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Navy midshipmen return to defend title at Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup 2019

by Betsy Crowfoot 8 Feb 06:40 PST 8-10 March 2019
2018 Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup, Day 3 © Bronny Daniels / Joy Sailing

The US Naval Academy Midshipmen will return to the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup regatta March 8, 9 and 10 2019 to defend their hard-fought title of 2018.

Competing in every Harbor Cup since its inception, Navy's victory last year was their first in this prestigious invitational intercollegiate big boat regatta. Also returning is 2018 runner-up University of California Santa Barbara and five-time champion California State University Maritime Academy.

The Harbor Cup was founded in 2008, "to encourage young men and women to enjoy the benefits of competitive sailing." Hosted by Cal Maritime, the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Yacht Club, it is unique in providing an opportunity to participate in one-design big boat offshore competition. Typically, college level sailing is held in small one- or two-person dinghies in protected waters; making the Harbor Cup a particularly coveted and distinguished event.

Since its inception, over 900 athletes and coaches, racing on 115 intercollegiate sailing teams and representing 23 different universities, have competed in the Harbor Cup. Challengers are invited from four West Coast and four East Coast teams, plus two "President's choice." Teams of eight sailors, including at least two female crew, travel from across the nation and oceans to LAYC, where they receive a warm welcome, meals, accommodations and a spectacular racing platform and venue.

"We really knock ourselves out for this event!" declared LAYC Commodore Marie Rogers. "As a Harbor Cup volunteer for the last several years, I've been amazed to witness how the whole regatta comes together. First, the anticipation as Cal Maritime goes through the invitation vetting process. Then, the hubbub that ensues as LAYC members vie to house certain teams in their yachts or homes."

"When the kids arrive often straight from the airport, in the middle of the night these young adults imbue our clubhouse with their distinctive, youthful exuberance. It is definitely something to witness; I am thrilled to welcome our Harbor Cup competitors this year!"

The three-day program commences Friday March 8 with a 10AM Skippers Meeting, followed by a series of practice starts. The first of an estimated 10 races will begin at 1:30PM Friday and run through Sunday March 10. Races are held in the challenging waters outside the Los Angeles breakwater aboard a fleet of matched 37-foot Catalina keelboats, identically rigged and maintained to provide the fairest possible competition.

Evening activities will include a hosted dinner with keynote speaker Gary Jobson, Saturday March 9 at 6:30PM. A former All-American collegiate sailor himself, Jobson won the America's Cup in 1977 as tactician for Ted Turner, aboard Courageous, and went on to become a leading broadcast producer, lecturer and writer. His talk, "What Sailing Can You Do After College?' will feature films and stories of inspiration from America's Cup, Olympics and round-the-world racing.

Los Angeles Yacht Club is located at 285 Whalers Walk in San Pedro, Calif. For further information visit layc.org. Follow the Port of LA Harbor Cup on Facebook @LAYCHarborCup and @layc1901 on twitter.

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