Challenging conditions greeted the 7 J105s that lined up with 200 assorted PHRF and OD boats for the Great Vallejo Race. A solid 17kts of breeze on the nose at the start in Berkeley Circle was followed by a light patch in moderate ebb under the Richmond Bridge and fine downwind cruising under blue skies with puffs to 21kts across San Pablo Bay.
After rounding the first weather mark, most boats headed North East towards the Richmond shore and ebb-relief for the crossing under the bridge. When the wind to the East of the channel died, Akula and Blackhawk both spotted pressure to the West of Redrock and invested in cutting across the flow. This turned out to be the critical move of the race and ultimately resulted in Blackhawk entering the Mare Island Channel about 10 boatlengths ahead of Akula for the J105 class win – and 2nd & 3rd overall monohulls respectively on corrected time. Yellowfin followed in third place some 15 minutes behind.
The race back on Saturday morning featured solid 15kts of breeze under a light overcast and strong ebb. Blackhawk legged out to an early lead in the channel, vanished over the horizon and finished in first place. Nirvana and Akula crossed tacks multiple times across the length of San Pablo Bay, with Akula’s slight upwind speed advantage finally overcoming Nirvana’s tenacious defense, resulting in another 2nd place for Akula and a 3rd for the Nirvana team.