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Decades of Sailing

One owner never did finish the race. He never started. A. K. Barbee, owner of the Zoe H., arrived at the Los Angeles Yacht Club on Terminal Island at 2:00 P.M., July 4, two hours after the starting gun. There “surrounded by a mountain of personal luggage,” he sought the Race Committee’s permission to go after his boat. Permission granted, he took off across the channel in a chartered Harco 40. Search as they would, however, they couldn’t find the Zoe H. (In retrospect it seems likely that Zoe H. had already rounded the west end before the speed boat arrived in the area.)

Undaunted, Barbee went back to Avalon for the night. The next morning he chartered a sea plane, and set out again in hot pursuit. It is not clear how he proposed to transfer from an airplane to a boat. But this problem didn’t require a solution because the plane couldn’t even locate the fleet, let alone the Zoe H. (Here again it seems probable that the boats were hidden by the overcast which everyone experienced on July 5.)

In any event Barbee had to go to Honolulu by commercial carrier – by air or by sea, the records don’t say which. Neither do the accounts of the time give any solid information on why Barbee missed the boat. The kindest conclusion would appear to be that he “overslept.”

Excerpted from the Transpac history book 1906 – 1979

The Zoe H. arrived at Diamond Head light at 11:45 AM on July 22, the 24th finisher that year. Her final standing was 6th in her class, and 27th in the fleet. Perhaps Mr. Barbee was missed. Zoe H crew photo above courtesy of the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum. Mr Barbee presumably not present?

The Big Blue History Books are available from the Transpacific YC at cathie@transpacyc.com or from Gaylord Sportswear.