From our friends on the world famous Ragtime…
Did the San Francisco Bridge to Bridge (B2B) Race Thursday night. Kitesurfers, windsurfers, and Aussie 18 skiffs. The start is a running downwind affair at the Golden Gate, then down the City Front, past Alcatraz, finish under the Bay Bridge. In the spirit of bring your best horse and go for it, we put Ragtime on the line too. Entered the skiff division. 5:30 PM start, crazy tides & currents, gust to 28+ knots of breeze. Kites on the left start line, boards, 18’s and Ragtime on the right. South Tower churning just to weather of us.
Lined up with the main only, chute ready to hoist and pop open. careening through the crowd trying to avoid downed boards and the prospect of kitelines wrapping on the rig. Gun and we pop the chute, 18’s careening around us. Instant speed when the chute fills – 16.35 knots and building hard. Plywood humming, more dodging of the downed roadkill. Trying to give the 18’s and their narrow operating range room to get around without disaster.
Gusts come on, maybe 30 knots, and the boat lights up to 18 knots. Bow lifted, bow wave a pair of standing waterfalls jetting out. More swerves for roadkill. Boards are down, kites down, and two 18’s sprawled. We curve past Alcatraz towards the Bay Bridge where it meets Treasure Island. Rock on. Past Alcatraz we are pacing even with four kitesurfers lined up abeam of us. Pretty good for 12 tons vs. 50 pounds of turbo powered kite. A 18 that flipped and recovered shadowing us boat for boat as well.
Coming in to the finish we notice tons of kites in the air, but not moving – they are swamped out, breeze too light to keep them going… and we sail through, yelling a bit to alert those that haven’t looked over their shoulder to see us coming as they weave their sails back and forth. Can’t imagine what they will go through if they snag our rig at 10 knots. Instant launch. We pass the bulk of the fleet to finish under the bridge. No idea exactly how we finished – may be one of those moments in history that goes unrecorded. No matter, it was a fantastic sail. Good crew work, smiles everywhere, a helluva deal.
Great coverage by our onboard reporter: http://kimballlivingston.com/# Photo by Rich Roberts.