Bay Challenge: A Close Second

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In the America’s Cup there is said to be no second place.  The same is not the case for our San Francisco Bay Challenge participants, who this week fought for the top of the leaderboard only to find themselves a mere 23 seconds behind the first place time.

The team from Zephyr Health designated their racing positions aboard USA 76, then went through some practice maneuvers before crossing the start line at full speed.  The braintrust in the afterguard developed a plan that played both the wind and the currents in their favor.  Communicating that plan to the whole team was critical for a successful challenge.

Sailing in the eve of San Francisco’s largest storm in the last five years, we had big breeze from the south making for a fast reach on both legs of the course.  As we approached the finish line the mentality of everyone aboard was to go for speed, being within a minute of the winning time.  A brilliant effort gave for an exciting finish as Zephyr Health secured second place against the other companies who have sailed the Bay Challenge.

We have had 19 teams who have raced against the clock for honors of being atop our San Francisco Bay Challenge leaderboard.  Our well-defined teambuilding event challenges everyone aboard, emphasizing the complexity of yacht racing and the importance of working and comunicating as a team.

Race Log: GGYC Midwinters, Race 1

For the first time, both USA 76 and TOMCAT raced side by side in race 1 of the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s Midwinters.  The 44th Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta is first Saturday of every month from November 2014 to March 2015.  It was a strong opening to the series last weekend, with 65 registered boats.  A steady 10-15 knot breeze on the tail end of a rain storm the night before provided ideal conditions to keep a fast pace around the course.

It was a memorable moment for us as both USA 76 and TOMCAT crossed the start line together, taking off towards the first mark.  We were a close match for each other for TOMCAT is faster, but USA 76 can point much higher.  Our guests aboard both boats were placed into racing positions, playing an integral roll in getting us around the course.  Although we did not end up winning, it was still gratifying to have TOMCAT and USA 76 be the first two yachts to cross the finish line.

10273229_777675562280140_9135566235488930276_oPhoto credit: Jack Everett
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10700574_777675625613467_4242334212947666971_oPhoto credit: Jack Everett

TOMCAT

10700165_777675698946793_6883166855586258837_oPhoto credit: Jack Everett

Winter USA 76 Race Schedule: 2014/15

USA 76 is once again entering in the 44th annual Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta sponsored by the Golden Gate Yacht Club. Racing aboard the America’s Cup yacht USA 76 on San Francisco Bay is a remarkable experience that should not be missed! The Seaweeed Soup Regatta is a popular event on the San Francisco Bay racing calendar with more than 75 boats expected to participate. The regatta is a five race series occurring on the first Saturday of each month between November and March. Guest participation is encouraged during the races including driving the yacht and working the sail trim controls we call “coffee grinders.”  We hope you will join our crew for the races!

44th Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Race Schedule – click a date below to make a reservation

Sat, December 6

Sat, January 3

Sat, February 7

Sat, March 7

Richmond Yacht Club Big Daddy Pursuit Race

Sun, March 8

Approaching the start line.

Approaching the start line.

 

Race Log: Great Pumpkin Regatta 2014

Sunday, October 26th marked USA 76’s third consecutive year participating in the Richmond Yacht Club’s Great Pumpkin Regatta.  Over 100 boats raced on that beautiful Sunday afternoon on San Francisco Bay.

The conditions were a bit unusual with a light breeze of 5-10 knots out of the north as we started, which then switched to the prevailing westerly in the later portion of the race.  Our start was over an hour after the first boats, which allowed us to evaluate the conditions along with the strategy of the majority of the fleet.  Most of the boats chose to use the northerly to their advantage by sailing out towards Alcatraz first, setting spinnakers for a fast first downwind leg.

