Windy conditions wreak havoc on Pumpkin Regatta


Out of 106 boats registered for Saturday’s “Great Pumpkin Race,” only 91 would finish all three sailboat races, proving the treacherous weather conditions of the San Francisco Bay.  

“Crazy breeze, gnarly conditions, fast and close racing, and some crazy roundups,” said Sean Mahoney, a crewmember on the competing boat Tartan 101 Storymaker.

Gary Clifford started the Great Pumpkin Regatta in October 1985 out of the Richmond Yacht Club (RYC) for the Club members, with pumpkins thrown onto the course. If you managed to recover a pumpkin, you could skip that leg of the race. This led to unintended consequences; for some competitors, it became a very short race.

A committee was subsequently formed, which opened up the event to the yachting community.

In addition to the buoy racing on Saturday, a pursuit race was added for Sunday from Angel Island to Alcatraz with the skippers’ choice of direction. Unfortunately, gale-force winds and six-foot seas lead to the pursuit race’s cancellation

“Sunday’s race would have been full of broaches and broken masts,” said Drake Senior Luc Burkhart, a crewmember on the 1D 48 Bodacious.