College keelboat competition coming to California

Published on February 19th, 2015

Ten of the best collegiate keelboat sailing teams from across the country will descend on Los Angeles Yacht Club March 13-15 to test their sailing prowess as they battle it out for the prestigious Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup Trophy.

Hosted by California Maritime Academy as their annual Invitational Intercollegiate Regatta, it is raced aboard a fleet of evenly matched Catalina 37 foot sailboats maintained by Long Beach Sailing Foundation.

The perpetual trophy was deeded to Los Angeles Yacht Club by the Port of Los Angeles in 2008, to encourage, “…young men and women to enjoy the benefits of competitive sailing.”

This 8th annual Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup will be raced outside of the breakwater, just past the iconic Angel’s Gate Lighthouse. The windward mark is usually set near beautiful Point Fermin west of the harbor entrance. College sailing events are usually run aboard small dinghies in protected waters. What sets this regatta apart is the open ocean conditions and larger keel boats, which provide a new and exciting challenges for these young sailors.

Cal Maritime skipper Christopher Vilicich is excited to defend their four-year winning streak. “Harbor Cup has always been the most important regatta to me because it is in my home waters and there is always a great deal of pressure to do well,” Vilicich said. “Hopefully, with sufficient practice and smart sailing, we will be fortunate enough to bring the trophy home yet again.”

The fleet of Catalina 37s will be docked on the front row slips at Los Angeles Yacht Club in the Cabrillo Marina, which is a perfect viewing area to watch daily preparation before the races. A spectator boat will be on the water both Saturday and Sunday, but spectators must call the club to reserve a spot. For those who prefer solid ground, there is also great viewing from the overlook at the south end of Pacific Street in San Pedro. Bring your binoculars.

This year there are two extremely accomplished Harbor Cup keynote dinner speakers: world class sailor, journalist and commentator Gary Jobson, and professional sailor Dawn Riley.

Jobson is the Editor at Large for both Sailing World and Cruising World magazines, and has authored 19 books on sailing. Riley is a highly talented professional sailor, and the first woman ever to manage an America’s Cup syndicate. She is also the first American, to race on four America’s Cup teams and two Whitbread Round the World races.

Riley, Executive Director of Oakcliff Sailing, finds it gratifying to speak with young sailors. “I’m looking forward to talking to a new crop of young, talented athletes from across the country,” Riley said. “Some of these sailors will come to Oakcliff but all represent, in one way or another, the future of our sport and our country.”

The hosts, organizers, and participating teams look forward to seeing a great public turnout for the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup.

Source: Jeremy Leonard, Sail Revolution

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