy jibing and jostling for position in year-round events, both on weekdays and weekends. PHRF (Performance Handicapped Racing Fleet) events even the playing field and ensure competitors are using sailing prowess and skill to win, rather than superior equipment.
The popular Sunset Series hosted by Marina del Rey's California Yacht Club sees about 75 boats compete in eight classes. Their prestigious King of Spain regatta sees fleets racing in the International Star Class, a 22', One Design, racing keel yacht that counts over 2,200 fleets of members racing in some 38 countries.
The Los Angeles Yacht Club hosts the Whitney Times Bogart Series in which competitors navigate around islands like Catalina and Santa Barbara, battling for trophies that include one donated by Humphrey Bogart back in 1950. Up the coast, the Santa Barbara Yacht Club and its "Wet Wednesdays" attract some seven fleets and 60 boats in PHRF, One Design, and handicapped races.
And, of course, while the fleets valiantly battle it out at sea, a lively scene is in full swing back on shore at the yacht club, cheering on the racing and welcoming home the weary and the winning once the final horn is blown.