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