San Diego hosts the Beneteau 36.7 North American Championship this weekend. Photo credit: Courtesy, Yacht Club

The Beneteau 36.7 North American Championship regatta returned to the San Diego Yacht Club for the first time since 2005 Friday with 11 Beneteau 36.7s sailing up to 11 races.

The racing, through Sunday, takes place on the Coronado Roads south of Point Loma.

The 36.7 fleet has seen a resurgence of new owners who bring considerable racing experience from other fleets.

Local skipper Chick Pyle, sailing Kea, won the regatta in 2005 in San Diego and has competed in the 36.7 North Americans in Newport, RI and Chicago.

The Beneteau First 36.7 was designed by the renowned naval architect Bruce Farr and was launched in 2001. There are now 817 worldwide.

While the Beneteau plant in South Carolina has built 274 solely for the North American market, there are active fleets in Southern California, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto.

“This regatta will raise the profile of the 36.7 class in the Southern California region and will focus the rest of the 36.7 class nationwide (on the fact) that we have a very vibrant local fleet,” Pyle said. “The 36.7 is a fantastic dual purpose boat with great cruising accommodations and a very competitive one design fleet as well as a competitive … racer.”

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