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Monday, August 11th, 2014

Welcome to Berkeley!!!!!

SFYC’s Small Keelboat Series Wrap-up

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

We solicited a few of the fleet skippers for their recaps and reports of the terrific and fun Small Keelboat Series, hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club. Don’t miss the video from Randall showing not only the excellent conditions, but a special guest appearance by Dean Don!

Alex and Craig from Fly By Night:

“The 3rd and final day of the San Francisco Yacht Club Small Keelboat Series was held in the Berkeley Circle on June 28th. Warm weather and mild wind combined to create ideal sailing conditions, which gave the sailors the luxury to focus more on tactics and less on survival! Six J-24s participated including Woof, Flight, Downtown Uproar, Rail to Rail, Shut Up and Drive and Fly By Night. The race committee overcame engine woes before setting and then resetting the course following a big west shift. Race 1 saw Rail to Rail, Downtown, and Shut Up pull away from the fleet while Flight and Fly By Night found themselves in a tight match race on the final downwind. Rail to Rail got the win, followed closely by Downtown Uproar and Shut Up and Drive. Between races the wind started to build, prompting several boats to switch down to a jib, but the wind soon lightened and these boats were left underpowered. Woof capitalized on a south shift and moved up to fourth place before just being edged in a dramatic finish. It was all genoas for the third race. Rail to Rail avoided the crowd with a great start at the pin on the way to their third bullet of the day. Fly By Night battled it out with Downtown Uproar for second place, with Fly By Night slipping ahead after a tight leeward rounding. Once the racing was through, four teams met up at the gorgeous SFYC. The friendly staff there welcomed us and provided complimentary ice-cold Trumer, which we all enjoyed on the patio with a breathtaking view. The consistency of Downtown gave them the overall win, with Fly By Night in second and Rail to Rail overcoming a trio of DNCs on the first day with a near-perfect 7 points through the next 6 races to come in third. The well-run regatta was a big success for the resurgent J-24 fleet. On behalf of the entire fleet, we want to extend a big thanks to the race committee and SFYC for hosting the event.”

Darren from Downtown Uproar:

“A better Summer day for racing on the Bay, I can not conceive of. Cloudless skies, no fog, and south by southwesterlies never really making it to the 18 kts. mark. An organized and communicative race committee, great competition, what more could one ask for? This was the scenario for our final set of races in the SFYC series of three.

We went into the day one point behind Alex and “Fly by Night”, so our focus would mainly be on them. Though it would have been nice to take one or two away from Rich and “Rail to Rail’s” near monopoly on firsts. Was a little bit late on the first start, but still on top of a lot of boats, “Rail to Rail” in contact, but out in front. Stayed on their tail the majority of the race. We separate some from the others, but could not find the speed (or angle) to get past R2R.

Race 2, saw some boats changing down to blades, but we were not seeing Karl at the Gate, so thinking the weird (for this time of year) southerlies were mitigating the big blow. We spun up one setting on the shrouds. Shadowed by R2R into the start by the committee boat. But, got an opening, pulling the trigger a little late again, put over a good portion of the fleet. Saw some boats stuck in a “second row” start. R2R out in front with a great start again. Val and “Shut up and Drive” made a tight cross on us. Maybe the pin was favored? Though the left paid off for us, and we stretched out a little, though out of striking distance on R2R. One above base felt a little slow here.

Final race, starting to feel a little more pressure, but the genoa still manageable. Again shadowed by R2R on the prestart. But, they peel off to start down the line. Hit this one pretty good, but on the first tack R2R is well ahead. Thinking we missed the shift here, and the pin-favor? FbN goes all the way out to the port layline, and are able to round inside of us (overstood). Good drag race downwind, we have the inside. Big shift from the South at the leeward side of the coarse. Slightly late and sloppy douse / gybe, and again FbN slip inside the open door. Try and split with them, but they are dialed in and sailing fast, extending by a couple boat lengths.

