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"Santa Cruz 1-2-3," came the chant, as these young sailors in the Ultralight division of the El Toro Stampede approached the finish line off RYC's A dock. ©2016 norcalsailing.com
El Toros Sighted in Richmond
October 11, 2016
On two consecutive Sundays in October, El Toros were spotted frolicking in the waters of Richmond Yacht Club's harbor. Sunday the 2nd was the first day of the of the RYC junior program, which will run through March. The beginner El Toro and Opti sailors must pass the 'Guppy' tests.
To pass, the juniors capsize their boat, swim around the stern, grab the daggerboard, right the boat, get inside, and bail it out. Then they jump in the water and swim from one side of the turning basin to the other. A hot shower and hot cocoa follow.
Typically, they get past the nerves and jitters, and build confidence. Often, they have so much fun that they get back in line and do it over (and over) again. The hard part is getting them out of the water.
The following Sunday, October 9, the El Toro Seniors and advanced Juniors competed for prizes in the Stampede. Run continuously since 1947, the Stampede is RYC's oldest regatta.
While most of the races take place out at 'Parents' Point' in the Potrero Channel, some of them finish back at the turning basin, and one, the green bottle race, starts and finishes there. In that final race, the daggerboards must come up at the starting signal and stay there. Have you ever tried to sail upwind in an El Toro without a board down? There's a trick to it that not everyone mastered — the boats mostly want to go sideways, not forward.