Sailors should know better than to expect wind just because they’ve planned a big weekend of racing. And they do. For last weekend’s Extreme Sailing Series, race villages were set up, boats were tuned up and sailing fans appeared along the shore despite a shortage of wind to help the speedy MC32 cats leap onto their foils. Regardless, Kim Dumas of West Coast Multihulls reported that the shoreside race village was lively and even this slower event was keenly competitive (like golf and curling) as the international fleet of seven teams duked it out close to shore in this sixth event of the seven race 2018 series.
Over four days of racing in light air off the shores of Harbor Island, viewers could relive some of the drama that’s come with past high-stakes competitions visiting the ‘Big Bay’. In the past, San Diego Bay has played host to numerous grand prix events like the America’s Cup, RC44s and the AC World Series event in AC45s. With the arrival of the Extreme Sailing Series San Diego adds a foiling fleet to the growing list of West Coast foiling events.
With 21 races over four days the seven teams struggled to get their boats up in the flaccid conditions yet that doesn’t take the edge off the rivalry. Overall series leader Alinghi was overcome by Oman Air team who took the event victory with a close-fought second-place finish in the final race to secure the win over Alinghi. Element Spark Compass (USA) with Taylor Canfield, Sam Hallowell, John Wallace, and Californians Matt Noble and Mateo Vargas, ended up sixth. Team México (MEX) lead by Erik Brockmann with Tom Buggy, Alex Higby, Tom Phipps and Danel Belausteguigoitia Fierro, finished up in seventh. Alinghi remains the 2018 series leader.
The next and final stop for the Extreme Sailing Series is Cabo San Lucas on November 29-December 2. Team Mexico is hoping to move up the ladder while they also look to bring more attention to sailing in Mexico. Cabo San Lucas, the home of fishing tournaments, vacation revelry, Cabo race destination and a Baja Ha-Ha/cruisers pit stop will add a grand prix race circuit to its waterfront menu.
Since the 2013 America’s Cup on the Bay foiling has skyrocketed and hitting the mainstream with the West Coast clearly on the circuit. Foiling kiteboarders and kite pro tours regularly hit the Bay, the Extreme Sailing Series is in its second year in San Diego and Mexico and, arriving in San Francisco in May, the SailGP circuit will add the fastest and newest of the foiling circuits to the West.
California has long been leading edge of high tech in aerospace foils so it’s no surprise this is showing up on our waterfront as well.