Californian Wins her first America’s Schooner Cup!
“We screamed out of the harbor having the sail we always dreamed about,” says Captain Ray Stewart, skipper of Californian for the day. “The wind freshened out of the NW to about 10-12 Knots. The tide was draining the Bay, so we sailed with current in our favor. The horn sounded and we trimmed all the sails and went across the starting line about six seconds after the start. It was a classic start and only performed by the best of crews. We were off on a beam reach and no sail boats in sight.”
“Saturday was one of my most memorable days sailing Californian,” says Carl Scragg, positioned as tactician for the race. “Good start, fair wind, favorable course, and great crew work — it was just Californian’s day to shine.” The ship lived up to her heritage. Californian, a replica of the 1847 Revenue Cutter C.W. Lawrence, which patrolled the coast of California enforcing federal law during the gold rush and well known for chasing down tall ships that were making their way to San Francisco to skirt tariffs.
“After nailing the start of the race, we reached under topsails all the way out the channel,” Carl explains. “This is the best point of sail for Californian and by the time we got to the first turning mark of the course, we had built up a sizable lead. The rest of the race consisted of upwind and close reaching legs where the more modern schooners typically are significantly faster. But this day Californian was able to hold her own. A few boats were able to pass us on the way back into the harbor, but not by enough to overcome the handicap.”
“We did take a couple of penalties using the engines to round two of the marks,” Captain Ray reflects. “Apparently we were so far ahead that it didn’t matter! The crew of Californian excelled in the sail handling efforts and caused Californian to win. It was a fantastic experience.”
Californian won overall and her class in the 31st America’s Schooner Cup Charity Regatta March 30, sponsored by Silver Gate Yacht Club. SGYC hosts the race as an annual charity fundraiser for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. MMSD’s Director of Marketing Theresa Smullen, who also participated in the regatta aboard Legacy, collected the awards at the celebratory ceremony. The Marketing Department stepped up support for the 2019 America’s Schooner Cup providing all crew with Regatta shirts and imprinted MMSD Sail Crew to communicate a true team effort!
Special thanks to Darrall Slater of Bayshots Photography and Cynthia Sinclair for the stunning photos. Please visit to view more action shots of the race and other striking photos on the Bay.
Darrall Slater Images
Cynthia Sinclair Images
2019 Schooner Cup Results
About the Maritime Museum of San Diego
The Maritime Museum of San Diego experience includes admission to a world-class collection of historic sailing ships, steam-powered boats, and submarines, each offering entertaining and educational exhibits. The 501c3 non-profit Museum enjoys an international reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining, and operating historic vessels including the world’s oldest active sailing ship, Star of India. Maritime Museum of San Diego is ranked as one of the nation’s top attractions offering self-guided tours, docent guided-group tours, tall ship charters, year round public events, educational programs, and a distinctive venue for corporate/private events. The Museum is open daily along Star of India Wharf at 1492 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101-3309.