RYC 2014 Great Pumpkin Regatta

It’s that time of year again, to get in the fall spirit by sailing in the Richmond Yacht Club’s Great Pumpkin Regatta. The annual pursuit race is one of our favorite events of the year. A pursuit race has a staggered start, where slower boats start first and the fast ones start last. This allows everyone to arrive at the finish line more or less at the same time. It’s quite a sight.

USA 76 will be amongst the last to start, and will fly around the course catching up to (and passing) the other boats who will be racing full circle around Angel Island and Alcatraz in either direction. So mark your calendars and secure your place on the crew — Sunday, October 26th!

Though we won’t be doing this…

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We will be doing this!

sailor-spotlight

Fleet Weekend Sailing

Are you ready for a weekend display of power and speed? The Blue Angels are back! USA 76 will have the largest wing on the water while the Navy puts on a fantastic display of wings in the air. Fleet weekend draws all of the Bay’s best boats out on the water. Join us this weekend to witness the airshow, view the spectator fleet, and enjoy fast sailing! Sailing spaces remain available on Friday afternoon and Sunday.

 

76&CoitTower

Race Log: Friday Night Beer Can Series, Race 4

Friday the 13th and the full moon were in full effect for race four of the GGYC Friday night series.  We were excited to get our Spectra mainsail back from the sail maker after some major alterations so the first thing we needed to do was get the batons back in the sail.  This sounded easy enough, batons go in the sail then baton pockets get tied shut.  Except for the fact that every baton ended up being too long.  So the pre-race setup started with Brad taking a hacksaw to the batons.  With the batons sorted we loaded up with our guest race crew and headed out to the race course.

Winds were fairly typical for a summer evening on San Francisco Bay with speeds ranging from 15-20 knots out of the West.  We  motored up the race course to a spot were we thought we could hoist the main.  As we tried to connect the clue to the boom we realized that the sail was too short and would not reach the end of the outhaul cylinder.  At this point we were about 30 minutes away from the start of the race so we kind of needed to get our sails up and head over to the start line.

The solution to a sail that was too short?  Move the outhaul cylinder that hadn’t been moved since training for the 2007 America’s Cup.  This involved two of us supporting the boom while Brad “convinced” the cylinder to come out of the track then back in where the clue of the sail could reach.  With the clue connected we began hoisting the main, which was going well until the last six feet when the bolt rope decided to come out of the track on the mast and get stuck.  15 minutes to the start. It took three of us to pull the main down until the bolt rope went back in the track and we could finish hoisting the main.  With the main up we had less than ten minutes until the start of the race and we were over by the North tower of the Golden Gate Bridge with the start line off GGYC.  We reached as fast as we could across the bay, hoisting the jib along the way, to get to the start line about a minute after the starting gun.

We had a great position off the start all things considered and quickly passed the rest of the fleet to reach the first windward mark well ahead of the fleet.  It was on the down wind leg that we realized we could not find the next mark.  Our expert navigator assured us that it was on the sailing instructions and therefore must exist.  We were quickly approaching the spot where the leeward mark should be when our expert navigator radioed the GGYC race committee for clarification about this invisible mark.  The GGYC confirmed that the mark was, in fact, where it should be and had been so for the past million years.  The mark in question was Alcatraz.  It was then that USA 76 did the fastest jybe she has done since she was raced by Oracle.

We rounded Alcatraz well in first place and picked our lane to the finish line.  We crossed the finish line in 0:46:09, just over 20 minutes ahead of the second place boat.  This was enough of a lead that even with our rating of -78 we corrected out to first place with four minutes to spare.  Almost the entire crew joined us for well deserved drinks at the GGYC.  The “Cup” was a little smaller than it looked on TV, but it is the first trophy that the boat has won since being in the charter operation and proves she is still the race machine she was built to be.

Rob Horton – Crew

June 17, 2014

AC35: Moving On – By Brad Webb

Disappointed. That’s my pensive response to the news that AC35 will not be held in San Francisco. I appreciate that many view it as just another sporting event, but I was optimistic that the city and the team would build on the successes of the 34th America’s Cup.

I’m disappointed as a San Francisco business owner that there will not be another chance to showcase the Bay to enthusiastic sailing fans. I’m disappointed as an ORACLE Team USA member, having spent 13 years fighting to win and keep the Cup here, that some other venue will now inherit the show. I’m disappointed as a San Francisco resident, that this great event will pack up and leave this great city.

There are many who have directed their ire of hosting the regatta at Larry Ellison. It’s easy to target the top, and even easier with a narrow-minded view and no skin in the game. Painting the Cup as elitist ignores the spectrum of involvement it takes to put on the event, and many will miss the opportunities that hosting the AC provides. The legacy and enduring value it creates is profound, a walk down Thames St. Newport, RI. is testament to this. But one cycle isn’t enough, and so the potential for lasting impact is lost. Only those who understand the Cup will understand this. Most will never realize what they had, and the charlatans will enjoy an empty satisfaction.

Regardless, the Cup will survive. She is bigger than all of us. This is just a short chapter in her history and while those at the helm have a chance to steer, it’s not for long.  She has influenced many, and although sailing may not be widely followed, the America’s Cup has tested the limits of people and technology for 163 years. No other sport can make that claim.

After 20 years of involvement I’m not ashamed to admit that the America’s Cup has defined me. I spent half my life in pursuit of the planet’s oldest prize, and consider myself lucky for the career I’ve had. I still stare in awe when I’m standing next to the trophy, and think of the thousands who strived to win, and never got this close.

As the America’s Cup moves on, a host of fresh faces will be drawn to the event and enveloped in the experience. My only hope is that she is respected for the prize that she is, and embraced for the opportunities she provides.

