As noted in a ‘Lectronic Latitude on June 13, the 100-ish-boat fleet in June 11’s Delta Ditch Run “enjoyed” some big, gusty breeze on their course from Richmond to Stockton. This led to some moments of excitement and some great photos and videos.
Wylie Wabbit Capsizes, Wins Anyway
The young sailors in the Wabbit video above, Marcos McGee and Drake Jensen, not only recovered from this round-down/capsize/MOB/round-up, but went on to win their division, Light 2, and a new perpetual trophy. Stockton Sailing Club introduced the stunning new trophy this year in memory of John Walker. Johnny co-founded the Delta Ditch Run in 1991 with Richmond Yacht Club’s Frank Dukat. The trophy features a half-hull model of a Hobie 33, Johnny’s boat, and goes to the top finisher from SSC.
Diggin’ the Ditch in the Moore 24 Fleet
Ian Sprenger, a new Moore 24 owner from Ventura, raced the DDR as a pit stop on his move to Gig Harbor, WA. He’d loaded his truck for the move. He put in his Moore, Skosh, #73, just for the race, then continued on. “What a road warrior!” commented fleetmate Sydney Moore. Mike Geer posted this video from the ‘road’.
Pete Spaulding and Daniel Roberts sailed the winning Moore 24, Flying Circus. They report on their race:
“It was a long, hot, sunny day out there on the Delta, but we were determined not to let the heat get to us and kept thinking about those ice cold rum cocktails ready for us in Stockton. After a quick catch-up with friends on the dock and a few delicious burritos at RYC, we wandered out to the starting line in a light breeze. We weren’t sure which end to start but we knew the western end of the line and staying in the deeper water could pay off early. However, in the end we decided to start with the larger pack at the boat [eastern] end. This strategy looked good for about 30 minutes. Then we noticed the Penguin, Lowly Worm, Firefly and a few others stayed west of the Brothers out in the deep channel happily doing at least a knot faster.
“The fleet started to fan out between the main channel and the windward shore, but the lead boats in the channel kept their pace and made it to Carquinez Bridge, Penguin first and Lowly Worm second. We were lucky to be in third after getting out into the deep channel about halfway to the bridge.
“As the fleet entered the river, the wind began to increase. The initial pecking order was set. Penguin and Lowly Worm had a large lead — maybe 2-3 minutes at times — far enough in the distance that we had to squint to distinguish them from all the other Ditch racers ahead. As we came through the Benicia Bridge, Firefly was closing the distance to us, and we had a great battle as we ran down toward Port Chicago. Firefly ended up passing us. As we approached Pittsburg, Penguin and Lowly Worm seemed to either run out of wind or get slowed by an eddy — we couldn’t tell from our perspective.
“The top four boats compressed between Pittsburg and Antioch and were evenly spread across the river. In the narrow channel north of West Island, we were very lucky to connect some puffs and separate from the pack. We reached the Antioch Bridge in first place.
“The wind continued to build, probably 14-16 knots at this point. We blasted down toward Mark #19, enjoying the ride, but realized we had to get the kite down. The puffs were increasing in velocity as we reached north, and we had some fun dodging barges and a few larger Ditch racers. It was a great feeling to get the kite back up and have fun ripping downwind again.”
“All was going well until we reached the turn south — this section can be tricky to hold the kite. We were determined to give it a go, as the Express 27s ahead were somewhat successful. We were hit with a few huge puffs and carried them down, but quickly realized we needed to maintain a higher angle. The next puff hit, we flogged, and the kite was instantly split in two. Luckily the starboard luff tape remained intact. Daniel raced to the foredeck, got the kite down, plugged in the backup — which was thankfully packed and ready to go — and we were back under a new kite in just a few minutes. Our lead had been reduced a bit, but we began to think again about those frosty drinks at the bar.”
“The rest of the race was fairly relaxed. We sailed past a Melges 24 with no main up (and a few other limping boats with various damage) — later finding out they’d cut a day marker a bit close and split their main in half. We cruised into the finish line happy, sunburned, exhausted and ready to get off the boat and hear everyone’s stories from the day.”
For many more photos, see galleries posted by Slackwater SF and norcalsailing.com. There are probably lots more; feel free to submit links to photos and videos of the Delta Ditch Run in the comments section below.
We’ll have more in the July issue of Latitude 38, coming out a week from today on July 1.