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Champion of Champions: 2023 Chowder Season Recap

By S/C Mark Bird, Race Chair

The weather has been the big star of the 2023 Berkeley Midwinters and final Champ of Champs Race. February 26, 2023, was no exception. The forecast for Sunday was ominous with winds predicted to gust 30 knots. With this being the final race there would be no abandonment short of a National Weather Service Gale Warning.

No such warning was issued so the committee crew bundled up and motored onto the course with dark, ominous clouds looming to the Southwest and winds already a-blowin’.

Seven boats showed up heeled over and struggling in the blustery weather, crewed by men and women who left domestic comforts behind to compete in a life-and-death struggle that can only be found on San Francisco Bay. As the start time approached, the wind and rain abated, but this was not mercy. It was Poseidon’s call for quiet reflection before unleashing a hellish volley of wind and rain to pummel the spirits of the hardened sailors as they tirelessly tacked upwind to the barely visible green tetrahedron.

The boats rounded the windward mark and began their downwind leg towards the confusingly also green leeward mark. As the spinnaker-set boats passed the committee, the faces of the sailors said it all: “My God, we are alive.” As the committee crew contemplated the raw emotional state of the passing sailors we unleashed our own volley of hot apple cider and whatever.

It was once around which turned out to be merciful as the weather just kept building with the worst of it occurring about an hour after the race had ended.

Meanwhile, back at the clubhouse preparations were being made to distribute the series trophies and congratulate the winners and participants. Finger foods were served and favorites were identified.

Please read the April Edition of Latitude 38 to find out who won and who lost.

Speaking of April that’s Wheeler Month! Get ready for oysters and two days of sailboat racing, April 15-16. I hope you can join us.

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