Recognized the world around for developing great racers and holding great races, and the home club to generations of boating families, Alamitos Bay Yacht Club has grown from modest beginnings on a tidal estuary in the early days of the Twentieth Century to become a leading West Coast yacht club in the Twenty-First Century.
The roots of ABYC lie where the club itself still stands: on Alamitos Bay. Loosely organized handicap sailboat racing occurred on the Bay in the years after World War I, but more formalized organization was desired. On August 14, 1924, twelve local sailors and boat builders-Â¬Ralph Blair; Sidney T. Exley, Jr.; S.W. Holmers; Walter B. Ingram; George H. Newman, Jr.; J.F. O'Neill; Clarence M. Pasel; Phil Swaffield; C.V. Wade; T.S. Waller; J.A. Whitney and Ernest Woodman--met on the upper deck of the two-story pier that stood on Alamitos Bay at the end of on Pier Avenue (now 62nd Place) and founded what became Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. It was nearly two years later, on May 30, 1926, that ABYC was formally organized with Richard L. Russell, Sr., elected the first Commodore. ABYC was incorporated within the laws of the State of California on January 28, 1928.
In these early years ABYC had many homes, some of which were lost. For the first two years of operation, the pioneer members met either at S.W. Holmers' loft, located on Alamitos Bay near Pier Avenue, or at the Rialto Hotel on the corner of Pier Avenue and Bay Shore Walk. A clubhouse was built in 1928 by members on a leased lot at the corner of 64th Place and Bay Shore Walk; however, the financial hardships of the Great Depression made it impossible to maintain the lease and the building was sold and moved away. Meetings were held in members' homes until 1937, when an old barge was converted into a floating clubhouse. Originally anchored in the western end of Alamitos Bay, it was moved east to a spot off 70th Place in 1938; however, it was so badly damaged when the remnants of a hurricane struck Long Beach in September of 1939 that it had to be abandoned. Once again, ABYC meetings were held in members' homes until 1942, when virtually all activity ceased in the wake of the start of World War II.
In those days racing was held exclusively on the Bay: a bridge connecting Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach with Ocean Avenue in Seal Beach blocked egress from Alamitos Bay for rigged sailboats. Courses paralleled the beach, reaching starts and finishes were the norm and the racers threaded their way among anchored yachts and the speedboats that plied the Bay. One-design racing began on Alamitos Bay with the introduction of the Patricia Skimmer, a sloop-rigged scow with a retractable centerboard that was well suited for the Bay's shallow waters. When there were clubhouses, races were organized and run from them; when there wasn't a clubhouse, members simply gathered on the beach and races were run from there. Among the ABYC events that date from this time are the regattas of the Holiday Series, events held in conjunction with Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving; in those days they were three-day events and included racing on the holiday as well as both days of the adjacent holiday weekend.
World War II shut down most yachting activities in Southern California, and ABYC was dormant during the war years; in 1945, however, members held a meeting on the beach to restart club activities. By 1948, so much interest had rekindled that a clubhouse was needed. A building was found in the Port of Long Beach and a lease for land in the western end of Alamitos Bay was negotiated with the City of Long Beach. The building was moved to the site and a loft, two dressing rooms and a rudimentary galley were added to the interior while a large outside deck was built around it and a pier extended into Alamitos Bay--all on pilings driven into the sand by hand by ABYC members, not professionals. The facility still stands, operated by the City of Long Beach as the Leeway Sailing Center.
Racing exploded on Alamitos Bay in the postwar years. Skimmers were joined on the bay by such classes as National One-Design, Penguin, Snipe, Thistle and the Naples Sabot, which had been developed on Alamitos Bay during the War. The use of plastic reinforced with spun glass filaments--fiberglass--in small-boat building led to the appearance of such new boats as the Lido 14 and fiberglass versions of Snipes and Penguins. Additionally, the removal of the bridge at the end of the Peninsula in 1955 allowed entrance to and exit from Alamitos Bay for sailboats; members began racing and cruising larger sailboats, including Dragons, and ABYC began hosting larger sailboats at its regattas. ABYC's popular Holiday Series made ABYC a favored destination for Southern California racers; the 1957 Turkey Day Regatta hosted 190 boats in 18 classes, including six classes in the Long Beach Outer Harbor off the Peninsula.