We chose to follow suit by choosing to sail USA 76 clockwise around the course, rounding Alcatraz then Angel Island.  We hoisted the code zero, our largest headsail, to ensure we use the most sail area possible to catch up to the boats that began before us.  The northerly breeze got progressively lighter as is began to switch to the west.  That called for a sail change for a quick upwind beat around Alcatraz, followed by an unfurl of the code zero for a reach towards Angel Island.  USA 76 caught up to the fleet near the mouth of Raccoon Straits.  It was an incredible sight sailing along with so many spinnakers.  We crossed the finish line along with many others, celebrating a fun afternoon spent racing around the Bay.  We couldn’t have raced without the enthusiastic participation from all of our guests aboard.  It is truly a team effort to sail USA 76.

USA 76 is entered into a handful of races throughout the year and next up is Race 1 of the Midwinter Series with the  Golden Gate Yacht Club — Saturday, November 1st.  So mark your calendars and experience sailing USA 76 around the marks!

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

Vesping in the Charming City of Barcelona

Are you ever curious to experience the medieval culture of a charming and amazing city just by driving a scooter? Then, the best destination for you Barcelona that lies between the mouths of rivers Llobregat and Besos, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital city of Catalonia in Spain. The architectural work of Antoni Gaudí and Luis Domènech i Montaner has made it to be declared as a World Heritage site, by UNESCO. The vespa of Vesping gives you the unique experience of visiting every interesting place in Barcelona.

 

It would indeed be exciting as well adventuring experience to rent a vespa in Barcelona and cruise through the city for discovering all that are kept in store for visitors from outside Barcelona. While exploring the city, you will be urged upon to put your curious eyes on the arrays of museums that cover various areas and eras. You will be thrilled to see the well-known collection of Romanesque art at the National Museum of Art of Catalonia. In case you have interest in arts, you should never miss to see the post-1945 Catalan and Spanish art at the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.

 

Your driving on vespa will continue, visiting other amazing museums of Barcelona. They include the Fundació Joan Miró, Picasso Museum and Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Can Framis Museum. For getting an inner view of History and Archeology, you can take your vespa to the Barcelona City History Museums, the Archeology Museum of Catalonia, the Barcelona maritime Museum and the Museum of the History of Catalonia. You will be amazed to know that the FC Barcelona Museum was visited by 1.5 million visitors in 2013.

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Your ride on Vespa will then take you to the largest, oldest and the most frequented beaches in Barcelona which according to the National Geographic and Discovery Channels tops the list of beaches in the world. With seven beaches, the coast-line stretches over 4.5 kilometers of panoramic sandy views. You can choose to visit any of the beaches from Nova Icaria, Bogatell, Marbella, Nova Mar Bella and Lievant. These beaches were opened during the Summer Olympics of 1992. The Universal Forum of Cultures of 2004 developed a bathing zone on the city’s eastern part.

 

Vesping is not just a scooter rental agency in Barcelona. Rather, it partners with every visitor to Barcelona for sharing the secrets and inside view of Barcelona in a funny and exciting manner. Why always depending upon the traditional means of moving to sight-seeing locations? Why not move to places at your own ease and convenience? Come, rent a vespa from us and you will be enabled to see such places in Barcelona the names of which may not find place in Tourist Guides or even be unknown to the natives. You can get this exclusive advantage by renting scooters from Vesping.

 

When you book your Vespa with us, our customer-friendly staff will give personalized attention to you and put every possible effort to make your sojourn the most memorable event of your life. Our staff will give perfect details of the locations worth seeing and ensure that you move around with maximum ease and the least of expenses.

 

Think of visiting the sixty eight municipal parks in Barcelona of which five are botanical that give you the opportunity for getting a closer view of the flora and fauna. It would be extremely adventurous to ride the vespa to the Montjuic park, located on Montjuic mountain and spread over 203 hectares. You can also visit Par de la Ciutadella, the Barcelona Zoo, the Guinardo Park, Park Giiel, Orenta Castle Park, Diagonal mar Park, Labyrinth Park and Antoni Gaudi Park.

 

When you come to Barcelona, never miss to pay a visit by vespa, to the unfinished church, Sagarda Familla that has been under construction since 1882, backed by the architectural skill of the renowned architect Antoni Gaudi. It is still under construction with private donations and is planned to be completed by 2026.
For Further Information regarding the Vesping, Visit http://vesping.com/

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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