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Vintage Schooners to Race Saturday

Hayden Brown’s 70-ft Marconi schooner Aldebaran will be one of a dozen classic beauties to grace the Bay Saturday.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As every S.F. Bay sailor knows, our watery playground has long played host to every sort of boat race you could image — except one. According to a few traditional boat lovers, there’s one genre of boat race that’s been conspicuously absent from the Bay Area’s racing calendar: a schooner race.

As of tomorrow, though, that will no longer be true, as the San Francisco YC stages its inaugural Great San Francisco Schooner Race.

An impressive 12-boat fleet of wooden beauties will compete in two classes, gaff and Marconi, with courses that begin off Angel Island’s west coast, follow a route around the Central Bay, then finish in Raccoon Strait. Festivities will follow at the San Francisco YC.

Hoping for close competition at the finish line, organizers set up the contest as a pursuit race, with each boat having a specific start time based on a ‘secret’ rating system.

Among the vintage gaffers competing will be the 58-ft gaffer Yankee and the 65-ft gaffer Brigadoon. The Marconi-rigged schooners will include the 49-ft Elizabeth Muir, the 62-ft Santana, the 70-ft Aldebaran, and the rarely seen 75-footer Viveka.

If you’ve got a soft spot in your heart for traditionally rigged sailing craft, we suggest you get out on the water and join the spectator fleet. The first start is at noon.

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