would be a great way to describe Saturday's Westpoint Marina Regatta, and the weather which developed. The 25 mile race was adopted by the YRA and became an official cog in the YRA Party circuit wheel this year. YRA's Laura Munoz explains: "We had a lot of request's for more South Bay Activity and this fit the bill." The sacrificial lamb was the annual Sailstice Regatta, which had seen numbers plummet in recent years "We just found that weekend (June 21 or there abouts) was very busy for most people, with school ending and families taking vacations" Laura adds.
The 52 boats that signed up for this years event was way up from previous years when it was primarily a Sequoia YC event. Engaging the Treasure Island YC with their
Chili Cook Off and Fireworks the day before certainly provided an extra incentive for sailor to gather and get there boats in position for the 11:25 1st warning.
With cool foggy, breeze in the 12-15 knot area between T.I. and Berkeley Pier, the fleet hitched to the north to get around the 1st mark YRA 24, and most stayed there for tide relief until Alcatraz could be reached. The waning ebb assisted in the ride west and a rapidly building breeze at Alcatraz provided an exhilarating jaunt towards the Bay Bridge.
1st to round was Mike Kastrop and crew on the Catalina 30 Goose
. The wind was still a bit southwest at the island and carrying the kite proved a handful for crew, while others behind learned from example and either delayed kit setting until higher or further west.
Unusually windy stretch between Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge ensued and most all boats were enjoying at or near hull speed conditions. This is the point in many years that the wind all but dies and the current provides little to no help. Magically the fleet and slack water seemed to reach the waters south of Pier 30-32 at the same time, and with little delay, the fleet peeled off layers and regained southing.
Slowly but surely the breeze in the Southbay increased and the choices were 3: Stay south and ride the slightly stronger breeze, mid bay enjoy a more direct route and fly the kite or switch to headsail, pinch up to Hunters Point and set for a blast across Candlestick Gulch.
All in all, all 3 strategies seemed to work and the wind and current continued to grow and grow. The wind shifted to a NW attitude and filled to the high teens and provided
all boats a fantastic ride south! Larry Levitt and the Express 27 Strega
managed to catch and pass the uber fast F-18 boats for 1st to finish honors, completing the 25 nm course in 3 hours, 04 min & 07 secs!
Utilizing the Westpoint Marina which provided free berthing to all who needed it, plus a shuttle to nearby Sequoia YC where racers gathered on the expansive deck and enjoyed a fine bbq, beverages and music, and pleasant temps, one must conclude that the YRA Party Circuit has finally found another gem. Lock it into your schedule for 2015!