The Craig Contests

The Craig Contest is the longest and oldest contest on the SCCA calendar. The Overall Craig Contest actually consists of two separate contests whose results are combined to yield an overall course of over 150 ocean miles as specified in the deed of gift for this prestigious trophy. Due to the planning and preparation involved, the Craig is only run on even numbered years. Because the overall distance requires almost 24 hours for the slower boats, the contest is broken into two major legs. The first leg begins in Long Beach on Saturday and travels to San Diego. Sunday is a layover day allowing time for any needed repairs and also for last minute provisioning prior to crossing the border. The second major leg is run on Monday from San Diego to Ensenada.

The popularity of the contest is due in part to the remote destination and additionally to the security afforded in knowing that help is never far away when traveling with a group of experienced and knowledgeable yachtsmen. Further advantage lies in the handling of necessary clearance documentation and other procedural matters by the race committee.

Awards are presented for the winners of each major leg and to the overall winner having the best combined score from the two legs. The second leg and overall trophies are presented at a banquet held  in Ensenada. The skippers make quite a sight as they disembark in Ensenada Harbor in their blazers and ties Monday afternoon to head for the awards dinner.

The James Craig Trophy was originally known as the James Bennett Trophy. The first contest was in 1907 from New York to Bermuda. The Deed specified that after a skipper won it three times, it was to be kept by the winner. First and second contests were won by James Craig who elected not to compete for it again and the contest was dropped in 1909. Craig retained the trophy until 1921 when he presented it to the National Association of Engine & Boat Manufacturers for their sponsorship and the name of it changed to the James Craig Trophy. He also made changes in the Deed of Gift, but kept the requirement that the course be at least 150 miles or more in length. The original silver trophy was stolen in 1925 and NAEBM replaced it with a gold one. From 1927 until 1940 there were no contests, but in 1941 it was placed in competition for the Newport to Coronado event conducted by SCCA and LBYC. In more recent years the 2-leg course has been between Long Beach and San Diego. With today's price of gold, it is undoubtedly the most valuable trophy that any skipper can win. Most recently the second leg has run from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico, and has been hosted by the SCCA.

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