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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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.

 

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!

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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

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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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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Then and Now

Moving Up and Moving Back – Erik Simonson

Click the photo below to read Erik’s blurb on USA 76 from last weekend’s race in the Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta.  Not too much has changed for USA 76.

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Visit his site to view the full gallery from the regatta on February 1st.

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Race 4 of the Midwinter Series

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Last weekend USA 76 and her crew raced in the Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta, hosted by the Golden Gate Yacht Club. This was the 4th race of the  midwinter series. Our crew was made up of yacht club members, annual crew pass holders and a handful of fresh faces. It was a special treat for all to sail with America’s Cup sailor and owner of USA 76, Brad Webb. We looked the part, in our red CREW t-shirts as we stepped aboard in preparation for the day’s race. The morning was relatively calm as we patiently waited for more consistent wind to fill in from under the Golden Gate. After a brief postponement, the wind had filled in nicely to about 12 knots and the race was off to a start. The course was called for three laps around the marks.

After spending 1 hour, 54 minutes and 27 seconds on the course we crossed the finish line, celebrating a job well done. It was certainly a team effort that had all our crew hoisting sails, grinding the pedestals, taking the helm and cheering each other on as we executed maneuver after maneuver.

Everyone walked away with huge smiles and great memories of a beautiful day spent on the water working together as a team to race the only America’s Cup yacht here on the Bay.  We are looking forward to the next and final race of the series, on March 1st.

Race-ready for the Great Pumpkin

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It’s right around the corner… The annual Great Pumpkin pursuit race put on by the Richmond Yacht Club, and we couldn’t be more excited. With only a few opportunities a year to actually put USA 76 into action against other boats, this is always a crew favorite.

The race course begins near the Richmond Yacht Club and all the boats need to round Alcatraz and Angel Island (in either direction) to finish back near the start. There are already 95 boats registered to race, so you can imagine the sight as the fleet takes off in both directions.

Our guests are given race positions and everyone on board is tuned in to getting USA 76 around the course as quickly as she can. It’s a rare opportunity to be aboard an America’s Cup yacht in her natural racing environment, so be sure to mark your calendars – Sunday October 27th, and reserve your spot on the team!

USA 76 Racing Once Again

USA 76 will be back in her element on Sunday March 10th, racing in a local favorite: The Big Daddy Pursuit Race.  Put on by the Richmond Yacht Club, it is a reverse handicap race around Alcatraz and Angel Island in either direction.  Starting in the back of the pack, USA 76 will plan on weaving her way through the fleet, to a glorious finish (fingers crossed).  Join the crew for the race and help push USA 76 to her fastest.  It’s less than 3 weeks away so be sure to reserve your spot on the team!

 

The Crew from last year’s Big Daddy