“Fire in the hole!” With that traditional warning holler, accompanied by an ear-deafening cannon burst, cannoneer Besim Bilman proclaimed the start of the annual Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs two-day Marina del Rey yacht clubs’ Openings Days celebration. The festivities began at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 15th, at Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club and came to a conclusion with the firing of Del Rey Yacht Club’s cannon across the harbor at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 16th. In between, came ceremonies for California Yacht Club, Marina Venice Yacht Club, South Bay Yacht Racing Club, South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club and Pacific Mariners Yacht Club. The guest list itself was a major project. Each club had copies of the 15 page list to make sure all the dignitaries arriving from national, county and city agencies, plus the bridge officers from the Southern California Yachting Association — over 93 clubs strong, representing the five southern California harbors from Santa Barbara to San Diego — were checked in to be properly recognized. Woe to the tardy whose names weren’t highlighted. Because everyone, and I mean everyone, was announced — at almost all club ceremonies. Sighted were Harbormaster Lt. Rod Kusch with his two boys Ryan and Taylor and Sgt. Mike Carriles, assistant harbormaster. What was this really all about? We could string together all the commodore and officer speeches to answer...Read More
When the first cannon was heard in Marina del Rey at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, the County Fire Department, County Sheriff’s Department and County Lifeguards were ready. Instead of rushing to arms, officers joined Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club commodores and guests, who applauded and cheered as the Stars and Stripes, officer flags and yacht club burgees hit the top of the mast. The first club was now formally commissioned and the spring boating season was open. The annual Opening Days celebrations for seven members of the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs (ASMBYC) took over the Marina this past weekend. Marina del Rey yacht clubs hosted a huge guest list that included local and county dignitaries, club bridge officers invited from the 94 Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA) member clubs and associations from Santa Barbara to San Diego — plus their own members. After Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club came ceremonies at California Yacht Club, Marina Venice Yacht Club, South Bay Yacht Racing Club, South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club, Pacific Mariner Yacht Club and Del Rey Yacht Club. TRADITION, RITUAL AND DRESS — The tradition of opening day ceremonies harks back to yacht clubs in more frozen parts of the world, where thawing out people, clubs and boats for spring was definitely cause for celebration. Though Southern California clubs never close, and we...Read More
This may be the year. Racing J/24s in choppy seas on Santa Monica Bay, skipper Susan Taylor led her team of Barbara Vantighem, Kellie Fennessy and Michelle Parker Andray to first place in the yearly Area J Women’s Championship, the second-to-last rung in the quest for the Adams Cup — given to the best U.S. women’s team. Their winning score of 1-1-3 cinched this ladder event Saturday, August 5th, and advances the team to the U.S. Women’s Sailing Championships Wednesday through Sunday, September 13th to 17th, at the Edgewater Yacht Club in Cleveland, Ohio. The big award is the Mrs. Charles Francis Adams Cup, and competition is thus known as racing for “The Adams.” US Sailing divides the U.S. into 11 geographical areas. One winner from each area competes in the finals. Area J includes Arizona, Nevada and Southern California from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. This is the second time Taylor, representing California Yacht Club, has taken a team to the national finals and the third time competing in the Area J event. After winning the semifinals, also in J/24s, at Dana Point Yacht Club in 2002, the team finished sixth at the nationals held in San Francisco. In the 2003, semifinals, Taylor’s team was second, racing in 17-foot Thistles. Here on the bay in this year’s Area J Adams, another California Yacht Club team finished second,...Read More
A large influx of guests, local city and county dignitaries and club officers invited from the 90 Southern California Yachting Association clubs and associations from Santa Barbara to San Diego descended upon Marina del Rey harbor Saturday and Sunday, March 18th and 19th, for the annual Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs (ASMBYC) Opening Day ceremonies. This is our major spring harbor event. The first discharge of cannon was heard at 9 a.m. Saturday from Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club at Burton Chace Park. Cannonry was heard regularly throughout the two days from cannons situated around the harbor at California Yacht Club, Marina Venice Yacht Club, South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club, Pacific Mariners Yacht Club and from Del Rey Yacht Club the last volley at 3 p.m. Sunday, loudly signaled each club’s commissioning. If the individual cannon explosions didn’t cause attention, the sundown salute Saturday at 6:03 p.m. of all six cannons certainly did. The person responsible, Jack Monroe, a PMYC and DRYC member, and ten-year veteran of cannoneering, coordinated the countdown over marine band radio. Diane Adler, CYC, was and is the only female cannoneer. This symbolic gesture meant the clubs were open for the season’s yachting activities. Symbolic, because Southern California clubs never close. Opening Day commissioning was originally an East Coast tradition for reopening no longer snow- and ice-bound clubs in the spring and putting...Read More
Three Del Rey Yacht Club members received national and statewide honors at two separate Southland yachting installation and award ceremonies Friday and Saturday, January 6th and 7th. The Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs presented US Sailing’s esteemed Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to Jack Mayer Friday night at California Yacht Club (CYC). CYC staff commodore and US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee member Dick Hampikian gave Mayer the ribboned gold medal for his and his crew’s immediate response and excellent seamanship in rescuing three sailors from chaotic seas when their boat sank last April in the first Wednesday night race of the Sunset Series. Rescued skipper Jerome Sammarcelli said after the incident: “It was a very difficult rescue due to the waves breaking from everywhere. “Jack and his crew have shown great skills to take us all out of the water.” Mayer, himself, doesn’t think he did “anything anyone wouldn’t have done,” and doesn’t see his actions as particularly heroic. This was not the first rescue for Mayer and Y-Wait. In 2004, Mayer and his crew rescued a woman who went overboard during another Wednesday night race. A few minutes later in the program, Mayer also received the ASMBYC Sportsman of the Year Award, for which he had been nominated by three yacht clubs. Mayer said he hoped to be back again to receive an award by...Read More
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