A boat with a very familiar name is sailing in the California Cup this week. Coquille, owned by Gary Ezor of Beverly Hills, is a Farr 40 named in honor of a famous sailing yacht that has a rich history on the West Coast.
The original Coquille was a 10-meter owned by Walter Podolak, a plastics manufacturer who mounted the first West Coast campaign for the America's Cup. Podolak sailed Coquille to victory in the inaugural California Cup that was held in 1963.
Podolak used the 10-meter as a practice platform for the America's Cup, which was held in 12-meter yachts at the time. Podolak skippered Columbia in her unsuccessful bid to become the defender for America's Cup holder New York Yacht Club.
Sadly, Podolak died while skippering Coquille in the Newport-to-Long Beach Race on Oct. 12, 1964. Albert Ezor of Delray Yacht Club purchased the renowned yacht from Podolack's widow Charlotte and maintained the name Coquille.
Albert Ezor enjoyed tremendous success aboard Coquille, winning the Little America's Cup out of Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, winning the prestigious Whitney Series and doing quite well in a variety of offshore events.
"My father had a love and passion for sailing, which he instilled in me," Gary Ezor said. "Coquille was a beautiful boat, one of seven 10-meters on the West Coast. We did a lot of one-design racing with her and did quite well."
When Gary Ezor purchased a Farr 40 he didn't think twice about naming it Coquille, which is a type of seashell. "My dad was certainly a sailing pioneer on the West Coast and I named this boat Coquille as a tribute to him and to keep the legacy going," Ezor said.