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Ne*Ne Holds Off Blackhawk in Dramatic Tiebreaker

Regatta report by Halsey Richartz, Team Arbitrage 116
The 2018 Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure got off to a slow postponed start as the start for Class A in Race 1 manifested a massive starboard end advantage requiring a total reset of the starting line delaying all other classes one hour. Uncharacteristically, modified windward leewards were sailed throughout the weekend by the J/105 fleet. This made for exciting short track final beats in a number of races with close finishes; too close for some. With dying ebb outside under the gate and late ebb turning to early flood on the city front, the pack could reliably be found on the middle/right side of the course all weekend in all but the final race of day 1. There was no shortage of love for the boat start as a result where the game was to get on port as soon as possible. Adding to the fun were starboard windward mark roundings on Saturday which made for button hook turns and port boats with kites setting directly into the starboard layline train. Wind ranged from 10-20+ knots with strong breeze down by the start and middle section of the beat dying to low teens and sometimes lower on the approach to the weather mark at Blackaller. A persistent pressure line just above the windward layline with a dead zone just beneath made lane management critical as crews decided whether they were just far enough over-stood to stay in the max pressure all the way into the weather mark. Large gains were made by those who called thin laylines and sailed less distance leading back to the left at the top. The play downwind seemingly all weekend was to get out into the pressure under the gate and ride it downwind. In all but the last race the outside paid dividends. Day 1 left Ne*Ne in first by three. Blackhawk trailed by two and Arbitrage and Akula were tied three back with delta to the pack.
 
Sunday brought initially lighter conditions to start but the breeze quickly ramped up seeing a gust as high as 25 knots in the first wave of the build. Port windward mark roundings made the top marks more orderly but changed little of the strategy downwind other than making a quick gybe the move. Maverick was the star of the day on Sunday crushing both starts at the port end and getting launched early. The top group was much more dispersed throughout the fleet on day two resulting in hyper fluid standings. The breeze was slightly left of that on Saturday giving the pin end greater leverage if you could flip over to port quickly. Humbled for much of race one on Sunday, Arbitrage found good water and elusive pressure on the final run of the race to scrape back some much needed places going into the gate. Just shy of the finish, Blackhawk let Arbitrage duck on port and they were able to nip Blackhawk at the finish line which would prove costly in the end. Going into the final race Ne*Ne was comfortably ahead on points but was boxed out at the unfavored boat end and found themselves deep in the fleet which proved costly to their final race result but clawed back just enough to tie with Blackhawk who took a bullet to cap the weekend. Resilience and an ability to, if necessary, come back from deep in the fleet proved the winning edge for Ne*Ne. They were able to dig back just enough in the final race to stymy the rally by Blackhawk and Maverick. Uncharacteristically no bay tour races were sailed leaving the long distance fun for next month.mIn the end, Ne*Ne and Blackhawk tied for the win with 16pts with Ne*Ne edging Blackhawk on firsts in the tie breaker. Arbitrage came third with 19pts with Maverick hot on their heels with 20pts one point back after a stellar Sunday 1-2. A thrilling end to the last tune up event before the ~30 entrant J/105 fleet takes the line at next months’ Big Boat Series.
 
Fleet #1 AdminNe*Ne Holds Off Blackhawk in Dramatic Tiebreaker
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Blackhawk Wins 2018 Sausalito YC Invitational

Regatta report by Ryan Simmons, Blackhawk

The Sausalito One Design Invitational proved to be one of the tightest and most competitive regattas of the season. 24 boats raced in fabulous conditions off the west face of Alcatraz in 12-24 knots of breeze throughout of the weekend. The current was dying ebb into a building flood, putting a huge premium on nailing the starboard lay line for the weather mark.

