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StFYC Spring Keel Regatta

March 7 - San Francisco

Running with Scissors, #513, runs ahead of a pack of J/24s.

Hallelujah, summer is here! The official start of summer isn't until June 21, but, for Bay Area sailors, summer arrived this past weekend - and not a moment too soon! Two drop-dead gorgeous days of sun and moderate westerlies brought out hundreds of boats, many of whom were racing in the final midwinter races of the year. Check out www.ggyc.org, www.richmondyc.org, and www.syconline.org to see who the overall winners were in each of those series.

Eclipse travels all the way from Seattle to participate in the Moore 24 Roadmasters series. For more on their program, see p. 130 of the current (March) issue of Latitude 38.

The most competitive racing of the weekend occurred both days on the Cityfront, as St. Francis YC hosted their annual Spring Keel Regatta, the first of three March invitationals (dinghies are next weekend, big keelboats the weekend after that). Our trusty photoboat broke down again, so we drove over to StFYC and took the accompanying pictures off the race deck. It was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon, though we'd rather have been sailing!

Moore 24 class winners Vikki and Rowan Fennell took an involuntary swim, along with the rest of their crew.

Class winners follow; see www.stfyc.com for full results.

El Raton, Express 27 winner

EXPRESS 27 (6 boats) - El Raton, Ray Lotto. (Crew - Steve Carroll, Patrick Lewis, Tom Dobroth, Tish Wick)
MELGES 24 (11 boats) - #525, Seadon Wijsen. (Crew - Dennis George, Justin Oberbauer, Wheeler 'Pebbles' Simmons)
MOORE 24 - (18 boats) - Paramour, Rowan Fennell. (Crew - Vikki Fennell, Justis Fennell, Marina Fennell, Jonathan Wisler-Fennell) 
J/24 (11 boats) - Running With Scissors, Curtis Press/Jim Yares. (Crew - Duane Yoslov, Doug Robertson, John Yares)

Anika Leerssen, retiring from StFYC after four and a half years of much appreciated service as race coordinator, was presented with a commemorative clock by Staff Commodore Tom Quigg. She'll return to her alma mater, Stanford. For more, see Race Notes in the March Latitude 38.

Photos Latitude/Rob

Comments About the Puerto Vallarta Race

March 7 - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This report comes to us from David Kory of the MacGregor 65 Barking Spider:

Thanks for choosing us as your photo of the day on February 18 - the folks back home got a thrill from that.

Regarding your statement "Barking Spider blew out its tired mainsail," I know it's a little thing, but it implies a lack of readiness on our part, which wasn't the case at all. The mainsail is actually quite new, nearly 1,000 square feet of carbon fiber and Kevlar. What happened is one of the full-batten cars failed, allowing the main to pull away from the mast, which stressed the next car, tearing the sail there, which stressed the next one, etc. The sailmaker is currently re-evaluating the loads and re-engineering their design, and will make it all better under warranty.

After returning to Avalon, we took advantage of the southeast gale winds and surfed all the way up the coast to Point Richmond, seeing many hours of 30-35 knots, with gusts to 45, until the wind finally died down near Pigeon Point. We had a fabulous time, boatspeed in the high teens, repeatedly surging up to 24 knots, taking turns at the wheel surfing (and sometimes submarining) into and over the big seas. We averaged just under 12 knots for the whole trip - definitely my best time for a northbound delivery.

The same day we arrived in the Bay Area, we got on a plane and flew to Puerto Vallarta, in time to cheer on everyone else as they arrived. We were in the radio room and out in the middle of the night on the docks to catch their ropes and help provide a hearty welcome. This is what we consider good sportsmanship.

On the flip side was Magnitude 80, who finished first on elapsed time. At the awards dinner, they didn't have a single representative there to accept their trophies. I don't know their story, but with 13 race crew, plus more delivery crew, friends and relatives, you think they could spare a guy for a hour to accept their honors. There were a lot of folks shaking their heads at the apparent snub. Does this happen a lot?

Finally, I'd like to commend the Del Rey Yacht Club for a really well-run event. They certainly have some challenges, but Corum said they would be back as sponsors, and with a little tweaking (and luck with the weather) the race could come back in 2007 better than ever. I know I plan to be there.

Banderas Bay Regatta to Start on Sunday

March 7 - Nuevo Vallarta. Mexico

The Vallarta YC reports they have received 42 confirmed entries for this year's strictly cruisers regatta, with seven more expected from Mazatlan. If you're in Mexico on your boat, you don't want to miss the fun. Did we mention there is no entry fee? If you're in the States, think about playing hooky for a couple of days for a fun regatta in the best conditions and venue imaginable.

BMW Oracle Serious About Winning America's Cup

March 7 - Valencia, Spain

You can tell because they are the first team to be doing two-boat testing with 'Version 5' boats to be used in the next Cup. These aren't new machines, but are the result of modifications to US 71 and 76.

Orange II Blows by Doldrums

March 7 - Atlantic Ocean

After 42 days, Bruno Peyron and crew aboard the maxi cat Orange II are less than 3,000 miles from completing their circumnavigation. The doldrums proved to be no obstacle for them, as they slowed to 10 knots for about half an hour before resuming speed. As we've said before, barring catastrophic failure, Peyron and crew are about to set one of the most startling records in the history of sailing.

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