We sailed to SFYC for a round of mai tais on the deck, and socializing. Sunny and beautiful as usual. Great reach home around the Island on the settled in southwesterly. ”

Randall from Flight:


“The Battle of Red and Blue

Some might have thought Alex and I had planned to be Fourth of July patriots for day 3 of the SFYC Small Keelboat Fleet Regatta. To go with our similar names, both Flight and Fly by Night had identical red and blue spinnakers to go with our white boats. The truth goes a bit farther back in Fleet 17 history. Don Taylor always had red and blue spinnakers on On Belay and years ago Don gave one of his old kites to Val, last year Val gave it to Alex. With the forecast of 30 knots for the regatta Saturday, I decided to bring out the old double stitched red and blue kite which I inherited from Don when I bought On Belay and renamed it Flight 4 years ago. To add to the coincidence, Don Taylor was back trimming his old red and blue kite on Flight Saturday.
In the last downwind of the first race Saturday, Flight and Fly By Night ended up in the battle of the Red and Blue Kites. We had held Fly By Night off for the first 3 legs of the race and rounding the upwind mark for the last time, Flight was still several boat lengths ahead. The guy tripped out of the end of our pole just after the set and by the time that was fixed and we jibed over onto port, Fly By Night was pulling even to the left of us. We tried to push him up but was too far away, so we just went for speed. Alex responded by jibing over to starboard, so we jibed over to avoid fouling him. Now the windward boat, we were able to pull forward, and came within 6 inches of breaking overlap, but no matter what we did we could not pull forward those extra inches to get rights ahead. Soon it became apparent we were heading to lay line for proper course to the finish mark and we both jibed back to port. Being inside, Fly By Night had now pulled ahead and finishing a couple boat lengths ahead. Here is the video from our stern pulpit:!5165

In the overall results of the regatta, Downtown Uproar took first overall with their usual consistent great sailing each day of the regatta. Alex was just a few points behind in second, and Rail to Rail was third after missing the first day of racing and getting all bullets but one in all of the races they sailed. Val took fourth on Shut Up and Drive. A broken rudder gudgeon causing SUAD’s retirement (and much excitement) in second race of Day 1 was the major contributing factor there. Evil Octopus moved down to sixth overall giving us fifth, since they were in Long Beach this weekend representing Fleet 17 in the J24 Western Regionals. With heavy air and light crew Woof doggedly stayed in the hunt, several times showing great boat speed.”

Long Beach Race Week – Western Regionals- June 28/29

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Evil Octopus made the road trip to Long Beach for the famous LBRW regatta which happened to be our western regionals this year.

Started off with a bang (aka bullet minus 1) and then whimper, moan, grunt and whimper.
Great venue, but tricky to read the light and shifty winds.
Great team, but first time really racing in these positions together.
Big road trip, made more exciting when the trailer came detached 100 yds short of the freeway.
And stiff Mt Gay cocktails, but not free.

No excuses though, Evil Octopus is getting ready for Nationals in May. And many of these top tier boats are planning to be there. We were glad to have gotten a chance to cut our teeth some more.

Here’s a vid of the Saturday night post party scene..

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Here’s just something to brighten your day. Next spinnaker you buy better be colorful.


Episode two

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Pos,Sail, Boat, Skipper, Yacht Club, Results, Total Points
1. 2372, Fly By Night, Alex Schultink, none, 2-2/SCP-2-2-3-[5]- ; 11
2. 2394, Downtown Uproar, Darren Cumming, none, [3]-3-3-3-1-2- ; 12
3. 4782, Rail to Rail, Richard Jepsen, stfyc, [8/DNC]-8/DNC-8/DNC-1-2-1- ; 20T
4. 513, Shut up & drive, Valentin Lulevich, OPBYC, 1-[8/DNF]-8/DNS-4-4-3- ; 20T
5. 2176, EVIL OCTOPUS, JASPER VAN VLIET, OPBYC, 5-[8/DNF]-1-6-5-4- ; 21
6. 1036, Flight, Randall Rasicot, RYC, 4-2-5-5-[6]-6- ; 22
7. 3316, woof, Wally Whittier, none, 6-4-4-[7]-7-7- ; 28

