• Harding The Hard Way

    106 intrepid short handed boats signed up for this years Singlehanded Sailing Society. An in the Bay, 19.3 nm event that originates on the Berkeley Circle, leaves Alcatraz to starboard,
    Harding Rock to starboard, The Brothers to starboard, Red Rock to Port and on to finish in the Point Potrero Channel. Light winds at the start left some boats drifting on the flats while others
    we able to ghost their way up towards Treasure Island into a slight westerly. The Multi's had the 1st gun and several of them escaped the hole and were looking good on the beat to Harding Rock.
    For a while anyway. Well in front was Peter Stoneberg's Prosail 40' Shadow that looks like the odds on favorite to set 1st at Harding, but lightening winds and a steady, stubborn 2 knot flood was too much for the big cat. The winds for what they were worth, seemed to stay on the left side of the course, paving a way for the Express 27's and sportboats to work their way above the mark, with a generous overstand.

    The luck few on the initial pulse that rounded Harding then rode the flood for all it was worth straight east, some setting kites and some not. Initially it looked liked either method proved equally effective. One of the early rounders, Buzz Blackett's Class 40 California Condor set their lightest kite and pulled away from the fleet, leaving Point Blunt well to port and went right to the edge of the flats to stay in favorable current and milk what little breeze their was.

    Condor looking good in the North Bay with Mt Tam and cumulous clouds looking Kaneohe like.

    As the morning turned into early afternoon, a second, more populous pulse of boats, tangled with the Harding Hole, riding high over the top after observing the fate of their predecessors, many choosing Raccoon Strait as a path to the North Bay. Why not? With the flood and expected westerly, it made sense. Until it didn't. The Raccoon can be stubborn as well, and what appeared to be a short cut turned into a park up for many, who saw their sails go limp as they swirled about in the current, making some easterly vmg, but not much. Slowly, the westerly filled from the back of the fleet and a tight parade of boats spilled into the North Bay.

    Max Crittenden on his Martin 32 Iniscaw was one of the 2nd wind fortunate sons. Max, a long time single hander has recently purchased a home in Borrego Springs, to which he will be retiring
    to next fall/winter. Max won his division (SH Spin 111-159) and has been a leader on and off the water. He planes on taking his boat south with him, but maybe if we protest loud enough, he will reconsider?

    The big slug of boats fanned out quickly across the North Bay, and as the majority slipped past Red Rock, the two leaders of the race, Condor and Mark Eastham's Corsair 31' Ma's Rover
    both emerged from the Richmond / San Rafael Bridge headed south. It was gonna be a slow speed drag race to the finish!

    We caught up to the pair just as the were in the last stretch just past the Long Wharf no fly zone. Condor had taken a decisive lead and was sailing a great circle route so they could deploy the kite for a Hollywood finish for their home crowd working the finish line at RYC. But the devil is in the details, and as luck would have it, the snuffer jammed 2/3rds of the way up, and despite their best efforts, stayed that way for a good 200 yards. All the while, Ma's Rover, sailing a more direct line, snuck underneath and claimed the 1st to finish honors!

    Congrats to Ma's Rover!

    Be back in a tad with more images and credit where credit is due....


    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2016 SSS Round The Rocks started by Photoboy View original post