Anyone who sailed Saturday or Sunday this past weekend found it one of the most pleasant winter weekends of the year. It was just about the opposite of yesterday’s cold, breezy day.
For Corinthian Midwinter racers the conditions over two days of racing provided enough challenges and wild cards to throw off the steadiest crew and cleverest race committees, but in the end they all came through in fine form.
Saturday’s forecast was for a big ebb, warm temperatures and light breezes. It sounded like a great day for a picnic but a worrisome day to race. The race committee wisely called for a postponement while those of us aboard Finistere looked across the glassy water skeptically, thinking it would never happen. A few boats let the race committee know they were heading home. Too bad for them. Bobbing around behind Angel Island was a great time to catch up with friends, have lunch, and apply sunscreen.
To our amazement, a whiff of breeze showed up, the postponement flag went down, and a starting sequence began. The course just had to include the new Hank Easom buoy off Yellow Bluff. Almost all of us had flower stems aboard, courtesy of Cinde Lou Delmas of Another Girl, that we could drop at the rounding in memory of Hank. The three-knot ebb made proper reverence difficult, but the flowers were tossed with heartfelt memories in mind. Also, the newly anchored Easom buoy held firm. The wind carried on and the race finished.
Sunday was just as beautiful, with winds that promised to be slightly more consistent and current that promised to provide just as much angst to navigate. Large logs and other debris added to the mini-golf-course obstacle course that was the Sunday race track. The race got off on time as the wind slowly shifted from southeast to westerly and then filled in enough to have sails and crews working hard. Sunday wasn’t as much of a picnic day — it was a full-on race day.
The two days of racing completed the sunny, two-weekend, four-race series that miraculously tucked itself in between a lot of wet, cold, breezy weekends. Winter racing is often too much wind or too little, though it’s always worth being out there. The recent Three Bridge Fiasco combined almost all of these conditions in just one day. Somehow, this year’s Corinthian series managed to draw a good hand and get in four sunny, warm days of racing.
While we’re getting a bit tired of saying it, the sailing/racing scene continues to return to more pre-pandemic times. During the past few years the post-race parties quieted down, initially because “it was the law!” and overall because it has been difficult for clubs and individuals to navigate what a “return to normal” should look like. The CYC after-parties and awards ceremony were well attended and felt like another step in the return to a normal racing scene. It was last spring we went to a “return to normal” sailing party and joined 30 other attendees in coming home with COVID. So far, so good this year.
It was a fantastic weekend of racing that included the opportunity to remember our lost competitor, Hank Easom, as we rounded the new buoy in his honor multiple times. We’re looking forward to the weather warming up for spring and more sailing and racing ahead. For complete Corinthian Midwinter results, click here.
This week’s host, Moe Roddy, is joined by Sheila McCurdy and Mary Crowley, two longtime sailors who now share a bond with the late Diana Russell. Sheila was the first female commodore of the Cruising Club of America (CCA), and Mary received the first-ever Diana Russell Award for Project Kaisei and her efforts with Ocean Voyages Institute.
Hear about the legacy of Diana Russell, the worst weather they’ve ever sailed through, how to reduce plastic in the ocean, the reality of the North Pacific Gyre (NPG), and their favorite sailing adventures.
This episode covers everything from plastic to the CCA. Here’s a small sample:
- When did Sheila and Mary start sailing on their own?
- What’s the worst weather they’ve ever seen on the water?
- How did Mary react when she learned she was to be given the Diana Russell Award?
- What is Project Kaisei?
- Where is the North Pacific Gyre?
- What is the Diana Russell Award?
- How was the Cruising Club of America formed?
- Short Tacks: Who has inspired Sheila and Mary the most in the world?
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Roy P. Disney’s well-traveled, turbocharged Volvo 70 Pyewacket is doing an Atlantic tour, having done the Jamaica Race last month, and is just now finishing the RORC 600 out of Antigua. She took monohull line honors with an elapsed time of 42 hours 45 mins 06 secs for the 600-mile race. Unlike her West Coast races, this one has lots of upwind, downwind and reaching.
The crew for the RORC included skipper Ben Mitchell, navigator Peter Isler, and crew Tony Mutter, Brad Jackson, Brian Janney, Daryl Wislang, David Tank, Jan Majer, Mark Callahan, Matt Mialik, Robbie Kane, Rodney Daniel, and Tristan Louwrens. Ben Mitchell was the stand-in skipper for Roy Pat Disney, who was not on board due to knee surgery.
“RP [Roy Pat Disney], thank you for letting us take your toy and racing the Caribbean 600 in a successful manner. We are so disappointed you are not with us to enjoy this spectacular victory,” commented Ben Mitchell. “The real wow factor is that Pyewacket 70 was here for the RORC 600 and this team is so good. We had a great mix of crew that know this course very well, and crew like me who experienced this wonderful race for the first time. Each leg is like a race in itself, which keeps everybody going, but on a boat like Pyewacket 70 those legs become very short. Getting any sleep is a challenge as the whole crew is up for every maneuver.”
Peter Isler added, “The name of the game for the navigator is to study the weather, and the nuances in this race are so different. When you get out there all your expectations can be blown. I had preconceptions of what the tactics are at different points in the race, and I will say at least half the time I was wrong! In this race you have to keep your eyes open and understand the fundamentals of weather and be ready to adjust to the changes. A great example was going through the lee of Guadeloupe; it is the big X factor in this race and a total nightmare for navigators. It seems so random as to where you go to get through that wind hole, and this year was unlike any other experience I have had going through the lee.”
The next monohull to finish the RORC Caribbean 600 is Volvo 70 I Love Poland (POL), skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski. Most of the fleet are expected to finish the race over the next two days. Callisto, pictured above, should be finishing later today. You can follow the boats still on course here.
St. Francis Yacht Club has announced the 2023 Spring Wingding Regatta, open to all wingfoil competitors, to be held April 14-16, 2023. The event builds on the success of 2022’s No Strings Attached Regatta — the first major wingfoil event held on the West Coast — and will also serve as wingfoiling’s inaugural Pacific Coast Championships.
Race organizers are planning a dynamic three-day regatta featuring a combination of course slalom racing, distance racing and freestyle competition. Participants will compete along the San Francisco Cityfront in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, with up to five races per afternoon. In addition, on Saturday, a distance race known as the San Francisco Bay Challenge will take place. This race includes a long windward-leeward Bay tour course that will take competitors from Crissy Field to Berkeley and back. Windsurfers and kitesurfers are also invited to compete in the San Francisco Bay Challenge.
“Wingfoiling has exploded in popularity in the world of watersports enthusiasts, and the simplicity of the gear is drawing new people to this kind of on-the-water activity. St. Francis Yacht Club has always been at the forefront of wind-driven board sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing and kitefoiling, fostering world champions such as Daniela Moroz and Johnny Heineken. Now, we’re committed to growing the sport of wingfoiling and we look forward to seeing the next generation of champions emerge in this thrilling new sport,” StFYC 2023 Commodore Beau Vrolyk said.
The Bay conditions on its doorstep are ideal for the event. “Steady afternoon breeze in the 15-20-knot range, combined with challenging currents and fetch that can kick up surfable waves, surrounded by sublime Northern California scenery, make Spring Wingding a bucket list regatta for eager competitors.”
Regatta Chair Geoff Headington said, “San Francisco Bay will provide epic conditions for wingfoilers from around the world and we’re looking forward to bringing this community together for some fun, fast competition and camaraderie with post-racing parties each night.”
Registrations are now open. Register by March 31, 2023, to receive a discounted entry fee.
The Notice of Race is available here.
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