Bright Hulls clustered on the shallow beaches, the gold light of a hazy sky dissolving in the silky waters, the slow roll of Pacific swells and shafts of light refracted in the shifting prisms of the deep sea—these are the images that Henry Koehler, a young New York artist and a cruising skipper himself, recorded when 365 sailboats gathered at San Diego last year for the Southern California Yachting Association Regatta. The spectacle portrayed by Koehler on the cover and on the following pages flourishes again next week as the 1960 regatta gets under way at Balboa.
This yearly race meeting of the SCYA is more than a regatta. It is a celebration of the serene and sparkling sailing climate of southern California, and it attracts both coastal and inland competitors. Last year boats from as far away as Texas and Michigan were brought in by trailer. The competitors launched their boats from the docks and beaches of the San Diego Yacht Club, the Southwestern Yacht Club and the Mission Bay Yacht Club, the three sponsors of the event. Whenever there was a long break in the three-day program the skippers spread their sails ashore to dry, as Koehler noted in the sketch below. While the smaller boats sailed in the protected waters of San Diego Bay and Mission Bay, bigger boats were catching the Pacific winds in Coronado Roads off Point Loma, the land in the background of the lower picture on the opposite page. These larger boats include the famous West Coast design, the PCC, shown in the painting on page 36, as well as sleek Honolulu racers like Kirawan, subject of the painting on page 38.
The splendid cruising in these waters has been the delight of sailors ever since the first of them, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, captain of a Spanish galleon, came up the coast from Mexico in 1542 and landed at San Diego. Sir Thomas Lipton, the famous America's Cup yachtsman, on a visit in 1904, gave the San Diego Yacht Club a silver challenge cup to show how highly he esteemed the yachting on this coast. The thousands who have sailed their craft here since are in complete agreement.
Dinghies pulled up on the beach (above) make a colorful pattern at the edge of Mission Bay. At left: young sailors and their tiny Sabots are caught in the hot glow of the afternoon sun
Regatta flags flying above the odd gray shapes of a wind gauge and a loudspeaker at the Mission Bay Yacht Club signal the opening day of the Pacific Coast and Southern California Yachting associations' race meet
The excitement of a regatta is captured in the pattern of sails as Pacific Cruising Club sloops charge past the committee boat before the start. Out at sea, sailors aboard "Santana" sprawl about the cockpit (right), intent on racing duties. Below: the sails of an ocean-going yawl reflect colors from the surface of the Pacific
At the end of the day's racing, "Kirawan" heads toward San Diego, her crew at ease, her big genoa barely filling in the breeze