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Catamaran Racing for the 99%

August 23, 2013 – San Francisco Cityfront

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Ferrari thrills with Volkswagen pricing: F18s are fast, fun, and accessible. © 2018 Courtesy Cherie Sogsti

This Sunday over a dozen Formula 18 catamarans will be racing a short course right in front on the Marina Green in San Francisco starting at 11:15 a.m., and the price is right — the AC Open F18 Showcase Regatta is free!

Sunday's spectacle will feature both ends of the fast cat spectrum: the big cats (AC72s) and the small cats (F18s). Formula 18s travel one boat length per second, which is the same distance traveled by the foiling AC72s. And after the F18 show, the AC72s are scheduled to compete in two races in the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals.

Formula 18 racing catamarans weigh 396 lbs and can reach speeds over 25 miles per hour. “This is sailing for the 99%” said Cherie Sogsti who is driving her boat this weekend. “We bought our used catamaran and all the gear a few months ago for $10,000. New boats cost $25K. I’ve sailed more than 20 types of boats over the last decade and I’ve never had more fun than when I’m gliding over the water on my 18-ft cat.”

Fast, fun. . . and when they capsize it's easy to right them. © 2018 Courtesy Cherie Sogsti

Want to find out if a catamaran is the right boat for you? Come by the Marina Green Sunday afternoon and meet more than a dozen F18 catamaran sailors from all over California. The F18 fleet includes men and women off all ages, from sailors who aren’t old enough to vote to racers who qualify for a senior discount. The catamarans will be on display Sunday on the Marina Green grass for the public and the F18 sailors will be available to answer questions.

Seventeen-year-old champion multihull sailor Ben Brown is addicted to the thrills that the F18 delivers. “It’s not just the speed of a spinnaker catamaran,” says Brown who will race on Sunday. “It's the close communication between the helm and crew. Formula 18s are truly a two-person boat and balancing that relationship is an art.”

“With these high-performance catamarans, you get Ferrari speed on a used-car budget,” said Greg Retkowski, who will be racing Sunday. “You feel like you’re flying over the ocean.”

For more information about sailing F18s on San Francisco Bay click here.

- CS & GR

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Kiwis Still Need Three Wins

August 23, 2013 – San Francisco Cityfront

The Kiwis may be crushing the Italians, there are still three races to go before they can claim victory. © 2018 Abner Kingman / ACEA

Although Emirates Team New Zealand has been dominating the Italian-backed Luna Rossa Challenge during the Louis Vuitton Cup (now 4 to 1), they aren't yet popping celebratory Champagne, as they still need three more wins to cinch the LVC and advance to the big show — the America's Cup 34 Finals, beginning September 7. And every racer on the course is acutely aware that given the tremendous loads these still-experimental speed machines must endure, the threat of gear breakage is ever-present.

We'd be tempted to say, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings." But then there are no ladies in this contest, and scarcely an ounce of body fat among all team members. As is frequently noted, there has never been a class of AC boats that's more physically demanding, edgier or faster. 

Nary an ounce of flab -- nor estrogen -- can be found on any of the AC boats. © 2018 Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

Race 6 takes place today on the Cityfront at 1:10 p.m. and can be viewed live (in the U.S.) on ESPN3, beginning at 1. YouTube will carry it Internationally, and will make the complete race video available to all shortly after completion of the race. Races 7 and 8 are scheduled tomorrow. For complete info see the official AC 34 site.

- latitude / andy

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Ad: 2013 Windjammer's Race

August 23, 2013 – San Francisco to Santa Cruz

Join The Fun - 2013 Windjammer's Race - Labor Day Weekend

Racing to Santa Cruz

© 2018 Santa Cruz Yacht Club /

Sail in the classic late summer romp down the coast from San Francisco to sunny Santa Cruz! Classes for Cruising Boats, Shorthanded and Crewed Racers. New Saturday race-day – Party All Night!


