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The Difference a Day Makes at Berkeley Midwinters

Readers — Normally we run race reports from Berkeley Yacht Club in Latitude 38, in the Racing Sheet section, but due to the holidays, the December issue had to go to press early. Herewith is race committee ringleader Bobbi Tosse’s missive from the Midwinter races on December 14-15:


Thirty-nine boats came out to enjoy some of the finest Midwinter racing ever. We were able to start on time. The 10-15 knots of wind came from the same place all day. There were no DNFs [Did Not Finish] among the five divisions. It was fantastic!

Div. A start at XOC
The fast-boat start in Saturday’s race. Bobbi assigned a twice-around windward/leeward course.
© 2019 Ken Brown

The first-place winners also had something to cheer about. In Division A, Bob Harford on his Express 37 Stewball grabbed a first over his 11-boat division. Hoot, Andrew Macfie’s Olson 30, topped Division B by almost 3 minutes on corrected time. Will Paxton’s Express 27 Motorcycle Irene was accused by a fan of not playing with the rest of the Expresses. The Olson 911S Heart of Gold with 2019’s Queen of the Women’s Circuit, Joan Byrne, grabbed first in Division C by almost 2 minutes. Jim Snow’s Raccoon edged out a first in the Cal 20s. And, not too surprisingly, most of the aforementioned winners are also leading in the cumulatives.

Sky broaching at Berkeley Midwinters
Saturday’s ‘fun’ on the J/80 Sky.
© 2019 Philip Freeman


Things were quite different on Sunday. Some of you may remember our efforts to bring the wind last month — bring out the lunches, muck up the cockpit with complicated snacks, etc. (Taking clothes off was discussed, but it is wintertime.) These ploys were attempted again — to no avail. After almost two hours of waiting, one of the racers contacted us on VHF to let us know that they were leaving. As if by magic, a breeze arrived. It wasn’t a great breeze, nor was it a very long course, but a race did occur. The magic gold star goes to Larry Levit’s Express 27 Archimedes. They changed their minds and stayed to race.

An indication of how ‘midwintery’ this breeze was can be seen in the finishes. The course was about 2 miles long, and all the elapsed times were about 1 hour — give or take. Of the entire 34-boat fleet,16 finished within 4 minutes, 31 seconds. One comment heard at the bar: “Well, that was fun!”

First place congrats to Ray Wilson on the Melges 24 Magoo in Division 1; Motorcycle Irene; the Express 27 driven by Julie Paxton (I think?); Jasper Van Vliet in the J/24 Evil Octopus in Division 2; Chase Englehart, Richmond YC Junior on the J/22 RYC 2 in Division 3; and Fred Paxton doublehanding the Alerion 28 Zenaida. (None of the singlehanders showed.)

Full results are up on Jibeset. Happy Holidays to all!

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This Is Not a Good Sign
Jim Hancock has been a busy guy. How do we know? He sent us the photo below of his dockline sprouting grass after our seasonal rains. That's not a good sign for someone we know who loves to be sailing the Bay.