While East Coasters are shoveling snow, Southern Californians are sailing in the middle of winter.
In 1928, Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA) and the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce conceptualized the first Midwinters and promoted the yachting “paradise” that Southern California offered in the winter.
Midwinters in Long Beach will run over two weekends — kicking off with Seal Beach Yacht Club hosting the PHRF racing Feb. 8 and 9. The following weekend, Feb. 16 and 17, Alamitos Bay Yacht Club will host the Lido sailing with Long Beach Yacht Club managing the Farr 40 and Schock 35 classes.
Ted Thompson, who along with John Rossbach and Felix Bassadre own the Schock 35 Whiplash, said, “Midwinters for us is the first ‘real' regatta of the year and after a break for the holidays we get a chance to dust off the cobwebs and get back on the water. LBYC puts on a great regatta and it’s great to catch up with our fellow Schock 35 and Farr 40 friends again.”
Southern California weather in February does not always live up to Chamber of Commerce expectations. SCYA history records claim that racing conditions have ranged from a near hurricane in 1935 to other years of dead calm; impenetrable fog or driving rain; but of course also many days sailed in glorious sunshine and warm breezes.
That’s exactly the weather they had in 1947 when Ed Witte beat out Humphrey Bogart in Santana for top honors.
From 1930 to 1960 an approximate total of 17,000 skippers and crew took part in the Midwinters. During the next 30 years, the total number of skipper and crew participants grew to an estimated 75,000 or more.
Over the last 10 years the regatta has consistently attracted about 600 boats with the attendant sailors and support personnel involved. There have been more than 25 host venues.
Competitors are encouraged to register and pay online at www.scyamidwinterregatta.org.
Every other year, US Sailing offers a multi-day Sailing Leadership forum with notable speakers. This year it will be from Feb. 6 to Feb. 8 in San Diego. Pre-registration is open until Jan. 31 for $425 – or available on site for $450.
Leaders from sail training and education, yacht club and sailing organization management, race officials, and industry professionals will meet and learn.
There is also a fair share of partying and social networking with a San Diego pub crawl one evening, a cocktail reception saluting the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, and the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year awards ceremony on board the USS Midway.
The forum will offer keynote speaker presentations and focused group sessions on a wide range of topics such as Growing the Sport, Developing Programs, Marketing & Communications, Administration & Management, Regattas & Racing, and Rules & Officials.
One of the keynote speakers is Doug DeVos, who co-chairs the Board of Directors of Amway, one of the world’s leading direct selling companies. A passionate sailor, DeVos has partnered with Hap Fauth, Roger Penske, and New York Yacht Club to compete for the America’s Cup in 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand.
If you missed out on the Sailing Leadership Forum in 2018, you might want to check out the website, where Power Point presentations are posted. It's www.sailingleadership.org.