It was also during this period that ABYC gained both national and international recognition. National or North American championships in a dozen different classes were hosted by ABYC over the next few years. The club organized and staged its first Olympic Classes Regatta in 1961, the first such event of its kind anywhere in the country that became the preeminent Olympic regatta for the next 20 years. In 1963 ABYC hosted the North American Yacht Racing Union (NAYRU) National Singlehanded Sailing Championship for the George O'Day Trophy, the first NAYRU championship ever hosted by the club.
The combined growth of boating in Southern California, activities of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club and other yacht clubs and the development of the Alamitos Bay Marina by the City of Long Beach both showed the need and offered the opportunity for ABYC to move into a newer, larger home. A location at the end of the Peninsula adjacent to the planned Basin Five of the Alamitos Bay Marina was identified as the most favored spot; however, it turned out that the land was owned by the State of California, not the City of Long Beach. Special legislation was passed in Sacramento to deed the land to the city, and the Long Beach City Council, on August 16, 1962, approved a 25-year lease with ABYC for use of the property.
While development of the site required the completion of Basin Five, a building committee was appointed. Charles M. Kober, a former Commodore and nationally renowned architect, led the design team that drafted plans for a two-story clubhouse building and adjacent boat storage and launching facilities, lawn and patio. The plans were approved by the City of Long Beach, and ABYC took possession of the property in December, 1963. Groundbreaking took place on March 1, 1964.
Under the original agreement with the city, Alamitos Bay Yacht Club was required to spend a minimum of $100,000 on improvements, and then transfer title to the city. In actual fact, the Clubhouse, land improvements, hoists and some furnishings cost $250,000. A portion of this money came from funds collected by ABYC members over a period of years; the balance came from a $300-per-member assessment. Subsequent to the opening of the new clubhouse, a $120-per-member assessment was levied to finance furnishings, particularly for the Galley. As of the end of 1971, the club's investment in the new facilities stood at a third of a million dollars.
Even while construction continued, activities were held at the new location. The first was the Memorial Day Regatta of 1964; although bay classes sailed from the old clubhouse, ocean classes were launched and operated from the new facility. The first social event in the new Clubhouse was a luau held with the 1964 Fourth of July Regatta: attendees sat on the floor on the unfinished and unfurnished Upper Deck. The first membership meeting in the new building was held later that month, and participants in the Dragon North Americans and the Dragon Olympic Trials, both held that summer, used the facilities as well. The first full-scale social event in the new Clubhouse was the Commodore's Installation Dinner in the fall of 1964.
Throughout the Sixties, racers from all over the United States and North America came to ABYC. The club hosted its first Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA) Midwinter Regatta in 1964. National and North-American championships were held for such diverse classes as Cal 20, Enterprise, Finn, International 14, OK Dinghy and Victory, and regional championships for such classes as Pacific Catamaran (P-Cats), Soling and Thistle were held.
ABYC members, too, began to appear on the national and international scene as well. In 1964 alone, ABYC members held national or continental titles in Dragon (Chuck Kober), Lido 14 (Ed Rodriguez), Lehman 10 (Hank Schofield) and Senior Naples Sabot (Chas Merrill). Kober was on three Olympic Sailing Teams in the decade, in 1960, 1964 and 1968; he was joined on the latter team by ABYC members Sid Exley as coach and tuning-partner to the gold-medal winning Dragon team, and Peter Barrett as crew on the gold-medal winning Star team.
It was in this time that the race-management reputation of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club began to earn national recognition. ABYC became the first yacht club in the United States to win the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy, then awarded by that club for excellence in race management among North American yacht clubs, for running the 1968 Snipe Nationals.
In 1963, leases on city property were limited to 25 years; by the end of the decade, however, the limit had been raised to 60 years. In 1970, the City of Long Beach and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club agreed to a new lease on the grounds and buildings extending to August 15, 2022; in consideration of this new lease, ABYC agreed to invest an additional $50,000 in improvements prior to January 1, 1975.
