November 4, 2009

Stone Wins J/105 NAs

Bruce Stone and Power Play romp along in some decidedly Bay-like conditions on Western Long Island Sound. Stone and his crew won the J/105 North Americans there this weekend . . . the fourth straight year a Bay Area-based team has won the event.

© 2009 Daniela Cohen

With a solid score line that featured a run of four straight bullets, San Francisco’s Bruce Stone and his crew on Power Play won the J/105 North Americans last weekend. Sailed on Western Long Island Sound and hosted by the American YC in Rye, New York, Thursday through Sunday, the 11-race, no-throwout regatta drew 29 boats and came down to the final race — one that almost ended badly for Stone’s team.

"Sunday was light and fluky which made for difficult starts for the last two races," he said. "In the final race we cut a little too closely to another boat and had to do a  720. We watched most of the fleet go by while we did our turns, and had to fight our way back from about 20th."

Up ahead, the eventual runner-up, James Rathbun’s Toronto-based Hey Jude, had more than enough boats between them to win the regatta, but Stone — who was racing a borrowed boat — and his team of East Coasters: Nicole Breault, Stuart Johnstone, Mark Lindquist and Dave Marshall, plus Bay Area bowman Bob Dearborn — clawed their way back to fourth to take the title. His win marks four straight wins in the regatta by St. Francis YC sailors, and five in seven years at four different venues. We’ll have more on Stone, his bi-coastal program — on the Bay, his Arbitrage is a fixture at top of J/105 Fleet One — and the effort his team put into preparing for the regatta in the December issue of Latitude 38.

BMW Oracle Racing Drops Rig

What’s wrong with this picture? BMW Oracle Racing is missing her rig, unexpectedly.

© Peter Rusch

Just a few days after resuming testing aboard BMW Oracle 90, BMW Oracle Racing suffered a setback yesterday in the wake of some impressive wins in the courtroom. Their 90-ft x 90-ft trimaran was sailing some seven miles southwest of the Coronado Islands when its massive 180-ft mast suddenly toppled over the side. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and there was minimal damage to the boat. The mast was recovered, and the boat towed back to San Diego. There’s been no official word on a cause for the failure, just that the team is investigating. Although it will undeniably have an impact on the team’s testing process, you can bet that all the king’s men will figure out a way to put everything back together.

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Point Conception Carnage

Point Conception is notorious among coastal sailors. A combination of unusually strong winds and large seas can make rounding the point very difficult. In fact, it’s not at all uncommon for boats to wait days — even weeks — for a good weather window. But some boats don’t wait.

"Point Conception has been the sad recipient of several lost and/or abandoned sailboats over the past several months," writes Central Coast resident Jeff Chamberlain.

This ferrocement boat foundered at Point Conception a few months ago. This is all that’s left.

© Jeff Chamberlain

"This is all that is left of a ferrocement sailboat that went up on the point in the middle of the night several months ago. A Coast Guard bulletin at the time had some good photos taken out of a helo door of the boat laying over on its side in the rocks on the outer point. These days, this is all that is left, a tangled mess of rigging, some spars, and the engine. Debris was strewn for miles down the coast in the weeks following the grounding.

© Jeff Chamberlain

"In the last month, the above sailboat was reportedly towing the below sailboat north when the two boats were caught in a southerly gale.

© 2009 Jeff Chamberlain

"Before it was over, both ended up on the beach. As of two days ago, this is what the scene looks like.

© Jeff Chamberlain

"I have no idea what efforts have been organized to remove these vessels, but some time has passed and no one seems to be setting any speed records cleaning up the mess."

Do you have any information on these wrecks? Email LaDonna with any information.

If you have a Conception rounding in your future, a few common tactics may help it go more smoothly:

  • Whatever you do, don’t be on a schedule.
  • A foggy morning can be a sign that winds will be calm all day.
  • If the weather is hot, the wind will likely blow your socks off in the afternoon — and perhaps for several days straight. Your best bet is to wait till things calm down. (Refer to the first tip.)
  • If you’re headed north, tuck into Cojo to wait for that precious window. If you’re headed south, hang out in Port San Luis till things clear.
  • As soon as conditions mellow, get your butt in gear and go like hell! This is often in the middle of the night, so be ready.

Share your Conception tips with LaDonna at the email above.

Ahhh, clones attack! Paul Kaplan and Ken Keefe have replicated multiple times over at KKMI in Pt.
Most of the Sweet Sixteen Baja Ha-Ha Fleet is now comfortably anchored in Bahia Santa Maria, after completing an extremely mellow second leg — a distinct contrast to the ultra-rowdy conditions of Leg 1.