Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ARBITRAGE Wins Sausalito J/105 Invite

J/105s sailing upwind on San Francisco Bay (Sausalito, CA)- This past weekend the San Francisco J/105 fleet was treated to its own race course on the Berkeley Circle courtesy of Sausalito YC.   SYC has been running the event for J/105s-only for years between Sausalito, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.  However, with all the America's Cup hoopla going on, SYC wisely moved the event to the Berkeley Circle to avoid having J/105s sliced in half by 50 kt 72-foot AC catamarans careening out of control.

On Saturday, the winds started at 15 kt, quickly grew to a consistent 30-32 kts, and even hit 50 kts after racing was over and folks were motoring home in their boats across San Francisco Bay!  Scooter Simmons’ BLACKHAWK dominated the first day of racing with a 4th and two bullets, while Bruce Stone and the team on ARBITRAGE were just three points behind with a 2-4-3.  Jeff Littfin's MOJO and Phil Laby's GODOT were tied for third a couple more points back, so with such a closely bunched crowd, the regatta was anyone’s to win going into Sunday.

As has often been the case with the SF J/105s, whatever happened on Saturday would have little bearing on the outcomes for Sunday to determine the final winners.  ARBITRAGE was a bit eager early in the morning (perhaps due to the influence of Stone's custom-made roasted coffee beans) and was called over early in the first race.  Nevertheless, Stone's team clawed their way back for a hard-earned second.  In the last race, the ARBITRAGE team turned in another consistent race, finishing third, to claim the top spot on the podium despite no bullets.  Littfin's MOJO took second and Laby's GODOT third.  Past regatta winner RISK (Jason Woodley & Scott Whitney) was just off the pace in this event but managed a bullet in the last race to secure 4th, while early regatta leader Simmon's BLACKHAWK slid down to fifth place; much of that could be attributed to that fact they sailed a borrowed boat on Sunday after their own boat blew-up the jib roller due to Saturday's heavy winds.

According to Stone, “Steering was quite difficult both days, and big gains were made switching gears. Nicole Breault, our main trimmer and tactician, worked really hard to keep us moving from normal trim into footing mode to punch through the significant chop and get into the next shift.  Since we cross sheet, she had the jib at hand and was able to work both main and jib all the way up the race course.  We feel this made a huge difference in our performance.”  Sailing Photo credits- Rolex/ Daniel Forster.  For more Sausalito YC J/105 Invite sailing information