SAN DIEGO — The Khatmandu, from the San Diego Yacht Club, was the first boat to finish the 19th annual Marina del Rey to San Diego yacht race when it sailed into the Southwestern Yacht Club shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday.
The two largest yacht clubs in the San Diego area, the San Diego Yacht Club and the Southwestern Yacht Club, are about mile apart on the shores of Point Loma. Like any other establishments of such reputation and proximity, they have quite a battle for recognition.
The San Diego Yacht Club gets plenty of recognition because one of its members is Dennis Conner, skipper of the United States' America's Cup boat. This weekend, however, the Southwestern Yacht Club is in the spotlight as it is host of the conclusion of the Marina del Rey to San Diego race.
"Yes, we're always trying to get our share of recognition," said Ed Schoonover, the race director and a member of the Southwestern Yacht Club. "We don't make much money on this race but we get a lot of recognition."
But not all of it. Though the race doesn't officially end until the winners are announced at noon today, the San Diego Yacht Club has already stolen some of the spotlight with the finish of Khatmandu.
The boat took about 17 hours to sail from the Windjammers' Yacht Club in Marina del Rey to San Diego, winning the Commodore's Trophy as the first boat to finish the race.
About 60% of the 200 boats entered had finished by Saturday afternoon. The rest must finish by 11 this morning in order to qualify. Because of time handicaps, the official winners (there are five categories and up to three classes in each category) will not be decided until noon today.
Members of the Southwestern Yacht Club, however, are hardly annoyed at the success of Khatmandu. For even in a race of this caliber, the most important thing to club members is the fun and camaraderie of an all-weekend party.
As one Southwestern Club member put it: "The reason the boats try to hurry down here is to get to the party."
The crew of the Khatmandu, having sailed all night and celebrated all morning with its honorary case of champagne, had other ideas. None were around to enjoy Saturday afternoon's festivities.
One sailor who was around, 13-year-old Drew Curran, had spent much of his Friday night skirting the jib for the boat Tiburon, which finished Saturday afternoon.
Curran, one of the youngest crew members in the race, relaxed Saturday afternoon, eating a hamburger and sipping an orange soda. His father, Steve, is the commodore at the California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey.
"We were sailing upwind the entire time," Curran said. "We didn't do as well as we would have liked."
A couple of his mates agreed that the crew had had some bad fortune, but Curran blamed the boat's problems on something else.
"It was the wind's fault," he said.