Plans for single-story, concrete-block annex building lying between the Clubhouse and Basin Five, adjacent both to the patio and the parking lot, were approved by the ABYC Board of Directors in September, 1973, and the groundbreaking ceremonies were held November 4. The $82,000 addition included a large multi-purpose room, race committee rooms and offices and men's and women's restrooms. The club's flagpole was moved to a location adjacent to the channel as its original site was overlaid by the new building, and the patio was increased in size while the lawn was somewhat reduced. The annex building was named "the Quarterdeck" in 1975.
The new facilities led to an explosion in both membership and activities. In this period the By Laws were revised to allow for a closed membership of 421; both Independent Junior and Intermediate (now Yachting) memberships, separate from this limitation, were established. The staff of the club grew as regular racing and social activities led to the hiring of a Galley crew in the snack bar as well as bartenders for social events. A full-time "Port Steward" lived on the site in a one-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of the Clubhouse and the office was staffed five days a week.
The new facilities and increasing recognition of ABYC led to the running of the 1974 Finn Gold Cup. Not only was this event the first world-championship regatta hosted by ABYC, it was the first Finn Gold Cup held in the United States and the first to have been hosted by a yacht club rather than by a national authority or government. The next two Worlds at ABYC were groundbreaking as well: the Tornado Worlds in 1977 were the first Tornado Worlds held in the United States, and the International 14 Worlds in 1979 featured the first fleet-racing world championship for the I-14's.
NAYRU returned to ABYC in 1976 for the running of the U.S. Men's Sailing Championship for the Clifford D. Mallory Trophy. Sailed in Cal 20's rigged with spinnakers, the title went to ABYC members David J. Crockett, Sid Exley and Kurt Nicolai. National and regional championships were held in such classes as 470, 5-0-5, Cal 25, Coronado 15, Coronado 25, Lido 14 and Tempest. New classes appearing on the scene in the Seventies included the Laser and J/24, and both held major regattas at ABYC in the decade.
With its family focus, Alamitos Bay Yacht Club had always encouraged racing and sail training among the younger set. While many ABYC kids learned to sail at Leeway, the city-sponsored sailing program, in the Sixties, by the Seventies the ABYC Junior Program was training the next generation of racers. Juniors such as Steve Bloemeke, Keith Dodson, Jay Golison, Steve Rosenberg, Mike Segerblom and John Shadden held championship titles in Lido 14, Naples Sabot and Snipe. Shadden won the United States Yacht Racing Union (USYRU) Junior Doublehanded Championship for the F. Gregg Bemis Trophy twice, in 1978 and 1979, the first two-time winner of the Bemis in history and one of only two such honorees; his crew in the second win was fellow ABYC junior Steve Rosenberg.
As the decade of the Eighties dawned, the next challenge faced by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club was the upcoming 1984 Yachting Olympics. With the regatta scheduled to be held in Long Beach and on San Pedro Bay, ABYC became the focal point of preparation for the 1984 Games. The club's Olympic Classes Regatta, then entering its third decade, became the Pre-Olympic Regattas of 1982 and 1983, and ABYC members were key personalities in the Olympic Classes Regatta Organizing Committee (OCROC), responsible for the 1984 Olympic Regatta. Alamitos Bay Yacht Club hosted the 1984 Star and Soling Olympic Trials, and joined with Los Angeles Yacht Club in running one of the four racing circles for the 1984 Games; Jay Glaser, later an ABYC member, won the Bronze medal in Tornado catamaran in that regatta on that circle. Four years later, three ABYC members were on the US Olympic Sailing Team, and two brought Olympic medals home from Korea: Allison Jolly was the first-ever Gold medalist in the women's 470 event while John Shadden brought home Bronze in the men's 470
1985 was a year that saw a major redecoration of the Clubhouse and Quarterdeck, and the racing world continued to come to ABYC. Yachting Magazine held the prestigious One-of-a-Kind Regatta at ABYC that year, and many ABYC members took part, including Charlie Cummings (Lido 14), Steve Flam (I-14) and Howard Hamlin (5-0-5). The SCYA E. E. Manning Trophy was re-deeded so that the Manning Regatta would be perennially hosted by ABYC at this time, and the intercollegiate Rose Bowl Regatta began its history at ABYC as well. Finally, ABYC was a founding club of the Yacht Clubs of Long Beach Charity Regatta benefiting The Children's Clinic, which event continues to allow the sailing community to benefit the community at large.
