Great San Francisco Schooner Race

John and Gena Egelston’s 1928 Lester Stone cutter Water Witch (right) prevails and handily earns a first in the Classic division at the 10th annual Great Schooner Race.

© 2017 Martha Blanchfield

Hot, hot, hot inland weather makes for great wind over San Francisco Bay — a sailor’s delight if you have plenty of sails to raise. Racers saw plenty of wind at the June 17 Great Schooner Regatta, beginning with an Ayala Cove area start line area in the midst of its shifting ebb and flood cycle. On leg one, crews sailed westward to Yellow Bluff, then took a cross-Bay run to Blossom Rock before wrapping with a blustery dash back to the finish line.

Showing a strong start off the line is John Carapiet’s Hinckley Bermuda 40 Legacy, which raced to a third-place finish within the Classic division.

© 2017 Martha Blanchfield

With timed starts for all entrants, many of the boats were within hailing distance of one another by the time they reached the southern end of Alcatraz. The crew of four aboard Freda, the first boat to start, had tucked past and were on their way to the next mark as the competition was nearing the calmer waters in the region. While Brigadoon had raised her striped green-and-amber fisherman far earlier, Seaward and Iolani took advantage of the wind reprieve behind Alcatraz to add or change sails.

All smiles aboard Jakatan as Jeff Hawkins’ 40-ft Jespersen 40 heads to the first mark at Yellow Bluff. The Great Schooner Race is an annual tradition for this crew, and this year they took a first.

© 2017 Martha Blanchfield

In the winner’s circle for the Classic division was Water Witch with a first, Iolani in second, Legacy in third and Freda fourth. The Gaff division awarded Jakatan a first and Brigadoon a second. In Marconi, Elizabeth Muir crossed ahead of Seaward.


The 10th annual Great San Francisco Schooner Regatta was hosted by San Francisco Yacht Club. Funds from the race are directed to supporting youth educational programs in the area.

You’ll have the chance to take a gander at some of the same boats, plus many others of their ilk, at the Master Mariners Wooden Boat Show this Sunday. Read on for details!

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Forests and forests of wood will be on hand for the Master Mariners Benevolent Association Wooden Boat Show on June 25. 
Who’s heading out for a summer solstice sail? Were you out there yesterday?