On Jan. 7, the Southern California yachting community lost a thoughtful voice and an inspirational leader when Charles F. Hathaway succumbed to pneumonia and related complications. He was 86.
A prominent figure in the Los Angeles business community for many decades, Hathaway’s proudest achievement was leading the refounding of the California Yacht Club in 1961, according to an obituary at sailingscuttlebutt.com.
After the Coast Guard shuttered the club during World War II, Hathaway and a handful of other businessmen took a risk by subleasing space on the then dusty flats of Marina del Rey and led the club’s development into the world-class organization it is today.
In the early 1960s Hathaway also helped to start the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs and served as its commodore in 1964. In 1987 the California Yacht Club named him its honorary commodore in perpetuity.
Hathaway was an able and courageous seaman, the winner of many important yacht races and regattas, and he explored many of the world's oceans on an array of sail and power boats.
In 1976, for his 50th birthday, Hathaway pioneered endurance rowing in Southern California by completing the first known solo crossing from Catalina Island to Marina del Rey in his fixed-seat ocean dory, Fritz.
Five years later he repeated the row, laced up his shoes and ran to the Riviera Country Club, then rode his bicycle downtown to the Los Angeles Athletic Club to complete the first triathlon of that type in Southern California.
In 1984, at age 58, he rowed Fritz from Santa Barbara to Marina del Rey, an open ocean distance of 72 nautical miles.