2008 Sarcoma Cup
On Saturday June 28 Bay Area sailors were treated to the first racing day of the inaugural Sarcoma Cup Regatta with tight buoy racing action; and what a treat it was as the smokey haze from Norcal’s wild-fires gave way to some blue-sky and perfect sailing breezes. Four divisions raced 3 races each on the southern edge of the
This regatta was the brain-child of Express 27 sailor, Nathalie Criou. Nat is a recent and very grateful survivor of a brush with sarcoma, a rare, little-understood, scarcely researched, and often deadly cancer. This encounter has inspired her to action, creating the non-profit BeatSarcoma, Inc., to raise awareness and research funding for this disease (see www.beatsarcoma.org for details). The Sarcoma Cup was designed to be a celebration of the sailing life and a fundraiser for the BeatSarcoma foundation.
The buoy courses were windward-leewards with separate starting and finishing lines located to leeward of the leeward mark with downwind finishes prescribed for all courses. This efficient arrangement gave the racers what they wanted: more racing and less waiting. Time between races clocked in at around 10 minutes. Fred Paxton’s all-star Richmond Yacht Club race committee set impeccably square lines and true courses and ran like the well-oiled race management machine that it is.
“The circle” often known for its near-nuclear conditions during prime summer wind season on the bay, was a kinder-gentler place for this event, with winds barely reaching15 knots until near the end of race 3 which might have seen a gust or two near 20. Nope, no 35 knot rig-bustin’ carnage on the circle here – we have it on good authority that RYC PRO Paxton may have exercised his well-known divine connections with the Wind Gods on this occasion to quell the circle beast, but perhaps that’s just a rumor. No matter, the wind was perfect, at the low end of the #3 for the Express 27s – easy sailing.
Division A (PHRF) was dominated by the RYC team aboard Peter Kreuger’s “Howl”, with 1-2-1 place finishes. 2nd place in Division A went to Mark Howe’s “White Fang” of RYC and 3rd place went to Glenn Isaacson’s “Q” of SFYC. 4TH place went to Nick Barran’s new XL of RORC.
The Express 27 Division was beaten up by Tom Jenkin’s “Witchy Woman” team from
The Olson 25 fleet mixed it up well with Mark Simpson’s “Shadowfax” taking 1st and Tom Nemeth’s Clean Sweep taking 2nd.
PHR Division E was led by a pair of venerable Santana 22s. 1st place went to Tom Montoya’s “Meliki”, and 2nd place went to Stephen Buckingham/Chris Giovacchini aboard “Tchoupitoulas”. 3rd place fell to Bill West’s Wylie Cat 30 “Crinan II”.
After a very pleasant early afternoon of “all racing no waiting”, the fleet sailed up to the sunny docks of RYC on the “Richmond Riviera” in t-shirts and shorts to the strains of the very cool jazz band, ECQ, dock-side. To go with that jazz you were immediately offered a cool RYC/ Sarcoma Cup “Hurricane” Hunger pang? Hey we can fix that too, with a huge table of dockside appetizers… very tasty appetizers I might add. Sailors milled around on the docks listening to the great band, sipping cocktails, munching appetizers, lying about the races and leisurely putting their boats away. A great way to finish off the afternoon.
This very full day of regatta entertainment was completed with a sit-down evening buffet and an entertaining raffle-prize drawing followed by the second live band, Orquesta Gitano, who dished up salsa rhythms that had to be danced to… big fun !
Sunday’s main event was the pursuit race. This is a reverse handicap race in which the boats in all divisions are thrown together and compete as one fleet. The starting times are adjusted such that if all boats are perfectly handicapped and perfectly sailed they should all finish at the same time. The course started on the south side of the
Those that wisely worked south first on the beat caught the ebb earliest and were first to round
The reach from
The three lead boats successfully held off the charge of the pursuing bigger and faster boats for an exciting finish: Tom Jenkins of the Express 27 “Witchy Women” took 1st, with Ray Lotto’s Express 27 “El Raton” close behind in 2nd, followed by Vaughn Seifer’s
From the finish, just off the Richmond Yacht Club breakwater, it was just a matter of dousing the kite and you would soon be kicking back with a glass of wine from the excellent selection in the complementary Sarcoma Cup dockside bar, or cold keg beer if you preferred, accompanied by great munchies. This had to have been the best complementary wine to be served at any Bay Area regatta (certainly in the 25 years of this observers experience). The opening entertainment for the afternoon’s dockside activities was the charity auction which featured some spirited bidding, pitting race course rivals against each other in seemingly fierce bidding wars, all in good-natured fun for a great cause.
Given the long list of dockside activities that we have reviewed, it’s hard to believe that we have missed one. But, we would be remiss in not mentioning that the festivities actually got started Friday evening with a slideshow presentation entitled “Whale Sinks Yacht – the Last Voyage of XL”. Nat presented a very absorbing account of the sinking of XL from her perspective as member of the delivery crew bringing the yacht back from a Pacific Cup race to
The Sarcoma Cup featured stellar dock-side activities due to all the efforts of the BeatSarcoma volunteers and the efforts of many of the big-hearted stalwarts of the Richmond Yacht Club, including RYC’s first couple, Commodore Torben Bentzen and Judy Bentsen. And this event probably would not have happened without the support of RYC’s Standing Race Committee, Chaired by Gail Yando, and the support of RYC board of directors.
The inaugural Sarcoma Cup Regatta turned out to be a great combination of excellent sailing, very entertaining dockside activities, and significant benefit to a good cause as it raised over $10,000 for sarcoma research. For those of you that missed it this year, we hope to see you at the next one.