In the late 1950s, SDYC member Herb Sinhoffer said, “Why don’t we have a winter series where we start the boats on their handicaps so that they all get to the bar at the same time and enjoy a bit of rum to celebrate the race and our great San Diego weather!” Fast forward almost 60 years later, the Hot Rum Series is now one of the most popular fall sailing events in San Diego. This year, San Diego Yacht Club hosted the Series on three different Saturdays: November 5 and 19 and December 3.
There were 132 boats registered for the 2016 series, ranging in size from For Sale, a 20’ T590, to Velos, a 73’ Sloop. Boats were assigned handicaps and the race utilized a pursuit start, meaning the slowest boat started first and the fastest boat started last, the idea being that most boats would finish around the same time.
SDYC’s Rick Goebel was the Hot Rum I leader on his J/105, Sanity, and Tom Purcell from Balboa Yacht Club took the lead after Hot Rum II on his Andrews 49.9, It’s Ok. Hot Rum III on December 3 featured the most wind out of the three days and SDYC’s Heather Madden took the overall win after the third race on Stark Raving Mad VII, her Swan 601.
Each race featured an after racing party at SDYC, which competitors are rumored to enjoy more than the sailing itself, honoring Sinhoffer’s initial idea for the series.