The results don’t really reflect how close the racing was yesterday. The race committee was nice enough to move the race much further north than last time and the winds, though high, were manageable. The first race was mostly run with Genoas, but everybody switched to the blade for races two and three. Rich joined the fun and again schooled everybody. Thank you sir. Bring it on. Alex had his top crew out. He had great speed and we noticed how flat he was sailing his boat. Too bad about the faulty spin pole. Randall had an excellent first start and rounded the first mark in second place. However a booboo made him hit the mark and put him out of contention. Val was sailing with four up and given that handicap did extremely well. Especially on the downwind legs. Woof was also four up. Their Pan Am was the best choice in the first race and gave them a lot of height and speed. Darren was very competitive all round. Good starts, good speed and good crew work. Considering that he had two more skippers as crew (get your own boats out) it was amazing that their communication did not fall apart!. As for Evil Octopus, we were OCS in the first. Brushed up against an Etchells spinnaker with our windex in the second forcing a two turn penalty. Finally had a good race in the third. We decided not to hoist the spinnaker due to relatively new crew and old spinnaker. By our calculation we lost on average five boat lengths on the run, but made up one of them each time by having killer leeward roundings. By the way, the starts were extremely tight. This fleet is really good.
Next month I would hope that some of us would be willing to sail over to SFYC after the racing for a drink and some awards. We sailed over there yesterday and got there before 4 pm.

Small Fleet series episode 1

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Six J24’s competed on Saturday in the first of three single day regattas hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club and from our perspective is was a resounding success. As the video from Evil Octopus shows the racing was very close indeed. The wind was not too heavy until maybe the final race. But we had enough on our hands trying not to bump into eachother. EO hereby offers apologies to the fleet for clogging up the roundings with stalls, overrides, kite shrimpage, wipeouts and general mayhem. Thanks for not hitting us. A big thank you as well to all of you for letting us get a bullet on the last race. With Val out (broken gudgeon), Randall attempting the first leg without any headsail, Alex sailing with the genoa in over twenty knots, Darren sailing with undernourished crew and Wally starting late and deciding not to hoist we had a real chance at a medal, and we took it. Finally a special thank you to Jeff Zarwell for throwing up the AP flag just when we were pushed OCS by Woof and Shut Up.
Most of us retired to the bar at Richmond YC because that’s where we keep our boats, but we should plan a trip to SFYC to thank them for all their help. Just one small request::::: Please please please with sugar on top put the racecourse a little further north. I’m sure the melges’s enjoyed the bigger breeze, but for us we need less of it.
Here’s the blooper reel:

Mexico Dispatch

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Two J24 Fleet 17 crews compete in North American Championships / Copa Mexico-Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.
Thirty-seven crews representing Mexico, the United States, Brazil, Peru, Germany, Italy, Monaco, and Sweden competed for honors in the J24 North American Championship / Copa Mexico, March 18-21, 2014. The event was hosted at La Marina Riviera Nayarit de La Cruz on beautiful Banderas Bay, near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Nine races were run over the 4 days of the event. The United States’ Mike Ingham on Digger and Tony Parker on Bangor Packet took the top spots. Two crews from San Francisco J24 fleet 17 represented Northern California, with Randall Rasicot’s Flight finishing 30th overall and 21st for the North America’s Championship while Val Lulevich’s Shut Up and Drive finished 16th overall and broke into the top 10 with a 9th place showing for the Championship.
The natural setting of Banderas Bay is beautiful, and no wonder it is considered one of the prime sailing destinations in the world. A marine protected area, the Bay is a breeding ground for humpback whales, which were congregating in the Bay in preparation for their migration north. Whales regularly surfacing among the boats on race course added some unusual majesty to the competition. The fleet 17 crews, used to often windy, and cool weather of San Francisco Bay, were delighted by the warm and mild racing conditions typical of Banderas. Weather patterns were consistent throughout the week, with temperatures in the low 80’s and breezes between 5-16 kts. A typical day saw calm morning blowing from Punta Mita, and then backing to the south while increasing steadily into the afternoon. With three races scheduled for each day, crews most competitive in either light winds or heavy winds were both able to find advantages throughout the day, keeping the racing tight.
Conditions weren’t always typical. Winds gusting near 18kts in the afternoon on days 2 and 3 allowed the San Francisco crews to shine. A number of substantial wind shifts throughout the week also kept the race committee busy resetting the weather marks between legs. A notoriously large shift in race 5 shook up the point spread as boats that rounded the leeward mark late in the 1st leg were surprised with a tidy gain heading to the new weather mark. Shut Up and Drive moved from back of the fleet to a remarkable 13th place finish because of this particular adjustment.

