Sunday, November 5, 2017

J/Wildness @ Great Pumpkin Regatta

J/105 sailing Great Pumpkin Regatta (Richmond, CA)- Richmond Yacht Clubs’ Great Pumpkin Regatta, entering it’s 32nd year, is a bit of a mini-Woodstock for the San Francisco Bay area.  For starters, it is celebrating Halloween and what is there not to like about Halloween in the Bay area for its extraordinary, eclectic collection of people that often have an “alternative” viewpoint on the world- like, “yes, aliens do exist!”  Secondly, the Bay in the fall can also have wildly bizarre weather as it transcends from its legendary nuclear-winds sailing conditions in mid-summer, to light airs/ no winds in the winter and pouring a gazillion gallons of water per second from the heavens.

The 32nd Great Pumpkin Regatta had a bit of a mix of all the fall weather you can imagine.  Not much sun, that is for sure. Mostly grey, leaden skies, with generally light airs, but some occasions enough breeze for J/70s to plane a little bit on tighter reaches.   On Saturday, the fleet enjoyed three well-run races in classic “around the cans” scenarios in the fabled “Berzerk-ely” Circle. More importantly, the Saturday party was replete with great food, great band, and some equally outrageous costumes.

Summer of Love sailing off Richmond, CAIronically, this year marked the 50th Anniversary of the “Summer of Love” edition (remember Woodstock??) of the Great Pumpkin Regatta, just as the region’s Indian Summer came to an abrupt end. Days of highs in the 80's on the San Francisco Bay with light tranquil winds were replaced with a stout, cold onshore wind, ushered in by a very dense fog bank, causing many to reach in the their closets for the heavy foul weather gear not worn in months.

Enjoying the racing and the awesome “après-race” festivities were a range of J/sailors from across the Bay area- J/24s, J/70s, J/105s, and sailing PHRF classes- J/80 and J/30.

In the seven-boat J/70 class, it was David Schumann’s BOTTLE ROCKET from San Francisco YC truly blasted-off to the front of the fleet; posting straight bullets for an easy win.  Similarly, Tom Thayer’s RAMPAGE from Richmond YC dropped all deuces to complete the day in second place.  Then, amazingly, it was Mark Thomas’ USA 29 from Richmond YC that posted all thirds to round out the podium.

The J/24s were a bit less stratified than the J/70s.  In fact, it was a bit of a donnybrook for the top three boats.  After the smoke cleared, it was rockin’ woman skipper Val Lulevich and her crew on SHUT UP & DRIVE that won with a 3-1-1 tally for 5 pts.  The boys behind her ended up tied for the silver at 8 pts apiece.  Darren Cumming’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR posted a 1-4-3, good enough on count-back to overcome Jasper Van Vliet’s EVIL OCTOPUS with a 2-2-4 scoreline.

Amazingly enough, the J/105 class had a virtual identical scenario play out as the J/24s.  Winning was Ian Charles’ MAVERICK with a 1-1-2 for 4 pts.  However, tied at 8 pts each was Sergey Lubarsky’s RUSSIAN ROULETTE/ RACEQS.COM and Jamie Isbester’s ENERGY on 8 pts each.  The Russians won that tie-breaker.

In the SF-30 Class, Tony Castruccio’s J/30 WIND SPEED was sailing fast, had a shot at winning, but did not sail the last race and settled for the bronze in their class.  Then, in PHRF E class, Tim Stapleton’s J/80 PK beat just about every crazy sportboat one could put on the starting line, Open 5.7, Ultimate 24, M20, Rondar K6, etc.     Thanks for contribution and sailng photos from Erik Simonson  For more Great Pumpkin Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.