Sunday, May 16, 2010

Friday Night Series- May 14

Racing at the St. Francis is about as good as it gets.
Guests can watch the races from the comfort of the grill room or brave the elements on the race deck.
Sailors have the options to go in between races and switch rigs when the wind changes and still be able to make the next start.
5 races are run every other Friday night throughout the summer and spring.
Unlike most formula races lasting 20-30 minutes, the twilight series is more of a series of sprints which each race lasting 6-8 minutes for the leaders.
The start is off the StFYC A and B buoys and upwind to Anita Rock- just off Crissy Field. Racing next to the shore limits your starting options to port tack and its usually the sailor starting on the inside that gets the favorable lift off the land and first to the weather mark.
Regardless of the course, it’s the best board-handling skills and ability to call the layline in the tides that makes the biggest difference in the short races.

Last Friday night was no exception.
With a huge wind range of 8-25k, it was anybody’s call what to rig.
The gusts were big but the holes were even bigger!
I headed out early with my Neil Pryde evo2 10.7, Ml10 and Z fin to sail the course, check the current and get a feel for the wind.
The middle of the course was light but the top and bottom were fully powered.
A few laps around and I was managing the 10.7- just barely.
If you can withstand the big gust with out much damage, the advantage of a bigger sail usually turns out to be far greater in the lulls where you make up a lot of distance vs those on a smaller sail- especially downwind!
Seth, Crad and myself all got off the line well and around Anita in front of the pack.
Timing was everything because we seemed to get our own private SW puff carrying us almost all the way down to B without gibing.
As we made our way around the leeward mark, things heated up and the 10.7 was a handful. CRad got the jump on me with Seth in the lead. I made the call the tack first as I knew the SW breeze would allow for a shorter layline to make the finish.
With CRad just below me, he got off his tack just a bit quicker and was able to get me by a ½ board length at the finish.
The lesson here- give it all you got till the finish!
Race 2 saw similar conditions with Seth on his 9.0 in the lead around the top mark and Crad and myself in hot pursuit. Again, in a SW puff we carried it down to mark B on starboard tack while Seth ran out of gas and had to double gybe to get around B.
I managed to hold on the rest of the race and take the bullet with Crad close behind and Seth in 3rd.
Next race saw Eric call his lines perfectly and not look back while Seth edges me out on the last tack before the finish. In a race like this, every point counts.
Race 4 saw Seth in top form again with Crad and Eric close behind.
I pulled the trigger a bit too soon and got called OSC and returned to clear myself.
I was able to claw my way back through some of the fleet- again trying for any points as the rules for tie breakers have changed with the latest RRS.
Appendix B now counts even your discarded races when looking at who has the better scores in the event of a tiebreaker (Thanks Ron!)I knew the points would be close going into the last race between CRad, Seth and myself.
I lined up perfectly for the start at B – taking into account the flood tide, the crowd and pulled the trigger perfectly accelerating off the line out in front of the fleet and getting in the inside lift.
The 10.7 really paid off well in the last race of the night with the wind dying to 10-15 and the rest of the fleet on their 10.0s. I held on for the bullet with Crad and Tom Purcell rounding out the top 3.
Overall it was Seth claiming the night with 7 points and Crad and myself, tied for 2nd with my 8th as a throw-out beating his 10th as a throw-out for the tiebreaker.
Next up, CalCup on Saturday in Bezekeley!
Waterhound report

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