Westlake was opened up to sailing in 1968. As the Yacht Club and residential Mecca began to form, the first five boats on the lake were Cal Cats. The Cal Cat is a 13’ centerboard cat built by Newport boats from 1967 to around 1976.
Jim Holder, one of the original members of Westlake Yacht Club and the first Junior advisor raced a Cal Cat. Jim was instrumental in bringing juniors into the sailing program and teaching us the basics of competitive sailing.
A few years ago, I grew a bit sentimental about the old boats that we learned to sail on. I stumbled upon this Cal Cat for sale in Santa Barbara. The said “Catamaran for sale, brand unknown.” I immediately knew what it was based on the photos. Although the hulls had some minor damage, it was clear to me that at $200.00, this was meant to be.
I drove to Santa Barbara to collect the boat and all of the available parts. When I checked the sail number I was shocked to see that this was boat number 255. It was originally owned by a gentleman named Fred Wendelen and was on of the original five Cal Cats on Westlake. I had actually sailed this boat in the summer of 1969, 50 years ago.
Eight months of restoration followed. This included the repair of all cracks and holes from the inside through inspection ports, three layers of fresh epoxy coating, a new trampoline, new rigging and a new sail made by Jay and Pease Glaser, both Olympic Silver Medalists. The boat was finally ready. My plan was to take a first sail in Long Beach with Jay, but too many rigging issues rendered that idea futile.
It took all day Friday and part of the morning on Saturday to remedy the faults, but by 1:00 I was ready to launch in the ed’s old stomping grounds of Channel Islands Harbor.
Everything went perfect. I sailed in and out of the harbor all afternoon. At one point, with a near empty marina around me, I was flying a hull when the harbor patrol hailed me and told me to slow down! I’m not sure if they were serious, but I was done anyway. I am so pleased with this project and proud to have brought an old acquaintance back to the sailing world. I plan on enjoying this boat for as long as I can continue to sail. – Anarchist Glen.