The San Diego Yacht Club, with Malin Burnham at the helm of the Nelson-Marek 43 Eclipse, will defend the Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup starting today in a three-race series against 11 challengers.
There will be one race each day off Point Loma.
The Lipton Cup is the oldest yachting prize in Southern California, dating back to 1903 when the Scottish tea merchant dedicated the trophy to the Corinthian Yacht Club of San Diego, which later merged with the San Diego club.
In 1906, Lipton had title to the cup transferred to SDYC, with each year’s winner to have possession for one year.
After Lipton’s death in 1931, SDYC turned the trophy over to the Southern California Yachting Assn., specifying that contenders had to be members in good standing of SCYA.
The rules specified a sudden-death race on a boat-for-boat basis among boats within a narrow rating range. The race was one of the most popular in Southern California for many years and was won by nearly every major club in SCYA.
In the 1970s, however, sailors began to lose interest, with only four or five boats turning out. In 1979, SDYC reclaimed the trophy from SCYA and changed the format to a three-race handicap regatta.
In 1984, SDYC won the cup from Balboa Yacht Club, with Dennis Conner, at the helm of Crackerjack, beating BYC’s Impact by a narrow margin.
This year BYC will be back with Ron Melville’s Impact in a bid to reclaim the cup.
Other challengers are Newport Harbor Club with Jim Warmington’s Passion 2; California Yacht Club with Len Sheridan at the helm of Reliance; Los Angeles Yacht Club with Kix, skipper not named; Del Rey Yacht Club, Rampage with Phil Friedman; Long Beach Yacht Club, Roller Coaster, Golison Syndicate.
Still others are Coronado Yacht Club, Lone Star, Tim Hanhnke; Huntington Harbour Yacht Club, Midnight Sun, George Smith; Santa Barbara Yacht Club, Quintessence, Don Hughes; Southwestern Yacht Club, Smaug, Roark Ludwig and Steve Gibson; Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club, Victory, Robert Butkus.