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April 10, 2023

WesMex International Small Boat Regatta Drew Large Fleet

The 17th WesMex International Small Boat Regatta, hosted by the Vallarta Yacht Club in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, was an international event, with a couple of Opti sailors from Washington joining over 70 Mexican-national Opti sailors for warm-air, steady-breeze sailing in Banderas Bay. And although the regatta was held at the end of February, we just had a look at the photos received from photographer Wendy Wendy. We’re sharing so that folks who might want to provide some more “international” flavor for the regatta next year can plan ahead.

Optis WesMex
Competing among over 70 Optis will help anyone tune up their Opti racing game.
© 2023 Wendy Wendy

The WesMex Regatta is considered one of the most important regattas in the Mexican Circuit. This year’s event included Optis, 420s and ILCA (Laser) dinghies.

WesMex Regatta
Big fleets, blue skies, warm air greet everyone who heads to Banderas Bay for the annual WesMex Regatta.
© 2023 Wendy Wendy

Banderas Bay is a winter sailing gem long known as an ideal destination for southbound cruisers. But beyond the visiting cruisers there is a very active local sailing and dinghy racing scene. Add it to your calendar for 2024.

Caption Contest(!)

Welcome to this month’s Caption Contest(!). The photo below was sent in by Berkeley Green of Newport Coast Sailing. (You’ll also find it in the February Sailagram gallery.) We’ve been wondering what happened when the sailors caught up to the Duffy …

Caption contest_April '23
Your caption here.
© 2023 Berkeley Green

See the March contest winners in April’s Loose Lips.

The San Francisco Cup Then and Now

A Blast From the Past

It’s always fun to open an email from Cinde Lou Delmas of the bright green Alerion 38 Another Girl. You never know what’s coming your way. On March 24, the day before the San Francisco Cup challenge between St. Francis Yacht Club and San Francisco Yacht Club, she sent the shot below of the very first San Francisco Cup held in 1967.

The winning crew of Andale included, left to right seated: Peter Sutter, John Matarangas and Dennis Jordan; standing are Kevin O’Connell (the caption in the newspaper clipping had his name wrong), Bob Keefe, Len Delmas (Cinde Lou’s dad), Dick Connick and skipper William Stewart III. Cinde Lou says, “All these old salts are gone now.”
© 2023 Diane Beeston

Early History of the San Francisco Cup

Cinde Lou reached out to journalist Kimball Livingston, a staff commodore at StFYC, to fill us in on more details. According to Kimball, StFYC’s W.L. Stewart, known as Bill, won the event with his Cal 32 Andale against Hank Grandin’s SFYC-flagged Cal 32 Amorita. (See a lot more on the Amorita here.) Despite being called Cal 32s for their waterline length, the boats were 46 feet long. “Stewart and Grandin had known each other since growing up racing Snowbirds in Newport Harbor,” said Kimball. “Their mothers were in each other’s weddings.

“The first San Francisco Cup was a very cozy affair. Bill and Hank had each raced Transpac with their fathers, Bill on Chubasco [a 67-ft yawl] and Hank on Dragoon [a 66.6-ft ketch]. StFYC has full models of both boats.”

For the next two years, Theo Stephens represented StFYC with his new aluminum S&S Alpha, but Amorita prevailed twice. For SF Cup #4, St. Francis recruited Hank Easom to sail Alpha. Easom won the battle of the Hanks.

Cinde Lou recalls that at StFYC in 1967, “Girls were not allowed in the Men’s Grill, so we had to watch with women — they didn’t race. It was uncomfortable for me, but my mom was fine. She told me to go outside and enjoy the race. So I did.” Cinde Lou’s been sailing and racing ever since.

San Francisco Cup 2023

“Now they have women racing, and juniors — fantastic!” commented Cinde Lou. This year’s regatta featured three divisions: adults racing in Express 27s, women racing in J/22s, and kids racing in RS21s. StFYC was the Defender and host. Skippers representing the club were Scott Sellers at the helm of Bill Dana’s Express 27 Simply Irresistible, Evan Brown for the women’s division, and youth skipper Arthur Serra. StFYC provided the J/22s and RS21s.

Commodores Madeline Morey, SFYC, and Beau Vrolyk, StFYC
Commodores Madeline Morey, SFYC, and Beau Vrolyk, StFYC. They could just arm wrestle for it, but that’s not the way yachtspeople do things.
© 2023 Chris Ray

Skippering for the Challenger, the Belvedere-based SFYC, were Sammy Shea at the helm of Bill Moore’s Express 27 Shenanigans, Lucy Wilmot for the women, and youth Hailey Thompson.

Two J/22s with spinnakers
A race in the J/22 (women) division.
© 2023 Chris Ray
Two RS21s with umpire boat and spectator sailboat
A close race in the RS21 (youth) division.
© 2023 Chris Ray

After four flights each day on March 25-26, SFYC tallied two more wins than StFYC to capture the rather impressive Cup and take it back across the Bay to Marin. Click here for the event’s web page.

SFYC sailors with large burgee
The victorious SFYC team brought along the big burgee.
© 2023 Chris Ray

Australia’s Brisbane to Gladstone Fleet Races Amid Headwinds and Lightning Strikes

The 75th Brisbane to Gladstone Race (B2G), hosted by the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club, started on Good Friday (AEST) with a weather forecast for northerly winds and possible severe thunderstorms — both of which occurred. If you saw the footage of the storm that tore through the technical site on Day 2 of the Sydney SailGP, you’ll know that storms Down Under are often fast and furious. However, Neptune and the weather gods were in agreement, and the race concluded without major mishap or injury.

Of the 44 boats that started the race, nine retired due to issues ranging from torn sails to seasickness. Only one boat was unlucky enough to be struck by lightning: the Swan 38 Celeste. ABC News reported that despite losing her electronics, Celeste still had communications via her VHF and continued the race.

Brisbane to Gladstone race
Saskia Groen-in’t-Woud (front) and crew aboard Celeste.
© 2023

Line honors went to the TP52 Celestial, overall winner of the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Owner/skipper Sam Haynes told ABC that it had been a “brutal race due to extremely unusual conditions for this race … northerly winds and storm cells.”

Celestial crossed the line with a time of 1 day, 19 hours, 30 minutes and 53 seconds.
© 2023

It’s interesting to note the presence of Maritimo, the US-built Schumacher 54, which had previously won eight Rolex Big Boat Series races as Swiftsure II.

Another interesting feature was the inclusion of Addy Newlan, who at 14 was the youngest competitor in the race. She sailed with Maritimo Racing

Addy Newland (right) poses with Tom Barker, who did his first B2G at age12.
© 2023

You can find footage of the race start here, beginning at 44:39.