The 6 race weekend had 5 race winners, Z-flag penalties and a redress hearing effecting the final score sheet. All mark rounding’s were extremely tight, sometimes 5+ boats deep to get around the marks. Going into the final race 4 boats had a chance to win the regatta: Blackhawk, Ne Ne, Arbitrage and Jam Session. Unfortunately there was a collision at the start and Blackhawk was forced to retire from the race immediately. Blackhawk was lining up to start at the boat, as the North side of the course had been paying all day. The pack of boats below luffed one final time before starting the final approach for the line, and unfortunately one of the boats was caught back winded and tacked onto port. They were unable to correct their course and were forced down into Blackhawk, which due to the proximity to the committee boat, were unable to avoid the collision.

Upon reflection and discussion once everyone was safely back on land, a few lessons were learned. The main error the back winded boat made at the start was cleating the jib too soon, during maneuvers. When the boat luffed with the jib sheeted in and cleated, it was a very narrow window to hold their position without the jib back winding and forcing the bow down hard to the right. Had the sheet not been cleated the boat would have been able to hold their position head to wind until the leeward boat cleared and they could have sheeted in to accelerate. It is a humbling reminder how powerful the sails are and how quickly the rudder can become useless, the sails drive the boat. With 24 boats on a tight start line, there is no escape should someone suddenly tack onto port in the middle of the line, especially in the final 20 seconds. The same situation can present itself at the weather mark when trying to shoot. If the skipper turns a little bit too far, or a wave pushes the bow a bit further than anticipated, the shooting boat can find themselves on port tack, facing a line of starboard tack boats with no escape.

Once the redress hearing was completed, Blackhawk was awarded average points in the final race, 3.8, for a total of 22.8 points and emerged victorious with a 1.2 point victory over Ne Ne (24). Tied for 3rd was Arbitrage and Jam Session with 27 points, with the tie breaker going to Arbitrage with a bullet in race 2. Jam Session won race 1, and took second in race 2 and 6, but was issued a Z-flag penalty in race 1, giving the tie breaker to Arbitrage. Maverick rounded out the top 5 with a total of 36 points, one better than Godot.

Full results at: http://www.regattanetwork.com/event/16699#_newsroom+results

Fleet #1 AdminBlackhawk Wins 2018 Sausalito YC Invitational
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Round Ups+Round Downs=Torn Spinnakers for the 2018 SFYC Summer Keel Regatta

Regatta report by Tim Russell of Ne*Ne, Hull #3

Motoring to the race course you could tell it was going to be a windy day, as the forecast predicted. At first it looked like racing would be postponed, because by 11 o’clock, the race committee was nowhere to be seen. But shortly thereafter, they arrived in force and quickly set up the course in time for our 12 o’clock start. Twenty-three boats started the first race, but only seventeen boats finished race three (more on that later). A 7 degree righty on the first leg favored the boats that started at the committee boat and went right early. The boats that started at the pin were left to find a hole in the long parade of starboard tack boats that were on the lay line. The perfect sailing conditions in race one were replaced with increasing wind and chop in the subsequent two races. Several boats reported seeing gusts over 25 knots. Going right continued to be favored all day and the boats that started at the committee boat consistently came out on top at the weather mark. The more challenging conditions put a premium on boat handling and the upwind mode had to change to more twist in the sails to power through the lump. The conditions caused six boats to drop out for equipment failure and, of course, the sailmakers were pleased because several kites where ripped or torn to pieces. The kites hung to dry with disgrace from the masts of the boats at the guest dock. And stories of how sheets weren’t blown or released in time were heard at the bar. When the results were posted, they showed Akula in first, 2 points ahead of Ne*Ne who was 2 points ahead of Godot.

Sunday’s weather was more civilized and was a welcome change from the day before. Going right was still favored and even though the pin was favored, most boats chose to start at the boat. This caused congestion at that end of the line and a general recall was hailed. (It wouldn’t be a J/105 regatta without at least one general recall.) Going into the restart of race four, the committee chose to be kind and just go with the standard P flag instead of a more punitive option. This was the bright side for Ne*Ne, Arbitrage, and Box of Rain, who were called over early. It also made things very interesting because Maverick won the race and Blackhawk came in second, creating a two way tie for first with Maverick and Godot with 17 points and Ne*Ne, Blackhawk and Akula tied for third with 18 points. It was anyone’s regatta going into the fifth and final race. Ne*Ne took race five, winning the regatta with 19 points, Maverick in second with 20, and Blackhawk took third with 22.

