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Masterful Big Waves at Westpoint Regatta, July 8 

Aug 17, 2023 | Sailing, Editorial

One skipper said action was the best in the race’s history, with “thrilling and challenging” conditions. A July 8 YRA destination event, The Westpoint Regatta is gaining in popularity. The start is staged near Berkeley Pier ruins; course runs westward to Harding, then take a left and go 20+ miles south.

Westpoint Regatta and Strong Winds

With strong winds all day, not every crew set a spinnaker. Bob Walden of Cal 39 Sea Star paired jib top with spinny, “We took the jib top and flew it for 80 percent of the race. It was the right horse for the course with winds being around 80-90 degrees AWA and in the 20s. Harding was almost a fetch; we put in one short tack before the mark.” Seven other boats started with Sea Star, including second finisher Alexander Huang on J29 L20, and Andy Newell’s Santana 35 Ahi, which took third. Craig Page sailed Kuda Wuda in PHRF 3, traveling almost 11 minutes faster than Revelry (Rick and Petra Gilmore’s Catalina 42).

Corrected, Page nudged out Revelry by less than 30-seconds. “We were hauling ass, planing at 10 – 13 knots.” At times, a two-sail reach was executed. Crew was active on this wide with narrow waterline SR 33. Kuda Wuda carried a chute two-thirds of the day. Dick Maclay’s Yellowfin earned third.

Other notables included a win by blind athlete Walt Raineri on Bravo Zulu BAADS (Sonar 7 meter) in non-spinnaker division. PHRF 4 racers saw a mere four minutes corrected separating the top five spots. In PHRF 2, Barry Lewis’ Chance bested Nico Popp’s Invictus by 15 seconds; third went to Kevin Wilkinson on Jubilant. Rick Waltonsmith, BAMA, had quickest cat at 2:08.5. Fastest mono was Greg Mullins’ 52-foot Zamazaan, clocking just over 2.5 hours.

Also in PHRF 1 was Mark Kennedy on Nuckalavee, having “an exciting wet upwind ride to Harding, almost like ocean racing with many waves and swells.” While rounding aside its fleet, crew realized an outrageous amount of water was in the bow. “With nowhere for it to go, she was nosediving dangerously. We called the race, tucked into SBYC, later realized our rubber O-ring on spinnaker pole had disappeared, leaving a gap for water to flow in.

Close Finishes at Westpoint Regatta

Event hospitality rated high. “Crews were met by a club port captain, then guided to berths where each was greeted by a dock captain. Said Kevin Parker, General Manager, The Club At Westpoint, “More than 50 volunteers welcomed 171 crew to Westpoint Harbor.” Sailors feasted on jerk chicken plus hot sauce, fried plantains, tiki drinks and more. For regatta ‘24, a Marina Green space for dining, band and dance floor will be ready. “Hurrica restaurant, plus our new club, will receive guests. Sunday’s hot breakfasts will be made on-premises.” The Club has a lengthy dock running in the immediate area; premium berthing can be scooped by early-to-register racers.

Organizers of the Westpoint Regatta include The Club at Westpoint, Treasure Island (TIYC) and Sequoia (SYC). TIYC hosted the skipper’s meeting with sponsor Mersea Restaurant, a Treasure Island shipping container restaurant and bar. TIYC provided PRO Russell Breed, startline boat and RC staff. SYC provided finish boat. Westpoint Harbor hosted overnighters. The Club at Westpoint planned the Island Time party, plus Sunday grab-and-go breakfasts for 6am departures with the flood.

Want to see photos from the regatta? View Westpoint Regatta photo album.This annual race is the fastest growing race in the San Francisco Bay because it is fun, fast, and it starts and ends with great parties. It is part of the YRA weekend regatta series.