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Express 27s Take Berkeley by Storm

A run on Saturday, the windiest day of the Express 27 Nationals.

© Louis Benainous

The 35th Express 27 National Championship was sailed on the Berkeley Circle during the first storms of the season on October 14-16. You might expect that with rain heavy at times and wind blustering into the 30s that the fleet might take it easy and not get in all seven races on their schedule, but these are no fair-weather sailors.

Hang 20 on Saturday, just before their spinnaker blew up.

© Erik Simonson

"This is the most boats we’ve had in 10 years," commented fleet captain Zach Anderson. Michele Logan, who sailed on the Tahoe-based Eagle, reflected that the racing was "really intriguing with 24 boats, really tactical." 

Some of the Corinthian YC contingent after the racing on Sunday. "It’s the Ultimate Social Machine," said Scott Petritz, far left, of Tequila Mockingbird.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

So many Express 27 sailors showed up that host Berkeley YC canceled their own Oktoberfest race and went all in to support the visitors. The club had just run the Express 37 Nationals the weekend before. Commodore Patrick Hind-Smith mused, "Two Nationals back to back — would we do that again? We’d have to talk about that."

New to the fleet, boat partners Moni Blum and Lori Tewksbury of Hang 20 were named ‘Rookie of the Year’ — and given jackets to prove it. "We sailed 47 races this year," said Tewksbury.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

At the awards ceremony, Anderson, a partner in Motorcycle Irene, declared that, "We all owe Carl a big hug in the sky for designing such awesome boats." He was referring, of course, to the Express’s designer, the late Carl Schumacher. "We had just north of 30 knots and not a rig came down."

The level of excitement remained high through all seven races, as all the podium positions were still in contention going into to the final race on Sunday. Motorcycle Irene led by one point but found themselves on the wrong side of a wind shift, and Nick Gibbens successfully defended his title on Shenanigans.

Back at BYC on Sunday afternoon, the Shenanigans crew celebrated their victory. Left to right: Keith Stahnke, Seadon Wijsen, Nick Gibbens, Steve Marsh and Ashley Burke. This was Shenanigans’ fifth Nationals win.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We’ll have more in Racing Sheet in the November issue of Latitude 38. In the meantime, see

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