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McNish Classic Yacht Race celebrates 45th year

McNish Classic Yacht Race celebrates 45th competition that gives the winner their weight in Champagne

OXNARD, Calif.-Wooden sailboats from up and down the coast took part in the 45th McNish Classic Yacht Race, hosted by the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club in the Channel Islands Harbor on Saturday.

Longtime volunteer Brenda Dickmann said, "It is really the highlight of the harbor for me, and the yacht club, all the sailors, nothing better than this race."

It is named after longtime sailor Dick McNish who brought his crew Jersey Mike's subs for lunch.

"It's the 45th year, that's a lot years, I don't know if I could make it another 5 to make it 50, it would be nice," said the 95-year-old, "It's a beautiful day, hopefully the wind is 10-15 and we will have a great race."

McNish's classic yacht is the Cheerio II.

"Cheerio is fine, she is always ready to go."

Cheerio II is a 1931 yawl, which means it a two-masted sailboat, that was once owned by screen legend Errol Flynn.

The crew and friends at the PCYC yacht club consider McNish a legend, too.

Kevin Dickmann moved away, but returns to Oxnard to Captain the Cheerio II and to spend time with McNish.

 "He epitomizes what a sailor is, what a yacht club is, and the love for wooden boats which is why we are here today."

An all-wooden power boat also served as the starter boat.

The race began with a staggered start off of Silver Strand Beach.

That's when the slower sailboats start earlier than the faster ones

PCYC member Flo Beck usually goes along, but this time she watched from shore.

"What I love about it is the excitement when we are racing, Dick just loves the water."

They had to contend with some weekend traffic in the Channel Islands Harbor as they sailed out into the marine layer.

The Mcnish Classic persevered during COVID precautions.

Some people collect the T-shirts from every race.

The winning sailor wins their weight in champagne and on this day CF Koehler, of San Diego won on a sloop, with a single mast, named Sally.

But all the sailors who took part in the annual race usually feel like winners just by taking part in the competition on race day.

Article Topic Follows: Ventura County
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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here

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