Latitude 38 ‘ad guy’ Mike Zwiebach relates the tale of how he got involved with the first Plastic Classic race:
"I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the spring of 1985 and went to work in a friend’s family’s Zodiac store in Oakland. My boating experience up to this point was in canoes and kayaks on rivers. I quickly joined the Bay Area sailing community, and started racing every weekend and sailing at any available opportunity, or would just go mess about in one of our rigged Zodiacs.
"San Francisco Bay can be an intimidating place to learn about and participate in sailing. Even though I quickly felt comfortable as crew, I did not have much experience running my own boat.
"In the summer of 1986, I was tasked with a unique opportunity — to take our 18-ft Zodiac with a 65-hp outboard to assist with a new race, the Plastic Classic! I was a little less than prepared to head across the Bay to San Francisco from the sheltered waters of the Oakland Estuary and locate the Bay View Boat Club, but I was assigned the duty by my boss and was ready to go. Then I learned that my main mission was to pick up the original ‘Plastic Classic’, Carol Doda, and transport her from The Ramp restaurant’s dock out to the committee boat so she could start the race.
"This was the best first voyage of a sailor’s life! I can’t even say that I remember her or the day that vividly, as I was preoccupied with my role as skipper of the Zodiac and the excitement of the inaugural race. My clearest memories are of completing my duties, enjoying the day and the people, and returning safely back to Oakland with our company boat in good shape. What a great start to my boating life."
The Plastic Classic is still going strong – we’ll have coverage of the 28th edition in August’s Latitude 38. Carol Doda has since retired from her career as an exotic dancer and now runs a lingerie shop in San Francisco.