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2014 YRA Second Half Opener - A Bonita blast

by Erik Simonson on 6 Aug 2014
2014 YRA Second Half Opener Erik Simonson/ h2oshots.com ©
As August arrives, the theoretical midpoint in the summer sailing season in the nor cal area does a similar thing. While there is no official First half closing ceremonies or acknowledgement, the does seem to be a mid summer sabbatical somewhere in mid July where the powers that be realize many people drift away to other interests, travel or just take a break. Anything worth participating in has a halftime, doesn't it?

With recess adjourned, the bell is rung and class resumes. In this case, the YRA Second Half Opener. Easily one of the favorites of the year, with it's two day schedule, a Saturday trip from the Berkeley Pier west, as far as there remains solid ground to you immediate right, that being the Point Bonita Buoy, bang a left a glide back to the Golden Gate and the Central Bay. The Bay Tour plus some, then takes the fleet past the usually very windy Alcatraz- Blossom Rock patch and under the Bay Bridge and into the Narrows of the Alameda Oakland Estuary. During this home stretch, beverages emerge, foulies disposed of and the party gets underway before the finish line right off the Encinal Yacht Club docks.


There is something to be said for warm weather finishes with enough breeze to keep you on your toes and make thing interesting, and if the 2014 edition of the Second half opener had plenty of, it was breeze!

With overcast skies that had reached well inland the night before, the 61 boats that were counted, (some raced but did not follow some rule and got nothing more than ta great day of sailing in) Made good, no make that great time to windward along the south side of Angel Island and skirting the southern shore of the Marin Headlands. The first boat to reach the weather mark, to no one's surprise, was Peter Stoneberg's Prosail 40 Shadow passing the Lighthouse just after just past noon and wasted no time to stretch out the lead in the 18 to 20 knots of breeze. Chris Harvey and his crew on the Farrier 25c Mojo did surprisingly well keepin up for the First half, despite giving away 15' of waterline and dragging an extra hull, and Bobo...


Daniel Thielman's RP 44 Tai Kuai was first to round the Bonita Buoy followed by John and Bobbi Clauser's 1D48 Bodacious+ and then Bill Helvestine' SC 50' Deception , which played some mind tricks, reaching off towards Baker Beach before gybing back to port somewhere in the vicinity of Deadman's Cove, (shhh secret surf spot). Most of the other boats in division one played the center, working the flood and consistent pressure. The swell in the strait was on the small side, but the persistent wind chop did develop into a bit of an overlapping series of waves not particularly beneficial to westward progress. The J-111's, all six of them had their own division, and the top four, led by Rob Theis's Aeolus all went with the bear away set and followed Deception's path, a southerly trajectory but less deep. Logical, flying the asymmetricals and what not.

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