Arizona Highways magazine in the 1960s was at the height of its fame: a lavish, glossy publication that was the state’s answer to Life magazine, with splendid color photographs shot with large format film cameras. In September of 1962, Arizona Highways chose to feature the nascent Arizona Yacht Club and Arizona sailing on the cover and in an extensive inside article.
Lori Reger found a copy of the magazine among our dusty treasures and then tracked down a digital copy in the Arizona Highways archives. Here it is as a slimmed-down PDF with the sailing section extracted.
Besides the high-production photographs, there are a few hundred words of description by writer Bill Dawn, most of them steam heated. If the copy had been acting, we’d say it was chewing the scenery. Here’s a short excerpt:
“Regattas are held every other week from September to May and the rock bound Arizonan dumps the desert sand from his boots and trades them for the crepe soled shoes of the sailor. The heat of the desert is exchanged for the heat of competition, the quiet air of the city for the cooling breeze that drifts above the water. The week’s tensions of profession or trade are quickly absorbed, becoming lost in the relaxed atmosphere and easy laughter of the week-end sailors.”
There’s also some actual description of Arizona sailing, when AYC racing was being done mostly in Lido 14s at Canyon Lake and sometimes at Saguaro and Roosevelt. Lake Pleasant then was much smaller and hard to reach.
They wrote, “Much is being done to improve Lake Pleasant, on the Agua Fria River. Heretofore the trip was a rugged one, the road very bad, the ‘natural launching ramp’ bumpy and steep, and the level of the lake uncertain. The brave one who made the trip, towing his sailboat through the heat and dust over the rough road could be certain of a wonderful sail on a beautiful, uncrowded waterway, surrounded here, not by steep walls, but by gentle, rolling hills and the same strange spectacle of desert landscape surrounding a body of water.”
There’s also a description of a Phoenix sailor who did very well in what they called the “Trans-Pac.”
“Owned and skippered by A. B. “Bob” Robbs, Jr., Phoenix, Arizona businessman, ‘Nam Sang’ completed the grueling 2,225 mile run from Los Angeles to Honolulu in 10 days, 16 hours, 26 minutes and 25 seconds. She finished at night amid the glare of searchlights playing back and forth across the Basin. The victory, bringing Robbs and his exhausted but exhilarated crew the Class A and overall fleet handicap championships, came over a fleet of 41 entrants.”
Arizona sailing making history 57 years ago.