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Last week was the kick-off race for Cortez Racing Association's and Silver Gate Yacht Club's 33rd annual San Diego Bay Beer Can Series, and I was fortunate enough to be right smack dab in the middle of it. I was aboard the famous yacht America, a replica of the 1851 schooner after which the America's Cup race was named.

I'd never seen that many boats in the bay at the same time. At first it was ethereal, and then it was freaky (in an, oh my God, they're swarming sort of way), and then it was back to being otherworldly. At one point, we were surrounded on all sides by over 100 boats, all gearing up for the race.

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The party was catered by Gabardine, and the wine and beer was flowing. That's how you can tell you're surrounded by real boat-people -- lots of booze, and no one gets woozy on the water.

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As the sun sank deeper toward the horizon, the sailboats seemed even more magical.

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Races will be ongoing, every Wednesday evening, through August 8. If you can't get out there in the middle of it, try to find a place on shore to enjoy the spectacle.

For more photos of the kick-off race, see the set I posted on Flickr.

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