Regatta recap courtesy of Jason Woodley:
“We were pretty excited to participate in this year’s NOOD after being absent in San Francisco for several years. The St. Francis Yacht Club and Kristen Lane put on an unbelievable regatta both on and off the water. The regatta after party reached new heights with the “Dessert Room” and photo booth conceived and implemented by Kristen.
The racing was tough and competitive as ever on the course. On Saturday in the first race we thought the left side was favored and we started down by the pin end with a few other boats. Majority of the boats went right, however we stayed on starboard for quite awhile until we flopped over to port. The left side was the place to be in the bottom of the course and this was the case all day really and this gave the boats that stayed over there a nice lead at the top of the mark. Abitrage made a nice move downwind to pass us and then we battled the next couple of legs, but never could get by them and we finished 2nd.
In the 2nd and 3rd races of the day the wind started to build with consistently being in the 18-22 knot range. We stayed to our same game plan as the first race and stayed on the left side. The pin was much more crowded in the next two races so the start became a premium as only a few boats were going to get the best lanes. At the top mark there was very little separation at all in the fleet with the strong wind. Crew work became a premium especially in the jibes and there were several position changes happening downwind. We were just trying to stay conservative and keep the boat underneath us while minimizing our jibes. We were able to win the last two races of the day and I really attribute the success to the great tactical calls by Harrison Turner along with the excellent crew work in the challenging conditions.
On Sunday we figured the day was going to be a repeat of Saturday which it was. The left side was favored again, however the whole fleet was there to try and capitalize today. I didn’t do a great job of getting off the line with speed as I had a decent lane, but found myself fighting to keep it which I eventually lost. I knew I put us in a hole as we needed to tack out to the right in search of a good lane. When we came back to starboard the damage was done and we were going to need to sail very well the rest of the race in hopes of keeping our lead. The team did a great job of staying positive and fighting our way back. We finished 6th and with Jam Session finishing 1st and Abitrage 2nd. We figured in the last race who ever won was going to win the regatta as only a point separate all three boats.
In the last race all three boats where again glued to each other as we all started on the left side with Jam Session taking the pin. Around the top mark it was Jam Session with us right behind and Abitrage right on our tail. We decided to take an early jib for clean wind and set up well for the right gate. Jam Session barely crossed in front of us and they seemed to want the left gate. We both rounded the gates simultaneously and we again went out to the left. Once we tacked over to port we were able to cross Jam Session on starboard. On the downwind leg the wind was increasing and we saw 23-26 knots. It made for a good ride and at this point just trying to keep ourselves in front and not make any mistakes. On the run Jam Session’s kite exploded and I was hoping ours would not suffer a similar fate. All three boats were pushing hard in planing mode working the waves up and down. We were consistently hitting 15-16 knots of boat speed. Needless to say this was not easy on the kites in this kind of breeze. I was just hoping we wouldn’t have any gear failure of our own and could hang on and win. Upwind we went to cover mode on Abitrage and were able to hold them off just long enough to take the win and the regatta. It was a very hard fought regatta both days and felt like we had sailed our best to date this year and that was barely enough to win. The final top five was Risk, Abitrage, Jam Session, Racer X, and Blackhawk.
Big thanks to the Sperry Top-Sider San Francisco NOOD regatta and all the folks that made it possible. It was a fabulous regatta in every aspect and hopefully next year we can beat this year’s record turnout. We look forward representing the San Francisco NOOD regatta this year in the BVI’s.”