Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BLACKHAWK Wins Swiftsure Regatta

J/105s sailing San Francisco Bay (San Francisco, CA)- The Swiftsure Regatta is a classic “city front” event that takes place along the San Francisco city shoreline, just south of Alcatraz Island.  The regatta is well-attended by the local J/105 fleet on San Francisco Bay.  Here’s the regatta report from one of the J/105 teams, Bruce Stone’s ARBITRAGE:

“This year’s Swiftsure was a classic, with a building flood and relief on the shore, wind in the high teens and low 20’s, with the forecast to build into the high 20’s, so we brought out last season’s sails.  The race committee set up off of Ft. Mason, and while they usually cant the line to draw boats toward the committee end, we (Arbitrage) felt the pin was way favored with the tide advantage and we started all alone on port at the pin, successfully crossing the fleet.

The next problem was to determine when to tack to shore for the relief.  The crowd taking our stern of course got there first and unfortunately we got a terrific lift which I should have ridden around 20 more seconds.  By tacking to shore off the lift, I sent us back into the semi-cheap seats.  Blackhawk tossed off a bad start, found a clear spot at the shore and came out clean, establishing a big lead. With the rest of the fleet camping on each other, short-tacking the City Front, Blackhawk and Godot pulled away.  We had to fight our way back into contention and rounded the windward mark around 5th place, even with Mojo and Jam Session.

The race committee set us up with starboard rounding’s anticipating everyone would want to go out into the deeper water for more flood, and we all set, went out for a few minutes, then made one jibe to lay the leeward mark, Blossom Rock buoy, also a starboard rounding.  This was a race committee error as it should have been a gate given the entire fleet wanted to go to the cone of Alcatraz for relief heading upwind.

J/105 Blackhawk sailing San Francisco BayAnyway, with Mojo and Jam Session overlapped inside us, and Moonshine outside us, we tried to round to starboard, but Mojo and Jam turned slowly, holding us out so we could not round.  Moonshine anticipated we’d be rounding and their mainsheet trimmer hauled in the sail.  With the wind in the mid-20’s and gusting to 30, they rounded up into Arbitrage, and its bowsprit hit our port push pit, taking it out, along with my GPS and VHF antennae and my SailTec hydraulic backstay, while bending the tang attaching the backstay to the transom!  It’s a bit exciting sailing on the Bay with closely-packed one-design keelboats!

Moonshine did its penalty turns and then stood by to offer help.  We retired and motored home, but decided to try for the third race.  We quickly took everything apart, called a neighbor, Ariel Poler, owner of Juxtapose, who graciously offered the use of his push pit and we went to his boat, disassembled it and reinstalled it on my boat, along with my spare backstay adjuster, and hoping for the best on the stainless steel tang, we were ready to go racing when the race committee abandoned racing for the day due to many people broaching (the leader Blackhawk broached four times!) amid winds around 35 kts!!

We applied and got redress, and raced the next day.  Big flood and big wind!! Most boats went out to catch the late ebb.  We had a 7-2 score, ending up fourth.”

While ARBITRAGE finished fourth, the story of the weekend may be that it was Scooter Simmon’s son, Ryan, who sailed and skippered BLACKHAWK to the overall win in the J/105 class!  In fact, they won by a whisker, beating Jeff Litfin’s MOJO crew on a tie-breaker.  Starting with a 1-3-1, Simmons’s crew nearly lost it all by taking a 10th in the last race to Litfin’s 1st!  BLACKHAWK took the tie-break on most “firsts”.  Third just three points back was Jason Woodley & Scott Whitney on RISK followed by ARBITRAGE then Doug Bailey on AKULA in fifth.

Also sailing was a PHRF Division with three J/120s sailing against 50-54 footers and one-off carbon racers.  Taking two of the podium spots were Steve Madeira’s J/120 MR MAGOO in 2nd with Barry Lewis’s CHANCE in 3rd.  For more Swiftsure Regatta sailing information