USYRU returned to ABYC for national championships as the club hosted both singlehanded and doublehanded women's championships in 1981 and the Singlehanded Sailing Championship for the second time in 1982. Other major regattas in the Eighties included Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Association (ICYRA) Dinghy Championships and Team Racing Championships in 1982, the Snipe North Americans in 1984, the Coronado 15 Nationals in 1985, the Finn U.S. Nationals in 1986 and the Schock 35 Class Championship in 1988. Several classes made multiple appearances at ABYC in the decade: the Cal 20 Nationals were held in both 1981 and 1986, the Lido 14 Junior Nationals were held here in both 1986 and 1987 and the Etchells 22 PCC's in both 1987 and 1989. And in 1980, ABYC hosted not one but two Cal 40 Nationals, the only time two class championships were held in a single year.
The yachting community recognized Alamitos Bay Yacht Club's contribution to racing twice in the Eighties. ABYC was awarded the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy for running the 1981 Snipe Worlds, the third Worlds at ABYC and the first time a club had received the award a second time. ABYC was also named USYRU One-Design Club of the Year in 1989.
Junior sailing continued to thrive in the Eighties, and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club Juniors as much as any others put ABYC on the international map. In one remarkable year--1982--ABYC juniors held two of the three USYRU junior-championship titles: Ron Rosenberg, Jim McLeod, Rich Palarea and Chris Redman won the U.S. Junior Triplehanded Championship for the Sears Cup while Mike Sentovich won the U.S. Junior Singlehanded Championship for the D. Verner Smythe Trophy. That same year, Steve Bloemeke and Carol McBride were Snipe Junior National Champions (with another crew, Steve also won the World Champion title), Jim Otis was Naples Sabot Junior National Champion and John Shadden and Ron Rosenberg were basking in their International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU) World Youth Doublehanded Championship title, won the year before. Through the decade ABYC juniors won class junior championships regularly, including Cal 20 (Todd Skenderian), Coronado 15 (both Leslie Green and Vesco Raspopov), Lido 14 (Steve and Ron Rosenberg and Keith Ives), Naples Sabot (both Jim Otis and Jonathan Greening) and Snipe (both John Shadden and Steve Bloemeke).
ABYC adults, too, excelled throughout the Eighties. Three brothers, Mark, Bruce and Jay Golison, won the U.S. Men's Sailing Championship for the Clifford D. Mallory Trophy in 1982; three years later, in 1985, with Ron Rosenberg replacing Jay, the remaining two brothers won the U.S. Match Racing Championship for the Prince of Wales Bowl. Other class titles were held by ABYC members in Coronado 15 (Bruce Golison, Jim Holder and Allison Jolly), Coronado 25 (Ken Green), Etchells (Ed Feo and Pat McCormick and Doug Jorgensen), Laser (Steve Rosenberg), Lido 14 (Charlie Cummings), Naples Sabot (Peter Gales, Isabel Lounsberry and Mike Sentovich), Olson 30 (Allan Rosenberg), Snipe (Keith Dodson, Jerry Thompson and others) and Tornado catamaran (Pease and Jay Glaser and Pete Melvin). In all, the Eighties marked the high-water mark in the racing and race-management history of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club to that time.
The end of the Eighties, however, brought challenges: an aging infrastructure and a declining economy reduced ABYC's opportunities. The club has to replace its Race Committee Signal Boat while the City of Long Beach undertook a project to shore up the failing seawalls in Basin Five. Strict budgetary controls and reserve accounts were put in place, a special assessment was laid for the first time in more than a decade to pay for much-needed repairs, improvements and replacements, and a Finance Committee was established to work with the Board of Directors. A new management structure, built not on a resident Port Steward but on a non-resident Club Manager and a larger club staff, increased costs but created an opportunity to better serve the membership. ABYC endured the poor economic times but suffered a decline in memberships: for the first time in decades, memberships in ABYC went wanting for takers.
