Saturday, March 26, 2016

Doublehanded Farallones Race Preview

Farallones Islands rocks race- San Francisco(San Francisco, CA)- This weekend marks the start of a West Coast double-handed offshore classic- the Bay Area Multihull Association’s Doublehanded Farallones Race.  It is a race that has challenged some of the best offshore sailors in California and is legendary for producing outrageous sailing conditions offshore.

The biggest obstacle is not necessarily rounding the foreboding pinnacle of rocks known as the Farallones, but making it through a body of water known as “the Potato Patch” just offshore of the entrance to San Francisco Bay.  Imagine what happens when several million gallons of water per minute are ebbing at 5-6 kts, emptying all of San Francisco Bay beneath the majestic Golden Gate Bridge at depths down to 330 ft.  Then, just over 4nm offshore, all that water encounters the infamous Potato Patch Shoal, a four fathom bank (24 ft) loaded with kelp and massive great white sharks, that forces enormous Pacific swell driven by distant gales in the north Pacific (up to 15 ft or more in height!) to crest and break all over your boat!  If it’s a blustery day in the 20-30 kts range, the waves and crests can be precipitously steep and foreboding, more like a tsunami of water!

Looking forward to that challenge are an intrepid collection of J/crews, most of them have sailed the Farallones Race in brutal conditions before and are hoping for a more benign version this weekend.  Starting off with sixty-six boats in the fleet are J/120s, J/105s,  a J/88 and J/90.  Those teams include a trio of J/120s- Mike O’Callaghan’s PEREGRINE, Sean Mulvihill’s JAMANI and Ludovic Milin’s SAETTA.  The triple J/105s include John Robison’s LIGHTWAVE, Rich Pipkin’s RACER X and Dave Miller’s BALD EAGLE.  Joining them is Jim Hopp’s J/88 WHITE SHADOW and Trig Liljestrand’s J/90 RAGTIME (Rod J’s old boat!).
For more BAMA Doublehanded Farallones sailing information