MELILANI Edges Out Win at Great Vallejo Race

The Great Vallejo Race has become a time-honored tradition every year for northern San Francisco Bay sailors. The event is hosted by the Vallejo Yacht Club, with over 100 boats sailing in 24 divisions. The race most often starts near the Berkeley Circle on Saturday morning, rounds a single weather mark near Alcatraz, and then heads to Vallejo, usually under spinnaker for the remainder of the race. The challenge is to maintain speed through the shadow of Angel Island, find the best combination of wind and current past the Richmond-San Rafael bridge and East Brother Light Station, and then avoid the mud shoals on the east side of the San Pablo Bay. As the boats enter Carquinez Strait, they bunch together, making the turn into Mare Island Strait. Because of the topography of Mare Island, as well as the fact that it sits at the mouth of the Napa River, local knowledge (or many years of sailing the race) can make the difference as the yachts maneuver toward the finish line on the Vallejo city waterfront. Winds vary from light to heavy, and becoming exceedingly shifty. The J/105 one-design fleet of six boats had stiff competition. It was nearly a three-way tie for first place. As it was, two boats tied for first with identical records of 2-3, with the countback going to Richard Butts’ MELILANI over Chuck Pick’s BOX OF RAIN. Third was Chris Kim’s VUJA STAR with a 5-1 for 6 points. For more Great Vallejo Race information, visit

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