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The Sparkman & Stephens yawl Bounty sails past Alcatraz in Saturday's windy Master Mariners Regatta. ©2012 norcalsailing.com
Master Mariners Regatta
May 29, 2012
Memorial Day Weekend on San Francisco Bay was all about old stuff – the old Golden Gate Bridge turning 75 on Sunday and old boats racing on Saturday. The Master Mariners Regatta for classic boats started off with a bang on the Cityfront. "The winds were strong as is typical this time of year, and made for a challenging regatta," reported Ariane Paul, Junior Staff Commodore of the Master Mariners Benevolent Association.
"Several vessels did not make it to the starting line, and a couple had to drop out due to difficulties, including one tiller that snapped." One of the older and arguably the coolest boats was the 82-ft M-Class Pursuit born in 1929.
Ron MacAnnon has owned her for 53 years and she sits proudly front and center at the Sausalito Yacht Harbor boardwalk.
Because of her speed Pursuit started last at 13:05 and, with the flood current, the crew had to throw in a couple of 'quick' tacks at the reaching start (between Golden Gate YC's mark X and St. Francis YC's mark A) but quick tacks they are not as there is a big jib and staysail to turn around and two sets of runners that if not locked down could result in dropping the 96-ft mast. The crew rigged a spinnaker, but because of the high winds on Saturday it wasn't flown.
The wind built from about 15 knots at the start to 25+ in the Slot in the middle of the afternoon. Besides the wind velocity, a big swell was running through the Gate and Pursuit buried her leeward rail repeatedly. She also took a few waves over the high side, getting the crew wet, but none wetter than Jim Linderman, who fell overboard during the first jibe at Blackaller. The main sheet tripped him and he slipped under the lifeline. Photographer Leslie Richter was out taking pictures on Emmet Yeazell's Bertram 31 Legend, and the two of them quickly rescued the MOB.
Jim felt fine when they picked him up, but once the adrenaline wore off he started to feel worse, and the Legend crew took him to San Francisco YC, where they met by paramedics. He was then taken to Marin General Hospital to be checked out, and they kept him overnight.
Except for light air behind Angel Island, the wind continued to build throughout the afternoon, making for a fast running of this classic race.
The first boat to finish was the Bear Boat Chance at 14:08, after racing for two hours and eight minutes. The last boat, the Farallon Clipper VIP, finished at 16:37, in time to make the post-race festivities. "We had a wonderful raft-up and party afterwards at Encinal YC, sharing stories and checking out each other’s boats," said Ariane. Awards were handed out there too. "Pursuit took home the Dead Eye Perpetual Trophy. The largest class was M-1 with Bolero taking the first place gun. It was also good to have Spirit out racing with us again, taking first place in the Ocean Class. The Bears and Birds also had strong turn-outs." Curlew won the five-boat Bird class.