The first fleet start will be for the indigenous Bear boats (of which Renegade is one) paired with scow schooner Alma, a wooden-hulled craft built in 1891 to carry bulk cargo. Her flat-bottomed hull was designed to navigate the shallow waters of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and to rest on the bottom at low tide. Racing again this year will be Bear boat number 1, Merry Bear, with caretakers from the National Park Service taking her for a run.
A total of 66 vessels have signed to participate, including Ronald R. MacAnnan's "Pursuit," Tim Mullins' 54-foot yawl "Legend," several of the graceful Bird boats and more.
The Master Mariners Benevolent Association is a San Francisco yacht club dating back to 1867 with the purpose of fostering participation in yachting and the preservation of well designed, properly constructed, and well maintained classic and traditional sailing craft. The term “Benevolent” in Master Mariners Benevolent Association goes to one of the original intentions of the organization, which was to raise funds to support the families of sailors lost over-board from merchant vessels plying Bay and offshore waters. Today, MMBA funds a range of charitable grant activities through a separate 501(c)3 licensed corporation, the Master Mariners Benevolent Foundation. Funds raised are given for scholarships and related expenses tied to youth sail-training, maritime-related vocational training and occasional 3rd party events which increase regional appreciation for the uniqueness of our nautical heritage and classic sailing vessels.