Great write-up by winning skipper Ryan Simmons:
Gorgeous weather was welcome for the second regatta of the season. Down on the Circle, after a significant postponement on Saturday, winds filled to 17 knots with flat water and very steady direction for ideal racing conditions. Racing was tight and contested at every mark rounding with many races having the top 7-8 boats finishing within seconds of each other. Such a close, competitive fleet placed a premium on tactics and boat handling.
At the end of the day Blackhawk was sitting with a 2-point lead over Godot and a 3-point lead over Arbitrage, putting those three a step ahead of the rest of the pack with 2 races to go on Sunday. With 23 boats racing it was still anyone’s regatta. Each of the top 3 won a race on Saturday, earning us all famous SFYC MaiTais!
Sunday we were treated to breeze right away, conditions started around 10-12 knots with a building ebb tide. After 2 general recalls and a 20% Z-flag penalty distributed to multiple undisclosed boats, we finally got the first race off. Donkey Jack won the race handily, and after a very close pass on the final downwind leg, Arbitrage, Godot and Blackhawk finished 2,3,4… Setting up a virtual tie between the 3 leaders going into the final race.
The 5th and final race was a short upwind-downwind-upwind in variable 12-17 knots. Rounding the first weather mark Arbitrage came in on the port layline and fouled 2nd place Donkey Jack. In an effort to clear themselves to complete their 720, they held out Donkey Jack and Blackhawk for a few boat lengths, allowing 4th-6th place boats to slide inside at the offset. Once set, there was a 5 boat drag race running downwind, with Godot positioned on the inside of the pack and Blackhawk on the outside. Godot chose to gybe first and trend middle/left on the leg, Blackhawk hung it out to the far right of the course. Upon reaching the leeward gate Blackhawk rounded the left gate in first with Godot one boat length behind, while simultaneously Donkey Jack and Wonder rounded the right gate and prepared for the final sprint upwind.
We actively try not to get too caught up focusing on or covering single boats when fleet racing, but when the entire regatta comes down to a final beat and the only boat that can challenge for the victory is 10 seconds behind you, tactics change. While the rest of the fleet raced to finish, Godot and Blackhawk engaged in a match race up the middle of the course. Despite Godot’s multiple efforts to clear and an attempt to set up a pick, Blackhawk was able to cover all the way to the finish, taking 2nd place in the race and winning the regatta. Donkey Jack won the race, finishing the regatta strong with a 1,1 on Sunday… Snake-eyes and a round of MaiTais for that crew, Heehaw!
Final results: Blackhawk finished with 12 points, Godot 15 points, Donkey Jack edged Wonder on the tie breaker for 3rd with 22 points, and Arbitrage finished 5th with 26 points. It was a very exciting weekend of racing with close boat on boat situations and tight racing from start to finish. See you all out there again for J/Fest!