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Beer Can Check-in

A start in Encinal YC’s Summer Twilight Series on July 19. “The winds and tide were moderate with clear skies,” said photographer Fred Fago. “A perfect day for a sail on the Estuary.”

© 2013 Fred Fago

We’ve passed the mid-point in the beer can summer racing season – seemed like as good a time as any to check in with them.

A golden moment in mellow conditions for Frequent Flyer, Magic and Dare Dare in a SeqYC Wednesday night race.

© 2013 Shannon Amerman

The Sequoia YC Beer Can Race Series hit the mid-season mark on Wednesday, July 10. This series is a pursuit race, where each boat’s start time is based on their PHRF and the length of the course. They race out the Redwood Creek Channel into the South Bay and then finish back in the Redwood City Harbor turning basin. The goal is to have all the boats converging on the finish line at the end of the race. They’ve been getting 30-35 boats this year in multihull, Merit one design, and PHRF fleets. The Martini Fleet takes non-racing spectators out to watch the action. "The success of the BCR series is due to the willingness of Sequoia skippers to take new participants onboard as crew," said Tim Petersen, "and on email networking that encourages new skippers, crew and boats to join in. To date, everyone has found a ride." Petersen describes conditions typical for the season on San Francisco Bay with winds into the mid-twenties.

SeqYC gets a lively crowd back at the bar after the race.

© Tim Petersen

After each race, weekly winners are announced, race disputes are addressed, and stories and tactics shared over an informal dinner. "A number of sailors are musicians," said Petersen. "The club really starts to rock as the evening goes on. To top it all off two Beer Can Racers tied the knot at the club after one of the races!"

Reefing madness on Bill Chapman’s Catalina 27 Latin Lass, in pre-start maneuvers for the BYC Friday Night Race on July 19.

© Sharon Hind-Smith

At Berkeley YC, the beer can races are held every Friday night from the beginning of April through the end of September – right in the Slot on the Olympic Circle. Fleet captain Patrick Hind-Smith describes the race on July 19: "Blustery and wavy conditions with a nice July evening breeze to 20+ knots on the Circle saw 13 boats at the start of what all said was a very wet ride. The committee boat agreed! The longer evenings and stiff breezes dictate medium to longer courses, and we still get in with good coals on the grill." First back to the finish off the BYC deck on July 26 was birthday boy Bill Chapman’s Catalina 27 Latin Lass. "The man has been bringing home firsts for many years," commented Patrick, who added, "Hey now, where did all the Santana 22s and Cal 20s go? Come back!" The Bay Bridge closure and resulting traffic snafus undoubtedly resulted in some no-shows around the Bay last Friday.

Bob Walden’s Cal 39 Sea Star always has room on the rail at BYC’s beer cans. “This pic typifies what we all want in beer can races… participation!” said BYC’s Patrick Hind-Smith.

© Sharon Hind-Smith

For more info and contacts for these and many other summer evening race series, see Golden Gate YC’s beer can series was canceled this year due to all the activity revolving around the America’s Cup. They are, after all, the host club.

Do you dare take the Latitude 38 Beer Can Challenge? The rules are simple: Sail in any five consecutive beer can races in one week, Monday-Friday, then write in and tell us all about it. You don’t have to sail on the same boat in all five races, and you don’t have to be the skipper. The rewards are simple too: 15 minutes of fame and a Latitude T-shirt!

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