SoCal Classics – Zephyrus III

In this feature, The Log looks at notable boats — sail and power — that continue to turn heads in Southern California harbors.

Boat: Zephyrus III

Year Built: 1960

Length: 40 ft.

Draft: 5 ft., 6 in.

Beam: 10 ft., 4 in.

The Back Story: Zephyrus III is a keel sloop designed by Paul Kettenburg. The K-40 vessel was built in San Diego and currently owned by Alan M. Peterson Jr. and Tim Britt. Peterson purchased Zephyrus III in 1997 and started a complete refit of the K-40. In 2014 he brought Britt aboard as a partner. The duo completed the refitting and relived Zephyrus III’s racing past by taking her on the Newport-to-Ensenada circuit. Peterson and Britt hope to race her more often. (2) ZephyrusLAYCOpeningDay020605

What’s in a Name: Carl Amussen was the original owner of Zephyrus III. His previous two boats, including an L-36, were also called Zephyrus, named after the Greek god of the West Wind.

What’s Inside: The keel sloop is equipped with a New Yanmar 3GM 27 horsepower engine and an aluminum fuel tank. Other updated elements of the sloop include a complete interior finish and varnish, mahogany floor, updated electrical, new Raymarine electronics, and freshly installed galley counter and head.

Blast from the Past: Robert McNeil was Zephyrus III’s second owner and raced her regularly, including the Transpac and Los Angeles to Mazatlan races in 1965. Zephyrus III placed second out of 15 in the 1965 Transpac and fourth out of 12 in the L.A. to Mazatlan race.

In 1966 McNeil wrote how he and his sons prepared for the 1966 L.A. to Mazatlan race, calling her “Big Red Z III.”

He explained most of the work on the K-40 was done in advance of the 1965 race. The most interesting anecdote detailed how a decision about having food aboard the K-40 during the 1,000-nautical-mile race.

“We decided, because no one wanted to cook, and we did not want to take the extra weight of a cook and his supplies, we each would cook one day,” McNeil wrote in a leaflet prepared

Tim Britt and Alan Peterson Jr.
Tim Britt and Alan Peterson Jr.

specifically for the race.

“Our wives prepared packaged and frozen complete menus for each day,” he continued. “The idea was great, and it worked pretty well, except when the cook of the day stole from someone else’s supplies because they looked tastier. This made some confusion after the third day but we all ate well. We are all good cooks.”

Home Base: Zephyrus III belongs to the Wooden Hull Yacht Club.

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