One of the longest continuous running Regattas in Southern California, the “Around Catalina” race held over the Memorial Day weekend is co-sponsored by the partnership of Cabrillo Beach and Dana Point Yacht Club. This yacht club racing partnership that survived for over 29 years is a treasure.
This race began when the Commodore Frank Dair of Cabrillo Beach and Commodore Barbara McCarthy of Dana Point Yacht clubs met and brainstormed the idea of a “Historic Mariners Race” (Richard Henry Dana and Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo) with both clubs participating. CBYC Rear Commodore Dave Shutte along with DPYC Rear Commodore Steve Franta pursued this plan.The first “Historic Mariners Race” was held over the Memorial Day Weekend in May 1981 and the inaugural year winner was Victoria, E.D. Callender, LAYC.It was a successful beginning with over 60 boats participating.After a few years the name was changed to the “Around Catalina Race” to preclude the impression that it was an “old classic boat” race.
This race continues to be a perennial favorite averaging over 50 entries each year. For the dedicated racer, it is a challenging 75-mile race. The weather can be unpredictable at the end of May but racers keep coming back to try it again. Boats from 23 foot length to maxi yachts such as Roy Disney’s Pyewacket, Merlin, & Medicine Man, have enjoyed this “Around Catalina.” challenge.
In 1999 a new elapsed time record of 8 hours, 58 minutes, 39 seconds was set for the 75 mile race by Roy E. Disney's boat, Pyewacket. The 25th Anniversary Race in 2005 was won by Whiplash, DPYC and all prior year's winners were recognized at the trophy presentations. 2006 proved to be a fantastic wind year for the "Around Catalina" Race. Three boats, Taxi Dancer, Ragtime and White Knight, broke the 1999 record with Taxi Dancer being the First to Finish. Taxi shaved over 1 1/2 hours off the record, setting the new elapsed time record at 7 hours, 26 minutes, 53 seconds. (See prior winners list)
PHRF, Double handed and Cruiser take-home Trophies plus Perpetual Trophies for First to Finish & First Overall in the PHRF Fleet, First Catalina Yacht in the PHRF Fleet & Cruiser Fleets, and First J Boat in PHRF Fleet, and First to Finish & First Overall Cruising Fleet that will stay at the winners club await finishers at the Trophy Presentation Dinner at DPYC Sunday evening.
Increasing demand for “Cruiser Fleet” racing has brought additions to the “Around Catalina” 75-mile format with a cruiser course. This 34-mile course direct to Dana Point does not require a night sail around Catalina Island. Cruisers can race without spinnaker, with a three blade non-folding prop, a small jib, and roller furling. The cruisers can trophy in this Division because all of these will be considered in their handicap time allowance.