Brisk breeze and gusty puffs promise two things for the Delta Ditch Run: a fast race with early finish times, and carnage along the 65-mile course.
Those were the conditions for the 31st running of the race from Richmond to Stockton this past Saturday, June 11. Although no records were broken, they were at least trembling nervously. (The monohull and multihull records were set way back in 1998, by the Santa Cruz 50 Octavia and the D-Class cat Rocket 88, respectively.)
In addition to gear failure minor and catastrophic — and sunstroke in 100-degree heat — running aground is among the pitfalls of this tricky course. Several keels found mud or rocks, some just a touch-and-go, others with more stick.
The bulk of the fleet arrived plenty early to enjoy the hospitality of Stockton Sailing Club — all outdoors due to COVID. The weather was perfect for a late afternoon/evening of lounging around the vast lawn along the river, chowing down on BBQ, sipping a Mount Gay rum slushie — or laboring to haul out, lower the rig, and pack up.
One boat didn’t have to wait for the end of the race to take the mast down — the spinnaker pole did that for them near Little Venice Island around 6 p.m. Richard vonEhrenkrook’s Cal 20 Can O’Whoopass had a good chance at first place overall on corrected time when an ill wind ended their race. We’ll have more on that subplot and more photos from the race in the July issue of Latitude 38, when we’ll also hear from the small boat that did win overall — Scott Sellers’ and Harrison Turner’s J/70 1FA.
In the meantime, see results at https://www.regattanetwork.com/event/24093#_newsroom.
John Skoriak enjoyed some rousing sailing aboard the Matthew Turner for the annual Belvedere Classic Yacht Regatta, held out of San Francisco Yacht Club on Saturday. He sent us this report.
Let’s face it, when it comes to yacht racing, we can never get enough of classic sailboat regattas. Watching a 75-year-old schooner or ketch glide across the Bay — varnish gleaming, paint sparkling, and sails billowing — is the nautical version of “eye candy.” And now, thanks to San Francisco Yacht Club’s Belvedere Classic, which joins the Master Mariners and Jessica Cup in an exciting lineup of annual classic boat races, we can look forward to seeing more of the best of these wonderful classic yachts back on the Bay.
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID and related issues, the return of the Great San Francisco Schooner Race and Belvedere Classic is a welcome addition to any classic yacht aficionado’s calendar. This year, race chairman John Swain and the SFYC worked hard to get 15 boats signed up and on the starting line. The regatta featured not only schooners, but also ketches, yawls, and even a “guest appearance” by Call of the Sea’s brigantine Matthew Turner.
The regatta was a mirror of previous races under the banner of the Great San Francisco Schooner Race. Call of the Sea’s schooner Seaward, Brigadoon, and even the schooner Freda B would battle it out for line honors. Not all boats made it to the start line, or finished, but considering it was post-COVID, with all the uncertainty involved, it was a respectable start. And this year with the addition of sloops, ketches and yawls to the Belvedere Cup lineup, there were plenty of boats to root for.
Despite the forecast of a hot day (which it was), the wind filled in early, and the fleet got a strong breeze that gave the boats and their crews what they’d come looking for.
Back at the docks after the race, there were lots of stories about spray over the deck and crews getting doused. In other words, a typical day on the Bay!
After an exciting (and often wet!) race, the crews sought the quiet and comfortable refuge of the San Francisco Yacht Club deck. The club can arguably be called one of the nicest yacht club venues on the Bay, and last Saturday was no exception as the crew sat down to enjoy the club’s excellent BBQ and a cold beverage (or two …).
This year’s Great San Francisco Schooner Race and Belvedere Classic looked to be a rousing success, and the boats, crews, and classic-boat fans throughout the Bay will surely look forward to the same next year. – Woody.
Jeff Hawkins took first place in the Schooner division aboard Jakatan, and Bill Clausen took first place in the Classic Yacht (non-schooner) division aboard Cuckoo. The brigantine Matthew Turner took line honors in a division of her own.
See the full race results here.
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Last month we asked Latitude readers to share their favorite Northern California cruising grounds. In the June issue we explore their favorite getaways.
Here at latitude 37.77°, our reputation is that there aren’t many places to cruise outside the Bay. Well, yes and no. Compared with other parts of the country and world, there aren’t a ton of places to cruise or harbor-hop along the long, windswept coast of Northern California. The weather windows can be small (but predictable), the summer sea breezes can be stiff, and fog and cold air famously can define NorCal summers.
Still, we direct you to the map on the next page highlighting more than 10 cruising destinations, all within a day’s sail of the Central Bay. It’s out there if you want it.
Southern California has the Channel Islands and, by contrast to the north, more reasonable weather. (Exceptions abound, of course.) The East Coast has an infinitely craggy coast dense with charming, historical towns with new dinghy docks and shoreside facilities. There’s also a giant Intracoastal Waterway stretching along much of the Eastern Seaboard, so that cruisers can cruise without setting foot in the ocean.
Fret not, Northern California sailor. Just as sailing San Francisco’s challenging conditions produces outstanding mariners, so too can venturing beyond that Gate produce excellent, well-prepared cruisers. Northern California cruising offers sailors a little bit of everything.
Just a few hours to the north of the hustle and bustle of San Francisco lies Drake’s Bay. White cliffs sweep in a gentle, sandy crescent to create a well-protected bay offering an abundance of nature, as if you’d traveled back in time to pre-European California. Just a few hours to the south lies the town of Half Moon Bay with its well-protected anchorage. A little farther south, and you can grab a slip in Santa Cruz Harbor, where it’s about a 30-minute walk to the carnival-like boardwalk.
Looking for more nature? Just keep going south to Moss Landing, and be sure to bring your kayak or paddleboard to explore Elkhorn Slough. A little farther south still lies Monterey, with all the swimming, diving, paddling, sailing and shoreside strolling that you can handle.
You don’t have to leave the Bay at all to experience California’s richest cruising grounds: the Delta, which also offers a mix of nature and charming towns to explore. There are numerous spots around the Central Bay itself, as well, that offer excellent anchorages tucked into the Bay’s many nooks and crannies. Where will you sail?
Read on to discover some places you might have missed, at Latitude38.com.
At 5 a.m. today the 750-mile Race to Alaska started from Port Townsend, WA. The event website stated, “We’re back. 829 days since the world was canceled by the murder sneeze, R2AK Central is shaking off the cobwebs and getting back in the saddle for a long-delayed year of engineless hard-charging to Alaska.”
It’s a long wait to join a grueling race, but some are still willing!
And for today’s start on FB they said, “With a weather forecast between seasick and dangerous for the next two days, R2AK High Command is extending the proving ground (the first stage from Port Townsend to Victoria, BC) by 24 hours. Race start is still 5 am, Monday 6/13. Racers will need to finish in Victoria no later than 5 pm on Wednesday 6/15. No change to any Victoria schedule of events. Racers missing the Tuesday skipper’s meeting will get a make-up on Wednesday. Second start in Victoria is high noon on Thursday. Race hard, be safe.”
They started today, but those who survive stage one will still be on the water next Summer Sailstice weekend as they make their way north to the finish line with their eye on $10,000, or at least a hot shower. Follow their progress here.