Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Another Glorious 3 Bridge Fiasco

Three Bridge Fiasco start fiasco
J/Crews Collecting More Pickle Dishes!
(San Francisco, CA)- The 362 entries in the Singlehanded Sailing Society's 2017 edition of the Three Bridge Fiasco had more wind than predicted; except when they had none at all. One of the factors that makes the race a real “fiasco” is that the crews, all singlehanded and doublehanded, must choose which way to start and finish and which direction to sail around the three marks: Blackaller Buoy near the Golden Gate Bridge, Red Rock just south of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and Yerba Buena Island in the middle of the Bay Bridge.

The clockwise pack had a restart when the wind died north of Treasure Island.  Fortunately, the current on this patch of water was mellow, though at least one boat dropped an anchor.

Kame Richards, a local sailmaker and highly successful racer, offered some advice about strategy at the skippers' meeting on Wednesday. "If you go clockwise you're statistically in an okay group," he commented. Probably 95% of the racers went clockwise on Saturday, but this year it was the contrarians who finished first. "The tidebooks are going to be wrong," stated Richards. "The tides will not be normal.” He was right on that score. It wasn't so simple as flood turning to ebb. Rip currents abounded. The velocity of rushing water in some places was unusual on the Bay. Patches of meringue and weird whirlpools popped up in seemingly random places, all adding to the day's challenges.

With so little breeze and such strong currents, the starboard rounding of Yerba Buena was far trickier than the much earlier port rounding of it by the CCW boats had been. Some boats were dragged into the island and ran aground, others piled up into a buoy tender docked at the Coast Guard station there.

Some of the clockwise crews had fretted about typically light air at Red Rock and the flood turning to ebb, so they went straight to Red Rock after the start, leaving Blackaller Buoy for last. (As it turned out, there was plenty of breeze at Red Rock, though the ebb did start early there).   In the late afternoon, this group shot toward the Golden Gate Bridge on a river of 4- to 5-knot ebb. Turning toward shore, they found an equivalent back eddy of flood surrounding their last mark. As Kame explained: "When it's ebbing very hard, all the water can't fit under the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of it hits Fort Point and gets bounced back along the City-front." (Thanks to LATITUDE 38 for intro).

Despite the often-challenging conditions, it was Tony Castruccio’s J/30 WIND SPEED that won Class 1- Singlehanded Monohull overall, plus winning class!  Just behind him, finishing 5th overall in class was the J/24 IRISH BLESSING sailed by Chad Peddy!  In the Class 2 Singlehanded Spin division, the J/88 WHITE SHADOW sailed by Jim Hopp took home the silver, followed by Todd Olsen’s J/92S WINDTRIP INFINITY in third.

In the Doublehanded world, there were several notable performances.  In Class 10 Double Non-Spin, the J/124 SPIRIT OF FREEDOM sailed by Bill Mohr & Reid Rankin placed 4th, while another stablemate, the J/88 INCONCEIVABLE sailed by Steven & Zach Gordon took fifth position.

Winning Class 11 Double Spin was the J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS sailed by Rich Pipkin & Mary McGrath.  Just off the pace in 6th place was Howard Turner & Jay Crum’s J/111 SYMMETRY.  Also, in the top ten in this class were Doug Bailey & Brian Capehart’s J/105 AKULA in 8th and James Goldberg & Lana Chang’s J/109 JUNKYARD DOG in 10th place.

In the large J/105 Double class, winning was Chris Kim & Mike Lazarro’s VUJA STAR.  Nearly a half hour behind them in 2nd was Adam Spiegel & Chris Tholstrup’s JAM SESSION, with William Woodruff & Mike Weinman’s RUSSIAN ROULETTE in 3rd, John Robison & Simon James’ LIGHTWAVE in 4th and Phil Laby & Matt Skafel’s GODOT in 5th position.

The highly competitive J/22 Double class saw local rock star Russ Silvestri & John Bonds sailing StFYC’s TOM ALLEN to the top of the heap.  Next was Gerard Sheridan & Halsey Richartz’s SAMBA PA TI in 2nd with Mike Menninger & Ben Lezin’s GOOD in 3rd place.

The J/24 Double class saw old rivalries continue, this time with Darren Cumming & Loren Moore’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR winning, followed by Val Lulevich & Mark Humberstone’s SHUT UP & DRIVE.

The Double SF Bay 30 class was one of the closest fought finishes in the entire fleet between three J/32s and two J/30s.  Winning was Luther & Robert Izmirian’s J/32  PARADIGM, just 2:28 ahead of 2nd place finishers, Jenny Thompson & Chris Jensen’s J/30 FRICTION LOSS.  Third was yet another J/30 only 1:18 further back, Peter Jermyn & Curt Brown’s IONE.  Fourth was Lewis Lanier & Galen Loving’s J/32 STRATOCASTER and fifth was John Riley & Larry Weinhoff’s J/32 LA DOLCE VITA.

At the top of the Double J/70 class was Morgan & Jordan Paxhia’s PENNY PINCHER with a narrow 3min lead over Davis King & Tim Anto’s ALLONS-Y.  Taking third was Fabio Maino & Felice Bonardi’s SCILLA and 4th, only 17sec back was Scott Sellers & Geoff McDonald’s 1FA!  Sailing photos- Erik Simonson /  For more Three Bridge Fiasco sailing information