We now bring you photos from Saturday’s downwind leg of the Great Vallejo Race, as seen from a healthy distance aboard a 24-ft cruising boat under sail trying to get as close to the action as possible without getting in the way.
They’re off! Again. The 11 boats in the current Clipper Around the World Race, the most accessible circumnavigation race to the average sailor, started off Seattle yesterday under partly cloudy skies and light winds. The race will take the boats past the California coast directly to the Panama Canal, which they will transit and then resume racing to New York. The leg totals 6,091 miles and is estimated to take 38 days. The 40,000-mile race started last August in Liverpool and will finish back in Liverpool at the end of July.
Every time this race is run we marvel at the complexity of managing this for-profit venture that takes sailors and non-sailors on one of the most demanding challenges the world has to offer. A fleet of 12 identical, robust 70-ft monohulls with about 22 crew per boat left England last year, but one was lost on a reef off the coast of South Africa, with all hands saved. Now the remaining 11 continue the voyage. The youngest participant is 18; the oldest is 76. There are 712 crew; of which 198 are women. There are 41 nationalities, with Brits by far the largest group and Americans second. The race has been run every two years since 1996, with more than 5,000 crew participating.
The boats are just leaving the Strait of Juan de Fuca and will be off California in a few days. Winds are light and building. Many of the current crew are doing the full circumnavigation and just finished the 5,000-plus-mile North Pacific leg from Qingdao to Seattle. Now, after some rest, they are joined by some of the ‘leggers’ who do segments of the full regatta. All 200+ crew are now underway on the 6,000-mile leg to NYC. We’ll give a wave as they sail by. You can follow (or join!) the adventure here.
We are just now getting reports of a sailboat that went aground at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica this weekend. Four people reportedly sustained minor injuries when the 33-ft boat drifted into the beach on Saturday night and went hard aground (one woman was seven-months pregnant). The crew said they were having engine problems. The gaff-rigged vessel had a hailing port of Sparks, NV, and was reportedly headed for San Diego. We’re going to link to KTVU for the story, but if you have any information, please let us know.
This story has been updated.
With the YRA’s Great Vallejo Race and St. Francis Yacht Club’s Elvstrom Zellerbach Regatta occurring in the last weekend in April instead of the more-typical first weekend in May, that leaves next weekend wide open. Many smaller club races will take advantage of the opportunity. One that missed getting in our Calendar is the Butte Sailing Club’s Spring Feather Fiesta Regatta.
What about big regattas? For J/105s on San Francisco Bay, the obvious answer will be the J Stop Regatta at StFYC. As of this morning, 19 boats were registered. In San Diego the big event this week, SDYC’s Yachting Cup, will start on Friday.
On May 9-12, Long Beach YC will host the Farr 40 North Americans. The Oregon Offshore, a qualifier for this summer’s Vic-Maui Race, will start on May 10. Ocean action closer to shore will feature the OYRA Duxship Race on May 12, which rounds the Duxbury Reef Buoy and the Lightship. Another YRA event on May 12, the first day of CBRA racing for the 2018 season will be hosted by SFYC on the Circle. Alerion Express 28, Bear, Bird, Cal 20, Folkboat, IOD, Knarr, Santana 22, Olson 25, J/24 and Etchells are the invited classes.
May 19 will be the date of the SSS Singlehanded Farallones Race, a local rite of passage. SFYC’s Elite Keel Regatta will be held on May 19-20, as will Lake Yosemite Sailing Association’s 20th Spring Regatta (sign up today to take advantage of the early-bird special).
The weekend of May 19-20 brings us to the big boat/PHRF portion of the second-ever Made in Santa Cruz Race Week. MISCRW2 will continue on Thursday, May 24, with racing for Jesters and MISC El Toros. On Friday the 25th, the Santa Cruz 27 Nationals and Moore 24 PCCs will begin, with Moores finishing on Sunday the 27th and the SC27s finishing on Monday the 28th (Memorial Day)
Conflicting in part with MISCRW2 will be the third annual California Offshore Race Week, a brilliant concept combining — and revitalizing — the Spinnaker Cup from S.F. Bay to Monterey (starts May 26), the Coastal Cup from Monterey to Santa Barbara (starts May 28), and the SoCal 300 from Santa Barbara to San Diego (starts May 31).
Another Vic-Maui qualifier, the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, hosted by Royal Victoria YC, will start on May 24. The Memorial Weekend Regatta on Whiskeytown Lake outside Redding will welcome trailer-sailors on May 26-27. Activity within San Francisco Bay on Memorial Day Weekend will include the always-scenic Master Mariners Regatta on Saturday the 27th, and StFYC will host the International 14 Nationals on May 26-28.
Many more events are available for race boats large and small; see our Calendar in the May issue of Latitude 38, coming out tomorrow, for a more complete list.