• 2018 Double Handed Farallones: March Goes Out Like A Lamb




    2018 Double Handed Farallones

    55 shorthanded teams departed the calm waters of San Francisco Bay early Saturday morning and headed out into the turbulent waters of the Gulf of the Farallones for the 1st ocean race of the 2018 season. March had been particularly stormy, after a benign February, and the forecast for the weekend, left the door open for another batch of atmospheric instability.
    Indeed, just as thing were getting underway for the 08:30 start, a weak, yet very cold pulse of moisture and associated breeze greeted the fleet before dispersing to the west. A generous supply of ebb, assisted with recent runoff made the exit a swift one, with a majority of the fleet past Bonita within an hours’ time.






    From there the fleet dispersed, some choose the southerly route, anticipating a forecasted southerly shift in wind that would lift them towards the islands, others stayed in or near the channel, riding the ebb for all it was worth, while a few others opted for a right side exodus, perhaps anticipating a northerly shift in wind.


    The forecast of 8-9 foot seas with 8-9 second period, thankfully never developed, and the wind remained in a very manageable 15-20 knot realm with plenty of sunshine for all. The multihulls were the 1st to reach the islands with Rafi Yahalom and Marco McGee on the Corsair 31’ Looking Good crossing just ahead of Randy Miller and Colin Dunphy aboard Randy’ Open 8.5 Mama Tried as the clock slipped past the 13:00 mark. Looking good took wide path around the Island while Mama Tried took the inside route and passed them in the process. “ We got our kite up in short order and it looked like they had some issues which gave us a nice cushion. We both had taken a southern hitch on the way out which paid off, but theirs came later than ours and put them just ahead as we reached the Island, Randy explains.








    The two tris would lead the parade of multis back to the Gate, in conditions near ideal for parades, 15-20 dead astern with a following sea. Mama Tried, sailing her 1st NorCal offshore event would hold off Looking Good and finish with an elapsed time of 07:34:05, with an 8 minute and 38 second delta. It was Mama Tried 1st bullet under new ownership, but podium position is nothing new to Randy, who has enjoyed a number of great races on his Marstrom 32’ in recent years. That boat suffered structural failure in the Big Boat Series in 2016. “We bought her for less than it was going to cost to rebuild the Marstrom, and so far, she has lived up to her expectations. The Open 8.5 meter is quite popular in New Zealand, but they have not caught on here yet” Randy adds.

    Mama Tried was brought to the US by Pete Melvin, who raced and cruised her while working for ETNZ a few years back, then sailed he in SoCal for a few years before selling her to the Burd brothers, who won the Race to Alaska last year on her. Randy won that race the previous year on the Marstom, and has not ruled out returning for another run, but for now will focus on short handed distance races locally.








    In the monohull sector, it was all about ultralights with waterline and big kites. And this time, lighter was righter. Rufus Sjoberg and Dylan Benjamin sailed a near flawless race, riding the ebb for all it was worth straight out the shipping channel. “Got the escalator ride out and swell was very manageable” Rufus said. His Melges 32’ Rufless does not like big sea state on the nose and the boats just aren’t upwind machines, but once they set the kite, the tables turn dramatically. Rufless rounded the island well behind California Condor, but managed to keep pace on the ride back in. “There wasn’t a lot of opportunity to surf, but we were plenty powered up and could sail deeper than the other asymmetrical’s, and when we got near Bonita and saw Condor just ahead, It was like No Way” Rufus explains… If Condor had one bad move, it might have been going to far south towards China Beach and seemed to flounder for a while in bad current and lighter air. It was enough for Rufless to gain some ground, and finish just 10 minutes and 29 seconds behind but correct out with plenty to spare to take the ULDB <42 division. In that division, 2 J-111’s Howard Turner and Jay Crum on Symmetry and Roland Vandermeer with Andy McCormick finished 3rd and 4th, with just a 10 second margin separation!




