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Running Of The Bulls, SF Style

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  • Running Of The Bulls, SF Style

    The Marin I.J. has a piece on the Bullship Regatta, the El Toro race across the bay from Sausalito to SF this weekend:

    For more than 50 years, Cinde Lou Delmas hankered for the opportunity to squish herself into a tiny 8-foot sailboat to make the crossing from Sausalito to the San Francisco city front, with just a ping pong paddle and cut-off chlorox bottle for assistance.

    On Saturday, Delmas will finally get that break as she competes in the 60th annual Bull Ship race for her first time, in an El Toro, along with some 40 other racers. The course runs from the starting line by the Sausalito Yacht Club to the finish line off the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) on the city front — competitors have a two-hour time limit to finish.

    For most sailboats, this is not a particularly daunting crossing but in an 8-foot El Toro ... well ... anything could happen, says Bull Ship registrar Paul Flowerman.

    "The boat that was designed by an amateur builder out of two sheets of plywood that does 3 knots, if that," said Flowerman, who lives in Lagunitas. "The windier it gets, the deeper the boat goes in the water and submarines — it's literally like that. The boats are technically stupid but the competition is usually very good."

    As the story goes, the Bull Ship regatta was first conceived as a bet between a few guys, probably in a bar. A race was on. Back in the day after racing competitors would de-rig their El Toros on the lawn area between the St. Francis Yacht Club and the GGYC where the prize giving would take place with famous North Beach stripper Tempest Storm awarding trophies while Irish coffees from the Buena Vista Café were served.

    Not surprising, the trophies for this bizarre race take a bovine form, like the bull-in-a-cage trophy, the carved wooden bull and the big set of bull horns awarded to the first female. The last finisher gets the Tail End trophy — a real cow tail.

    It's a popular race with familiar Marin sailors like Gordie Nash, whose mother was awarded the first women's Bull Ship trophy in the early days of the race, and Flowerman's long-time sailing buddy John Amen who will also be on the start. The two met when they were about 11 years old in the Sausalito Yacht Club junior program and have sailed together for the past 50 years. Amen's done the race for 18 years, often placing second or third, and winning once. He still holds the course record of 43½ minutes.
    Full Article ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~

  • #2
    I'd like to do this race, any spare el toro around ?


    • #3
      Axe Happy Poops
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #4
        ?.... !


        • #5
          My boat is currently on loan in the Richmond Jr Program over at RYC.


          • #6
            Bull Ship 2013 Is In The Books!

            A damp, foggy day greeted the 30 something participants in the 60th annual Bullship,with very little wind and much less visibility at the Sausalito start line, which took an hour long powder waiting for more of both. It finally came and the intrepid fleet of 8' foot mostly plywood, hard chined home built craft trodded of into the mystic. RYC's Seymor Dodds was on the scene and files this report for bovine boat fans world wide....snort, snort...

            The Start in Sausalito

            Winner was Gordy Nash he was furthest east and was least impacted by the ebb.
            When asked why he won Gordy said simply, “I finished ahead of everyone else.”

            It’s more along the lines of boat and tactics
            Boat speed makes you look like tactical genius,
            When you combine boat speed and tactical genius you get Gordy Nash.

            The start was delayed by fog and an outbound containership.
            Competitors were running around asking what the compass course was to the Cityfront.
            Or whining about not having a compass
            Fortunately after an hour delay the mist cleared slightly, the containership passed out the gate and 24 boat fleet was off
            The hour was crucial- a flood tide race turned into an ebb race.

            Chris Nash tacking for Yellow bluff all photo © RYC Racing

            After a so-so start Gordy lagged behind
            He only tacked twice and consistently stayed to the east side of the course.
            Gordy left the leaders about midway across by reaching & really favoring the Alcatraz side of the course.
            Gordy was reaching off in the puffs and heating it up in the lulls
            Tom Alexander on one of the Cowships that accompany the racers was thinking “No way he’s gonna recover from that move.”
            Buzz Blackett also made the move to the east. Buzz ultimately finished second.
            (Buzz is the owner skipper of the ocean racer California Condor, an Antrim Class 40)

            Bruce Bradfute third place

            That anticipated ebb came with about a mile to the finish
            Everyone moved right toward the Gate and Gordy was golden.
            The finish line was the same one use by the America’s Cup right off the Golden Gate Yacht Club breakwater.
            The Toro is of course little smaller and a lot slower than those AC Catamarans.

            James Savatone first woodie.jpg

            Bullship Podium Buzz, Gordy and Bruce Bradfute

            Still everyone who does this races comes out with memories.
            You’re halfway across, somewhere in between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz where a boat slightly larger than a bath tub generally doesn’t belong.
            And you can’t but think what a marvelous day. This is fun.

            Chris Nash reveals his secret weapon

            Bill Moore Maiden Voyager

            In the fun Department Bill Moore after all these years took a sinker across.
            He even made a special journey up to Oregon to get “Buttercup.”
            A sinker is one of those ancient wooden boats without all that extra flotation.
            She was once a hot boat in the San Francisco Yacht Club’s junior program which was preserved as a family heirloom.
            Once you go over you’re gone -no possibility of self rescue. Yes his wife was a little apprehensive.
            He made a decent passage and although he might have been the oldest competitor was never the less presented with the 1st maiden voyage award.

            CindeLou Tail End Charile

            Yet another maiden voyager who once raced Buttercup as a Junior was CindeLou Delmas.
            Her own rooting section watched and cheered from the dock.
            She had fun in not winning. In fact was DFL & garnered that ignominious bulls tale trophy.
            This trophy is so well received by competitors that it keeps disappearing and this year was no different.
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

   Photo Gallery


            • #7
              Looks like the old crew continue to enjoy the tub and continue to attract more "bullshippers" to the herd.

              The peoples boat lives on!

              60 years already?



              • #8
                That does look like a fun time.


                • #9
                  Pure awesomeness. Congrats Bruce!
                  Pointing like a traffic cop, footin like a track star.