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A Stampede of El Toros

A mellow Stampede ran through the Richmond Yacht Club on Sunday. The Stampede is the El Toro regatta that started it all in 1947. It’s the oldest annual race at RYC. The boats raced in Potrero Reach and off the docks at the club in a nice 10-knot westerly on smooth water. Well, mostly smooth except for the wakes caused by boat traffic heading out to watch the Fleet Week air show.

Running from mark 8.
Daymark #8 in the Richmond Harbor served as a turning mark for races finishing back at the yacht club.
© 2019

This race is rather quirky. Most of the action happens at Parents’ Point, a section of the Reach that allows an audience to watch from shore. Five races were held, the first a double windward/leeward with an adult division starting first, followed by junior sailors. The second race was to a finish back at the club, with three divisions of Lightweight, Medium and Heavy racers. Just in time for lunch entertainment, the Green Bottle Race sailed off the docks on a very short single W/L course. In the Green Bottle Race and Soda Social, you had to sail backward from the top mark to the finish. The reward for this was a bottle of gin for the winning adult and a six-pack of root beer for the winning kid.

Tom Burden won the Green Bottle Race. The prize is a bottle of Tanqueray gin.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Evan Sullivan
Evan Sullivan, 13, won the trifecta: the Soda Social, the Junior Division of the Stampede, and the Junior season. We’ll have more on him in one of our Season Champions features, probably in the December issue of Latitude 38.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Races four and five were back in the Reach. The three adult weight classes vied for the ultimate grand prize, a bag of steer manure. Longtime Bay Area racing champ Gordie Nash’s garden will benefit.

Gordie Nash
Gordie Nash won the bag of bull-you-know-what.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The Stampede was the final race of the Junior El Toro season, but the Senior Division has one more event, the Corkscrew Slough out of Sequoia YC in Redwood City on October 26. Learn more about all things El Toro at

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