Saturday, April 9, 2016


J/105 Russian Roulette sailing San Francisco Bay (Richmond, CA)- The J/105 RUSSIAN ROULETTE sailed the Big Daddy Regatta in typical San Francisco Bay “nuking winds”.  Here is skipper Sergey Lubarsky’s commentary on their casual weekend of racing:

“Despite the pouring rain, thirty-two knot gusts, and some tactical mistakes, J/105 Russian Roulette had an epic race going around the islands in the Big Daddy regatta.

Russian Roulette is new to San Francisco Bay boat purchased by two new owners, Sergey Lubarsky and Bill Woodruff. The new owners delivered the boat up from San Diego last November, and have been too busy racing their new toy to swap out the Mexican sail numbers.

The Big Daddy Regatta, held by Richmond Yacht club, was the first high-wind race for this team. Conditions consisted of constant pouring rain, sustained Westerly winds of twenty to twenty -five knots, and gusts over thirty knots. Just a regular day in San Francisco.

J/105 on plotBesides having a great name, the Big Daddy regatta has a fun format. The pursuit race begins just off Southampton shoal, and boats must round both Alcatraz and Angel Island, before returning to the finish line. The hitch is that each boat must choose to sail the course clockwise, or counterclockwise. Needless to say, tactics are a very important part of this race.

Four boats recorded their GPS tracks using the free RaceQs sailing app. Two boats in the replay chose clockwise, while the other boats went counter-clockwise. This is representative of the actual fleet split, which was about fifty/fifty for each direction.

As far as the Russian Roulette team could tell, the course choice was very clear. If they went clockwise, they would be bucking major current from the ebb tide all the way from the start line, to Alcatraz. The current would be much more favorable heading counter-clockwise, and rounding both islands to port.

J/105 tacticsWhat the team did not realize was that the pouring rain would delay the flood tide for almost two hours. This gave a huge advantage to the clockwise boats, which got to ride that extended ebb time right out of the Bay. Then, as the tide changed, the clockwise boats were in a perfect position along the shore to get an early push from the flood. The first clockwise boats finished 20 minutes ahead of the first counter-clockwise boats.

Despite a few tactical mistakes, Russian Roulette had a great race, finishing second out of the counter-clockwise fleet. The boat was fun to drive, steady and fast downwind, and had good upwind speed as well.”