Santa Cruz Yacht Club burgee

© 2018 Santa Cruz Yacht Club /

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Weekend Racing Preview

August 23, 2013 – California, New York and Estonia

Rhum Boogie in Drake's Bay
Wayne Lamprey's Quest 33 Rhum Boogie crosses the finish line of 2011's Drakes Bay Race I. Windier conditions are expected this year. © 2018 /

OYRA's two-part Drakes Bay Race, run by Corinthian YC, sails from Tiburon to Drakes Bay along the Point Reyes seashore on Saturday, anchors out overnight, and returns to Tiburon on Sunday. See

On Saturday, Elkhorn YC in Moss Landing serves as the destination for the Double Angle Race, with starts in Santa Cruz and Monterey. On Sunday, Encinal YC hosts Gracie & George, a coed doublehanded race with Gracie at the helm. The race starts in the South Bay and finished down the Estuary in front of EYC.

Some championship regattas this weekend include the Express 27 Nationals, starting today at Richmond YC, the Islander InterNationals — a weekend of racing inspired by the America's Cup, in which racers choose a country to represent — and the El Toro Worlds at Pinecrest Lake Saturday and Sunday. Traveling bull riders should be advised that the Yosemite fires are burning about 10 miles away, creating smoky skies and falling ash.

The Nationals for the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Olympic classes are being held August 23-26 at Oakcliff Sailing Center on Oyster Bay in New York. Also in New York, the U.S. Adult Sailing Championship at Rochester YC starts today in J/24s. Pat Toole and his crew from Santa Barbara YC are making their third run at the championship's Mallory Trophy. From just up PCH, David Klatt of Oxnard is sailing for Ventura YC.

Caleb Paine of San Diego, now ranked #1 Finn sailor in the world, will be among the field of 97 competitors at the Finn Gold Cup in Tallinn, Estonia, on August 23-31. He'll be sailing for St. Francis YC and Southwestern YC. Among the five other Americans, Andras Nady will also be representing StFYC, and Charles Heimler will sail for Encinal YC. Good luck to them!

You'll need to plan ahead for Labor Day Weekend, so here are a few of your many options:

  • Windjammers. The race from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, which is traditionally held on the Friday before Labor Day, has moved to Saturday, August 31. Shorthanded and cruising divisions are available, as well as the usual PHRF racing divisions. See
  • Day on Monterey Bay. Santa Cruz YC invites Windjammers sailors to stick around for Sunday's fund-raising regatta, which benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County. See
  • Jazz Cup, South Beach YC and Benicia YC battle each other for the Jazz Cup trophy. Everyone else is invited to vie for division prizes in a mostly downwind, warm weather race from Treasure Island to Benicia, followed by a fun party with live music and dinner at BenYC. The festivities kick off on Friday night with a dinner at SBYC. Be forewarned that the entrance to Benicia Marina gets as shallow as six feet at low tide, which is predicted for around 5 p.m. the day of the race, August 31. Enter before August 25 for a discount. See
  • BAYS #5. Tiburon YC hosts the junior set on August 31-September 1. See
  • Chicken Ship Regatta. The Master Mariners will be sailing their historic craft upriver to historic downtown Petaluma in search of answers to the questions, "Why did the chicken sail up the river?" and, "What is a blind dinghy race?"
  • Annual Labor Day Invitational Regatta. Santa Rosa Sailing Club,  August 31-September 2 on Tomales Bay, with launching at Miller Park and camping on Marshall Beach.
  • Redwood Regatta, hosted by Humboldt YC at Big Lagoon on August 31-September 1. "Camping at our traditional regatta site overlooking the lagoon opens up at noon on Thursday," writes Jim Christopher, who has some helpful tips. "On arrival, drive right on down to the beach. Offload boat and trolley next to the water, then park vehicle and trailer up close to the bank to maintain a clear path along the beach. The closest motels or cabins are 4-5 miles south of Big Lagoon on Patricks Point Drive, which parallels Hwy. 101. Gas, market and good restaurants are easy to find at Trinidad, which can be an interesting place to explore, especially if you've got a few hours and a bike."
Redwood Regatta
Lasers, Snipes, Lightnings, beach cats and more will race Labor Day Weekend on Big Lagoon north of Eureka. © 2018 Humboldt Yacht Club /

The International Knarr Championship (IKC) starts on August 31 and runs through September 7 at SFYC. The IKC only comes to San Francisco Bay every three years, alternating with Denmark and Norway. This year, 28 teams from Norway, Denmark, Germany and SF Bay will sail 10 races.

Knarrs in Copenhagen
Knarrs at rest in Copenhagen, circa 1998. © 2018 Larry Drew

- latitude / chris

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