Nevertheless, the decade saw more major sailing events come to ABYC. In one three-year period, 1991 through 1993, the club hosted the ISAF World Women's Sailing Championship, the Tornado Nationals and Worlds, the U.S. Olympic Festival yachting venue, the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING)/Nautica Youth Championships, and national or regional championships for Cal 20, Etchells, J/24, Naples Sabot (both Junior and Senior), Snipe and Star classes. Through the decade Alamitos Bay Yacht Club hosted a total of four World Championship regattas: Women in 1991, Tornados in 1993, A-Class catamarans in 1997 and Melges 24's in 1999. Other major events included national or North American championships in 5-0-5, CFJ, Coronado 15, I-14, J/120, Laser and both Prindle and NACRA catamarans. The ICYRA returned to ABYC in 1995 for the ICYRA Collegiate National Championship Regatta, and the decade ended with the running of the US SAILING U.S. Team Racing Championship for the George R. Hinman Trophy on Alamitos Bay in December, 1999.
With the maturing of many of the stars, the performance of sailors from the ABYC Junior Program was eclipsed by young sailors from other yacht clubs; nevertheless, the growing of another ABYC generation and the addition of more than 100 member families in the decade laid the groundwork for the next generation of ABYC Junior champions.
ABYC members continued to excel in dinghy classes. Among the standouts were Howard Hamlin and Pease Glaser; with fellow member Mike Martin, Hamlin achieved his long-held goal of the 5-0-5 World Championship in 1999, while the same year found Pease Glaser qualifying for the 2000 Olympics in 470 as crew with J.J. Isler of San Diego.
ABYC members also found success in offshore keelboats, not a traditional ABYC stronghold. Keith Ives led a team that included members Rob and Jim Fuller and Jared Morford to win US SAILING's National Offshore Championship for the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy at Long Beach Yacht Club in 1996. And the overall winner of the 1997 Transpacific Yacht Race was not a maxiboat with a millionaire owner but an ABYC-owned Santa Cruz 50, co-skippered by owner John Latiolait and Jerry Montgomery and including ABYC members Jim McLeod, Don Reiman and Dave Thompson on the crew. RALPHIE's elapsed-time run of nine days, five hours and twenty-six seconds corrected to a ninety-minute margin over the first boat to finish.
ABYC had never been strangers to multihulls: members had raced Malibu Outriggers and P-Cats in the Sixties. But the Nineties--and the success of ABYC's new Multihull Invitational Regatta, which brought beach cats back to the Bay--led to a resurgence of the new, high-performance successors of the old multihulls. Sailors like Pease and Jay Glaser, Pete Melvin, Jeff Newsome and Roger Jenkins all brought multihull attention--and multihull titles--to ABYC. Pete Melvin became the first ABYC member to win the title of A-Class catamaran World Champion in 1997; teaming up with Roger Jenkins, Pete won the U.S. Multihull Championship for the Hobie Alter Cup in 1998, the same title won by Jeff Newsome the year before.
Alamitos Bay Yacht Club entered the new millennium poised to build on the excellence of the previous three-quarters of a century. New members, many of them second- and third-generation ABYC members but many who came to ABYC first as visiting competitors and returned to become members, helped the club grapple with the future. Membership was built, too, by families seeking to introduce their children to the world of boating and yacht clubs. With a strong financial basis, a legacy of challenges met in the Nineties, ABYC was ready to begin the next chapter of its history with a firm foundation for growth and continuance.
High on the list of things to do in the new decade were infrastructure issues. Fifteen years after the last major redecorating of the Clubhouse and Quarterdeck--and after decades of good-hearted volunteer maintenance--the club, furnishings and equipment were looking tired and broken down. Successive Boards of Directors, working with committees within the club (including the Finance and House Committees), drew up plans for redecorating the Upper Deck of the Clubhouse and upstairs kitchen, a project undertaken in 2004 and 2005; new carpeting, flooring and kitchen appliances were complemented by a complete repainting of the Clubhouse and Quarterdeck to the original, darker blue color.
