While the ordinary club-sponsored 2020 racing season was a bust, we are happy to announce that we’ll have our own regattas this year. Thanks to the hard work of Ian Charles and Jeff Thorpe, Fleet #1 will be running a 3-weekend (B-Season) series starting in August. Mark your calendars now, and line up your crew.
August 22nd & 23rd
September 12th & 13th
October 3rd & 4th
This will be for full 6-person crews and it will be the responsibility of the skippers to ensure safety guidelines are followed. More details to follow soon via the fleet owners mailing list.
First Starting Sequence 11:00 AM each day
Racing (Sat & Sun)
2 Practice Starts and 3 Races each day
Remote debrief following each weekend (day TBD)
$250 per boat per weekend ($650 for 3 weekend series)
Fleet #1 AdminSave The Dates – 2020 COVID-19 Season Series
You can download the fleet weigh-in form, with the new weight limit of 1102 lbs., as a fillable PDF that you can download, print, and save. If you have trouble opening this file, right-click it to save it to your desktop, and then open it from there.
Note that this version includes ISAF ID’s and sail tag numbers for all 3 sails. This information is only required for the Rolex Big Boat Series and National events; for other events these sections can be ignored.
Instructions for obtaining current ISAF certificates can be found here.
Wow! Great regatta, Blackhawk! Ryan Simmons and his team on #40,
trounced the field of competitors during the 2019 Rolex Big Boat Series. They
posted a score line of 2, 1, 1, 2, 4 and a point total of only 10 points that
gave them a 10-point margin over second place Ne*Ne. Tim Russell’s #003
grappled with much tighter racing for their runner-up position, taking second
place by only 1 point over Maverick and Arbitrage, the third and fourth finishers
respectively on the tie-break.
Racing on Thursday and Friday suffered postponements due to the
slow arrival of the westerly wind, and only one race was completed each of
those days. Yet, good things come to those who wait, and the fleet was graced
with classic, big-wind conditions both Saturday and Sunday. The RC served up the
BBS-patented bay tour races that highlight geography as a strategic factor.
That plus the regular hard-core challenges of J/105 fleet racing on the Bay
remind us why this event is special. Take for example the long beat out to
Diablo during race 4 when Godot and Donkey Jack hugged Angel Island and played
early ebb along the north shore to end-around the lead pack, all while those
leaders split… some went to the city front via the Alcatraz cone and came
roaring back on a fat angle under the bridge, converging with the others who drag-raced
right up the middle. Incredible spread of fast-sailed boats! And man, that return
leg back through the Golden Gate to the StFYC race deck in gusting 20s sure is
FUN on a 105!
Huge congratulations to Tim Russell and his team on #003 Ne*Ne
for their monster win of the 2019 Fleet #1 Championship. They won 16 of the 40
season counters, posted all single-digit finishes before throw-outs, and kept
only top 5’s to tally a mere 58 total points. That’s an average score of 1.45!
What an amazing accomplishment!!
Ryan Simmons’ Blackhawk did about as much damage to the rest
of the field. Save for one 6th place finish, their keepers were all
top 5’s as well, with plenty of bullets posted, totaling 81 points and a solid
55+ points over the rest of the pack. Rounding out the top 3 was Adam Spiegel, jammin’
with his team on Jam Session this summer with a convincing win at the J/Stop Regatta
and a strong second place finish at the SFYC Summer Keel.
While these sailors are deserving of recognition for their
command performance over this season, we all know that scores don’t tell the
whole story. This fleet is TOUGH and getting TOUGHER all the time. We all
deserve kudos for the time and effort and competitive spirit we put into our boats
and our racing. Fleet #1 wins together for that in 2019.
Who knew summer sailing in San Francisco could be so warm? Even our bowman wore shorts and a T-shirt for two days of sailing hosted by South Beach Yacht Club. What stands out for me after a weekend of sailing south of the Bay Bridge was how different this venue was from the fleet’s usual spots. And for what my vote is worth, I hope we come back for an event next year.
