Sunday, March 19, 2017

“New” Double Farallones Race Innovations!

J/32 sailing Double Farallones race (San Francisco, CA)- The thirty-eighth annual Doublehanded Farallones Race, hosted by the San Francisco Bay Area Multihull Association, starts Saturday, March 18th and organizers are offering a new format for doublehanded sailors- four course options!!

In order to provide sailors options in the race other than the classic 58nm beast offshore around the formidable Farallones rocks, BAMA is now offering 3 additional shorter courses to allow sailors a reduced event that might better suit their needs, skill set or weather conditions for the day.

Double Farallones race coursesHere are the four options for the sailors:
  1. the Farallones Race- the classic "Race to the Farallones”- utilizes the SE Farallones as the turning mark for 58nm of incredibly challenging sailing.
  2. the Weather Buoy Race (DHWB)- aka "Race to The Weather Buoy”- utilizes the NOAA 46026 Weather Buoy as the turning mark for a 39nm “sprint” outside Golden Gate Bridge and back.
  3. the Main Ship Channel Buoy Race (DHG7)- aka “The Race to the Bar”- uses the "San Francisco Main Ship Channel Lighted Buoy 7 (G7) followed by R8" for a 15.5nm casual afternoon sail that gets you back to the Golden Gate YC bar in due course before it closes.
  4. the Boundary Line Course (DHBL)- aka "The Race to Happy Hour”- uses the Boundary Line (BL) demarcation between inshore and offshore regions and is the line between Point Bonita Light and Mile Rock Light.  This breathtaking windsprint of 8nm may just have J/70s blowing around the track fast enough for lunch or for GGYC Happy Hour and some serious celebrating while waiting for others to roll home!
In another interesting wrinkle, for any teams sailing a longer “declared” course where weather conditions have deteriorated (or “Happy Hour” is calling), the teams can always call the GGYC/BABA RC on the VHF and simply tell them they are sailing a shorter course!  Brilliant idea.  The intent is to provide a growth path for sailors in Doublehanded ocean racing through incremental steps in distance and to also provide options for skippers other than a DNS or DNF, as conditions warrant.

About 16% of the 69 keelboats entered in the race are the eleven J/crews that range from J/88s up to the mighty J/125.  At the top of the heap and likely sailing the classic race track will be Rich Pipkin’s J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS and Reuben Rocci’s J/111 SWIFT NESS.  Also, likely to join them in the blast around “guano heaven and shark-mellos (baby seal munchies for Great White Sharks)” will be a trio of J/120s- Mike O’Callaghan’s PEREGRINE, Ludovic Milin’s SAETTA & Sean Mulvihill’s JAMANI.

The next group of boats may declare for the classic course, but could just as easily bail and go for the “weather buoy” or “happy hour” options sooner than later if the weather turns ugly.  That set includes Bill Woodruff’s J/105 RUSSIAN ROULETTE, another trio of boats- the J/88s led by Steve Gordon’s INCONCEIVABLE, Jim Hopp’s WHITE SHADOW, and Chris Cartwright’s VENTUS (same guy who won his class in the Transpac Single Race!).

Knowing they are hardy souls as well, the final two boats in the J/team camp will likely declare for the long course and follow the lead of their faster colleagues.  Those crews include Todd Olsen’s J/92S WINDTRIP INFINITY and Peter Jermyn’s J/30 IONE.  Interesting dynamics working out for the new and innovative 2017 edition of the SF BAMA’s Doublehanded Farallones Race!

The weather prognostication may well see teams throwing in the towel sooner than they might expect.  For one, there is a bizarre weather pattern setting up for the end of the week with a weak low pressure ridge moving the breeze into the S-SW quadrants at just 4-7 kts with cool temps and overcast skies.  That means one thing, a very weak seabreeze or, if the valley magically gets lots of sunshine and 90 deg temps, it could simply nuke out of the SW at 15-25 kts inside the Bay only!  Outside, it will likely be a case of a “Catch 22”- the flood tide starts around 12pm and continues in a weird “double-hump” rise until at least 8pm.  In other words, it’s shaping up to be a light airs beat against the current under cloudy skies.  Just ask anyone that tried sailing the Newport to Cabo San Lucas Race to hear how bizarre the weather patterns have been in the last few weeks!  They started in fog with no wind off “sunny” Newport Beach!  For more SF BAMA Doublehanded Farallones Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.