Richmond YC’s Great Pumpkin Regatta was held last weekend, stealing the thunder, and most of the boats, from other sailing events on San Francisco Bay. Racers trailered their boats from as far away as Oregon and Washington to enjoy some California sunshine, and the weather lived up to the promise.
Windward-leeward races on three different courses held something for everyone, as the westerly built from about 8 knots to 18 by the third race. Twenty-three one design and PHRF divisions accommodated 148 boats. Some of the one designs, such as the Moore 24s, Express 27s and Open 5.70s, used Saturday’s three buoy races for the finale in their championship series. Ten Wyliecat 30s used the weekend’s four races for their Worlds.
Since the first two races were relatively mellow, the crews had energy in reserve for the Saturday night costume party.
Sunday’s pursuit race started with a two-hour postponement to wait for wind. This gave everyone a chance to admire more Halloween costumes and decorated boats, and listen to music — where else in the Bay Area will you find a steel drum band on the pin end boat?
During the second hour of the postponement, keen eyes spotted fog slipping in through the Golden Gate, and everyone knows the fog brings in the wind. Soon the racers were smashing through the ebb chop on their way through the Slot, where they found the wind had blown the fog away.
Racers are given the choice to round Angel Island and Alcatraz in either direction, and some years there’s a debate as to which course is favored. This year, clockwise was the only correct choice. Those who went counter-clockwise stalled out at Angel Island.
With the long delay of game, a strong ebb, and a wind hole at the finish line, the 5 p.m. deadline came all too soon for many. In all, only 36 out of 191 boats were able to finish. As night fell and the full moon rose, awards were handed out for both days’ racing, sailing in costume, decorated boats, floating pumpkins retrieved, and a tough trivia quiz written by the skipper of the first monohull to finish, Gordie Nash of Arcadia. For full results from both days, see www.richmondyc.org.