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What Is That Race to Vallejo Called?

Along with crews from 107 other starters, we found ourselves enjoying the scene at Vallejo Yacht Club on Saturday afternoon. We picked up our skipper’s swag bag from VYC volunteers and found it a notch above those from recent years, with some great goodies — and a puzzle.

Among the info and swag donors, some appeared to be unclear on exactly what they were sponsoring. The nicely produced Visit Vallejo Visitor’s Guide listed among Annual Special Events — Spring, the “Vallejo-San Francisco International Yacht Race.” The bag of Moschetti Artisan Coffee, which we’re looking forward to trying, welcomed us to “Vallejo Yacht Club Big Race.”

brochure and coffee bag
Among the bullet-point events listed above this great aerial photo of a race from years past is “Vallejo to San Francisco International Yacht Race.” The bag of coffee welcomes us to “Vallejo Yacht Club Big Race.”
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Bag, hat, coffee cup
The most important stuff got it right. The Mount Gay Rum hat, the swag bag itself, and the coffee mug all read, “Great Vallejo Race.” It’s not realistic, but we like the graphic design.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The race itself is a two-day up-and-back affair, with Saturday’s race starting in the Berkeley Circle and finishing off the Vallejo waterfront. After a raft-up and party at VYC, most of the fleet races back to San Francisco Bay on Sunday. The race back does not go to San Francisco; rather it finishes off Richmond YC’s seawall. And no border crossings are needed.

Osprey with Ukrainian flag
The Santa Cruz 40 Osprey sailed with a Ukrainian flag. More were on display in the raft-up at VYC.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Saturday’s race was on the weird side. Once done with a short leg to a windward mark, some competitors flew spinnakers, but it was a headstay reach. Others opted for code zeroes, or stuck with jibs. A giant wind hole and sloppy water east of Angel Island slowed progress, until a brisk northerly wind filled south of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge — right in the face of the northbound racers. The contrary wind whipped up chop on the flooding current. Some were finally able to set spinnakers at, variously, the Brother Islands, Point San Pablo, or Point Pinole. We heard of wind up to 27 knots. (Did anyone record higher gusts? If so, please comment below.) The race was not scored using downwind ratings.

Rufless and Arsenal, two J/125s, made different headsail choices after the windward mark rounding. Rufless, which finished first on both Saturday and Sunday, carried a huge asymmetrical, while Arsenal deployed a code zero.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Sunday’s race was mellower. This is supposed to be the upwind leg, and it was. The breeze ranged from less than 10 knots to the mid-teens, never getting gnarly or dying completely. A few boats ran aground in Mare Island Strait, which the fleet sailed down at low tide.

Mare Island Strait
On Sunday, some crews tried spinnakers for the reach down Mare Island Strait, with varying degrees of success. All doused before the entrance to San Pablo Bay, where several tacks were needed to make it out through the flooding current.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll have much more, including lots of photos, in the June issue of Latitude 38. In the meantime, check out results at www.jibeset.net/YRA000.php?RG=T009224946.

8 Comments

  1. Greg Clausen 9 months ago

    Good to be back to a somewhat normal race this year. Saturday was difficult trying to find the right sail for the changing wind directions and we had a few good surfs in the wind waves closer to the river. Sunday was near perfect and the grinders loved not having to short tack up to Pinole. I felt a little bit sorry for the fleet that got caught with a tanker and tugs coming at them at the finish.

    • Christine Weaver 9 months ago

      Hi Greg, Which boat were you sailing on? Ironically, having to take the green #3 buoy to port near the finish on Sunday (part of the effort to keep sailboats away from the Richmond Long Wharf) funneled boats right into the path of that oncoming ship and its tugs. Glad you sailed, and I agree that Sunday was as near-perfect as we could have wished for.

  2. Ian Ponting 9 months ago

    Sitting at my desk here at the Lahiana YC and so happy we came out to do the race! First race on our O40 and was stoked with the welcome. We had two from Maui, one CMA (via Oahu) and my 88 year old sailing mentor/uncle! mahalo!

  3. Greg 9 months ago

    I was on Ian’s seinto, right place at the right time for the finish with the tanker.

  4. Tony Bourque 9 months ago

    So sorry I missed it. Was gone sick but sounds like it was great fun as usual!

  5. david bennett 9 months ago

    That was a fun race…except the hole in Richmond, but overall great job Vallejo/Richmond yacht clubs never disappoint…

  6. Amy Hendricksen 9 months ago

    As part of the Great Vallejo Race planning committee, I would like to thank all the volunteers, sponsors, and racers who made this historic event a blast….no matter what you called it!

  7. Christine Weaver 9 months ago

    An erratum since corrected: Our original story stated that 81 boats started Saturday’s race. That is incorrect, as it did not include the ‘Single Race Entries’. Some boats sign up to race on Saturday only. They were not include in Jibeset’s count of starters as seen at https://www.jibeset.net/show.php?RR=YRA_T009224946&DOC=r1&TYP=html. Our recount shows that 107 boats started on Saturday. Our apologies, and thanks to VYC’s Barbara Brown for pointing it out.

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