 

Brad Webb

June 13, 2014

Race Log: Friday Night Beer Can Series, Race 1

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Last Friday night was the first race of the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s Summer Beer Can Series. We had an enthusiastic crew aboard for the sail that we suited up in foulies, and headed towards the start line in 20 knots of breeze and an ebbing current. Brad Webb took the helm as we performed a few practice maneuvers to evaluate the conditions. It was the upper wind limit for us, but we were able to stay in the race as long as we avoided jibing. All in one fleet, the boats crossed the start line, with USA 76 right in the mix. After we rounded the top mark the breeze settled down to a steady 15 knots. It was a windward, leeward course with two laps around. We rounded the bottom mark with a big grind to trim the sails in and roll through a tack with the help from our energetic crew on the grinding pedestals. We ended up finishing well ahead of the other boats, crossing the finish line with the blast of the gun. With corrected times, USA 76 ended up in the middle of the fleet. We’ll be at it again Friday May 16th.

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Sailor Spotlight

At the beginning of this month, ACsailingSF was delighted to host a special guest who traveled across the pond to visit our beautiful city, San Francisco. Yvonne Gordon is an award-winning features and travel writer whose work has been published in the Irish Times, The Irish Mail On Sunday, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The National, and DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. Coming from a sailing background, Yvonne also writes about her experiences and various trips through her blog, Holidays On The Water.

New to the San Francisco Bay Area, Yvonne knew little of what to expect. While she consistently sails on a bay in her hometown, the promise of steady wind conditions on the San Francisco Bay was a welcome and exciting change.

The 84-foot America’s Cup-class yacht docked at PIER 39 with the crew in their professional gear was a sight to behold. Stepping aboard, Yvonne was pleased to find USA 76 to be “a real racing boat..designed for speed and performance”, which added to her enthusiasm for the trip.

Throughout the two-and-a-half hour experience, Yvonne took turns at the helm, guiding USA 76 and her crew both on the upwind and downwind legs of the adventure. She even took command during a tack (direction change) underneath the Golden Gate Bridge!

Having spent only two days in the city, Yvonne was able to learn a local’s perspective of the city, highlighting the different boat types in the bay, the America’s Cup races from this past summer, and the different yacht clubs in the area. All in all, her favorite part of the adventure included sailing towards Alcatraz Island and cruising underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. She mentioned “it was amazing to see the city skyline and the waterfront, with all the wharfs from a different perspective on the water.”

Thanks for joining us, Yvonne! Come back for another sail soon!

Sailor Spotlight

We’ve Added 9 More Race Days on USA 76

An entire summer of racing on USA 76 is right around the corner.  We’re putting the yacht back on the race course where she belongs.  Previously we only sailed in a handful of races per year and it’s always a huge hit with our guests.  So we’re happy to announce our involvement in the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s 2014 Friday Night Beer Can Series.  That’s 9 new race days on our calendar!  These fun and casual races will be every other Friday from May 2nd to August 22nd, taking place along the San Francisco city front.

Sail the whole series by joining the crew with an Annual Crew Pass.

Getting out on the Bay is a great way to start your weekend.  So the next time you’re thinking of what to do on a Friday night.. make it a sunset race on USA 76!

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Introducing the Signature Series Cap

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Our newest addition to the ACsailingSF line of sailing gear is the Signature Series Cap. An embroidered signature of two-time America’s Cup champion, Brad Webb is stylishly placed on the side of the cap. As the bowman on USA 76, Brad has put America’s Cup sailing in the hands of San Francisco.  Snatch this unique item in our shop or after a day spent sailing USA 76 like the pros.

Sailing in the Rain

It may not be drought busting rain but our Bay Area hills are finally turning green again. We often get asked if we sail in the rain and without a doubt the answer is yes! Believe it or not, some of our most memorable sails have been in the rain. One USA 76 sailing adventure that sticks out in my memory was a wet November day with strong breeze and the Golden Gate Bridge stunningly framed by a full rainbow. We caught some of the action on video:

Most of our precipitation will typically fall between December and February. Keep in mind that forecasts are for the region rather than the specific points where we sail. In other words if the forecast calls for 40% chance of rain, there is a 40% chance rain will fall somewhere in the region but a much lower chance that it will fall on our heads. The tall hills surrounding San Francisco Bay are very effective at pulling the moisture out of the clouds and these hills receive far more precipitation than we ever see on the Bay.

The most important benefit of rain clouds is the wind they bring with them. In the late summer our winds are driven by the cool air from the ocean sweeping in to replace the rising hot air of the Central Valley. When this gradient disappears the rest of the year, we rely on the rainy low pressure weather systems to draw wind across the Bay.

Guests suited up in full foul weather gear and having a great time.

Guests suited up in full foul weather gear and having a great time.

USA 76 is fully equipped with sailing clothing to keep our guests dry. If needed, we will distribute waterproof pants and a jacket to keep you warm. We will always offer a rain check to anyone that does not want to go out and we have a liberal 48 hour notice, full refund policy.

Don’t let a rainy day scare you away. Sailing in the rain is far better than a sunny day with no wind!

Captain Jon Buser

Making Connections

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ACsailingSF was part of the buzz at yesterday’s annual conference and expo for the MPINCC – Meeting Professionals International Northern California Chapter.  Our all-star staff included our two-time America’s Cup champ Brad Webb, sales guru Warren Allan, and captain Jeanette Leckie.  The booth was equipped with a model of USA 76 and a fresh new banner, that drew in all sorts that were intrigued and excited to learn about what we do.  After a few hours of chatting with meeting planners and event planners alike, we are sure to have inspired a handful of them that what we offer here at ACsailingSF is sure to compliment their groups’ events by providing the most unique sailing experience on San Francisco Bay.  All in all it was a great show that allowed us to make connections and leave impressions.

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