Who would have thought that San Francisco would be one of the mellower circuits of the SailGP world tour? After some windy, shifty conditions in New York, the six teams went into Cowes in the United Kingdom and scored a couple of scenic-looking practice days.
But when race time came, it was, quite simply, gnarly.
United States team capsized, Great Britain Team took a violent nosedive, and the action off Southern England was completely mad.
Australia Team dominated the event and is lookin’ good going into the fifth and final event next month in France.
Taking three bullets in Cowes, Australia Team now has a four-point lead over Japan — who took two seconds and a third. The last stop in Marseille, France, will hit the water in just over a month on September 20.
On Thursday evening, the 40-ft sailboat The Witch ran aground in Tomales Bay amid 25-mph winds and six-foot waves. The boat hailed the Coast Guard.
Because of the shallow water, the Coast Guard contacted the Marin County Fire Department, or MCFD, “who provided a search and rescue personal-watercraft. The MCFD personal-watercraft operator passed a towline from the MLB to the sailboat,” a Coast Guard press release said.
The Coast Guard eventually towed The Witch to Spud Point Marina in Bodega Bay. There were no injuries reported.
In Other Coast Guard News
A day before the rescue of The Witch here in the Bay Area, the Coast Guard was conducting a routine inspection of a 160-ft Ecuadorian fishing vessel when it began listing. The fishing boat was 336 nautical miles southeast of Clipperton Island, off Mexico. Everyone onboard abandoned ship, and a Coast Guard cutter ended up rescuing 12 of their own crew along with 25 fishermen, according to a press release.
“Fast action by the cutter’s crew resulted in a remarkable mass rescue in a dangerous and challenging situation,” Capt. Arthur Snyder, chief of operations for the 11th Coast Guard District, said in a press release. “Their decisive response reflects their training and dedication, and shows the types of dangers faced by Coast Guard crews deployed around the world protecting our nation.”
The cause of the incident is under investigation.
The Chubb US Junior regatta is kind of a big deal. Lots of hardware is up for grabs, including the Smythe and Bemis trophies and the Sears Cup — accolades that even we here at Latitude remember from our junior sailing days.
While US Sailing is a nationwide organization, it has deep East Coast roots, though the Chubb — an annual regatta that draws sailors from all over the country at a rotating venues — has been all over the map the last five-plus years, including Michigan, Texas, and San Diego.
This year, it was the Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation’s (PYSF) turn to host nearly 100 sailors competing in three classes. Sailing out of Westpoint Harbor, 20 Laser Radials, 20 C420s and 11 Open 5.70s (a three-person keelboat) battled it out in typically sporty summer conditions on the South Bay. On Saturday, when we asked a handful of competitors what it was like out on the water, they all answered succinctly: “Windy.”
San Francisco Yacht Club’s Will Foox took the win in Laser Radials for the Smythe Trophy; Balboa Yacht Club’s David Wood, Daniel Pegg and Kenny Sherb won the Sears Cup in Open 570s, and Newport Harbor Yacht Club’s Morgan Pinckney and Nathan Sih took the Bemis in C420s. (Richmond Yacht Club’s Caleb Yoslov was third in Radials, while RYC’s Owen Lahr, Connell Phillipps and Wesley Seifers took second in 5.70s).
But one of the real success stories of the weekend was PYSF itself, which is starting to make a name as an outstanding junior sailing program. As we reported in this month’s Sightings, PYSF — under the leadership of Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer — has been putting together some good sailors and good people.
“We’re almost like a community center first, and a sailing program second,” said PYSF coach Udi Gal on Saturday. Gal, a two-time Olympian and two-time Olympic 470 coach, said that he cares about results on the water, but the program is concerned first with building teamwork and respect among its ranks.
“It took us a few years,” Gal said, “but it’s like we’re speaking the same language with the parents now and we’re all on the same page.”
Gal echoed what Vandemoer told us about the PYSF’s ascendancy. “The reason we’re successful is it’s a lot of hard work — it’s hard work from the kids that bought into the program and the parents that bought into the program. It’s hard work from the coaching staff and all of us behind the scenes.”
Speaking of that behind-the-scenes work, keep in mind that pulling off any junior regatta of any size takes platoons of volunteers. There are no trophies for those who help set the stage, but we thought we’d give a tip of our hat to everyone in the South Bay sailing community for their hard work.
Chris Kostanecki, hailing from the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere, took his saltwater sailing skills to the freshwater lakes of Michigan to challenge 35 other competitors in the J/70 Corinthian National Championship. In tide-free Harbor Springs, Michigan, Kostanecki and crew Matthew Sessions, Carlos Robles and Scott Kozinchik sailed aboard J/70 Jennifer in a tight series against runner-up Scott Sellers of Larkspur aboard Tres Burritos.
They came into today’s final pair of races with a three-point advantage over the St. Francis YC-flagged Tres Burritos. But Sellers nailed another bullet (his fourth of the regatta) in Race 7 to take the lead. Back came Kostanecki to win the eighth and final contest and become the 2019 J/70 Corinthian National Champion. Keeping excitement levels high, they got a worrisome tenth in the second-to-last race but their bullet in the final race closed the deal. “Fresh water, windy, and the waves were bigger and steeper than San Francisco,” Kostanecki commented. “It was the Pure Michigan experience with world-class people and social activities,” he continued. “We thought we threw it away. Thank you to my team who worked hard in some difficult moments.”
Beyond being a very competitive sailor, Kostanecki is a leukemia survivor who chaired the very successful Leukemia Cup Regatta for SFYC for about 10 years. We’re sure that competitive streak has helped both on and off the racecourse. This year’s Leukemia Cup is coming on Sunday, October 20. You can sign up to join Chris on the water in October here.