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North Sails Performance 2023 - LEADERBOARD

Transpacific Yacht Club turns 95 today

by Transpacific Yacht Club 1 Mar 16:26 PST March 1, 2023

Ninety-five years ago, on March 1, 1928 the Transpacific Yacht Club was born of an idea hatched by the same man who had sparked the 1906 inaugural race to Honolulu. That man was Clarence MacFarlane, still engaged with his brainchild but entrusting the leg work to an old friend known for getting things done. That was Albert Soiland.

The two had known each other since 1906, when Soiland, a member of South Coast Yacht Club (later Los Angeles YC) helped organize the start that sent three boats sailing west from Point Fermin, bound for Diamond Head. In the years since, Soiland had founded Newport Harbor Yacht Club, the Southern California Yachting Association and the Pacific Coast Yachting Association.

He was a reliable workhorse. As a veteran of the 1923 Transpac and chair of the committee organizing a 1928 race, he embraced MacFarlane's vision of a club without a clubhouse, devoted to organizing and promoting the race, with membership limited to sailors who had participated in a Transpac or equivalent. That participation would be the one criterion of membership.

Collaborating with Pacific Coast Yachting editor Skip Warren, Soiland had drafted bylaws for the club while confined to a hospital bed, recuperating from an appendix extraction. With that behind him, Soiland was up and healthy, and everything was ready to go at the March 1 Transpac planning meeting. George Vibert made a motion, and Joe Beek seconded, that a club be formed.

MacFarlane (shown below in the 1936 Transpac race program) was in absentia and elected commodore and Soiland, vice commodore, with the understanding that he would be running the show.

"There shall be no dues," the draft read, but that stipulation didn't last, not even to the starting gun on June 3.

It was a different time, but not that different.

This is an excerpt from Visionary, a biography of Al Soiland by Kimball Livingston, soon to be released by the publisher, Newport Harbor Yacht Club.

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