it’s always like this
So, yeah. OK. I was wrong.
The day dawned clear and sunny, which meant the weather system had blown off and a lot of the bigger boat crews were smiling. The wind in Race 1 was 13-17 knots and the afternoon saw the beginning of an ebb with gusts up to 25 knots, making for a more traditional opening to the 2012 Rolex Big Boat Series.
The set up for the regatta is two race courses, North and City Front, and each day the fleets swap out between the courses, so everyone sails both. The City Front has the great virtue or – in some cases – worst nightmare, of finishing in front of the club, providing for fantastic shoreside viewing. “We cheated death yet again!” PRO Luigi said about the incredible weather and wind today.
I talked with Bartz Shneider, owner of the Express 37 Expeditious, who’s had more than a few trips to the podium in San Francisco. There are a few protests on the board, one of which was against Blade Runner, who mistakenly went through a restricted area, and won the race. Bartz said “This guy is a national champ, has been campaigning the boat since the mid-80s and we’re thrilled to see him up here from Southern California…it’s too bad that happened to him.”
“It was a beautiful, picture, perfect, fantastic day,” said Jennifer Dunbar, who got picked up today as spare crew on local favorite Swiftsure sailing in IRC A. Peter Cameron elucidated further: “It’s amazing how many times we split, like miles apart, and came back together in nearly the same position.” Tai Kuai, also in IRC A, had a DNF, which according to Cameron was because they wrapped their rudder around the old Presidio Shoal bouy, which is just a few boat lengths away from the offset mark. Sadly no photogs saw it (that I know of) otherwise you can bet you’d see it here.
Jeff Thorpe, calling tactics on the Southern Cross 52 Meanie, sailed the City Front course in race one and was upset that wind backed. Why? “Cause we got passed!” In race 2 at the weather mark on the North Course, the owner gave him the helm and he missed a gybe by race leader, Vesper. “We got passed again, by Rio. But it’s our first time racing in the boat, and we’re finding new modes. We just need wind."
Cam Lewis sailing on the SIG45 echoed this sentiment, saying they really want 16+ knots of wind. “Once the wind kicks in, the ratings don’t matter.” In race 2, when the wind picked up they “were in the hunt with Shadow and Kahn,” he said. Peter Stoneberg, on Shadow, kicked off his race week well with a 1,2, and the SIG45 is in second with a 4,1. The Rocket 88 sadly had a “catastrophic structural failure” according to regular crew Ian Klitza. The boat, which was home built in Santa Cruz in 1987, saw her last day on the water today. “Probably the days of home built cats are over,” he said.
By four o’clock, the boats were tied up, and with a few exceptions, most were enjoying the StFYC beverages delivered dockside. Results here. -Paige Brooks
Photo of drink girl, Paige Brooks, Cat shots from Daniel Forster