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Cityfront Racers Get a Better Blackaller

On Sunday, December 5, Lisa Blackaller Williams cracked a bottle of champagne on the side of a new, and much larger, YRA buoy #16. The buoy is named after her father, Tom Blackaller, a two-time Star Class world champion, three-time America’s Cup competitor, and world-renowned sailor. Bill Dana, commodore of St. Francis Yacht Club, kicked off the ceremony. A series of toasts and roasts followed by former crewmates, including Ron Young, Ken and Kerry Keefe, Sean Svendsen, Ted Eden, Robin Moseley O’Connell, Fred Krauss, Bruce and Lynne Munro, Tom Ducharme, Russ Silvestri, Tad Lacey, Tony Chargin and Scott Easom. Scott also donated his time to paint and equip the new buoy with heavy ground tackle, to repaint and repurpose the old buoy as the Anita Rock offset, and to re-anchor both buoys.

Blackaller family with new Blackaller Buoy
The new mark #16 should be much easier to spot from a distance. Left to right: Teddy Williams, Ron Young, Lisa Blackaller Williams, Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault.
© 2021 Denis Marriott

Under the guidance of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, the Thomas D. Blackaller Jr. Buoy Fund purchased the original 1989 buoy and this super-sized replacement. Event Toastmaster Ron Young announced that the ceremony, and a Zoom call featuring many of Tom’s famous competitors, will be edited into a special Wednesday Yachting Luncheon in early 2022. The project was the brainchild of two-time StFYC Sailor of the Year Bruce Stone. “Especially with our aging eyes,” commented Bruce, “we hope to make it a little easier to spot the Bay’s most famous weather mark and hopefully not overstand it.”

Knarrs at Blackaller Buoy
Although we look forward to a more visible mark, we saw a bit too much of the old Blackaller Buoy last weekend.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

‘Overstanding’ was not the problem last Saturday, when racers in the Golden Gate YC Seaweed Soup Regatta took it to port and promptly drifted backward, swept up in San Francisco Bay’s attempt to empty out the morning’s king tide. We’ll have more on that in Racing Sheet in the January issue of Latitude 38.

Denis Marriott shot this short video of the buoy being splashed on Sunday:

1 Comment

  1. Christine Weaver 2 years ago

    “Blackaller Buoy is missing!” wrote John Kalucki on December 20. “It was the leeward mark for the YRA DH Midwinters yesterday, and chaos reigned as we tried to round a mark on GPS.

    “Not that it mattered much. So little wind that the few boats that did stick it out all finished within a few minutes and seconds of the 4 p.m. curfew.”

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