Angels Gate

This trophy is presented each year to the first to finish on corrected time in the Harbor Series. The race was first conceived of by Staff Commodores Gordon M. Curtis and James A. Eddy in 1966, as a tune-up for the Mazatlan Race. It was designed primarily for Class A and B yachts and used an inverted start. Early race courses were up and down the coast starting off at Angels Gate Lighthouse. The original format called for three races to be sailed on successive Sundays. It has since evolved into an event to which all ocean racing classes are invited. Now starting in traditional order, there are three races on one weekend over courses in and around the Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors and, as such, has grown to become a major fall sailing event.

The model, commissioned by Staff Commodores Curtis and Eddy, was built by Los Angeles Yacht Club member James R. ‘Russ’ Nash expressly for this trophy. Russ, who died an untimely death in 1972 at the age of 52 years, was an exceptional model maker. He was head of the Model Engineering Department of the Ralph M. Parson Company an in that capacity built many scale models of the firm’s major projects.

But being an ardent sailor, his great love was building ship models and many of our members have his works displayed in their homes. He crewed in several Transpac Races, on the winning boats ‘Nalu’ in 1957 and later on ‘Kiola II’.

Angels Gate Lighthouse, at the end of the two mile long San Pedro breakwater, is now an Historic Building. First put into commission in 1913, it originally housed a Fresnel lens from the designs of the famous French physicist, Augustin Fresnel (1788-1827), who first created the yet unsurpassed technique of intensifying light beams through prismatic shapes in lenses. After several changes, the current green rotating light was installed and the Fresnel lens is now on display at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. The lighthouse has had a colorful past including surviving the devastating earthquake of 1933 when the tower swayed precariously from East to West. Later on, one night, the Lightkeeper, awakened by a resounding blow to the tower foundation, ran to the windows and saw the running lights of a U. S. Navy battleship that had collided with the jetty. The report of the incident was buried for years in a file marked ‘Confidential’.

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