Halloween is here and this past weekend was the annual RYC Great Pumpkin Regatta race held on the San Francisco Bay. The annual race event draws a record number of boats, and this year was no different as a whopping 172 sailboats signed up for the two day races.
Muscle Milk MEGA athlete, Memo Gidley, and his “Basic Instinct” crew just came off a stellar podium finish a few weeks ago in the Island Tour race and were amped for the weekends races. “We had a nice race a few weeks ago and were looking to build on that,” said Gidley. “We are continually tweaking our team to try to get the most out of our performance with everything from different tactics to basic communication while sailing.”
The schedule of races was for three short races Saturday and then one combined race Sunday.
On Saturday, the Basic Instinct crew struggled on the short course and ended up finishing 8,9, and 9th in their class. “Saturday’s race was very exciting because the courses were short and everything was happening so quickly,” said Gidley. “It was really happening too quick for us and with sail changes back and forth, we ended up making a number of mistakes and not performing where I was hoping. At one point we were dragging our spinnaker sail behind us in the water and I am thinking that it doesn’t get a whole lot worse than that! However, we learned a lot about where we need to be.”
Sunday’s race was a different story. With a two hour race delay for lack of wind, when the wind finally did pick up, “Basic Instinct” and her crew were ready to redeem themselves. Sunday’s race would start 172 sailboats, each starting at a different time based on their PHRF speed rating with the slowest boat starting first and the fastest last. The course was 14 miles and went from the start rounding Alcatraz and Angel Islands, along with a couple of course buoys to the finish.
At the start, Basic Instinct took off flying. “We had a really nice breeze at the start and then it just continued to build,” said Gidley. “We made up a lot of positions going to Alcatraz Island and then as we bore off the wind to Angle Island, we were just flying. Basic Instinct was up on a plane surfing for about 20 minutes!”
“We had a great sail and passed a lot of boats to get to 32nd,” said Gidley. “I have never in car racing been happy with a 32nd place finish, but then again, I have also never raced against 172 other competitors at once! I think it was my daughters “Southern Bell” costume which brought us some good luck while sailing! All in all a great weekend and I can’t wait for the next race.”