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Regatta Recap: Big Windward Leeward 2023


The Berkeley Yacht Club’s inaugural Big Windward Leeward is in the books. The brainchild of Evan McDonald and Paul Kamen the rumor is that the race was the result of a lost bet. Rather than crash a wedding in a gorilla suit, the loser opted to put on a regatta. No one but Evan and Paul knows the exact story.


Bet or no bet, the race was a smashing success. Too much of a smashing success, one might argue, as the perfect weather brought the boats home from the 25-mile course a bit earlier than anticipated. The race started in the vicinity of the Berkeley Circle and took the 31 boats and their crews out under the Golden Gate to Point Bonita and back to finish at the starting line. The wind stayed right round 220 degrees and 15 knots all day. There were five divisions that included a single one-design division comprised of four Express 37s, as well as a multihull division that started last because, apparently, multihullers like that. The starts were clean with one exception: Spindrift V stuck her starboard beam over the line by about a foot as she tried to turn away. She was called over early and quickly came back and started again with very little lost.


Barely two hours later Bottle Rocket, the appropriately-named Seacart 30 Gp+ skippered by David Schuman, screamed across the finish line at 12 knots, to take 1st in the Multihull Division. In the PHRF 1 Division it was Nico Popp’s Sunfast 3600 Invictus in 1st. In the PHRF 2 Division, Tule Fogg, the Express 27 skippered by Steve Carrol, won the day. In PHRF 3, Bluebird, the Moore 24 driven by Ryan Georgianna crossed the line first. In our Express 37 Division Andy Schwenk and Lisa Wilson co-skippered Spindrift V to a 1st.


Once the race was over it was food, drinks and dancing to live music at the Berkeley Yacht Club. The catered tacos were spectacular, the margaritas were the real deal, (no premade mixes) and the band was jammin.’ Good times!


We’re already looking forward to next year.


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