The infrastructure of the yacht club's racing program was also undertaken early in the decade. Changes in pollution laws moved ABYC to embrace the latest technology in outboard motors for its fleet of race-management boats, and new boats were acquired to replace the aging whalers. The race committee signal boats were not ignored, either, with ongoing work on PATIENCE keeping the ocean-course boat current while a new pontoon boat was acquired to replace the decades-old Bay Barge.
Besides rebuilding the club and its fleet, rebuilding the membership, became another key goal of the leadership of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. Membership drives were successful, and a new award, the Commodore's Council, was inaugurated to recognize members who brought new blood to ABYC. But, as always, the excellence and variety of ABYC's racing program--and the resurgence of the ABYC Junior Program--continued to be the driver of new memberships early in the decade.
ABYC began the millennium by hosting the US SAILING Junior Olympic Festival and the U.S. Multihull Championship for the Hobie Alter Cup in 2000. In 2002 ABYC hosted its second Etchells North American Championship and its first Snipe Western Hemisphere and Oriental Championship. After assisting Long Beach Yacht Club with their Long Beach Race Week in 2004, ABYC and LBYC teamed up to run a combined Long Beach Race Week in 2005, bringing a new level of interest to this long-standing regional keelboat event. ABYC's Olympic Classes Regatta, downsized and retooled to meet the changes in Olympic sailing, continued its forty-plus-year run.
Always active in running national championships in support of the sport, ABYC hosted not one but two US SAILING championships in 2005. In the spring, the U.S. Multihull Championship for the Hobie Alter Cup was held at ABYC for the second time in five years while the club hosted U.S. National Singlehanded Sailing Championship for the George O'Day Trophy for the third time in the regatta's history. In 2007 ABYC was host to the U.S. Youth Multihull Championship Regatta for the Arthur J. Stevens Trophy; not only was Art Stevens on hand to observe the regatta, ABYC members also sailed in the event.
Olympic sailing continued to be a focus of ABYC activities in the decade as well when the club signed on to host two classes in the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials for Sailing; in 2006 it co-hosted the Pre-Trials for the 470 and sailboard classes in both men's and women's divisions with the United States Sailing Center of Long Beach and became sole host for all four disciplines at the 2007 Trials. This was the first time since 1984 that ABYC had hosted an Olympic Trials event.
In 2007 ABYC hosted an event never before held: a single regatta run under the auspices of US SAILING's Olympic Sailing Committee to choose the team sent to the ISAF Youth Worlds. Singlehanded and doublehanded, dinghies and skiffs, monohulls and catamarans were raced on two circles. The event was also designated as the U.S. Youth Multihull Championship; an ABYC junior, Christopher Segerblom, won as crew and qualified both for the title and the trip to the Worlds.
Alamitos Bay Yacht Club returned to the international racing scene in 2006 when the club hosted the International 14 Worlds after a nearly thirty-year hiatus. National, North American, Pacific Coast and district championships were held throughout the decade for such classes as A-Class catamaran, C-15, CFJ, Cal 20, Finn, Geary 18, I-14, Laser, Mercury, Naples Sabot (both Juniors and Seniors), Santana 20, Schock 35 and Snipe. The Club 420, a youth-only, doublehanded spinnaker sloop, held its
Added to this was the continuation of ABYC's traditional events, including hosting the Rose Bowl Regatta, the SCYA Midwinter and Manning Regattas along with the long-running Holiday Series. Many classes selected the Memorial Day and Labor Day regattas as local-, regional- and even national-championship events, making those larger regattas than in recent decades. The Fourth of July Regatta, reduced to one day of the holiday weekend, morphed into a family fun day with inverted-start racing on both Bay and ocean courses. And Turkey Day became the west coast's largest regatta run by a single yacht club from one venue in a single weekend, with over 200 boats in each year of the decade; the US SAILING One-Design Class Council recognized the 2000 Turkey Day Regatta as the best one-design regatta of the year.