Difference number 1: The wind fills in late. At least it did this weekend. On Saturday morning, the fleet went out to a hot and windless race course. We saw wind out in the central bay, but we didn’t know when it would make its way to us. As a result, we spent the early afternoon floating and enjoying the scenery. For those of you who haven’t spent a sunny few hours between San Francisco and Alameda, the panorama from the new Warriors stadium through Oracle Park, the San Francisco skyline, both parts of the Bay Bridge, and Treasure Island is really quite pretty. And it turns out that the weather can be nice enough to sit back and enjoy it. Which brings us to…
Difference number 2: It was hot and sunny. In fact, it was perfect weather to lie down and take a nice nap on the deck. We sail in sunny weather often enough, but even in the sun it’s usually still cold. For those of you who missed the event this year, remember your sunblock when we come back. Remember that on those rare days you don’t wear spray pants you’ll need to keep your legs from burning. I bet our boat was not the only one to forget that.
Difference number 3: The current. There are strong currents everywhere on the bay, and each location has its own character. Sailing out of South Beach, the current runs across the course in a westerly. For this event, we were in two knots of flood both days. The race committee was fully prepared. They set a starboard rounding at the weather mark, and set very long offset leg to square the run. The fleet, on the other hand, took a race or two to figure it out. Most of us overstood the first weather mark due to the current. Godot, notably, nailed the layline call and ran away with the race one.
Difference number 4: Even when the breeze filled in, it was still warm. If it’s not clear, I enjoy good weather. During the second and third races Saturday, the breeze built to the high teens. However, since we weren’t sailing in a fog bank, it was still nicely warm out. We were reaching for sunblock rather than spray gear. Both up and downwind there were opportunities to gain and lose boats. Both sides of the course could work depending on where there was better pressure and direction at that moment.
Difference number 5: Shifts and puffs. The South Beach race course is downwind of San Francisco. At the top of the course, you need to look out for wind shadows behind ships and warehouses, puffs coming out of McCovey Cove, and shifts as the breeze weaves between the buildings. A lot could change in the last quarter of the beat, and often enough it did. You had to keep an eye out for that final shift or gust that would mean beating or losing a handful of boats. Downwind it was easy to be on the wrong gybe or overstand the gates. This course rewarded the teams who kept their eyes out of the boat.
Difference number 6: South Beach Yacht Club. Like sailing out of St. Francis, the South Beach is a very short sail from the race course. After racing it was easy to pull into our slip and head up to the club. Like SFYC, there is a beautiful deck to socialize on after sailing. The atmosphere was very comfortable for relaxing with the other sailors after a delightful day of sailing.
Sunday the wind was lighter and shiftier, but still great sailing. We squeezed off another three competitive races. Thank you to the race committee team led by Jeff Zarwell. You did a fantastic job all weekend. Thank you South Beach for hosting such a fun event. We had a blast, and can’t wait to sail with you again.
See you all on the water, Ben Pedrick, on behalf of the entire Jam Session team
Full results at http://www.regattanetwork.com/event/19108#_newsroom+results
On Saturday morning it looked like the J/Fest was a repeat
of the Spring One Design. Light winds, lots of current (albeit flood) and
postponements. Fortunately on both days, the wind eventually filled in and six
races were completed in 14-20 knots of breeze, but not without drama that
typically comes with any J/105 event.
As it seems to always be when racing in the main bay in
spring, it is always favored to be the first to one side of the course and the J/Fest
was no exception.
Consistently, the top boats were the ones that started at or
near the pin and were able to hold their lane to get left to the relief off the
city front. Visa versa on the run, big
gainers were had jibing early to get left to get into the flood that was still
pushing down the middle of the bay.
In race one, Russian Roulette played both legs perfectly and
held off Black Hawk for their first win of the season.
For the second and third race, winds increased to the upper
end of the range and went a little right. But the left side was still favored
and Ne*Ne took both races leading wire to wire after nailing two pin end
At the end of day one, the top three boats were Ne*Ne with 10
points, Black Hawk with 14 points, and Jam Session with 16 points.
Sunday brought lighter breeze so at the scheduled 11:30
start the “cat and the hat” flag was displayed instead of the class flag. The race
committee lowered the postponement soon after, in what some competitors called
an “anxious attempt” to get a race in. The 5 knots of breeze wouldn’t have been
a problem except for the three knots of flood. The boats that got left and
intentionally over stood looked really good a first, but they had to cross the
flood into the main channel to round the weather mark. They soon realized they
would need to tack again, and again and again, just to get around the weather
mark. Then again, again, and again to round the offset. Some were better at
this than others especially Godot who won their first race of the season.
Fortunately by race two, winds picked up to the mid-teens.
