Oakland Yacht Club

Crews clean up the Oakland/Alameda Estuary. Photo by Jeff Heyman.

Veteran seaman Fred Joyce said he goes to the Oakland Yacht Club to share sailing and racing stories with friends like Jim Jessie, a club member for more than 50 years, and Christa Schreiber. All three agreed there’s something special about the Oakland Yacht Club, which this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Veteran Seaman Fred Joyce said he goes to the Oakland Yacht Club to share sailing and racing stories with friends like Jim Jessie, a club member for more than 50 years, and Christa Schreiber. All three agreed there’s something special about the Oakland Yacht Club, which this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

At the beginning, it looked like Emirates Team New Zealand was going to run away with the America's Cup. But then Oracle suddenly found their stride.

Artemis Racing foils on San Francisco during the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals. Photo by Dave Bloch.

A CURVE TOO STEEP

Artemis Racing ended its campaign for the America's Cup last Saturday with their fourth loss to Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge. It was the best race of the lot, and might have turned out differently if not for some penalties assessed against the team.

It is a balmy summer evening as dozens of sailors prepare for the next race in Oakland Yacht Club’s 2012 Sweet Sixteen Series – which is perhaps better known, along with similar races run by Encinal and Island yacht clubs on Friday nights, as Alameda’s beer can races. Martin Jemo and his crew prepare the Joanna, Jemo’s 30-foot Irwin, for a 90-minute run on the Alameda/Oakland Estuary.

Jemo has been sailing since the 1950s, and he and two other members of the crew have sailed together for so long that one crewmember jokingly refers to them as the Ancient Mariners.

“This is the hardest part of sailing, when the spinnaker is up,” Katherine Ulman says as the Joanna, a 30-foot Irwin on which she is crewing, carves a graceful arc across the Alameda/Oakland Estuary.

The sail in question – which looks like the colorful parachutes children use to toss mounds of plastic balls like popcorn kernels – can be a boon when a sailboat hits a windless patch, or a curse if a strong wind suddenly kicks up, sending the boat skidding atop the waves.