Friday, May 31, 2013

Gorgeous Sailing For Aldo Alessio Regatta

J/105s sailing on San francisco bayJ/111 MADMEN Debuts First Regatta
(San Francisco, CA)- It was nearly perfect, classic San Francisco Bay sailing conditions for the weekend.  A bit of fog in the morning, clearing soon after everyone had their first cup of coffee, then turning into gorgeous sunny weather with a solid westerly blowing through Golden Gate Bridge!  A recipe that many sailors love and will never tire from-- it has to be one of the world's most reliable "thermal breeze engines" (50 deg bay waters + 100 deg valley desert = 20-30 kts!).

With the largest fleet in the regatta, the eighteen J/105s had some spirited competition.  The winner, Bruce Stone on ARBITRAGE, sailed a constant series with a 3-1-6-5-1 record for 16 pts.  Adam Spiegel's JAM SESSION was second with a 4-3-2-6-3 for 18 pts.  Third was Scooter Simmons on BLACKHAWK with 5-4-rdg-1-5 for 19.5 pts.  Fourth was Jason Woodley and Scott Whitney on RISK and fifth was the DONKEY JACK trio- Shannon Ryan, Rolk Kaiser, Steve Kleha (might've been regatta winners had they not taken a dive down the rabbit hole in race 2 with an 11th).  Here's the report from the front of the pack- Bruce Stone on ARBITRAGE:

J/105 champions- N Breault and B Stone on Arbitrage- San Francisco Bay"Despite it being among the lightest ebbs of the month, the Aldo Alessio course was heavily tidal influenced, with typical city front conditions on Saturday.  There was a pronounced counter-clockwise favored course - go outside upwind in the stronger ebb and hug the city front downwind in less ebb.  You needed a good start and then tack immediately to get out the stronger ebb outside.  There were significant passing opportunities downwind as some folks stayed tight inshore and missed shots of extra breeze just a bit out, while others jibed out for that breeze, missed it and ended up sliding back in the ebb - the typical arbitrage of wind and tide!

On Sunday, the RC set up a Big Boat Series-type course with a starting line on the face of Treasure Island, exposing the fleet to an ebb running northerly along the line from the pin to the committee boat. This race course made more work for the tacticians, with the winners legging over toward downtown where the river running from south bay would then curve to the northwest into the channel between Alcatraz and the city front.  Those who spent time on port tack rode the ebb toward Angel Island probably hooked into a stronger ebb on the north side of Alcatraz, but in planning the day we felt the "lefty-lifty" conditions as one passed the south side of Alcatraz would trump the better ebb on the north side. And, anyone going right for more tide would then be coming back on a header to the windward marks at Presidio Shoal.

J/111 sailing San Francisco BayIt was also a great day for active trimming because the ebb made for choppy conditions as the wind built into the low 20's.  Nicole was constantly easing and trimming the main going upwind, and since we cross-sheet, she has the jib sheet on the winch right next to her and can do the final trim when we get up to speed from tacks, and ease when we encounter a particularly nasty wave set from the ferries.  Downwind there were gainers from catching waves through coordinated work on spin and mainsheet.  It was an exhausting weekend for the crew as everyone worked hard to get every extra bit out of the boat.  Second place Jam Session sailed an excellent regatta with some great starts and competitive tactics."

The half-dozen J/120s have historically had very tight racing, with no team simply dominating the events they sail together.  However, this may haven the first time in recent memory where that did happen! First was Barry Lewis's CHANCE with a strong three 1sts and two 2nds scoreline for 7 pts.  Second was Dick Swanson's GRACE DANCES with a 2-3-1-3-2 for 11 pts.  Third was John Wimer's DESDEMONA with a very consistent 3-4-3-2-3 for 15 pts.  Rounding out the top five were Steve Madeira's MR MAGOO in fourth and Timo Bruck's TWIST in fifth.

The IRC Class saw the debut of the J/111 MADMEN sailed by Dorian McKelvy.  Even with their "non-IRC optimized" rating, they sailed very well to score 3-3-3-6-6-6 for 27 pts and place 4th overall.  The wind was right in the 14-17 kts range, not enough wind to send the J/111 down the Bay in a full-on plane.  Nevertheless, post-race analysis shows that MADMEN's team did a great job sailing and using a "standard UK/French IRC certificate" for J/111s, it's clear the J/111 would've won IRC Class!   Sailing photo credits-   For more Aldo Alessio sailing information