Three Bridge Fiasco

The SSS Thee Bridge Fiasco happened yesterday, with a 5 knot southerly wind forecast and a 4.4 knot ebb building after our start, it looked to be a day that our goal of getting around the course might not happen. Almost didn’t, either, though we finished with two minutes to go on the 7pm time limit. Next time remember to consider Red Rock first…

Our goal was to finish the race, and we just barely squeaked under the time limit (like by 2 minutes!). We went TI-RR-Blackaller, and based on the boats we met as we were going around TI (Motorcycle Irene, for example) it was clear we had not chosen well.

Start was fine, we played for the shore along San Francisco, almost sailed backwards into Aquatic Park, and crept along the breakwall towards Pier 39. The problem for us was the transition from a filling westerly at the Gate (when a fuzzy rain blob came through with 7 knots of wind) and the weak southerly coming in from the south bay – there was a space of several hundred yards of waffling breeze and while on the same heading we would be on port, then starboard, then running, then head to wind – baffling and annoying!

We go suckered into trying for a bit of breeze that took us out towards Alcatraz and into the ebb, and we went for a nice lazy slow circle drifting back towards the start line (the start was so much fun we through we’d do it again). Made it back to the shoreline, go through the transition into the 4-7 knot southerly and short tacked around Pier 39 and up to the Bay Bridge (it is now 2:30pm and we finally tacked to cross the ebb from San Francisco Bay Bridge anchorage over towards TI), and from there it was a straightforward sail to Red Rock.

We decided to hang in even though it looked like no shot at finishing, at least we could enjoy a nice spinnaker run after all that work to get around our first bridge. Had a delightful run under half ounce kite; we met another fuzzy rain blob at Richmond, wind built to 18-20 and it started raining, down with kite, up with no. 1 and we charged off to Red Rock, got around at 4:45PM (Bridge Two!) and we still had significant ebb. Up Raccoon Straits, met the flood briefly off Corinthian YC, went to Sausalito, wind backed off to 10 knots (unroll no. 1 to full size), and had a wierd wind shift at the Gate that headed us towards Blackaller. That race mark is hard to see at night, we found it – the black blob in the reflected glare of shoreside lights – and had 12 minutes to go the last 1.1 miles… and we made it!

Much fun, I think we’re DFL in division, we made our goal and am most happy about it.


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