Many highlights of the week occurred off the race course, as competitors enjoyed the hospitality of the Marina Riviera and many sponsors. Tim Healey of North Sails provided an informative post-race debriefing on his techniques for trimming and tuning up for each day’s conditions, along with free beer. Competitors were treated to a lavish welcome party with buffet and cocktails at the Marival Resort on Sunday before the racing began.
Hearty post-race meals were provided by Jaguar of Guadalajara and Volaris Airlines at La Marina Riviera yacht club. La Marina also hosted a wonderful beach-front awards ceremony, complete with a feast and live entertainment that kept some crews dancing all night. The Brazilian teams may have stolen the show, as boats returning on day 3 were greeted at the docks by samba dancers and caipirinhas, followed by food, live music, and carnival games.
The crew of Flight includes skipper Randall Rasicot, Melissa Litwicki, Jessica Ludy, Michelle George and Jasper and Robin Van Vliet. The crew of Shut Up and Drive includes skipper Val Lulevich, co-owner Zane Starkewolf, James McConaghie, Alex Schultink and Vince Benvin.

Complete race results can be found at



SFYC Single day series

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Dear sailors,
Saturday is the start of the SFYC small keelboat series. We have six boats signed up so far. The series is specifically designed to encourage new racers to try their hand. It’s only a one day commitment. The racing will be on the Southampton Shoal side of the Berkeley Circle in order to avoid some of the stronger breeze. We hope you come out and play.
In the meantime check out this shot of Val and the crew on their way to winning the division on Saturday at the Great Vallejo race.


Monday, April 14th, 2014

Failing any written reports or photo’s from the two Fleet 17 teams on their spectacular results in the CopaMexico/North American Championships we are publishing these two shots of some of the post racing fun. First are the bruises incurred on Flight by Melissa, Jessica and Robin. Second the odd places sunburn occurred on James, Val and Zane. Small price to pay.




Monday, January 27th, 2014

Here’s a summary of some of the competitors at the Three Bridge Fiasco this weekend.
We were very happy to see some of the irregulars coming out. Jeff with his beautiful Water Rat. Brandon and Valerie on the immaculate ‘Backwards’. Even visitor David Klatt on Jaded. We’re sorry for them it was such a floater.

Randall aka R3 (Flight)

Jessica and I had a nice lunch with Flight on the hook in front of Ft. Mason while boats mostly slid backward around us. We got some pressure again and gained hope for a bit, but the 5th time seeing the edge of aquatic park slide by was it for me. Alex had set his anchor on Fly By Night by then and looked to ready to wait as long as it took.

My engine had started running really badly on the way over and I didn’t feel I could rely on it after dark, so we retired early and started across the pond. In fits and starts, it did eventually get us to some nice breeze in the North Bay and we sailed the rest of the way in.

Water Rat was at the RYC dock when we got there, they had made it as far as Pier 39. The Pier 39 ferryboat captains were pretty obnoxious this year. They saw no reason to slow down to get through the racers parked in front of their entrance. They were very annoyed and could not figure out why the racers weren’t starting their engines moving out of their way, like they were for the freighters.

When I dropped by Brickyard this evening, Woof was already there and Little Wing showed up a minute (beer) later. Woof had stuck it out on the City Front longer than we did, but eventually reached the same conclusion.
I would consider two bridges a real victory this year

