The Santa Cruz 27 Renaissance and the King Harbor Race
We don’t want to get too far ahead of a story, but is it true that Santa Cruz 27s are experiencing a renaissance? John Krossa of the Morro Bay Yacht Club wrote a story in our current August issue about the club’s budding new fleet of four Santa Cruz 27s. It was enough energy and activity for the SC27 class to decide MBYC is the place to host the 2022 Santa Cruz 27 Nationals on September 3-5.
Coincidentally, the day before the new issue came out, Heather Davies wrote in to say the Santa Cruz 27 Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Hull #85) was out for her first play date with her new owners at the Encinal YC Estuary Extravaganza. Heather said new sails are due soon but the boat probably won’t be race-ready in time for the Nationals.
This was followed by a note from author John Krossa, saying he had done his first overnight race ever by taking his SC27 Janina on the Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race with his boat partner Mark Hilden — and they won in class! It’s an 81-mile Southern California classic downwind slide and the perfect race for the SC27. Team Janina took 24 hours and 14 minutes to beat the other five boats in class. Full results here.
John reports the race attracted 77 boats that entered in eight different classes. Only 58 boats finished. Janina was the smallest boat in the race and corrected at 33rd overall: a fun but tiring first-time experience.
The Catalina 34T Squall was close at hand capturing this shot of Janina carrying it close on her way south to King Harbor.
134 of the Bill Lee-designed Santa Cruz 27s were built, with the first one launched in 1974. With a new fleet sprouting up in Morro Bay and a number of Santa Cruz 27s changing hands in the past few years, the fleet is maintaining the energy and enthusiasm that brought the “Fast is Fun” style to California sailing.
Minor correction to “134 of the Bill Lee-designed Santa Cruz 27s were built”.
My boat “MEDUSA” is hull number #145 and was built in Santa Cruz in April 1982. The molds at that time were owned by Elaine Patterson who was operating under the business name of “Bill Lee of Sausalito”, but I’m told Bill Lee’s crew of builders in Santa Cruz continued to make the boats (or at least, made mine).
The last hull number I know of is #162, built in August 1990 by Alar Yachts in Duluth. It’s name is “ABIDE” and is sailed by Michael Aisenberg out of Chicago.
Alar Yachts was the last builder to own the SC27 molds, and I’m told they made 3 boats between 1988 and 1990. The molds then went to Maddison WI around 2010, where they sat unused on the property of Jim Fahey. I found them last year through Eric Thomas at Barker’s Island Marina (who helped build the 2nd Alar/Duluth boat) and they were offered to the class, but transport and storage was simply not feasible. We were told they would be disposed of / destroyed, so I suspect that’s what happened to them.