Friday, May 11, 2018

A Fun Great Vallejo Race

Great Vallejo Race on San Francisco Bay (Richmond, CA)- The Great Vallejo Race has become a time-honored tradition every year for northern San Francisco Bay sailors. The event is hosted by the Vallejo YC.  It is a popular race, with over 100 boats sailing in 24 divisions, including everything from multihulls to J/24s up to J/125s.

The race most often starts near the Berkeley Circle on Saturday morning, rounds a single weather mark near Alcatraz, and then heads to Vallejo, usually under spinnaker for the remainder of the race.  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.

As the boats enter Carquinez Strait, they bunch together, making the turn into Mare Island Strait.  Because of the topography of Mare Island, as well as the fact that it sits at the mouth of the Napa River, local knowledge (or many years of sailing the race) can make the difference as the yachts maneuver toward the finish line on the Vallejo city waterfront.  Winds vary from light to heavy, and becoming exceedingly shifty.  By the time they enter the Strait, many of the crews are let's say "over-relaxed" by sun, surf, and suds.  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. A good depth sounder is usually a big help in this part of the race.

The event is popular for J/crews as it is relaxed and is never the same twice, that is for sure.  In the PHRF 3 Sportboat class, Trig Liljestrand’s J/90 RAGTIME took third place.

The J/105 one-design class of six boats had stiff competition.  It was nearly a three-way tie for first place!  As it was, two boats tied for first with identical records of 2-3, with the countback going to Richard Butts’ MELILANI over Chuck Pick’s BOX OF RAIN.  Third was Chris Kim’s VUJA STAR with a 5-1 for 6 pts!

The five-boat J/24 class had tight racing around the Bay course.  This time it was Jasper Van Vliet’s turn to win on his famous EVIL OCTOPUS by scoring a 1-2 to win with 3 pts.  Darren Cumming’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR had a 4-1 record for 5 pts to snag the silver. However, behind him it was a tiebreaker for third place at 6 pts each, the countback going to Randy Rasicot’s FLIGHT over Val Lulevich’s notorious SHUT UP & DRIVE.

In PHRF 9 class, Aya Yamanouchi’s J/88 BENNY scored a 1-9 to take fourth.  Class 12 had Jack Vetter’s J/80 PEARL take third after breaking a three-way tie for second place!  Class 18 Non-Spinnaker had John Kalucki’s J/109 LINDO crush the class with two bullets.  Meanwhile, Jeff Johnson’s J/35 AKIALOA posted a 3-3 to secure third place.  Class 21 Cruising Division saw Elvin Valverde’s J/35 JOKER post a regatta-winning 4-2 for 6 pts, winning with the highest score in the whole regatta!  For more Great Vallejo Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.