• 2014 DH Farallones: Dancing In The Dark



    With this, the 35th edition of the B.A.M.A. hosted Doublehanded Farallones race we kick off the 2014 offshore season. Run since 1978, the DH Farallones followed the SSS's Singlehanded Farallones by a year, providing an opportunity for those who like company, just not too much of it, when venturing out to the rockpile. It has been BAMA's contribution to the sailing community, and has for all intents and purposes, been dominated in number by monohulls, despite it multi hulled marque. In it's prime, 1984, the Doublehanded Farallones attracted 144 competitors but has seen numbers decline after the economic bubble burst, removing numerous sailors from the affordability of owning and maintaining a seaworthy vessels, increasing costs and safety equipment required.

    In more recent years, organizers of offshore events, as well as sailors themselves have seen spikes in insurance for their own boats, and events followed suit. Insurance companies more so then ever have added increased stipulations and policies to protect themselves from exposure, combined with severe incidents both north and south here on the West Coast. Last year we saw the installment of the Northern California Ocean Racing Council which provided a list of recommendetion for offshore event coordinators as well as particpants with the release of The Northern California Offshore Racing Council Minimum Offshore Requirements and this years edition Version 2.2. We spoke a bit earlier about Digital Selective Calling requirements for vhfs a bit earlier.




    The bottom line, there has been a large increases in expenses around the horn, and some sailors which sailed for years offshore without the new required gear, take exception to the new rules and have boycotted offshore events in response. This year's 53 boats is 5 boats smaller than in the two previous years which each saw 58 attendees. That's still plenty, and keeps the volunteers working the race deck, the internets and positions up high in the Marin Headlands and Lands end monitoring and ready to relay communications in event of an emergency.





    But back to sailing. Or in this case drifting.

    With an 0800 1st gun at the GGYC the Race Committee saw goose eggs on the wind-o-meter and went into postponement. Despite what some of the models predicted, the breeze was a no show for the most part, hoping for better conditions made sense. The ebb had maxed at 0730 and if the RC was to get the 35th running going, it was imperative to get the boats out before the tide reversed. At 0845 the Multis got their gun and it was a light air luff-a-thon to get out to favorable current, and at least get swept out the gate if you could not sail out. By about 0920 the 1st Tri's passed under the Bridge, ghosting along would be a generous description. 15 minutes or so passed before the largest monohull hull, California Condor would eek out in similar conditions.

    About 1000 a slight southwesterly began to fill, aiding boats in the bay more than those who had exited earlier. What we saw then was a condensing of the fleets, and the light sportboats and ULDB's taking advantage of the conditions. According to Richard Vonehrenkrook, skipper of Can' O Whoopass, things actually looked good from Bonita with 10-12 knots showing, but by the time they reached the lightbucket, it was down to 5-6 knots, and died shortly thereafter. The boats which were able to get in range of the Islands benefited the most.

    Sergei Podshivalov sailing his J-105 Javelin in the DH Farallones for the 1st time, was one such benefactor, and as a result sailed to a corrected time victory in PHRF 4


    - It was my first time going to Farallones, so I was intent to make it even we had to finish at midnight. Had plenty of food on board to prevent the crew mutiny.

    - Did few timed drifts before the start, concluded that the StYC breakwaters would be a good a place to be at 5 min warning. Had anchor ready, but didn't have to use it, were maybe 5 boat length away from the line at the gun. Better be safe than sorry :-)

    - Luckily it was enough breeze to clear the South Tower, eventually the pressure has built up and once we were 5 miles out of the gate the wind veered such so we were fetching the islands.

    - The happiness didn't last that long. The wind has dropped to 4 kts or less, we just stopped and drifted north west with the current. Even jellyfish of which was plenty around was moving faster than us. Need to learn how to make J/105 moving in the light wind. Saw some other boats around making knot or so.

    - At 2:45 the wind built up again, to reasonable 8 kts and we started to move. Half an hour late we had to crack off to fetch the mark. Too bad too much distance was lost due to this northerly drift and inability to make the boat to move.

    - Rounded the islands at happy 16 -18 kts at 5 pm, then immediately jibed and set the kite.

    - Apparently this wind angle was very favorable to J/105, we were able to beeline to the Golden Gate on a very hot reach, rounding up every so often, but still moving at about 10 - 12 kts. Other boats either kept going with the jib, or carrying the kite but leaving the mark to windward.

    - Once reached Point Bonita at 8:15, the wind started to die down to 6-8 kts and was almost behind us. Eventually we had to heat up and then jibe. Close to the bridge the wind increased to 18 kts we rounded up right by the South Tower, but fortunately missed it.

    - Past the gate the wind has calmed again, so went inshore jibing back and forth to avoid the ebb.

    - Crossed the finish line and opened well earned cold beer.

    -- Sergei



    Mark Eastham and Stephan Lesaffre were the 1st to get to the islands, creeping around the stinky rocks close to 1430 and were in nice position when the wind finally did fill back in and were the only boat to finish in the daylight, crossing the finish line at 18:52:40. The less fortunate, yet still determined boats had to deal with sailing in the shipping channel in the dark as well and the evaporating flood.



    This was Mark Eastham's 2nd Double Handed Farallones race, sailing Ma's Rover which was named to honor his mother who passed away a few years past. She was a big Irish Rover's fan and her last name, Meagher and is pronounced "Ma". The F-31 is Marks 1st multihull, previously he owned a Melges 24 Mary Don't Surf which Mark bought after he move to California in 1989, just in time for the Loma Prieta Earthquake.

    "We came out on the north side of the channel and then set the screecher in 2-3 knots, Said Mark " We got passed by Raven in the Strait but when we got to Bonita the wind picked up and so did the swell. We were fetching the islands nicely on port tack until the breeze backed off and we got passed by Condor. We spent a good 1.5 to 2 hours sloshing around in confused seas until the breeze filled back in. Condor went right and we stayed left and got lifted right to the island. We passed Condor just before the island, which had some huge breakers slamming into it. Very intimidating especially in light of the Low Speed Chase incident. Once we passed over the north side we set the chute and immediately started surfing. We carried the kite about 4-5 from the island then reset the screecher and carried it nicely to Point Bonita, where we reset the kite and worked our way inside the Gate on the last bit of flood."

    "It was a really fun race for me," Mark continues " and I really tip my hat to the guys at BAMA for doing and outstanding job putting this race on and their dedication to the event, working with the Coasties, the DSC program at the skippers meeting and the communications with the folks stationed in the hills at the coast. I was able to raise them with the mast top vhf from the Farallones, which is very comforting. It was great to have confidence that we all had close contact with the DSC if we needed it. Top shelf, grade A in my book!"



    Those that hung on to win their division include:


    02 (ULDB) Greg Nelsen / Steve Buckingham Outsider



    03 Howard Turner / Jay Crum Symmetry



    04 Sergei Podshivalov / Randall Landaiche Javelin



    05 Rodney Pimentel / Ted Floyd Azure

    (Still looking Ray)
    06 Express 27 Ray Lotto / Steve Carroll El Ratton




    07 Moore 24 Peter Schoen / Roe Patterson Mooretician



    08 Brendan Meyer / Erik Menzel UNO

    Full Results

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    This article was originally published in forum thread: DHF 2014 anyone? Sat. March 22! Entry deadline Skippers' meeting Wed March 19th started by K38Bob View original post