ABYC members continued the tradition of racing excellence, bringing prestige and trophies back to the clubhouse from around the nation and the world. In one year--2000--Pease Glaser won a Silver medal in the 470 woman's division in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, while Chris Raab won the U.S. National Singlehanded Sailing Championship for the George O'Day Trophy in Laser; Mike Martin won the 5-0-5 North American championship the same year and then teamed with former 5-0-5 partner Howard Hamlin to win the Carnac International Skiff Championship Regatta in Australian 18-foot skiffs. The pair later teamed up for an historic win in 2002 of the J.J. Giltinan Australian 18 World Championship Regatta in Sydney. And over in Roses, Spain, Vann Wilson was tenth among 107 entrants in the Masters' division of the 2007 Laser Master Worlds.
Hamlin extended his mastery of the skiff world in 2006 when he and fellow 18-foot skiff sailor Euan McNichol teamed up to campaign an I-14. Three brand-new boats were prepared that ended up taking the top three spots in the I-14 Worlds at ABYC that summer; Hamlin and McNichol sailed one to win the 2006 I-14 North Americans at the US Sailing Center of Long Beach, then followed up with a decisive win at the Worlds at ABYC the following month.
ABYC sailors did pretty well in the A-Class catamarans, too: Pease Glaser was named 2003 North American champion the same day her husband, Jay, won the NA Masters title, and Pete Melvin scored a repeat of his A-Class World Championship in 2005 after being named North American champion in both 2001 and 2004. Bob Falk won the Laser Masters National Championship in 2003; John Papadopolous was named Lido 14 National Champion the same year. Jim Grubbs won the Snipe Masters Nationals in 2000 while Jerry Thompson won it three times, in 2004, 2005 and 2008. Bruce Golison and Steve Washburn won the Santana 20 title in 2004 while Chris Raab was named Mercury National Champ in both 2007 and 2008.
ABYC members won the Cal 20 Class Championship six consecutive years: Ron Wood and Vann Wilson in 2002, Mark Golison with Steve Flam in 2003 and with his wife Jennifer in 2004, Chris Raab with Vann Wilson in 2005, Mitch Schroeder in 2006 and Latham Bell sailing with Mark Gaudio in 2007. Kevin Taugher won the O'Day Trophy at ABYC in 2005 while Vann Wilson won the prestigious Peter J. Barrett Sportsmanship Trophy in the same event. ABYC members also excelled in the Transpacific Yacht Race: after winning the 2001 regatta in the Cruising Class in her Cal 40, Wendy Siegel became a key player in the return of that venerable class to the race they dominated for years. Tragically, Wendy died just days before the start of the 2007 Transpac; her service to the regatta and her passing was noted in many of that regatta's events.
The rebuilding ABYC Junior Program was another success story of the new decade. Blessed with renewed attention from the ABYC Board of Directors and two successive--and successful--full-time Junior Program Directors, ABYC Juniors began to appear on the victory platforms at regattas up and down the coast. As the children of the Nineties became teenagers, they continued not only to excel in interclub Naples Sabot regattas but also in Laser, Laser Radial and CFJ events on both the yacht-club and high-school level.
Increased interest in the Laser among ABYC adults coincided with some ABYC Juniors moving into the class and training with the grown-ups; the results were impressive. Cameron Summers was a standout among this group: after winning the Laser Radial class at the 2006 US SAILING Junior Olympic Sailing Festival at ABYC, he moved into the full-rig Laser and ended up winning the 2008 Southern California Youth Yacht Racing Association (SCYYRA) Ullman/Frost Series and the 2008 Area J O'Day qualifying regatta.
A relatively new class of doublehanded, spinnaker sloop for juniors, the Club 420, made its appearance, and ABYC hosted the first North American Championship outside of the class' base on the East Coast at ABYC in 2007. ABYC family junior Sydney Bolger led the charge of ABYC juniors into this new class; she progressed rapidly enough to win the class title at the 2007 Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta and capped her ABYC Junior career by winning the 2008 U.S. Women's Junior Doublehanded Championship for the Ida Lewis Trophy. And the same summer, Korbin and Hayley Kirk, participants in the ABYC Junior Program, sailed a Club 420 to win the U.S. Junior Doublehanded Championship for the F. Gregg Bemis Trophy.
