• The Goose Soars And Scores

    BYC and E Ticket got real close to winning 2021 JAZZ CUP this Labor Day weekend! E Ticket finished 1st in our fleet of 12, 1st for Benicia racers and 2nd for Jazz Cup and 6th overall out of approximately 60 racers. Goose, a Catalina 30 from South Beach YC won the Jazz Cup and beat E Ticket by one position.

    E Ticket started at 11:20 in the fourth starting fleet of approximately 60 racers overall. The winds were 10-15 mph and the current was flooding. The starting area was close to Treasure Island. The race course is approximately 25 miles. There is approximately a 1 mile upwind leg to Alcatraz and then all the way to Benicia.

    We started on Starboard tack, close hauled at the Committee Boat (CB). We were able to shut the door to a few barging competitors. Our first upwind race mark was near Alcatraz island.
    Soon after the start, we tacked to Port while the rest of the fleet continued on Starboard. This tactical decision put us in the top few boats for our fleet as we rounded the windward mark and headed toward Richmond Bridge.

    We stayed on the West side of the course through SF bay. Many of our competitors set spinnakers and sailed deeper toward Richmond YC and the East side of the bay.
    We approached the shadow of Angel Island and noticed that the fleets ahead had split with some competitors going far West and some far East. E Ticket split the middle. The wind died down to less than 2 mph. We were seeing 1-2 mph of favorable current helping us along where we were.

    The East side boats, included Gordie Nash who often wins his fleet. Gordie and the boats around him established a considerable lead compared to us.

    After 30 minutes of drifting in the current and wind whispers, the wind strengthened from the West to 7-10 mph. Once we got going we stayed to the West side of the course in the stronger current.
    We passed Red Rock and the Brothers islands and entered San Pablo Bay on the West side close to the deep water Chanel. This strategy takes advantage of the dying flood current that last longer in the deeper water. It is however a longer course to the finish and is often a dilemma which course is best.

    As we looked ahead we could see flat shiny water (no wind)around Pt Pinole which is about 1/2 way across San Pablo Bay. We continued with our strategy of taking a wider course and staying in the deep water. We watched the current lines and check each side of them to find the most favorable current. We trimmed our sails attentively and rotated trimmers to stay fresh.

    Very slowly we started passing competitors who were on the East side. We were making trees on them. We had better current and at times better wind. We started counting the total number of spinnakers ahead to keep track of how we were doing. We counted 30, 26, 22, 17, 13 and finally 10! We had passed over 20 boats with our deep water strategy.

    Then it got hot in the middle of San Pablo bay. The wind had dropped to 0-4 mph. The temperature soared into the 90’s. The sun was directly on us in the early afternoon. This was becoming an endurance race. Many competitors radioed in and withdrawing from the race due to the adverse conditions.

    As we approached the North end of San Pablo, the flood we enjoyed changed to the dreaded ebb current and was now in our face. We continued to look for more favorable current lines to cross for advantage. We changed our course from the middle of the channel to the South side as we entered Carquinez Straits.
    Now we were on our home turf where we are the most experienced with racing. After Dillon Pt. we headed North into the shallows for relief from the ebb current. This area is where the drone pictures were taken.

    We passed 1st Street Benicia Pier with less adverse current and similar wind resulting in passing several competitors.
    We finished around 5:30 pm with only a few boats ahead of us and dozens of spinnakers behind us far into the distance.

    We were so tired that we did not fully appreciate what we had accomplished. Several of us had some form of heat exhaustion with one crew needing aide.
    Our crew of 10 was simply amazing. We had our regular Thursday night racing crew who is experienced and work very well together. They had great attitudes and we all gave it our best. Without them this simply would not have happened!

    Thank you Benicia Yacht Club for hosting such a great event. The after party and hospitality was excellent. We appreciate a Yacht Club and community that supports sailing and boating in our local waters.
    Thanks to Chris Southerly and Erik Simonson for the excellent pictures


    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2021 Jazz Cup: Laboring On Labor Day Weekend started by Photoboy View original post