Echo Park Yacht Club –Los Angeles Times – Spring 2011

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Yacht racing is traditionally synonymous with six figure salaries and social elitism, a pastime generally out of reach for the average Angeleno. Yet a group of enterprising east siders are bucking tradition and the seemingly infiltrating the domain of the elite - at least in their own scaled down way.

Rather than globetrotting to exotic locales and tackling the high seas on 50 foot craft, The Echo park Yacht Club instead launch their own scale version vintage sailboats (one twelfth to be precise) on the uncharacteristic setting of Echo Park lake, just minutes from the center of downtown Los Angeles.

On select Sunday’s, against a backdrop of families browsing market stalls and Echo Park’s pluming fountain and lush blanket of lily pads, thirty or so members resplendent in period nautical garb (circa1920- 1940) gather to race model yachts.

A slight departure from the average Westside Marina in say Long beach or Marina Del Rey or, the sailors and boat devotees of the Echo Park Yacht Club don’t wear boating loafers and upscale polo shirts. There’s also a decided absence of designer handbags or status oriented import cars parked nearby.

Instead there’s a collective ragtag styling of vintage nautical attire, from weathered vintage sailing jackets, through to striped shirts sailors caps, flowing gowns and parasols, all worn by a tight knit clan of inner east residents serious about embracing the spirit and tradition of sailing.

Written by Craig Stephens

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