Saturday, May 31, 2014

Delta Ditch Run Preview

A Cannonball Rally For Huge J/70 Fleet!
(Stockton, CA)- The Richmond YC and Stockton YC are hosting their incredibly fun, infamous, outrageous race that runs for 67 nm up the “delta” that forms the northeastern part of San Francisco Bay and heads off into the estuaries of the “flatlands”.  Notoriously windy most times, it’s a mad dash up the Sacramento River from Richmond YC’s starting line in NE Bay to Stockton YC’s finish in the muddy estuaries of the San Joaquin River.

With a fleet of 125 boats registered so far, it looks to be a full-on, crazy, wacky race.  With 30-40 foot carbon catamarans whistling down the straits at 75 kts, avoiding mudbanks along with J/22s, J/70s and dozens of others, you can bet there will be stories to tell after this event (e.g. groundings, dismastings, cart-wheeling humans into marshes full of mating snail-darters, etc, etc).

Ullman Sails J/70 winning Delta Ditch RaceLast year, a number of J/70s did the race and nearly won the entire thing despite making all kinds of rookie mistakes in boat-handling and boat-speed.  This year, there is an entire armada of experienced J/70 teams tackling the race hoping to beat the fable Moore 24’s who’ve been a stalwart of the race for years. This year’s rogues gallery of competitors include DIVERSION (Chris Gabriel from Santa Barbara YC), the famous ZERO TO 60 (Karl Pomeroy- Newport Harbor YC), PERFECT WIFE (Chris Andersen- St Francis YC), CAKE (Scott & Leslie Deardorff- Santa Barbara YC), ECLIPSE (Mike Drammer, Shaun Hughes, Andrew Nunn- Santa Barbara YC), SPITFIRE (Tyler Karaszewski- Santa Cruz YC), 1FA (Scott Sellers & Geoff McDonald- St Francis YC), SUGOI (Mark Nelsen), DFZ (Eric Kownacki & Tom Jenkins- Monterey Bay YC), BOTTLE ROCKET (David Schumann & Jeff Thorpe- from San Francisco YC), and LOOSE LUCY (Justin Kromelow- St Francis YC).  God Speed to this group! My God how much fun could that possibly be planing downwind for 67 nm in perfectly flat water!?

As for their big brothers & little sisters in the event, joining the J/70s are the J/120 SAETTA skippered by Ludovic Millin and the J/35 JARLEN sailed by Robert Bloom. In the next class down are the two J/105s BREEZE (Kurt Jordan & Peter Campfield) and SEA ROOM (Ralph Wessel).

The ultra-fast downwind machine, the J/90 RAGTIME (Rodney J’s old boat) will be sailed by Trig Liljestrand from San Francisco YC.  He will be battling the “classic” J/24s for overall honors as well- Chris Corbin’s JAGERMEISTER and Pat Brown’s CHEAP TRICK.  Then, one must not discount capability of a “turbo’d” J/22 in the form of MAJIC DRAGON guided by her master Mike Hopper.  Fun and games for who’s top J/Team?  Might be worth a magnum of Veuve-Clicqout champagne!?

Better yet, there’s a famous BBQ combined with one of the top classic and blues bands in Northern California that finish off the day of racing in grand style!  The party band, for over a decade the “Blue-a-Fuse” gang has been one of the top classic rock and blues bands in Northern California.  They go back to the roots of modern music.  They cover fun, upbeat, danceable tunes by great artists like Santana, Van Morison, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, and many more...this band ROCKS!

Even better yet, for you armchair-racing fans, there is a new race-tracking “app” on the Android or iOS devices that are being provided by RaceQs for the Delta Ditch Run.  Totally cool stuff.  Even Manhattan YC in southern New York City uses RaceQs for their Tuesday night races!  Check out some Manhattan YC races here.   For more Delta Ditch Run sailing information