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May 10, 2021

Vallejo Yacht Club Flies Its Colors

Yacht clubs and sailing organizations around the Bay are beginning to open their doors and invite members to untie their dock lines for some on-the-water fun. Weeknight beer can races are once again a source of enjoyment for sailors who want to take advantage of Northern California’s long summer evenings. David Smith was sailing aboard S/V Aerie, when he captured these great photos of boats and their crews enjoying Vallejo Yacht Club’s Wednesday night beer can races.

Vallejo Yacht Club
How good is it to see the big sails fly?
© 2021 David Smith
We do experience some wonderful evenings on the Bay.
© 2021 David Smith
Did you know that Vallejo Yacht Club, organized in 1900, is one of only seven yacht clubs on the West Coast that have reached their centennial?
© 2021 David Smith
The club was originally called The Vallejo Yachting and Rowing Club.
© 2021 David Smith

Each year Vallejo Yacht Club hosts the Great Vallejo Race, which can see as many as 400 boats sailing to Vallejo from Berkeley on the last Saturday of April or first Saturday in May. This year the race has been rescheduled to run on the first weekend in August. We all have our fingers crossed that restrictions are sufficiently lifted by then so that we can once again enjoy the spinnaker-spectacle of the Great Vallejo Race.

Friday Night Sailing Date with San Francisco Bay

Like a lot of Friday night dates, it didn’t start out well. The Friday night beer can skipper (who shall remain nameless) landed themselves in a bad spot — hit the start mark, did slow circles in the light air, and then proceeded to see if they could get the now-dismayed crew back in the game. A gentle, warm breeze and building flood meant smooth, flat-water sailing. We were straining to find an alternative lane that would suddenly transform the dismal start into a stunning upset, and though the crew worked mightily, the start set the trendline for the evening.

Then we remembered one of the other great reasons we sign up for Friday night races. We like to win cups when we can, but when we can’t, we stop and look around. It was spectacular out there, and we commit to the evening beer can series because we want a regular date with our boat and friends. The reactivated Matthew Turner set the tone as she was tucking in her sails in the setting sun after her evening sail. Porpoises played around our transom, and competitors passing in the other direction from the weather mark gave a friendly wave.

Matthew Turner
Matthew Turner cuts a fine silhouette in the setting sun.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Mitch
Friday night sailing - Little Harding
This looks almost perfect. Breeze, flat water and our weather mark just ahead. We never made it.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / JOhn
After rounding the weather mark, Youngster was slipping along nicely in the building flood.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

There was very little sign of more breeze anywhere. and our normally quick weather leg to Little Harding was getting longer with each upward tick of current and downward tick of wind speed. Weight to leeward, gentle trimming and careful tacks did nothing to get us much closer. At one point we did get within six boat lengths of the mark, but despite our sailing another 100 or more yards beyond the mark, the current was again too much, and the buoy was moving faster to the west than we were. Oh, well.

Express 27 Crystal Geyser
The Express 27 Crystal Geyser, still smiling, joined us in our futile quest to round the first weather mark.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Mitch

Like a runner on a treadmill, we tried everything but never got any closer to our destination. We finally shifted our attention away from the mark and back to our crew and our surroundings, and life improved once again. We decided to turn and go with the flow. We popped a cold one and had a relaxing, slow sail back to the docks.

Beneteau 10R Mulan
The crew on Michael Chammout’s Beneteau 10R Mulan was another competitor cheering us up with a wave.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

If you’re looking for a date with your boat, the Bay and friends, Sausalito Yacht Club will welcome you on Tuesdays and RYC, OYC, SCYC, StFYC on Wednesdays. There are many more on the calendar here.

In the end, we remembered that on many dates, the end-of-the-evening slow dance is the best dance.

New York Yacht Club Challenge for America’s Cup 37

The Challenge

On Thursday, May 6, New York Yacht Club submitted a challenge for the 37th America’s Cup to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. A draft Protocol accompanied the challenge, which would see the Cup Match take place in New Zealand during early 2024 in the AC75 monohulls used in America’s Cup 36.

American Magic and ETNZ sailing
In January, NYYC and ETNZ jousted during practice races ahead of America’s Cup 36 in Auckland. 
© 2021 Sailing Energy / American Magic

“The competition for the 36th edition was thrilling,” said NYYC’s commodore, Christopher J. Culver. “Emirates Team New Zealand, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, was a worthy winner.

“However, the New York Yacht Club, as the original trustee of the event and a participant in the most recent edition, has serious concerns about the future of this great competition. The cost of a competitive campaign, the lack of continuity in the class and the inability to plan beyond the current cycle have combined to create a prohibitive barrier to entry, which has manifested in the dwindling number of challengers and public interest. While we await further details on the location, timing and conditions for the 37th America’s Cup, we want to emphatically signal our enthusiasm for a multi-challenger event in 2024.”

Patriot gets airborne
Patriot’s capsize on January 17 during the Prada Cup Challenger Series dampened NYYC’s chances in AC 36.
© 2021 CoR36 / Studio Borlenghi

NYYC’s draft Protocol features these key concepts:

  1. A multi-event schedule for the next four America’s Cups, which will enable teams, corporate partners and media to plan in advance, think beyond single campaigns, and maximize revenue opportunities.
  2. Enhanced and independent event management via the creation of an America’s Cup Board of Governors, which will provide continuity and impartial oversight.
  3. Consistency in design, starting with the confirmation of the AC75 as the class for the 37th America’s Cup.
  4. Stronger crew nationality rules to draw more interest and to promote friendly competition between foreign countries.
  5. Cost-control measures; a predictable, and shorter, three-year cycle; consistency in platform; an increase in one-design components; and a limit of one new boat per Cup cycle, all of which will make the America’s Cup more accessible and more sustainable.

“By issuing this challenge, along with a Protocol, we are presenting a path forward for the event, one that will provide it with the tools to thrive in the modern international sports marketplace,” says Culver.

NYYC’s Cup History

NYYC won the America’s Cup in 1851, created the recurring event in 1870, and successfully defended the Cup 26 times. In 1983, Royal Perth Yacht Club won the Cup. NYYC was a challenger in 1987, 2000 and 2003. With the creation of the American Magic syndicate, the club returned to the America’s Cup in 2021.

Britain’s Royal Yacht Squadron is the Challenger of Record for AC 37; NYYC is the second Challenger. ETNZ has been quiet since March.

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