There's nothing much better than “T-shirt conditions” in San Francisco Bay. It's still a little ironic for me that we bundle up in our Gore-Tex and layers in July, then strip down to cotton and shorts during these winter months. We’ve had great weather for the first eleven races of the 2023-2024 Chowder Season.
Mostly warm and dry with light and fickle breezes have tested the skills and patience of the fleet. The conditions have favored the smaller, lighter boats with seldom a day over 5kts from varying directions, resembling lake sailing in much of the country.
So far we’ve seen 24 unique participants over 11 races, on 6 different courses, with 6 skippers taking home wins. In the first half of the season, we averaged 5.8 boats per race, with each boat participating in an average of 2.1 races. Ten of those 24 boats were single race entrants, and we've had 12 boats participate in 3 or more races. These numbers demonstrate a robust program, but remember: our club races are not limited to members, so please continue to invite your friends from around the Bay to sail with us. The guest dock is there to accommodate daytime or overnight visitors in vessels up to 7ft draft. Registration, results and all information can be found at www.berkeleyyc.org/racing.
Let’s recognize some standouts in the fleet this season. First, the boat with the longest commute to the start line: SC27 Nesher entered 6 races with 1 win. Our Fleet Captain, JP Camille’s Olson 25 Shadowfax, entered 6 races with 3 wins. To no one's surprise, Olson 25 O’Mar entered 5 races with 4 wins. The venerable 1963 Pearson Ariel Tern entered 5 races with 1 win. Northstar 727 Zena entered 5 races with 1 win, after a strong comeback from a broken shroud early in the season. We couldn't possibly leave out our Commodore Mary Garfein’s C&C 27 Mary C., who entered 4 races with 1 win. Olson 25 Falkor was recently rescued and brought back to life and has now entered 3 races with promise of taking home some wins soon. It's been excellent racing with all of you in the fleet this winter, and we can all look forward to the excitement that will grow with the building westerly as we move into the 2024 calendar months.
Last, but of course, not least, let’s give a big thank you to all our race committee volunteers over the season so far. Alli, Nikita, Pepper, Kimber, Stuart, Jenny and others have been supporting the finish line each week, often on short notice. We have had several Race Committee skippers at the start line each week: Antoine on the Bobbi Tosse, J.P. on Shadowfax, Mary & Glen on Mary C. and Lauren & Tim on Tern. These weekly races couldn't happen without you, and YOU are the spirit of BYC!
Everyone, please remember: Berkeley Yacht Club hosts the busiest calendar of club racing in the Bay, with 47 events annually requiring no entry fee. To pull this off, we rely heavily on the club's enthusiastic volunteer spirit. To support our ongoing effort to keep these races frequent and free, I encourage everyone participating in our Chowder and Beercan series to take a turn dropping the buoy and running the starting sequence. With races almost every week in 2024, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer for Race Committee on the start or finish line. Please email Tim Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate your volunteer experience.