For the second straight regatta, there were several boats separated by a few points going into the final race. The racing couldn’t get much tighter. It has been some of the best racing in years and it’s a perfect lead up for our final two regattas!

Full results: http://www.regattanetwork.com/clubmgmt/applet_regatta_results.php?regatta_id=17168

Fleet #1 AdminRound Ups+Round Downs=Torn Spinnakers for the 2018 SFYC Summer Keel Regatta
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2018 Spring Competition, Conditions Test Fleet & Ne*Ne Leads as We Head into Summer

The 2018 J/Stop, hosted May 5-6 by St. Francis YC, was marked by blustery west winds from the mid-teens to upper 20s, and an early flood tide cycle, which combined with city front course position to make most races become a rumble to get right off the line. Only once did the RC cant the pin end enough to entice Arbitrage and Mojo to port-tack the fleet with success. Race wins went to Blackhawk (two), Ne*Ne (two), Donkey Jack, Alchemy, and Arbitrage (one each). Blackhawk took the overall handily, and Maverick was runner-up with consistent top 5 finishes both days. View regatta results HERE and see Chris Ray’s photos HERE.

In the 2018 Elite Keel, hosted May 19-20 by San Francisco YC, we saw some top boats ejected from the top five by strong showings from Akula, Jam Session, Juju, and Advantage3 (finishing 2nd through 5th respectively). The circle had wind reports in the 30’s on Saturday and oddly moderate conditions Sunday. Sweet, sweet victory came at last to Ne*Ne, Tim Russell and team’s first of this maiden season with the new ride. View regatta results HERE.

Bringing us up to date with all the action, a smaller showing of boats ventured to the circle once again for the 2018 San Francisco YC June Invitational, June 16-17, and was treated to another Saturday blast. Enough breakdowns and knockdowns inspired the RC to call it quits after one race. “That’s right, Ice..man, I am dangerous,” so said Maverick: Ian Charles and team posted a 3-3-1 to take the weekend’s overall prize. Akula sailed a great regatta to take 2nd again. View regatta results HERE.

Fleet #1 Admin2018 Spring Competition, Conditions Test Fleet & Ne*Ne Leads as We Head into Summer
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2018 J/Fest: Tough Tidal Tactics & Time in Room

J/105 Arbitrage #116 with co-owners Bruce Stone at the helm and Nicole Breault at main/tactics won the 2018 SF Bay J/Fest in the face of difficult tidal conditions. Full results at: https://www.regattatoolbox.com/results?eventID=rsSG2XdU5M

Commentary from photographer Chris Ray: “In the face of a challenging weather forecast, the St Francis Yacht Club held its annual J/Fest last weekend, with 27 J/105s competing. Rain? Low Clouds, Wind? Sun? Well, parts of all of the above; it all turned into a glorious weekend. The tide charts professed that we would have an ebb tide but the starting line had strong flood currents going well into the early afternoon, making “local knowledge” all the more important.”

In each race, around 20 of the 27 teams tried to start at the signal boat, tack to port and foot out to the late ebb in the middle of SF Bay.  Those who were pinned off the line on starboard, going southerly toward the shore into more flood, even for just 1 minute quickly found themselves a quarter mile behind any who escaped to the North into the westerly river, swollen by recent heavy rains.  Those in the river found themselves sliding sideways, at several knots, upwind toward starboard lay-line, accomplishing impressive VMG up to 9.5 knots due to both the favorable tide and the enhanced apparent wind.

Despite being in some second or third row starts, Arbitrage and others were still able to tack around the signal boat, and go bow down on port, reaching out to the river and catching up to anyone in the peloton sailing their boats normally upwind on a beat.

Nevertheless, there are always exceptions to the rule and in one start, Arbitrage spotted a left shift before the gun and boogied down to the tidally-unfavored pin end, starting on port and crossing the entire fleet, then footing back out to the ebb.

