Laura Elsworth

Commodore Laura Elsworth pauses for a photo Saturday at Seal Beach Yacht Club's Opening Day.

Seal Beach Yacht Club celebrated both opening day and the club’s 60th anniversary last Saturday. To keep the numbers in check, it was a members' only event. They were very creative in hosting an event in the current environment, with some of the fare provided by a food truck.

The club was formed in early 1961 by Naval Architect Daniel M. Callis and eight other businessmen. Callis served as the club’s first commodore. The guest speaker was Callis’s grandson, Daniel Callis who presented a well-researched story of the area’s nautical history.

If you read this column often, you might have noticed I consider Gangway (GW) 5 in Alamitos Bay Marina as the Kevin Bacon of Southern California boating. Bacon's Law is a game based on the "six degrees of separation" concept, and I get a kick out of linking everything back to the GW of my childhood.

So, of course, I must share with you GW 5’s connection to the club’s history. Seal Beach YC Commodore in 1965 was Ron Hazlehurst, who was a live-aboard on GW 5. His boat was a Taiwanese ketch with beautiful woodwork; I believe it was built by Ta Chiao. During his commodore year, the club was granted Associate Membership in the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA), the junior program was established and the club’s first annual Commodore’s Ball was held.

Kudos to Commodore Laura Elsworth and the opening day committee, the clubhouse and grounds were ship shape and in Bristol fashion. To make the day more festive, she encouraged the women to wear tiaras and diamonds in addition to their navy blue yachting blazers. Commodore Elsworth wore a captain’s hat, tiara diamonds, AND pink slippers — “just because I need to be me.”

Boats And Tenders

In the days before GW 5, there was a fellow in basin two and they called him Tat — I don’t know if it was short for something or one of those things like Trey — being the third. I think he was a lawyer and he had a big power boat named “Quid Pro Quo,” a common phase, translated as "something for something," almost an implied contract. The boat had davits from its stern and a cute soft pink dinghy with the name “Tit for Tat.”

The pairing of names between yachts and tenders is often entertaining and there are plenty of good stories.

At a time of falling exchange rates, this story was going around about the name of a junk in Hong Kong in the mid-1970s that was owned by a United States bank. The boat "The Floating Dollar” and its tender was aptly named "The Sinking Pound."

Long Beach YC’s Larry and Candice Stacy’s boat is named “Dilston” — as in the haunted castle in England. Their Boston Whaler is named “Headless” — something only students of British history would appreciate.

Bob Lane’s Andrews 64, Medicine Man, is often greeted after a Catalina race by T/T (Tender To) Medicine Man — an Ocean Alexander 50-footer.

Not long ago, Spinnaker Bay resident Debi Lorbeer owned a Rolls Royce she drove for special events and a Smart car she used for errands — with the personalized plate “TT RR.”

One boater had a trolley to carry his dinghy down the beach. It was marked up T.T.T.T. "yacht name."

Other clever pairings include: Summer Love — Spring Fling, Wind Wine & Song — The Cork Screw, Solution — Addition, Yellow Bird — 'Lill birdy', Pearl — Minnie Pearl, Romeo — Romeover, Escape Key — Return Key, Jigsaw — Missing Piece and Shockwave — Microwave.

If you know of any “On the Water” news or sea stories, please send me an email,

 "Whim", tender to "Capricious"!

Also, "Fancy", inflatable canoe carried by Capricious!

We called our boat "Santana" mainly as a reference to Humphrey Bogart's beautiful S&S - I'm a fan of his and of Lauren Bacall, and we have a picture up in our saloon of them at the helm of their boat.

Hasn't stopped me from naming our tender "Abraxus" and the inflatable "Carlos" though.

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