At the recently held Southern California Yachting Association awards dinner, honors were bestowed upon exemplary yacht clubs for their participation in the betterment of the boating world and benevolent work within their respective communities.

Yacht clubs from San Luis Obispo down to San Diego were considered in a number of different categories, based on a club’s population, size, etc., to vie for club of the year.

This year Del Rey Yacht Club, Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club and Fairwind Yacht Club all won in their categories.

“Out of 95 yacht clubs in the Southern California Yachting Association, the three clubs winning top honors are here in Marina del Rey,” said a grinning David Lumian, who is commodore of two of the three clubs that won.

“Clearly Marina del Rey not only has the best sailors, but also the best clubs.”

For years, Lumian has been commodore of Fairwind Yacht Club, which was awarded Associate Club of the Year for 2006.

Through his efforts, the club has grown to near max capacity and has been accepted as a fully vested and recognized Southern California Yacht Club.

The club sponsors one of the largest multihull regattas in the nation and the club has created a very successful youth summer program in association with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Venice Boys & Girls Club.

“For Fairwind, this represents a wonderful confirmation,” said Lumian. “Despite offering affordable access to sailingÝfor over 40 years,ÝFairwind was always the best kept secret in the Marina. Only a few years ago people would say, ‘I have been here forever and I never heard of Fairwind!’

“Being named Club of the Year validates the strength of our membership and program.”

After investing many years into the growth and success of Fairwind, Lumian is now focusing attention and energy towards the Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club, where he is the 2007 commodore.

The club has won the Regular Club of the Year award six of the last seven years, the last being under the stewardship of commodore Harlan Holmes.

“Obviously I’m especially proud of SMWYC, because 2006 was my watch, but it was the members and their activities that won the trophy,” Holmes said.

The Santa Monica Windjammers have been very active in raising funds for the City of Hope charity that aids in cancer research, and they also run the Muddy Feet series for junior sailors and host a number of other races throughout the year.

The purpose behind the Southern California Yachting Association’s awards is to encourage and inspire local yacht clubs to be positive components within the larger community and also to propagate the values of the Corinthian spirit.

“You get points for sponsoring community services, junior programs, conducting racing seminars, regattas and also how you cooperate with surrounding yacht clubs,” said Thom Page, Club of the Year director for the Southern California Yachting Association, “so the more that you do in terms of these types of things the more points you accumulate.”

In the Senior Class, where there are more members, bigger budgets and larger events to negotiate — the competition is stiff.

For the first time in its history, Del Rey Yacht Club won in this class against some of the largest and most reputable yacht clubs in all of California.

Through the strength of its youth program, run by Virginia Howard, the stature of the Berger/Stein Series, the Puerto Vallarta International Yacht Race and its Junior Shipmates program that blends able bodied and disabled children, teaching them through boating-related activities, DRYC came home with the big prize.

“It’s given us a real feeling of accomplishment,” said DRYC staff commodore Pete Patman, who was involved along with fleet captain Sherry Barone in the submittal process. “We’re a well-rounded club and we’re just tickled to have won this thing.”