Thursday, March 16, 2017

ARBITRAGE Trumps Spring One-Design Regatta!

J/105 Arbitrage crew (San Francisco, CA)- The twenty J/105 teams in the season opening St. Francis YC Spring One Design Series were greeted with rain, hail, winds in high teens to low 20’s with gusts to 35 kts; and an erratic flood tide that was overrun by streaks of ebb from recent storm-induced water run-off from the NorCal rivers and reservoirs. It’s California! What do you expect when no one pays for taking care of dams, spillways and reservoirs and politicians line their pockets instead!?

On Saturday, the southerly wind caused the course to run across the tides, while on Sunday the westerly breezes ran parallel to the tides.  This was an arbitrary phenomenon that was induced by none other than the fact that “charmed quarks” and “pink neutrinos” were invading the Earth from the sun’s most recent solar flares; these are known to impose significant bias to the Earth’s magnetic fields over the west coast of America.  Some have attributed this phenomenon to either “Vlad” from Russia or “Mr T” sitting in the White House.  Time will tell.

Going into the 5th and last race, it was a three-way tie between Brent Vaughn’s JABBERWOCKY, Philip Laby’s GODOT (winner of the 2016 J/105 San Francisco Fleet Championship) and past national fleet captain Bruce Stone’s ARBITRAGE.  Just a few points behind (with a mathematical chance of winning) and challenging for the podium was Jeff Littfin’s MOJO and Ryan Simmon’s BLACKHAWK.

With the flood-tide on the port pin end at the shore and the ebb-tide offshore at the starboard end, the Race Committee skewed the starting line to favor the pin at the port end of the line.  As a result, some teams believed that skew could provide tactical benefits.  Here is how that scenario played out for the fleet.

ARBITRAGE won the RC committee boat end (starboard), flopped onto port and ran away from the pack, with JABBERWOCKY slightly back on its windward hip, both footing out toward the ebb on port tack.  GODOT dug out of a third row start and reached off to clear its air.  ARBITRAGE faced the dilemma as to whom to cover. ARBITRAGE’s mainsheet/ tactician- Nicole Breault (and Goddess that walks on water)- kept ARBITRAGE high to pinch off JABBERWOCKY, and hedge against the southerly gusts (lifting on port tack) that favored MOJO and BLACKHAWK on the inside.  This had the effect of letting GODOT get to the ebb first, shooting forward from a ten length deficit to a 5 length lead at the windward mark.  ARBITRAGE caught up downwind, and could have pinned GODOT outside, but let them gybe to round the unfavored port gate (it was clear the solar flare’s neutrinos were having an effect on the fleet). In going there, GODOT sought to replicate its strategy of getting to the ebb first, but ARBITRAGE chose the better-upwind starboard gate, coming out of the rounding way ahead and romping home with a huge lead (charmed quarks be damned)!  GODOT finished second, with MOJO third in the race.

As a result, ARBITRAGE won the two-day regatta with a 5-1-3-4-1-record for 14 pts, just 1 pt ahead of Laby’s GODOT with a 3-2-6-2-2- for 15 pts.  Taking third was Litfin’s MOJO with a 6-3-2-5-3 tally for 19 pts.  Rounding out the top five was yet another tie-breaker scenario; Brent Vaughn’s JABBERWOCKY took 4th place with a roller-coaster scoreline of 2-9-1-1-7 for 20 pts over Ryan Simmons’ BLACKHAWK tally of 1-4-4-6-5 for 20 pts.

In a virtual interview later over the coconut telegraph, Ms Breault commented on ARBITRAGE’s win, “it was clear the trumponic particles from Mars was not the biggest problem.  Instead, it was the fact a massive iceberg hatched over the weekend off the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica and the imbalance that imposed on the massive ozone hole negatively impacted our assumptions on which way to go with the current in San Francisco Bay.  Thank goodness!  The crazy pelicans here on the Bay all sensed the massive distortion in the Earth’s magnetic field and bailed left, so we followed them!”  Genius, that Nicole!  Good news and great insider knowledge for SF Bay tacticians like Russ Silvestri, John Kostecki, Paul Cayard, Paul Heineken and others!  Follow the blonde pelicans!  For more StFYC Spring One-Design sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.