The race committee resorted to the U flag in an attempt to stop general
recalls. A couple of boats got UFD’d (U flag penalty). Everything else would
have been fine except a rather large log, no, more like a telephone pole,
decided to get a closer look at the action and completely shut the door on the
boats choosing to start at the pin. This stopped the sequence until the race
committee was able to clear the invader and get the race off. Box of Rain won the start and went on to win
their first race of the season.
Some boats, including Ne*Ne (who had assumed they won the
regatta) thought the sailing was done for the day and headed for the barn. But
it was only 3:40 and the race committee knew they still had twenty minutes to
squeak in a start before the 4:00 o’clock deadline. Ne*Ne noticed just in time that a race was
going to start. They turned and motored back toward the line until the prep
signal. With four minutes to go, they quickly set a kite but it looked to be
too late. Luckily a puff came through and with 90 seconds to go, they jibed in
a desperate attempt to exit the triangle created by the U flag flying. With
just eight seconds to spare, they manage to clear the triangle do a Mexican drop
around the committee boat, and line up for the start. Donkey Jack took the final race but Ne*Ne took
third to win the regatta by five points.
The lopsided course the last two regattas has many
questioning the wisdom of racing in the main part of the bay in the spring
because of the strong currents. I’m on the fence. One thing for certain, it
appeared nobody wanted to win this regatta. The scores were all over place and
we saw two boats win their first A series race ever (Box of Rain and Russian
Roulette). That was nice to see! In fact, we had five different boats win
races! It doesn’t get much better than that!
Maybe racing in the main bay in spring mixes it up a little,
and adds a different element? This discussion will long be forgotten as we
settle in to the rest of the schedule and the more predictable sailing in the
summer and on the Berkeley circle.
By noon of the
first day of Spring One Design, the north breeze had already wheezed its last
breath, and glass covered the bay.
J/105s were littered across the city front and pointed in every
direction as they had been since about 10:30 in the morning. On Donkey Jack, we drifted into a tideline,
and with no sails up or engine on, the boat spun a few 360s. We marveled at each turn with childlike
fascination: “No way, it’s gonna happen
again!” When that was no longer
entertaining, we scanned the horizon for wildlife, gorged ourselves on Kettle
Chips, and told tall sailing tales. Not surprisingly, the breeze strength in
each successive story seemed to get stronger and stronger. The seabreeze was fashionably late to this
party, of course, and the fleet milled about until the guest of honor showed
arrived at around 2:30pm in the afternoon.
The first to act was the St. Francis Yacht Club Race Committee, and that
crack squad set up for a standard city front beat in just a few minutes. The fleet came alive. Mainsails went up, kites were flown, and line
sights were taken. As soon as the cookie
crumbs and chip dust was shaken off our foulies, Donkey Jack got professional
and put up some canvas. It was quickly
obvious to us, as with everyone else in the fleet, that the race committee was
bathed in a hefty flood. Combined with a
moderate breeze, getting up to the line would be difficult. Moreover, the ebb lingered in the center of
the bay, or the right side of the course, so folks would be itching to take a
right turn soon after the gun and get out there. As the seconds wound down to the start, it
was obvious that things were going to get rowdy at the committee boat.
Seconds before the
start, it did get rowdy at the committee boat.
On the leeward side of the boat trimming jib, I could hear heated verbal
exchange between skippers defending their turf; thankfully, the exchanged words
were devoid of any mom comments. As
Donkey Jack made its final turn upwind, I trimmed the jib the last few inches. There was enough wind to dip the leeward
rail, and my boot, in cold bay water.
The Donkey was at the committee boat, and I was looking right down the
line. The line was filled with
bows. I remember thinking, “Dude, this
fleet is tight!”
In the interest of
getting races off, the race committee sent us on a quick milk run up to the
windward mark and back. Heading up the
beat, we had flood until we got to the center of the bay, and with it, some
ebb. Blackhawk and Godot got to the ebb
first and ran away with it. As we saw
flood at the start, we assumed that there would be flood at the windward
mark. We deliberately overstood
expecting to be pushed down to the layline.
Much to our surprise, the flood never returned, and the windward mark
sat in slack water. Box of Rain didn’t
need a second invitation to tack inside of us.
The wind carried the sound of their cackling all the way to the windward
mark. In conversations that evening at
the bar, we listened to speculation that the massive rains this year have
disturbed conventional flood and ebb patterns.