The regatta was initially dominated by new owner Tim Russell and the talented team on Ne*Ne who scored two bullets and two 5ths, leading Arbitrage by 3 points going into the last race.  However, just before arriving at the three boat length circle around the last leeward mark, Ne*Ne luffed Arbitrage sharply and caused a collision.  After untangling themselves, both boats passed several others on the remaining two legs, with Ne*Ne finishing that race in 2nd and Arbitrage 3rd  while securing #1 and #2 respectively in the regatta. However, after a long evening in the protest room, Ne*Ne was DSQ’d and Arbitrage moved up to the top spot on the podium.  Ryan Simmons on Blackhawk took second, Phillip Laby on Godot third, and Ian Charles on Maverick fourth.  Some terrific photos and drone videos of mark-roundings in heavy tide are at www.crayivp.com in the 2018 StFYC Regattas folder, J-Fest 18 gallery.

Pictures by Chris Ray, www.crayivp.com

 

Fleet #1 Admin2018 J/Fest: Tough Tidal Tactics & Time in Room
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Arbitrage Wins 2018 Season Opener

The San Francisco J/105 Fleet is alive and growing with 20 teams on the starting line for each mid-winter race and 25 boats competing this weekend in the St. Francis Yacht Club’s Spring One Design, its opening fleet racing regatta of the 2018 season. This was an uncharacteristically light wind regatta due to little gradient as the Central Valley has not yet heated up.  Despite the resultant light winds and building tides, the race committee managed to pull off three races on Saturday and one on Sunday.

The fleet welcomed returning owners Tim Russell and Ian Charles, both highly experienced skippers who had sold their J/105s a few years ago while attending to growing families.  In the past few months each of them bought a well-prepared used J/105, shipped them to San Francisco, and jumped right into the front row for each race.  Nevertheless, Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault on Arbitrage #116 turned in a consistent score line of 4,2, 3, 3 to win convincingly with a total of 12 points, followed by Tim on Ne*Ne #3 with 20 points and Ian on Maverick #385 with 22 points, with Shannon Ryan and Rolf Kaiser on Donkey Jack #26 in fourth with 27 points.

Photo: Arbitrage #116 leading Donkey Jack #26 and Ne*Ne #3 downwind with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

https://www.regattatoolbox.com/results?eventID=L8VMUwWcrN

Fleet #1 AdminArbitrage Wins 2018 Season Opener
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Good Timin’ Wins 2017 RBBS

Twenty-Four J/105’s came out to do battle in the 2017 Rolex Big Boat Series. We had four days of classic, long course Bay racing under mostly sunny skies and in winds ranging from 12 to 28 knots. Taking the legendary Good Timin’ out of semi-retirement, the Perkins brothers (Chris, John, Phil), Dave Wilson, and the brother-sister duo Melissa Purdy Feagin and Tom Purdy raced an impressively consistent score line to secure the overall win and the coveted Rolex watch. Congratulations Good Timin’!

Regatta results: https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=4105

AND… Kudos to all of Fleet 1 for a fantastic 2017 season! Numbers are up, competition is fierce, friendships are solid. Big shout out to Blackhawk for hanging on to the Season Championship!

Fleet #1 AdminGood Timin’ Wins 2017 RBBS
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Blackhawk Wins Gusty 2017 Swiftsure Regatta

Ryan Simmon’s and his team on Blackhawk once again took home the top spot on the podium in the highly competitive SF Bay J/105 fleet, this time in the 5 race 2017 Swiftsure Regatta run off the western face of Alcatraz. Saturday’s racing saw a wind prediction on the lighter side in the low to mid-teens but this proved not to be the case. With windward marks to port in the vicinity of Blackaller, and early ebb on shore, the clear early strategy was to get to the City Front. Complicating this, however, was a good deal of sheer in the wind, making the deep left corner less advantageous than higher lanes slightly out from shore where breeze held constant, especially in race 2. By the end of race 2 and then in race 3 the ebb had established itself across the course and the right side of the course came into play. Port-roundings to windward made for exciting offset mark action where gybe setting became a must.  Breeze in race 1 was low to mid-teens building to high teens by race end. Race 2 saw high teens to low 20s and race 3 saw breeze in the mid-twenties gusting to 30 as racing concluded. Arbitrage’s roller furler malfunctioned in the third race so they made for a jarring visual as they took off on a 3-sail hot reach on the first downwind leg, planing at 11-12 kt and separating from the fleet, passing three boats.

