Skip to content

Navy Takes L.A. Harbor Cup

Foggy Friday at the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup Regatta for 10 collegiate teams sailing matched Catalina 37s.

© 2018 Bronny Daniels / Joysailing

On Sunday the US Naval Academy Midshipmen clinched the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup trophy after three days of racing that tested the skill and endurance of competitors from across the US and Ireland.

The regatta, sponsored by the Port of L.A. and hosted by Los Angeles Yacht Club, delivered a mix of weather conditions that were a distinct contrast to the warm LAYC hospitality. Light, shifty breezes, fog, rain and sloppy seas challenged the sailors from the 10 invited universities and academies. But the LAYC race committee succeeded in pulling off the 10-race series, and the sailors stepped up to the plate. California Maritime Academy (from Vallejo) is the hosting team, and crews race in an equalized fleet of Catalina 37 sloops, managed by the Long Beach Sailing Foundation.

On Friday, bullets went to Cork Institute of Technology, University of South Florida and UC Santa Barbara, with Santa Barbara’s Gauchos taking first place. Although denied a bullet, the Midshipmen were close astern on the leaderboard, thanks to consistent top-five finishes.

The Navy team douses the kite on foggy Friday.

© 2018 Bronny Daniels / Joysailing

On Saturday, the Cal Maritime Keelhaulers stepped up to the podium — sitting in second place at the end of five dreary, drizzly races. Cal Maritime has long dominated the Harbor Cup, with six victories in the past 10 years. Although Navy logged an impressive 1-1-4-1-6 on Saturday, the Keelhaulers’ pedigree had rivals wondering if, once again, they would rally to victory.

Despite what Los Angelinos considered inclement weather, many of the visitors delighted in the conditions. For teams from Cork Institute of Technology, Maine Maritime Academy, Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the like, above-freezing temps and the absence of snow were treasured. Plus, the visitors were enthusiastically hosted by LAYC members, with all accommodations, meals and programs provided. And on Saturday night they were regaled with a presentation by sailing rock star Terry Hutchinson, on the Bella Mente Quantum Racing New York YC America’s Cup 36 challenge.

Sunday dawned sunny and clear, at last. After the penultimate race the championship was decided. Navy’s second-place finish in that match clinched their Harbor Cup title. They reined in their effort and took an easy victory lap in the final race, while the remaining teams battled for silver and bronze.

¡Olé! It’s the UCSB Gauchos in action.

© 2018 Bronny Daniels / Joysailing

Acing that last contest, the Gauchos seized second place, edging out third-place USF by just two points. USF was also recognized with the Best Kept Boat Award. Cal Maritime came in fourth.

“We’ve been here since the beginning (2008), and it’s the first time Navy has won it,” said Midshipmen skipper Teddy Papenthien. “This is, for all of us, our last intercollegiate race, and for most of us probably our last regatta for a long time. We’ve got two Surface Warfare Officers, three Marines and two Navy pilots going off to try some different things.” In addition to the perpetual trophy, the Midshipmen received a take-home half-model of the Catalina 37 and a cash prize from sponsor Community Bank.

The victorious Navy crew will all be off to other pursuits after this semester. The Naval Academy is in Annapolis, MD.

© 2018 Bronny Daniels / Joysailing

The event was created to encourage young men and women to enjoy competitive big-boat sailing. College-level regattas are typically sailed in small one- or two-person dinghies in protected waters. The Harbor Cup provides a rare opportunity for offshore racing with large, competitive co-ed teams.

For complete info and complete results please visit


Leave a Comment

What’s the only thing better than the waters of San Rafael? The hills of San Rafael, which reveal an amazing, awe-inspiring view of said water.
A few weeks ago we reported on an unfortunate incident near the entrance to the Oakland Estuary.