SoCal Classics: Astra

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

Boat: Astra

Year Built: 1948

Length: 40 ft., 6 in.

Draft: 5 ft., 10 in.

Beam: 10 ft., 6 in.

The Back Story: Astra, a 40-foot auxiliary cutter built by Owens Yacht Co., has been in Bob White’s family since Dwight D. Eisenhower was president. White’s father purchased the Yanmar vessel in 1952 and was initially raced in a local regatta.

“My dad acquired Astra in 1952 from a dentist who lived in Pasadena. Dad raced her locally in Balboa Yacht Club regattas on which my family and I crewed,” White said. “Over the years our special memories are trips to Howland’s Landing at Catalina Island. We enjoyed our family outings, which have now covered four generations of the White family clan.”

What’s Inside: Astra is equipped with a Yanmar 3YM 30S diesel engine, television, ship to shore radio and hand held GPS.

“After 1987, when my dad passed away, I acquired Astra. In the early 1990s I had extensive work done – replaced the engine, mast step, cracked & sister ribs, stays, roller furling jib, water tank, installed a two burner propane stove/oven and replaced the toilet (head),” White said. 

“She has been a wonderful yacht for these many years and hopefully many more to come,” White said.

Blast from the Past: Norman G. Owens, the director of engineering for Owens Yacht Co., explained the ambition behind building an auxiliary cutter.

“We’ve had in mind a boat that would be fast under sail, of quality materials and construction throughout, and with plenty of room to give real cruising comfort,” Owens wrote in an advertorial letter when Astra and her ilk were built. “It’s the boat I want. I find myself following the inevitable trend to a ‘cruising’ boat. And even though I want the maximum in roominess and comfort I still want her to be fast.”

Home Base: Astra is docked at Cabrillo Marina in San Pedro.

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