On June 12 and 13, the Del Rey Yacht Club resumed their annual Marina del Rey to Cat Harbor and Return races. Courtesy of Andy Kopetzky

Highlights from the Cat Harbor Layover and Eagle Rock to MDR Race

By Andy Kopetzky

Del Rey Yacht Club resumed their annual Marina Del Rey to Cat Harbor and Return races on June 12 and 13 after the 2020 cancellation.

Winds inside the marina peaked at about 10 to 12 knots at 10 a.m. on Saturday; by the 11 o’clock start, most winds had diminished to about five knots and died further on the backside of the island. The light air stuck around and caused traffic jams at Sunday’s Eagle Rock start just south of the island’s west end.

The Saturday race featured an exciting photo finish and bald eagle sightings. The shore ‘taxi’ RIB carrying hospitality personnel zoomed by the anchored committee boat to ‘feed the eagles’. They proceeded to drop off some fish and a pair of the birds scooped them up. It was an incredible sight and raises hope that the eagles are making a comeback.
Around 5 p.m., Phillip Friedman’s 86-foot Sapphire Knight languished outside the harbor entrance and was overtaken by a smaller and much lighter J-125, Daniel Murphy’s Javelin. The latter got line honors and took the overall win in PHRF AA.

6 p.m. brought some thrills as three ‘B’ boats finished within 27 seconds in a downhill drag race loaded with gybes, some perilously near the shore. Jack Mayer and Zephyr won the drag race but Jamie Myer’s Wolfhound won on corrected time.

Fortunately the winds picked up slightly afterward and all PHRF boats finished by 8:05 p.m. As in prior Cat events, the Cruising boats finished off the West End and took their own times. All boats finished.

Saturday night’s crescent moon found the post-race party at the club’s Cat Harbor facility in full post-pandemic swing with Kim, the ‘hostess with the mostest’ pouring margaritas, beer and other assorted libations. The hospitality and race committee suited up in tropical-themed dress with aloha shirts, some folks appeared in grass skirts and coconut bras. Attendees enjoyed various BBQ selections and the festivities continued on into the wee hours.

Sunday’s fog began to lift about 11 a.m., an hour before the Eagle Rock race. The doldrums carried on from Saturday and the starts resembled rush hour on the freeway complete with wrong way drivers.

In their zeal to keep up momentum, there were several boats over early; returning to the pre-start side of the line proved to be nightmarish as the winds were minimal, the line was crowded and the big 53-foot committee boat served as a wind blocker and missed being hit by sheer inches.

By the time they reached the Catalina eddy, most competitors were moving smartly. One intrepid crewmember in Cruising Class stated that they nearly became overpowered by the sailing rhum-line with the asymmetrical chute up.

At Marina del Rey, the racers encountered a ‘zoo’: every boat, dinghy, kayak, paddleboard and all other manner of marine hull was out in sunny 12 to 15 knot conditions. People were out celebrating the end of the pandemic.

View the race results at dryc.org