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Great Pumpkin Regatta

The Great Pumpkin Regatta pursuit racers clog Raccoon Strait on Sunday.

© Peter Lyons

With plenty of breeze, a great turnout, and rockin’ shoreside entertainment, this weekend’s Great Pumpkin Regatta left little — if anything — to be desired. Richmond YC did a customarily great job of pulling off a huge weekend getting things off on the right foot with gin fizzes Saturday morning.

And the award for the “Best On-The-Spot Costume” goes to . . .

© 2009 Ken Byers

Over 150 boats in 19 classes showed up for Saturday’s three buoy races held on three courses. Their reward was a light flood and breeze that ranged from 8-12 knots in the first race, built to the high-teens in the second when a block of fog moved in over the top of the course, and low-teens in the third. With the exception of the second race, it was sunny all day and practically tropical back at the club. We overheard a racer remark, "Days like this make me feel sorry for the poor bastards on the East Coast." And yeah, it really was that pleasant.

The Howells even made a guest appearance.

© Marianne Armand

The centerpiece of the Great Pumpkin — indeed either of the club’s big regattas — is a rockin’ party on Saturday night. The party theme this year was "Castaways" and Gilligan’s Island characters could be found jammin’ down to a live band while the mojitos flowed.

Mary Ann, Gilligan and a rescuer.

© 2009 Sergei Zavarin

While Sunday didn’t quite have the breeze of the day before, a short postponement was all the race committee needed before a 10-knot westerly filled. Clockwise was the path of choice for the choose-your-own-direction "two-island fiasco" around Alcatraz and Angel Island. We’d guess that less than five percent of the fleet — which numbered over 200 entrants, although we’re not sure about the number of starters — tried to go the other direction, getting caught in the lee of Angel Island. Greg Greenlee’s J/22 Trinity was the eventual winner, taking advantage of the late ebb early in the race and the fact there was no real parking lot on the course — while it did get light through Raccoon Strait and Southampton Shoal, Trinity got through the finish line before hitting the slows.

Pursuit Race winner Greg Greenlee sails his J/22 Trinity past Alcatraz.

© Erik Simonson

If you missed this year’s Great Pumpkin, then you really missed out. You can find results for both days’ racing on the club’s website.

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