Its 5am in the morning and I hear the sound of the engines turn on. I walk to the wheel house of the Disapperance. I freak out seeing the boat moving forward without a driver. Afraid we are about to run into the boat moored infront of us, I yell to Uncle Bob who calls down from the upper wheel house. My heart beats starts to slow down realizing he is driving from the top. As we cruise out of Cherry Cove towards Ship Rock the sun is not yet above the horizon. The Isthmus has a stormy dark look yet the water is calm. These are just the conditions that the 80+ paddlers have been hoping for the last few months leading up to this race. All of the chase boats start to accumulate around ship rock, eager to find their paddler as they come out of the harbor. With the race being on the ocean paddlers spread out fast and sometimes it can take up to two hours to find your paddler.
The Catalina Classic is a 32 mile race from Two Harbors, Catalina to the Manhattan Beach Pier. It was one of the best years of paddling with the winner being Unlimited paddler Adam Buckley The day was finished off with a great celebration at Captain Kidds. A huge thanks to everyone who help put on this event. It wouldn’t happen without all of the people who truly believe this is the most premier paddle in the world.
It was a special race this year for lead boat Captain Bob Meistrell. Not only was it his 25th Anniversary of being the lead boat of this race, but his grandson Jamie Meistrell and great nephew Daley Meistrell were the first two Meistrell’s ever to paddle the race. Jamie and Daley have grown up in the South Bay and have had a strong attachment to water sports growing up. Jamie went to Redondo Union High School and is one of the premier surfers in the South Bay. Daley played water polo and Mira Costa High School and continued his career at Santa Clara University.
This race is one that the Meistrell family holds close to our hearts. It is the love for the ocean, the msystery it holds and the challenge it brings that were what originally drew Uncle Bob and my grandpa, Bill to the Ocean. We are so proud and in awe of all the men and women who stood up to the challenge last week especially the wounded warriors.