Team Building Challenge with Omega

We are happy to have hosted Omega Watches aboard USA 76 once again to sail with us on San Francisco Bay for a team building event.

Omega sailed back to back yesterday in two attempts to top our SF Bay Challenge leaderboard.  The timed race event was a special outing for Omega ambassadors to enjoy San Francisco Bay while focusing on teamwork.  Success is only achievable if the group performs as a whole with effective communication on board the yacht.  This requires stepping outside of one’s comfort zone and learning through active participation.  Very few of our sailors had any prior experience in yacht racing, but were able to immerse themselves and learn with the tools and advise the ACsailingSF team provided.  Both the morning and afternoon groups were successful in achieving fast times while sailing on the America’s Cup race course here in San Francisco.

Have a group that wants to take the team building Challenge?
Call: Warren Allan (619) 630-6383
Email: Warren@ACsailingSF.com

Summer Sailing on the Bay

We’ve been having a great start to our summer sailing season here on San Francisco Bay.  Some of our highlights as of recently:

Racing

We’re more than half way through the summer series — the South Beach Yacht Club’s Friday night beer can racing.  USA 76 has lined up with local racers for pleasant evenings racing the course down by the SF Giant’s Stadium (we even managed tv footage a couple times!).  All of our guests aboard have helped race USA 76 with great enthusiasm, making for very memorable races.

4th of July Celebration

USA 76 was amongst the festivities once again this year.  The fireworks sail is amongst our most popular events of the year.  We sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge as the sun was setting, then dropped sails and enjoyed a very up-close viewing of San Francisco’s fireworks show from the water.  The 4th also marked the 13th birthday of USA 76!

 

5 Things to Know About Racing USA 76

USA 76 has been racing quite frequently lately.  The new series she entered in is the South Beach Yacht Club’s Friday night races.  These races are open to anyone who wishes to help us crew and race against other boats.  Here’s 5 things to know about racing USA 76:

“What is it like?”  Racing USA 76 is most definitely a team effort.  The 84 foot race yacht takes participation and in order to fly around the racecourse.  There is a great deal of timing and coordination amongst the crew, who pitch in with headsail changes, trimming and maneuvering the yacht.  Everyone gets to take the helm and help out grinding the pedestals.

Have no racing experience?  It’s OK! Our crew is very knowledgeable and make it very easy for any first-timer to feel like a seasoned professional.  We explain the racing basics and teach you how to get involved.

“What’s the difference between races vs. the regular sails?”  Typical charters have us sailing in the central Bay and performing maneuvers less frequently. Racing has a faster pace, with a more refined mindset geared towards performing well against the fleet.  The intensity level is cranked up a bit and everyone involved has fun completing the course.

“Who do we race against?” Since we are almost twice the size of the other boats racing, it is often asked who our competition is.  The racing is all handicapped (PHRF), so the times correct out at the end allowing boats of different sizes to race against one another.  Still curious? Click here for more about PHRF ratings, Performance Handicap Racing Fleet.  USA 76 has a rating of -78. 

“Where do we race?” This summer USA 76 is racing with the South Beach Yacht Club (which is located at Pier 40 by the Giants stadium).  This has us sailing just south of the Bay Bridge.

Race_Schedule

GGYC Youth Sailor Races aboard USA 76

Another recipient of the Hoke Sailing Grant was selected to race aboard USA 76.  Olivia Dreilinger from the Golden Gate Yacht Club Youth Sailing Program sailed as crew for the February 7th Midwinter race on San Francisco Bay.  She describes her experience in her own words:

America’s Cup Challenger USA 76 Regata Report
Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta, Midwinter Race 4
By Olivia Dreilinger, February 7th, 2015


I had no idea what to expect, but was nervous and excited as I arrived at Pier 39’s Dock B and saw the USA 76.  After a quick orientation we boarded the boat and ventured out of the harbor.  I had the privilege of assisting the crew with multiple tasks throughout the sail.  First I raised the main sail using one of the grinders which was quite a task because of the 115 foot mast height and massive sail.  I got to time the start which felt like a lot of responsibility and definitely added to the anticipation.  I had to yell out at 30 second intervals the remaining time until the starting gun would sound, which was a fun challenge because I’m generally more quiet.  The start went reasonably well as we were the 2nd boat over the line after the TOMCAT.

Much to my surprise and delight they let me take the wheel on the first leg of the race.  This was both frightening and exhilarating because most of my prior experience has been on FJ’s and 420’s.  I learned that the USA 76 is a member of the International Americas Cup Class with a few small modifications including the metal safety rails along the perimeter.  This particular boat was used by Oracle BMW racing to compete in the 2003 America’s Cup.

The race was conveniently timed between two storms, so the weather was actually not too bad.  The wind came in from SSE at approximately 9mph, which is slightly above San Francisco’s average of 8mph in magnitude, but the south east direction was unusual.  We finished in 6th place at 1:12:27 (PHRF adjusted to 1:23:46) after Bodacious, Zamazaan, California Condor, Tomcat, and Wicked Sister, all of which used spinnakers. I learned that the US Coast Guard has a restriction on sail area in the bay and consequently the USA 76 cannot use a spinnaker because of the excessive power it would create. The boat mainly lost time due to the fact that legs three and five were on a lay line, preventing USA 76 from using her greatest advantage: the ability to sail closer to the wind.

