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California Dreamin’ San Francisco Stop a Cliffhanger

The California Dreamin’ Series St. Francis Yacht Club Stop took place on March 5-6 under bluebird skies. The standard westerly breeze, fickle in its timing both days, delivered brisk mid- to high teens across the dynamic currents of the race course. Led by principal race officer Becky Ashburn, the race committee completed the scheduled two round robins late Sunday afternoon as the sun sank low over the Golden Gate.

Light air start
The weekend started off with a light easterly. The California Dreamin’ series got in one heat before the wind died, leading to a long pause. A weak northerly, then a more robust westerly, eventually filled in, and racing resumed.
© 2022 Chris Ray
J/22s flying spinnakers
StFYC hosts the match racing in their matched fleet of J/22s.
© 2022 Chris Ray
J/22s with flags
While the match racers battled it out in front of StFYC, next-door neighbor Golden Gate YC ran the last of their midwinter series on a parallel course. You can just glimpse one of the GGYC racers on the left edge of this frame. We’ll cover that race in the April issue of Latitude 38.
© 2022 Chris Ray

After running the table in her first 12 matches, including beating her top rival Chris Weis in the first round robin, Nicole Breault faced him again in the last match on Sunday. Chris was also undefeated except for his loss to Nicole. It came down to this final face-off as the day drew long and the clock was running out. Chris managed a terrific pre-start and led the entire race. Nicole had chances at the windward mark, but got tangled up with another match and couldn’t cash in. They both finished the regatta with 12-1 scores. According to the rules for breaking a tie, Chris took first place.

Chris Weis and crew
Chris Weis, from Del Rey YC, and his Dark Horse Match Racing Team at the awards ceremony, pictured with StFYC rear commodore Chris Perkins (left). Dan Roberts, Dylan Firestone and Haydon Stapleton crewed with Chris.
© 2022 Jay Dean

“Chris and his team are great. It is really fun to aggressively tango with them around the course,” said Nicole. “Once they got the jump on us by an extra boatlength early on beat two, I felt our chance to pass slipping away.”

Nicole Breault and crew on the docks.
Nicole Breault of StFYC and crew on the docks. Maggie Bacon, Hailey Thompson and Dana Riley Hayes sailed with Nicole.
© 2022 Chris Ray

Chief umpire Kathy Lindgren noted the high level of competition, even with several newcomers to the field. For instance, high school senior Connor Bennett, sailing with his dad Shawn, finished a strong third. Kathy said, “I was impressed with the level of racing. The matches were close and action-packed.” Nicole agreed that many of her matches were “feisty all the way around the course, and when we took a win, it felt hard earned!”

Sailing by the RC boat
Eight teams raced last weekend.
© 2022 Chris Ray

This was the second stop of three Grade 3 events that make up the California Dreamin’ Series, which started in late January at San Diego YC. Having won in San Diego, Nicole carries her results forward going into the final deciding event in Long Beach two weeks from now. Chris commented, “Our team was super-excited to pick up this victory in a really tough match and look forward to duking it out in the Catalina 37s.”

Click here for the results spreadsheet.

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Sailing for Your Ears
Ron Geiger has lived on sailboats for over 25 years. He grew up visiting the cove that bears his family name and has since traveled over 50,000 nautical miles.