    The overall corrected mono award goes, yet again to a Moore 24. Peter Schoen and Roe Patterson sailed Mooretician to a 6 boat class victory, besting runner up, Snafu with Karl Robrock and Gilles Combrisson by 18 minutes and change. “ Peter is Mr Ocean, when it comes to picking the shifts and making the most of boatspeed in thos conditions” Meanwhile, in the 12 boat Express 27 Fleet, Ray Lotto sailing with Steve Carroll on El Raton kept their seemingly perpetual DH Farallones e-27 Crown intact with 12 12 minute plus margin win over closest boat, Andy Goodman and Julia Paxton on Loose Cannon! Ray Lotto has probably done the DH Farallones 13-14 times and won it 4 or 5 times, his take on the day. “ We rode the ebb out a good 13 or so miles, and in that race, you almost always go right to you can get up and over the Island, but this year the wind was due west and by going left, we ere just 30 degrees off vs being 40 degrees of by going right. Once we rounded, it was pretty much a straight shot back, the only bummer was when the wind backed off for a while and we dropped to 3-4knots for a period.


    "We had a late start. Completely my fault, I started my watch on the previous class' 4 minute signal. That worked in our favor as it delayed our tack to the center of the Bay where we thought the strongest ebb current was running. Basically, the early tackers in our start were headed on port tack while we were lifted closer to shore. We made big gains in our fleet by not committing to the center Bay/Marin shore. By the time we reached the bridge, we were the 2nd Moore under the Gate by a couple of boat lengths, with Topper II getting that honor. Snafu was just behind us."

    "The next gain was that we were able to stay high on starboard tack exiting the Bay. We were able point high enough to skirt along the south entrance channel markers without any tacks after passing under the mid span of the GG bridge. There were a lot of boats a significant distance south of us by the time we reached the first channel marker."

    "The weather forecast was calling for the breeze to oscillate so we didn't tack to the north right away when the first left hand shift came through. We saw lots of boats south of us tack on that first significant shift, including Condor well ahead of us. The breeze went right again and when we eventually reached Condor's line it didn't look to us like the shift was paying for them so we kept going on starboard. We did eventually tack on some of the more persistent lefties but always went back when headed on port tack."

    "On the way back in we reached up to the north, generally headed toward Mt. Tam. At about the SF Approach Buoy we looked back and saw dark clouds coming so were expecting another left shift to come through. It eventually showed up and we gybed onto starboard for the final approach to Gate. Motorcycle Irene was hot on our heels at this point so we were motivated to try to keep her behind us until we finished. We were mostly successful until they passed us abeam of the St. Francis YC."

    "I attribute most of our success to spending much of our day focusing on compass heading/VMG to the Farallones."

    "It was a beautiful day to be sailing on the ocean. It was my first time sailing the entire upwind leg to the Farallones on the Moore with a #1!"
    Peter Schoen
    Skipper Mooretician





    Two Express 27’s were in ULDB >42, you may have noted. The reason? “ We are all set up for the Pac Cup” explains Will Paxton who sailed Motorcycle Irene to division win, correcting out well ahead of 3 J-120’s. “We have electronics onboard which are not class legal, and sails for that race that need to get dialed in that are also out of class limits. Pork Chop Express is in the same boat so to speak” While happy with their finish, Will was very complimentary on the achievements of Mooretician “We saw them towards the end of the race, they seemed to come out of nowhere, and with the shifty nature of the course, that was some mean sailing”

    While most of the fleet made it before dark and almost all finished before 21:00 hours, unlike last year, the prize for most time for the buck goes to Music, the Catalina 34' sailed by Robert Engelhart / Jim Brady that got a full 13 hours and 41 minutes of quality ocean race time for their entry fee!


    Results

    Gallery will be HERE SOON
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 39th DHF plus 4! Sat. March 24th. Skippers Meeting Wed OYC March 21st started by K38Bob View original post