I am very thankful to Ellen Hoke, Golden Gate Yacht Club, and the USA 76’s crew for providing me with this fantastic experience, many new insights to sailing and an amazing unforgettable memory.

Race Log: GGYC Midwinters, Race 4

 

Photo credit: Pat Lopez

Both USA 76 and TOMCAT lined up again last Saturday for race 4 of the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s midwinter series.  In the midst of a winter storm, the brief weather window cooperated for what turned out to be fantastic conditions on the Bay.  Our guests aboard both boats played an important role as crew members for the day, getting the boats around the course quickly and efficiently.

TOMCAT and USA 76 finished one, two, respectively across the finish line… but being on such fast boats, our corrected time was a different story.  At the end of the day, it doesn’t get much better than spending time on the water, nailing down maneuvers, and finishing well.

The USA 76 crew

USA 76 Race Crew GGYC Midwinters Race 4, 2015

 

The TOMCAT crew

TOMCAT Race Crew GGYC Midwinters Race 4, 2015

Youth Sailors on USA76 / ACsailingSF

Reposted from Ellen Hoke Sailing Photography – by Ellen Hoke

For the 2014-2015 Mid-Winter season, I wanted to “pay it forward” in the sailing community.  Working with ACsailingSF, I have established the Hoke Sailing Grant with a purpose of providing the opportunity for sailors in the Golden Gate Yacht Club Youth Sailing Program the chance to race during the GGYC Mid-Winter Regatta on USA76, a former America’s Cup racing vessel.

The recipients of the grant from December and January have written reports on their experience.  Two races remain in the series, so two additional youth sailors will have the opportunity to get out there and race for their club on an America’s Cup yacht.

My ACsailingSF Experience – by Anahita (January Race)

As I am going to pursue my studies in Paris, the water and sailing on the bay is the one thing I will miss the most. Being a sailor and spending quality time on San Francisco Bay, it was with great honor and appreciation that I was able to crew for USA76 during the GGYC Mid Winter Regatta on January 3, 2015.

As a big fan of Oracle Team USA and the America’s Cup, it was fulfilling a childhood dream of mine to sail on one of the boats previously used in the America’s Cup, and previously used by some of the best sailors in the world. I was in awe of the way USA76 skimmed the choppy bay with perfect fluidity and grace. I have watched this boat glide through the water, but being onboard this majestic piece of history was surreal. Every moment of this regatta was enriching: from learning the history of the boat and its origins, to feeling my adrenaline pump as we approached each mark with speed and energy. It was very interesting to hear the crew strategize about how to sail every leg of the race.

Although I was having a great time on the water, I was also learning new tactics from the crew. Onboard, I got to grind and skipper for the whole first leg of the race. I did not know the other people guest crewing for USA76, but working together as a team created a special bond between us and I was not shy to talk to most of the other team members.

It was an experience I will never forget. I hope to be able to sail on this amazing boat again someday. I would like to thank Ellen Hoke from the bottom of my heart for the experience of a lifetime, because without her, none of this would have been possible!

Merci Beaucoup,
Anahita

After racing, the GGYC Tender did a drive by in support

After racing, the GGYC Tender did a drive by in support

My ACsailngSF Experience – by Sterling (December Race)

On December 6th, 2014, I embarked on a ride on USA76 with a crew who I’ve never met before. Being on the boat was something magical due to its history of being raced by some of the best sailors in the world. My experience sailing with its crew and other passengers was fantastic.Being around people who didn’t really ask too much about my personal life wasn’t really an issue since everyone’s focus was on sailing as well as my own. I was able to work the grinders a whole lot which was so much fun as well as being able to skipper for awhile! I actually enjoyed grinding a lot more because I race small boats such as the FJ and 29ers and being designated as the crew meant a lot to me on the inside.

Throughout my time on the water, I was able to get over the weird feeling of not knowing anybody and simply focussed on doing my job as a crew and having fun while doing so. I didn’t really talk too much to everyone but if I could take back one thing back it would be that. Being the youngest on the ship felt a bit weird but as I kept working with everyone and sharing a few laughs here a there, I wished that I got to learn from these older men who had years of experience with sailing who were probably on an entirely different level of sailing than I was for sure.

I personally wish I could sail for the rest of my life so by the end, being around these wise and positive people really made the experience so much more worth going than I expected. I hope that one day I could possibly be a crew member of such a beautiful boat such as USA76 all while working alongside many others whose goal is similar to mine – to sail and be happy.

I really enjoyed my time on the boat and I honestly wish I could do it a few more times in the near future before I leave to go to college. I would like to thank all the official crew members that I worked with on the boat who kept such a positive attitude throughout the whole regatta and to those who were alongside me for the ride who, in a way, made me feel accepted as someone who isn’t super familiar with sailing big boats.

Thank you so much for the experience,
Sterling

 

view the original blogpost 

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 GGYC Midwinters.  The 44th Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta is first Saturday of every month from November 2014 to March 2015 hosted by the Golden Gate Yacht Club.  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
10712408_777675595613470_1747708569563047253_oPhoto credit: Jack Everett
10700574_777675625613467_4242334212947666971_oPhoto credit: Jack Everett

TOMCAT

10700165_777675698946793_6883166855586258837_oPhoto credit: Jack Everett

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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