118th Great Vallejo Race Enjoys Near Sail-perfect Conditions
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The weather in the Bay Area this weekend has been stunning to say the least, and with winds of reportedly around 10 - 22 knots, sailors participating in the 118th Great Vallejo Race (GVR) have no doubt have been enjoying themselves immensely in what appeared to be near Sail-perfect conditions.
Now at 1400 hours on Sunday May 7th, the race is almost finished, with participants heading toward this year's new finish line just south of the Richmond Bridge, off Paradise Cay, and right into the great after-race festivities organized by the Vallejo Yacht Club - a Captain Ron party, complete with Mt Gay Mai Tai’s, a Captain Ron Costume Contest and live music from the steel drum band Shabang, and the Darrel Edwards Heavy Weather Band.
Here is are some shots of some of Saturday's action captured by Summer Sailstice's roving photographer, John Arndt.
Beginning on Saturday morning, Racers usually cross the start line near the Berkeley Circle, round a single weather mark near Alcatraz, and then take off to Vallejo with (hopefully) colorful spinnakers flying for the remainder of the day.
"The challenge is to maintain speed through the shadow of Angel Island, find the best combination of wind and current past the Richmond-San Rafael bridge and East Brother Light Station, and then avoid the mud shoals on the east side of the San Pablo Bay. Depending on the day, the passage can be a challenging breeze (intentional pun), or a miserable drifter, complicated - as always - by the currents, no matter its direction."
Rumour has it that end-of-race placings can change quickly as crews are often '"over-relaxed" by sun, surf, and suds' by the time they enter Mare Island Strait. "This is where the fun really starts! In the mad dash for the finish line - sharp crews can usually pick off several places with close attention to trim, wind, and current."
The first mention of a race came in 1925, when PICYA (Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Association) organized a cruise from Berkeley to Vallejo on a Saturday, to be followed by a race back on Sunday. Today the GVR is reputed to be one of the largest inland regattas in the US, and marks the official opening of the San Francisco Bay racing season. The race's importance to the yearly calendar is demonstrated by the the fleet of around 200 + boats that participate each year.
Well, if you missed out, we're sorry for you... But the summer is not over yet, in fact it's not even fully begun and countless sailing opportunites are waiting for you, especially Summer Sailstice - your opportunity to sail where ever you are, yet be a part of the greatest, global sailing celebration afloat. Sign up and register your sailing plans and we'll see you out on the water on June 24!