1st Annual Seawind West Coast Rally ( by Lowell McCulley)


It's late July and the weather is sweltering in Phoenix when I received a phone call from our friendly west coast Seawind representative and now national sale manager Kurt Jerman. He's organizing a owner's rally mid August on Catalina Island. Our 1000 sets in Puerto Penasco in the northern Sea of Cortez. It's 2000 miles from Catalina and we have no interest to making that cruise this time of year (if ever). "Not a problem", Kurt replied.. "I have a boat you can use and better yet it's in San Pedro (Los Angeles area) and it's a nice 26 mile reach to Catalina". The thought of cool Pacific breezes was more than the Gato Loco crew could resist.
We're in!

August 17th west coast Seawind owners converged on Catalina Island for a weekend of island activities. Kurt spends lots of time on Catalina with his family and came up with the idea to invite owners to come to the island as a group where we could meet fellow Seawind owners and share our Seawind experiences. Five boats, 4 1000s and a 1160 enjoyed a great weekend with good weather and winds.

Boats and Crews:
1160 - Sea Esta - John & Patsy Peterson
1000 - Sea Ya - Joe Weathers and crew Dave, Scott & Greg
1000 - Barramundi - Steve & Pam Ellsworth
1000 - IslandTime - Larry and Nancy Robertson
1000 - KatKanDu - Lowell & Frankie McCulley and Bill Hensler
The KatKanDu crew were actually from Gato Loco resting in her slip in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico
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Catalina is a one of the main sailing destination for southern California sailors. The island has three major anchorage areas with two communities Avalon and Two Harbors. Two Harbors, where the Rally was held, is at a narrow point of the island with Isthmus Cove on the north and Catalina Harbor on the south separated by an easy walking distance.


 

The Rally began on Thursday as boats arrived at the Isthmus Cove and grabbed a mooring. Activities started with hors-d'oeuvres on John and Patsy's new 1160 (above). Later many of us meet ashore at the only restaurant at Two Harbors for dinner. Friday was a day to explore the Two Harbor area and get to know all the Seawind crews. Later in the day we all meet for happy hour at "Joe's Place" aka "Sea Ya" with crew ready to serve us Fosters and shrimps on the barbi. Pictured right is the Rally gang on the stern of Sea Ya minus our rally host Kurt and wife Lori . After happy hour Kurt and Lori organized a great BBQ on the beach and Steve arranged a space station fly-over at precisely 8:05PM.

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Sea Ya crew - Greg, Dave, Joe and Scott with their spread

 

Saturday was race day giving us a chance to get the boats out for a race around the north end of the island and into Catalina Harbor on the south side of Two Harbors. It's an easy walk across but around 20 miles by water. The wind Gods were with us allowing the race to start early. The race was tightly contested from start to finsh with boats very close at the start line making crews a bit nervous.

Heading for the start line........................................Larry & Nancy "IslandTime" at the start

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Sea Ya and Barramundi cross paths at the start .............................. Pam on Barramundi sailing upwind of KatKanDu

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Bill, Frankie & Lowell on KatKanDu captures the lead and the race on the final down wind leg...Barramundi and Sea Ya cross the finish very close behind.

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The race lasted 5 hours ending at the entrance to Catalina Harbor with winds blowing 25kts directly in to the bay. The fleet's next challenge was to get a raftup set with these winds. Actually after SeaEsta and KatKanDu got anchors set things went quite smoothly.


No rest for the weary racers as we headed to the historic Banning House for hors-d'oeuvres after settling in on anchor. The bay picture was taken from the Banning House patio. The walk up the hill was just what we needed after a day on the boats.

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John, Patsy, Bill, Steve, Pam, Lori & Kurt....................................Steve and backup singers??

Winds lighten as usual as we made our way back to the boats for a huge Pot-Luck dinner. Thank goodness we had the 1160 with enough room for all the food. It was also a great experience walking from boat to boat and seeing all the options and innovations on the boats. Steve on Barramundi topped off the night with some strumming and singin.. We're all a little worried about Scott recording our wonderful singing.

Everyone had a great time with new friends and are looking forward to the next opportunity to get together. Hopefully our next gathering will have even more boats. Thanks to Kurt and Lori for organizing this FUN Rally and giving the Gato Loco crew a reason to escape the Arizona heat!!.

Read more about the Gato Loco adventures at GatoLocoSailing.com - August 23, 2006