That should make for some interesting racing this year.
The second race was
a twice around. The breeze had come up a
bit, and we were seeing 15 – 18 knots on the gauges. We put a few turns on the rig to take the
edge off the breeze and formulated a similar game plan–minus the bit where
we’d give the entire fleet an opportunity to tack inside of us at the windward
mark. It’s a well rehearsed plan most San
Francisco sailors are familiar with: head out to the ebb in the center of the bay
for the upwind, hunt for flood or relief along the city front for the
downwind. Advantage3 walked
away with race two, stretching out a commanding lead over the fleet. Jam Session and Arrived! battled for the number
two position. Donkey Jack came in
fourth, a respectable finish given how competitive the fleet is.
Back at the docks,
the Donkey Jack and a few other boats celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with green
cans of Heineken. It got cold pretty
quick so we retreated to the warmth of the St. Francis Yacht Club for the usual
revelry that follows day one of a J/105 regatta. That and the corned beef hash and green
flecked four leaf clover cookies! The
kitchen at StFYC doesn’t disappoint.
If the seabreeze
was fashionably late on Saturday, she was just plain mean on Sunday. The day started with a northerly that morphed
into a northwesterly that eventually caved into the seabreeze. The race committee made every effort to set
up a course in the ever changing breeze, dealing with deep anchorages,
commercial traffic, engine problems and bad luck. As with the prior day, J/105s were on the
race course from 10:30 in the morning until the start of the first and only
race at 3pm. I may be exaggerating but
only slightly: I believe we were jib reaching on port tack towards Alcatraz for
a couple of hours, holding a position between the the Palace of Fine Arts and
the St. Francis Yacht Club. The ebb kept
us in the same spot for what seemed an eternity.
Remarkably, before the
fleet went into sequence, Yunona collided with the race committee, lodging the
RC’s anchor line between her rudder and keel.
Despite best efforts, the ebb tide kept Yunona plastered to the bow of
the committee boat, and the two were unable to detangle. We were startled to hear the RC broadcast
over channel 69, “J/105 sequence will commence in 1 minute.” The all-star race committee managed to fire a
race off while hosting its own mini-flotilla.
That kind of skill takes years to perfect, and I truly wonder how many
cocktails it took for Yunona to rectify the gaffe.
Coming into the
final race one point behind first place boat Blackhawk, Donkey Jack’s objective
was to maintain our position and, if the opportunity arose, improve it. The first beat handed us that
opportunity. After a tricky start in a
strong ebb, we managed to round third behind Ne*Ne and Advantage3. We saw Blackhawk a few boats behind us,
charging through the fleet. The drama
started to unfold.
At the final
leeward mark of the race, Advantage3 chose the wrong gate, giving us
the opportunity to jump into second. At
the windward mark, Ne*Ne had an override, causing a delay and forcing her to
use her jib halyard to hoist the kite.
This delay put Donkey Jack into first with Ne*Ne immediately
behind. Advantage3 and
Blackhawk were within striking distance of the podium.
The first place
boat always hopes that those behind will simply follow. This was not the case here, and that should
not be surprising given the talent in the J/105 fleet. Advantage3 and Blackhawk went to
the right side of the course, more toward the city front. Donkey Jack and Ne’Ne went the other way,
headed toward the left hand side of the course.
It was a tactically challenging leg, and remarkably, Blackhawk managed
to launch from fourth to contend for first by staying on the favorable side of
a current line. As the four boats
converged on the finish, Donkey Jack edged out Blackhawk by just a few feet,
both boats fully overlapped at the finish.
According to sources, Advantage3 and Ne*Ne finished within a
boat length of first and second. So
after two laps and forty minutes of racing, the top four boats were separated
Rolf Kaiser and his
Donkey Jack took top honors in the Spring One Design, beating Ryan Simmons and
Blackhawk in a tie breaker. Tim
Russell’s Ne*Ne completed the podium with a third place finish. Special thanks to a heroic effort by the race
committee who put on an excellent regatta in the face of several seemingly
Jam Session’s skipper Ahab Spiegel was not quoted in the piece, but was heard later in the bar explaining his plan to chase the whale round the Cape and round the Horn and round Perdition’s flames. He is going to have to wait until Jam Session’s rudder bearings get fixed, though. Barnacles sure make a mess of your bottom paint.
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.
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