• 2012 3 Bridge Fiasco: One For The Books

    The fleet amasses off the GGYC on San Francisco Bay
    image©Slackwater Images LLC*

    With 334 registered boats competing in this years Single Handed Sailing Society's 3 Bridge Fiasco,
    the numbers were once again staggering, albeit short of the record. And as the forecast neared, any and
    all fears of dampness were alleviated, but the newest concern was wind, or lack thereof. But as dawn broke
    on the SF Bay Area, sailors and organizers were joyed to find breeze was back in the picture! Now the
    never ending question, which way to go?

    Jackie Philppott and her Cal 20 Dura Mater were the 1st to the Bay Bridge

    If you are unfamiliar with the 3 Bridge Fiasco, it's premise is simple. Take 1 start finish line, 3 obstacles placed
    near the SF Bay's 3 centrally located bridges, and go around them and through the start line any which way you want.
    The Single Handed Sailing Society originally only had a handful of takers the 1st time around and the idea of fiasco
    was quite contained compared to numbers of entrants in recent years. With the start pushed forward to 9:00 AM this year
    and the last scheduled for just after 11:00 AM, the theory is the slower 1st starters will be long gone before the faster boats get going.

    Brad Cameron's Mull 22 "Pocket Rocket" is 2nd to the Bridge, was laying about at Svendson's for over a decade!

    With A brisk Northerly in the mid teens at the start, and a forecasted building flood, a majority of the fleet opted to take
    a clockwise approach, with Blackaller 1st, then ride the tide to Red Rocks in the North Bay, but that was not the only option.

    Ray Lotto on E-27 El Raton gambled on the Counter Clockwise rout and took second in the 20 boat e-27 fleet

    With the majority fleet headed north, Darren Douds Coarsair 31R "Roshambo" heads off in clear air

    With the replacement Blackaller Buoy buried in there somewhere, the fleet gathered for the 1st of several
    togetherness assembly's.

    Ben Landons T650 "Flight Risk" takes a flyer opting for the great circle route

    In mothballs for the past couple years, the Light Speed 33 is back on the Bay, Trevor Baylis
    skippering for this round, will be working with Andy Costello for some offshore events.

    Raccoon Straights offered the best current option for north bound passengers, and the vast majority opted
    for the scenic route, riding the tide and were greeted by a couple dozen seals and sea lions who taking advantage
    of the mackerel run.

    Steve Hixon's Santa 35 "Break Out" cruises past Camp Reynolds on Angel Island

    Cinde Lou Delmas's Gorgeous Alerion Express 38 "Another Girl" was competing in there 1st ever
    3 Bridge Fiasco, " This is absolutely a gas," she exclaimed, a promises to do even more in the future!

    The ride from Raccoon to Red Rocks was pleasant as it was smooth, and many of the crews began reducing layers
    as the temps began to rise. Rounding rock just south of the Richmond San Rafael Bridge is on of the major milestones of the regatta. An this year with the Northerlies still holding steady in the 5-8 knot range it means a nice down hill ride is
    in the forecast.

    Roe Patterson's Moore 24 " Mooretician" was the 1st to round the Rocks about 20 minutes to noon

    Not far behind was John Kernot on Moore 24 Banditos with Scott Easom's Farr 30 "Eight Ball" in hot pursuit.
    For some reason, 8-Ball was not listed as competing, which we find quite odd.

    Urs Rothatcher with Matt Noble was hard to miss on the course on his brand new SL 33
    [I]"Bridge Runner" We'll have some video of fast cat's 1st race in the next couple days.[I/]

    Another fast cast, Bill Erkelens "Adreneline" enjoys the renewed Zypher along the Berkeley Flats

    After rounding Red Rocks, the fleet spread out pretty well, and it was at times hard to discern which routes
    were being favored, but as the fleet of now southbound sailors reached the Treasure Island Area, the regrouping began
    in earnest.

    As the counter-clockwise contingent's last stragglers emerged from the lee of Yerba Buena,
    the Clockwise contingent arrived, and began stacking up like salmon in a river, awaiting the next pulse of energy
    to push though the obstacle ahead of them.

    Once through the Bay Bridge Narrows, the fleet was blessed with glorious, mirror like conditions
    the water skiers dream about.

    At one point there must have been well over a third of the fleet compacted on the south side
    of the Bay Bridge, proof positive that ratings systems was working well. Despite the general lightness of
    wind, a positive and happy vibe rolled through the fleet, after all it's nearly February and while many of our friends
    and family are shoveling snow before frostbiting, the only frost bite anyone suffered this day was from leaving their
    paws on an ice cold frosty one too long!

    We'll have a bundle more shots from the event up tomorrow in the forums sections, and hopefully some
    feedback from the TideTech Test Drives


    A Gallery Of Selects

    *An Excellent Gallery of Start and Finish Images