The rain stopped, the clouds parted, the sun shone, the wind blew and the king-tide, mountain-runoff-reinforced current ripped through the Bay, leaving most racers in the Corinthian midwinters wondering if they would ever finish a race against the ebb. Despite relatively light winds predicted for Saturday, the race committee made the bold choice of sending the fleets across the Slot, through the swirling whitewater rapids and practically surfable standing waves. Magically they were right, and most boats finished the race.
There were wind holes, eddies, bold current lines and puffs that somehow combined to allow most boats to move forward. Aboard our Sabre 38 Finistere, we spent what felt like an hour in a race with the stationary Sutro Tower. A slowly building westerly and final attainment of the Cityfront threw us and others a lifeline to round Fort Mason buoy. We thought they were crazy to send us that way, but it was a long but perfect course.
The muddy brown water pouring out of the Delta was littered with logs and other flotsam and jetsam, adding one more navigational hazard to the potholed race course.
If you were sitting on a park bench the day might have felt chilly, but geared up for racing and working the boat the temperature was ideal. Sunglasses and sunscreen were the order of the day. The Saturday evening party with band, buffet dinner, and a boisterous, social crowd was a reminder of pre-pandemic race parties.
The forecast for current on Sunday was similar but, thankfully, more breeze was forecast to help everyone duel with the current and one another. Another downcurrent, reaching start to a set mark off Little Harding before a turn to weather and a long beat to YRA mark #19, R “8” in the North Bay, once again had us questioning the wisdom of the race committee. Getting through Raccoon Strait in the lee of north winds blowing over Tiburon seemed questionable. Once again it was a great call. Our wisdom has always been in question.
There were moments in Raccoon Strait when emerging on the east side looked darn near impossible. Fortunately, our “back-of-the-pack” position gave us a motivational view of the success of others. Everyone persevered by latching onto whatever puffs came by and eventually found some steady breeze that overcame the relentless ebb that was conspiring against us all.
As predicted, the wind did pick up later on Sunday afternoon, making finishing the course a breeze — as long as you didn’t break anything. The big sails that felt good at the beginning of the day were now overpowering, and current became more of an afterthought as the wind demanded more attention. We’d show pictures from the final beat but our hands were full!
The results from the two-weekend, four-race, one-throwout series show a lot of ties in each class. Names at the top of the class lists are Farr 52 Zamazaan, Azzura 1000 Outsider, Custom Frers 40 Jeannette, Sabre Spirit Rhapsody, Express 27 Salty Hotel, Mull/Nash hybrid Arcadia, Worth 40 Freedom and the Tartan Ten Topgallant. That all looks good now, but those places are far from secure. It will all get settled in February.
The king tides were powerful but the wind won. We hope the weather is as next month. Full results here.