SBYRC- Origins and Traditions

Until Marina del Rey and King Harbor were completed in the early 1960‘s there was little moorage available for sailboatsso there was little racing.  Back then the  Santa Monica Yacht Harbor was behind the now demolished breakwater off the Santa Monica Pier.  South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club was represented there as was one of the original ‘Snipe’ one-design fleets (they launched from their trailers on the pier with the hoist used to off load commercial fishing boats.)  When the two marinas opened, yacht clubs began to form and the foundations of a vital boating area were laid.

Click on the Year Book of 1968 picture to view it:

Yacht racing requires lots of support: from the buoys anchored in the water, to the Race Committee boat that signals the races’ starts and records the racer’s finish times, to the yacht club that organizes the race and hosts the festivities after, and to the group empowered to create handicap rating systems – yacht racing requires many supporting institutions.
The first Santa Monica Bay yacht clubs had to raise funds to construct their clubhouses, so joining a yacht club required a substantial financial commitment, and there was even a waiting list to get in line to pay those thousands of dollars.  This expensive ‘buy-in’ was an especially big obstacle to the less permanent sailors in the local military and aerospace industries who would not be around to enjoy their yacht club investments for years to come.
That was the environment that led founding Commodore Mitch Dazey and a few other King Harbor sailors to start the South Bay Yacht Racing Club in 1964.   Within a decade the Club moved to Marina del Rey and has supported area racing ever since.
I joined SBYRC in the mid-70’s when I moved into the area with a Ranger 26’ sailboat and a recent infection of the racing bug.  My application to join my friends’ “landed” club was stuck on a waiting list, and club membership was a requirement to enter races – a reasonable rule to make sure each racer paid his share to the various organizations that supported the racing.
There followed more than a decade of rapid expansion and interest in racing sailboats, and SBYRC thrived on the influx

'C', 'D' and 'E' Basins 1964 - the year SBYRC became official

‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘E’ Basins 1964 – the year SBYRC became official

of new racers, many of whom joined just to do their first Newport to Ensenada Race.  Membership roles hovered near 300 with 50 or 60 new members joining each year to replace those who dropped out.  At after race trophy presentations SBYRC racers always occupied many of the top positions.

As explained earlier, yacht clubs’ organization and funding are requisites for racing, and SBYRC proudly provided its fair share – easily done with a large membership base and no clubhouse overhead.  With an ample treasury, the club’s officers formalized the policy of working to give back to the yacht club community something to replace the clubhouse hospitality they could not offer.
SBYRC’s choice has turned into its proud tradition of Outreach, Education, and Innovation for our Santa Monica Bay

Starting PHRF Mid 1980's

Starting PHRF Mid 1980’s

yacht racers.

The 1980’s saw the formation of the Women’s Sailing Association under organizational and financial support from SBYRC.  Innovative events like the “Matchless Match Racing Regatta”, the “Rules Faire”, and training programs for race management were ever present, with many new ideas created, proving that this little club pulled it’s weight and more.
The tradition of innovative and generous contributions to Santa Monica Bay racing is clearly seen in the current “Introduction to Yacht Racing” outreach and education program where interested ‘outsiders’ are hosted for a full day’s program presented by the active racers of today. (Read more about the IYR program.)  SBYRC lends their race management expertise to such events as the Home Port Regatta and the Mentor Program where many new skippers are welcomed and trained to become vital members of our racing fleets.
Most sailors who join SBYRC do so because they plan to race where fully sanctioned yacht club membership is required.  Many remain in the club for decades after they join another “landed” yacht club because they enjoy the fellowship and good works of the South Bay Yacht Racing Club.
Tim Tunks– Tim Tunks
   Staff Commodore