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!

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A Windy Great Pumpkin Race

On Sunday October 27, USA 76 sailed once again in the Great Pumpkin Regatta hosted by Richmond Yacht Club. With winds above 20kts we set a course record for USA 76 around Angel Island and Alcatraz of just 1 hour and 15 minutes. Our previous best time for this course was 1 hour and 20 minutes. Aboard was a full complement of 19 guests, including two of our annual crew pass holders. Among our 5 crew members was special guest Andrew Coates, sailmaker for Oracle Team USA.

The start and finish line are near Richmond and the 12.5 mile course rounds Alcatraz and Angel Island in either direction. On USA 76 we chose to go counterclockwise to immediately take advantage of USA 76’s strength upwind on the beat up Raccoon Strait. This proved fortuitous because as soon as we entered the strait we encountered the Richmond Yacht Club pumpkin RIB! They were just preparing to deposit the pumpkins in the water ahead of the downwind clockwise competitors. One of the traditions of the Great Pumpkin Regatta is that extra regatta points can be earned by retrieving pumpkins from the Bay that RYC has left for the fleet. We must have been persuasive enough because the pumpkin RIB drove along side and tossed a pumpkin directly to our crew at the stern of USA 76.

Pumpkin singed by guest aboard during the Great Pumpkin Race

Pumpkin singed by guests aboard during the Great Pumpkin Race

With our prize pumpkin aboard, we proceeded to complete three tacks through the fleet of spinnakers descending through the strait. This was an early indication that the day would go in favor of the early starters. These slower boats had already completed 75% of the course just 20 minutes after our start. As we exited the strait and steered USA 76 toward Alcatraz, our speed topped 14kts. Just one more maneuver, a heavy weather jibe after Alcatraz was necessary to lay the finish line. We kept our speed up but in the strong breeze we only had 2-3kt speed advantage over much of the fleet, which was not enough to catch up. Take a look at the finish line video taken by Mike Gentry from the race committee boat.

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Thank you to all the guests who joined us to make this another memorable sail.

The 2013 Great Pumpkin Regatta Crew

The 2013 Great Pumpkin Regatta Crew

 

 

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