The 2017 Midwinter Around Catalina Island Race is on deck

Nonstop race around Catalina is scheduled for Feb. 4 and 5.

SAN PEDRO ― The Los Angeles Yacht Club hosts the 2017 Midwinter Around Catalina Island Race. This two-day regatta begins on Feb. 4 in San Pedro.

Participants start near Angel’s Gate, racing to Catalina Island west end to port, then to Catalina Island east end to port and finish near Angel’s Gate. The participants sail around the entire island. The complete course is 70.5 nautical miles, and the race is nonstop (unless a boat sinks).

The last time a boat sank was in 1969, back when the race was called the Whitney/Times/Bogart Series.

“A Coast Guard helicopter delivered a crew of five sailors to the Isthmus, after rescuing them from their Trimaran, which capsized and later sank on the back side of the island,” according to Damon Guizot, who was studying at USC’s Santa Catalina Marine Biological Laboratory at the time. The crew from the sinking Trimaran stayed overnight at the Isthmus and took the ferry back to the mainland the following day.

“The existing elapsed time record for a fixed ballast monohull was set in 2014 by Margaritaville, an Andrews 52. The circumnavigation took 8:18:01,” Guizot, who skippered and chartered the boat that year, stated.

In 2015, a Wyoming sailing crew took a different approach than the other boats by sailing up the coast before proceeding to Catalina, where they stalled with no wind. They completed the race feeling defeated and returning their boat to Marina del Rey without stopping at the Los Angeles Yacht Club, only to find out they had actually won Division A of the race 2.5 hours ahead of the other boats.

Last year, Robert Lane’s Andrews 63 named Medicine Man, won PHRF Overall as well as the coveted Mayor Norris Poulson Trophy. Damon Guizot’s Zephyrus, a Reichel Pugh 77, elapsed time was 9:39:29 for the fixed ballast monohull. Zephyrus‘ crew looks to better that performance in February. Both are planning to race again this year.

As of Jan. 6, there are two other boats registered to compete in the PHRF division. Participating yachts must have a current Southern California PHRF handicap.

For the Cruising Class, one boat is registered as of Jan. 6. To qualify for the Cruising Class, the yacht must have a valid PHRF rating and a completed Cruising Class Rating Worksheet. A minimum of four entries is required to have a Cruising Class in this race.

Registration must be completed by 6 p.m. on Feb. 2. The fee to enter the race is $80 and must include a current PHRF certificate.

For more information and all the rules on the race, go to LAYC.org.

(LAYC R/C photo)

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