The first years of the "Twenty Teens" may be remembered as the most momentous of the new century and perhaps the most momentous in four decades. In 2010, after years of planning and conversation, ABYC negotiated an renewal of its lease of the grounds and buildings at the end of the Peninsula from the City of Long Beach, extending nearly to the middle of the century. As part of that lease the club was required to make improvements to the building and grounds, some immediately and some over time; the very first completed were remodeling of the restrooms in both the Clubhouse and Quarterdeck and installation of a long-planned and much-needed elevator in the Clubhouse in 2011.
Funding for both of these projects came from monies that ABYC had been setting aside since the Eighties. With the renewal of the lease, the goal of the "2020 Fund," the trust did not go out of business: it continues on to help fund ongoing projects during the period of this lease and as seed money toward the next lease renewal in mid-century.
A real drive in the first years of the decade was to rebuild ABYC's membership. The membership, while pegged at 421 Regular members, had languished in the mid-300s for some time; however, the concerted attention by the officers and directors of the club and the unstinting labor of Membership chairs and the membership at large, brought ABYC back into the 400-member range by the end of 2011.
ABYC's involvement in both new classes and championship regattas continued in the new decade. The International Moth, revitalized by the adoption of foils on both daggerboard and rudder, found a Southern California home at ABYC; the club hosted North American Championships in both 2010 and 2011. Other dinghy classes coming to ABYC for major championships included the Naples Sabot, CFJ and Laser Masters in 2010 and the Finn US Nationals in 2011.
The venerable Alamitos Bay Lido 14 fleet, fifty years old in 2010, experienced a huge growth in size and activity in the late years of the previous decade, due in large part to the enthusiastic leadership of Lido sailors Paul Makielski and Ed Spotskey. The preeminence of the local fleet was evident when, on consecutive days in August, the fleet hosted both the Lido 14 Women's Class Championship and the Lido 14 Junior Class Championship in both 2010 and 2011. And the fleet saw a new generation of Lido sailors--the third generation--move into the winner's circle as Mark and Sarah Ryan, children and grandchildren of Lido sailors, take the Lido 14 Class Championship in 2010.
Keelboat fleets old and new raced at ABYC as well. Class championships were hosted for Schock 35 (2010) and Olson 30 (2010) classes, and the Cal 20 held both class and junior championships at ABYC in 2011, the fiftieth Class Championship.
Multihull sailors, long at home at ABYC, welcomed both the US Youth Multihull Championship and the US Multihull Championship in the same year (2011) while the club readied to host its next Worlds, the FÂ¬18 Catamaran World Championship, in 2012.
In many of these events, ABYC sailors excelled. Bruce Golison brought home the Santana 20 Class Championship and the Etchells North American Championship in the same year (2010) while Kevin Taugher, Steve Smith and Vann Wilson won their divisions (and Taugher the overall title) at the Laser Masters North Americans at ABYC in 2010. Pete Melvin, with Nat Shaver as crew, won his second US Multihull Championship while John Williams garnered the Formula 16 North American title as crew.
Perhaps the sweetest title to come back to ABYC was the Naples Sabot Junior Championship, won in 2010 by Riley Gibbs. Emblematic of the win was a photograph taken of Riley and the trophy posed in front of the Clubhouse; also in the photograph was Jerry Thompson, who first won the same event in 1952--before Riley's parents were born.
As its centennial looms, Alamitos Bay Yacht Club continues to provide not only service to its members, the community and the boaters of Southern California at large but also a wonderful opportunity for fun and relaxation. As with many yacht clubs, ABYC's membership is aging; the improvements to the buildings and grounds made possible through the lease renewal reflects that. And yet, as many members pass along (or pass away), new members--mostly young families--join. Yet, through the changes, the roots of ABYC remain the same: family sailing, excellence in racing and the volunteer spirit. If the history of ABYC is filled with success for both the club and its members, the future is filled with hope of more to come.