Bright sun and light breeze greeted the race crew and guests of USA 76 on Saturday January 4, 2014 for the Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta. Easterly winds led the Golden Gate Yacht Club to set a windward/leeward course along the city front between Aquatic Park and Crissy Field. After a fifty minute postponement, the race began with 8 boats in our class lined up on the start line. At 84ft, USA 76 had more than twice the waterline length of any other boat in the race. USA 76, with Brad Webb at the helm, was on starboard tack being pushed toward the line by a leeward boat. Our speed advantage allowed us to roll over this leeward boat just in time before we dipped to leeward of the next boat on the line. By the time the starting gun fired we had pulled even with the fleet and before long we were in the lead on the first upwind leg.
The narrow beam and current sail plan of USA 76 is optimized for sailing upwind so the rest of the fleet made considerable gains on the downwind legs. However, light wind was the story of the day. By the time we were on our second and last lap of the race course the Bay was becalmed and the ebbing current took over. Most of the fleet including ourselves drifted past the leeward mark toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Some unfortunate boats drifted helplessly past the wrong side of the leeward mark. Eventually the wind began to return, this time from the west. This had the effect of giving the race two downwind legs in a row, in opposite directions! USA 76 caught this new wind and sailed to the finish line completing the 6 mile course in 2 hours and 50 minutes.
While speed records weren’t set on Saturday, there was a lot of close action on the water and the bright sun made the colorful sails on the 75 strong fleet shine brilliantly. We look forward to the next race on Saturday, February 1st. All guests who race aboard USA 76 will receive the coveted red CREW t-shirt.
Posted: January 7, 2014 @ 3:57 pm