Sunday started once again with wind in the low to mid-teens with the same City Front play prevalent on Saturday. Blackhawk entered the last race with a safe cumulative scoring lead of five points over Arbitrage. Historically, this regatta has been a warm-up for Big Boat Series and the race committee kept to that tradition by giving us a 17 nm Bay Tour, adding some jeopardy to Blackhawk’s dominance and, with no throw-outs, Arbitrage was still within striking distance.

Starting at Alcatraz, Arbitrage opted for a pin start with Blackhawk a few rows up the line. Nearly all boats chose to go to the City Front for tide relief before crossing under the Gate and then working up the north shore to Bonita. Blackhawk and Arbitrage mirrored each other up the course out to Pt. Bonita with Blackhawk in the lead followed by Arbitrage, Akula and Jabberwocky.  Some careful positioning with the currents enabled Arbitrage to pass Blackhawk in the last half mile approaching Pt. Bonita, and then they set kites and went high toward Baker Beach for relief from the ebb.  Jibing around the Golden Gate Bridge’s south tower, the fleet then rounded Blackaller and zig-zagged across the Bay, touring Harding and Blossom, up again to Blackaller and then a race deck finish.  Arbitrage lead the whole way, with loose cover over Blackhawk, but then overstood the last windward mark (Blackaller) and had to cede the inside spot to a boat from a different fleet, the mighty Swiftsure II, forcing Arbitrage to round wide and opening the door to Blackhawk. Arbitrage jibed out for fresh air while Blackhawk played the inside.  With very little advantage to either boat Arbitrage was able to pin Blackhawk against the H Beam until they called for sea room.  Arbitrage gybed away for the win by a nose in a near photo finish over Blackhawk, followed by Akula and Jabberwocky.

The final results were Blackhawk with 9 points (3,1,1,2,2), Arbitrage with 13 points (2,3,3,4,1), Akula with 18 points (4,2,6,3,3) and Jabberwocky with 20 points (5,6,4,1,4) 

https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eid=4402

Fleet #1 AdminBlackhawk Wins Gusty 2017 Swiftsure Regatta
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Donkey Jack Runs Away With 2017 SFYC Summer Keel

On Saturday, 21 J105s lined up along with the J111’s, Express 37s, J120s, J70’s and Express 27s to contest the San Francisco Yacht Club’s annual Summer Keel Regatta. The weather over scenic San Francisco Bay was unsettled and the wind models promised sporty conditions for later in the day, with choppy wave state due to a weak early ebb which built throughout the day.

The Olympic Circle venue is famous for sending at least half the fleet in the wrong direction in any race, but the weather gods conspired to balance the sides, with faster boats from the left and right converging at the weather mark within a few boat lengths. Nonetheless Donkey owned the course in the first two races taking two bullets, with Godot and Blackhawk taking a second place each. As wind strength built for race three, Godot found their legs and took the bullet, Donkey took fifth, behind Mojo, Blackhawk and Akula.

Sunday promised lighter conditions, and early flood which kept the chop suppressed in the 15kt to 18kt breeze. Blackhawk banged the left hard and fought Godot and Donkey into second and third places, setting up a commanding lead into the final race. The 1FA boat sealed the deal with a demonstrative bullet, winning the regatta by 5 points from Blackhawk, Godot, Akula and Arbitrage.

Don’t forget to sign up for the upcoming Aldo Alessio regatta on August 19th and 20th weekend.

http://www.regattanetwork.com/clubmgmt/applet_regatta_results.php?regatta_id=14194

photo credit: roxshots.smugmug.com

Fleet #1 AdminDonkey Jack Runs Away With 2017 SFYC Summer Keel
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