Jasper (Evil Octopus)
We started in counter clockwise direction. My watch was off by one minute versus the race committee, which worked out well because we would have been twenty seconds late. We saw Luther and Ryan heading down on spinnaker near the pin end. Our start was nice and close. We were on port tack at the pin with Jaded (nice to see them out here) on our port hip and Water Rat on our starboard hip. Close by was Alex on Fly by Night. Water rat was killing us as we ducked our way on port tack through the throngs of boats on our way to the shore side. Jeff was sporting some crispy looking sails, but I noticed he had the 100% jib up. No genoa. And he was still creaming us. Then Alex took over putting gas on us. We were in a world of hurt. When we reached the shore line we tacked ever so gently and got very lucky. Because Water Rat and Fly by Night were now in front of us on starboard tack we could see exactly where the current hit them. So we tacked a boat length sooner to stay in the current relief. Instant gain. We kept that up all the way to aquatic park. There the zodiac that was leading a gaggle of swimmers decided we were Octopus non Grata and literally rammed us. No apologies either. Oh well. We saw a slight wind line about 50 yards offshore and dove into that. It made the difference between making it around or staying put. Next up was Pier 39, which proved to be no hassle but once we rounded that we hit some major current. Originally we were aiming towards Yerba Buena, but we quickly bailed for current relief on shore. After doing the escalator run for a while we scrambled to dig out the anchor and had lunch. With us was Val on Shut up and Drive. He and Vince must have done a tremendous job to catch up. After lunch we gambled and pulled up the anchor in order to crab over to Treasure Island. It took a long time but we made it. Once there we did some fancy auto tacking to get around Yerba Buena and then enjoyed a luxurious close reach all the way to Red Rock. At RR the wind stopped again. Somehow Val had ended up there too and he cheered us on as he motored home. But after rounding the rock we had to throw out the anchor again. That gave us time to do the math. We weren’t going to make it. OK, we fought the good fight. Start the engine. What a day.
Tech Talk: I was asked how we trimmed for the light stuff. Having just tuned the rig I can tell you:
Mast butt was set at neutral for 2.5 inches of pre bend at 20/15 on the shrouds, and forestay at 1 finger outside the scale with backstay attached but loose. I left the shrouds there, which is one setting below base. We trimmed our older genoa at 6 to 8 inches off the spreader depending on whether we were coming out of a tack or we were up to speed. Outhaul was off by one inch only. Admittedly these are older sails. The genoa cars were all the way forward.
We tried to roll tack as much as possible. Which is a pain in the bum for the driver.

Darren (Downtown Uproar)
Yeah, we (re)anchored maybe three times at Aquatic Park. Fending off Golden Moon, before a light westerly filled in. Made for a nice spinnaker ride down to Yerba Buena. We had a good rounding staying close to the shore / lighthouse, passing a bunch that went wide. Nice mellow flat water reach to Richmond, where we found a little bit of advantage in closer to the entrance wall. Started to make our way to ‘R2′, around 5 or so our little personal puff evaporated. It seemed pretty clear we were not going to finish at this point, maybe not make it to RR before 7. So headed home. Super fun day though, I loved it. A little bit scary all the five horn blast we heard, I think a little more so the ones coming from the Golden Gate.

Luther (Little Wing)
We started the day with a plan: 1) GGB; 2) RR, and 3) TI. We looked at each other straight In the eyes and said that no matter what we were going to stick with the plan!

So we started about 20 seconds early, what with all the fun of getting the chute up and no one looking outside the boat, I say, ok just 20 seconds and Ryan says we started already. So we pull down the kite spin around and re crossed the line heading for TI. Then we furiously discussed keeping going, but no! We stuck with the plan, spun around when we were about 100 m on our way to TI and went to GGB. We nearly caught up to DTUR and did to Flight, where we had fun match racing until the park up at Aquatic PARK (ah – now I get it…). When it became clear that we were losing our match race to an anchored boat (I did go below and ponder the anchor – ready to go…), and decided that anchor muck was not in the plan, we took a flyer off to (we were thinking Southampton, but current said…) the Straits, where I thought we did circles, but the GPS logger (passive collection) seemed to show us staying on course. We finally got some gas to blow us into to straits and out on the NW corner where we diced it up with a Moore next to the rocks there. They rolled us 2x, but when the wind died, they bailed, and just after they called in and mounted the motor, the breeze came I and we zoomed off to a chorus of their curses!

Then the reality of that old time-distance-velocity thing was pointed out, and we bailed 1/2 way between RR and AI. Smart move.

Melissa (Downtown Uproar)
The second time (I think) we were anchored some of the swimmers came out to observe and speculate if this was what sailboat racing was all about and be smug about the cost of swimming vs. sailing. We were slightly surprised Aquatic Park wasn’t restricted, but maybe the swimmers have mocked other sailors in the past. :D

If I’d thought we’d make it around red rock by 6:30 (even knowing we couldn’t finish) I’d have been more in favor of pressing on just to say we’d done it, but I swear that it seemed like after 5pm it just never…got…closer. But yeah, fun day, and we had enough beer on board to keep the crew happy. :D

For pictures check out Norcalsailing LINK