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Berkeley Midwinters and More Look Forward to Round 2 in December

Race start at XOC
The November Berkeley Midwinters used the fixed mark XOC as the startline pin. Identifiable in this photo are the race signal boat Windance (a Gulfstar 41), Dan McGuire’s Sweden 41 Resa, Katie Cornetta’s J/105 Nirvana, and Inspire Sailing’s J/105 Inspire.
© 2022

As December begins we look forward to the second round of the Midwinter Series races that kicked off in November. Among them is the Berkeley Midwinters, sailed on the second Saturday and Sunday of each month through February. Berkeley Yacht Club’s Mark Bird filed this report about the first weekend of racing on November 12-13.

The first weekend of the Berkeley Midwinters Series was exactly what we have all come to expect from the Midwinters. No wind. Or, if there does happen to be some wind, there is no way to know what direction it will come from. Nevertheless, 38 boats showed up in five divisions on Saturday, eager to race in whatever wind came our way.

Saturday Series

Saturday’s dead calm brought a 1-hour, 40-minute postponement. The race committee milled about the XOC mark like a mama duck followed by 38 ducklings. Finally, a very light 3.5-mph wind kinda filled in from the SW-S-SSE. We quickly dropped the mark and fired off the horn to get started. All 38 boats were on their way around a rather short windward/leeward course.

As it turned out, nearly the entire course was updwind, as just about the time the first boats rounded the windward mark the wind began to shift 180 degrees. This made for a beautiful, slow-moving spinnaker dance. All the spinnakers slowly rotated from a run to a reach and then finally a douse about midway to the leeward mark one mile to the north. The wind began to fill in from the southwest, which bunched the boats together at the leeward mark. Then it brought all the boats to the finish line in one glorious group, making for an exciting finish.

The J/111 SwiftNess, skippered by Nesrin Basoz, took first in the Carbon Fiber Everything Fleet (PHRF <84). The Olson 30 WYSIWYG, skippered by Hendrik Burns, crossed first in the We Used To Be the Fast Boats Fleet (PHRF 87-111); Will and Julia Paxton, skippering Motorcycle Irene, took first in the Express 27 ‘Nuff Said Fleet. The Santa Cruz 27 Sunshine Express, skippered by Ben Tallarigo, won the day in the Kinda Fast Fleet (PHRF 111-156). Paul Sutchek’s Cal 20 Slainte crossed first in the Don’t Leave Without Me Fleet (PHRF >159).

Alerions and Strange Magic
John Arnold’s Alerion 28 Diana, Larry Telford’s Islander 30-II Antares, and Mark Werder’s Islander Bahama 30 Strange Magic on a reach during Sunday’s race.
© 2022

Sunday Series

Sunday’s race started out with just enough wind (5-8 knots) coming from due north, which allowed for an almost-on-time start. Thirty-two boats in five divisions showed up for this one. As the race committee worked their way through the five starts, the wind began to drop, prompting a discussion of how best to shorten the twice-around windward/leeward course. In the end, the do-nothing approach won out, as the wind not only picked up to 8-12 knots but also shifted 90 degrees to the west, turning the race into a reach-athon. This actually turned out to be a fun race, with just the right amount of wind, even if it was a reach.

Frank Nagelmann, at the helm of the Olson 34 L’Attitude, crossed first in the Fast for Sunday Fleet (PHRF <126). The J/24 Froglips, skippered by Richard Stockdale, took first in the Anything Goes Fleet (PHRF123-168). In the Prettiest Girl at the Dance Alerion 28 one-design fleet, Fred Paxton and Arnie Quan on Zenaida took first. Mark Werder’s Strange Magic crossed first in the Not Too Terribly Fast Fleet (PHRF >171). In the I Wanna Hold Your Hand (Doublehanded) Fleet, Colin Moore and Alex Hanford sailed Colin’s Wylie Wabbit Kwazy together as equals to victory. Finally, in the Leave Me Alone (Singlehanded) Fleet, Paul Sutchek skippered Slainte to a lonely victory.

For complete standings and more info, see

Readers — Find many more Midwinter Series in our Calendar on pages 12-14 of the December issue of Latitude 38 and online here.

Factoid — BYC race committee volunteer extraordinaire Bobbi Tosse will miss December’s BYC Midwinters. She’ll be in Sweden with hubby John Clauser, who’ll be there to accept his Nobel Prize in Physics. — ed.

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