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SSS 3 Bridge Fiasco - The Giant Flush

by Erik Simonson on 31 Jan 2011
SSS 3 Bridge Fiasco 2011 www.pressuredrop.us - copyright
SSS 3 bridge Fiasco - With a record number of entries for the2011 Single Handed Sailing Society’s annual 3 Bridge Fiasco, numbers became and interesting part of the 21 nautical mile tour of San Francisco Bay.

The 368 paid entries was certainly a record number for this mid winter short handed classic which allows only single handed and double handed entries. Working with a reverse handicap, the highest rater ( phrf 264 and over) started at 9:30 AM. That honor went to Richard Voneherenkrook’s Cal 20 ' Can of Whoopass'

2 hours and 8 minutes and 6 seconds later, the lowest rater, Peter Stoneberg's Formula 40’ Shadow Crossed the start line. All boats have until 7:00 PM to finish. The course begins off the Golden Gate Yacht Club and has 3 marks to round.

Blackaller buoy just to the West and in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, Red Rocks just below the Richmond San Rafael Bridge and Yerba Buena Island which anchors the Oakland Bay Bridge. Any direction and in order you wish. It’s a Fiasco after all!

A river ran through it. Literally!

With a record number of entries for the2011 Single Handed Sailing Society’s annual 3 Bridge Fiasco,
Numbers became and interesting part of the 21 nautical mile tour of San Francisco Bay. The 368 paid entries was certainly a record number for this mid winter short handed classic which allows only single handed and double handed entries. Working with a reverse handicap, the highest rater ( phrf 264 and over) started at 9:30 AM. That honor went to Richard Voneherenkrook’s Cal 20 ' Can of Whoopass'

The1st pack crowds the city front wall at Aquatic Park

2 hours and 8 minutes and 6 seconds later, the lowest rater, Peter Stoneberg's Formula 40’ Shadow Crossed the start line. All boats have until 7:00 PM to finish. The course begins off the Golden Gate Yacht Club and has 3 marks to round.

Blackaller buoy just to the West and in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, Red Rocks just below the Richmond San Rafael Bridge and Yerba Buena Island which anchors the Oakland Bay Bridge. Any direction and in order you wish. It’s a Fiasco after all!

The damp cool weather had little effect on the Jeremiah O'Brien’s proud gun turret!

The forecast was for light winds become west to 5-8 knots and the 7:21 AM high tide was scheduled to hit a 0.3 low at 2:33 PM. Approximately 6 feet of water slipping out the gate, at a scheduled 4.4 ebb right during the heat of the event. Throw in some snow melt runoff from an unusual mid January warm spell and you got some serious flushing mister!

It may have been the forecast which accounted for a majority of the 67 DNC’s, and some of them may have just not been accounted for in the Fiasco at the start line. Regardless, 201 boat were accounted for starting, or at least being near the start when their time came.

Out of that group 162 boats managed to make it around the course in the allotted time, 139 boats failed to do so. Not that they were not trying, even calling the Race Deck as the 7:00 PM witching hour approached.

Rumpus came all the way from Seattle!

The majority of boats seem to go with a Counter Clockwise attempt at the course, but found themselves in suspended animation just off Aquatic Park and by Alcatraz where the rushing ebb provided just enough current to remove any SMG from boats sailing to their potential.

Nope, the smart money went clockwise and got around Red Rocks early then rode the magic carpet to the Berkeley Flat and eeked around Yerba Buena later as the CCW fleet found out just a tad too late. Boat in the CCW that did fetch a ride to Treasure Island, ended up in a maddening cluster seeking relief along the Island western edge. Bumper boats, anchor setting and even some short period groundings ensued.

The weather was at times, for the birds

Ma Nature threw the fleet a bit of a curve ball this year. The predicted front which was foretasted to arrive late Saturday night rolled through mid afternoon and brought with it the usual South West winds, but also managed to squeegee out a thick fog bank which enveloped the bay by early afternoon, reducing visibility to one-quarter mile.

Along with it, a damp cold heavy drizzle followed, just in case you were doubting your commitment. Add to that some period of little to no wind and pulling the plug became an easy choice for those not really liking their position or chances to finish in time.

The Mighty Rocket 88

But Finish they did! 162 boats in fact! The first to finish was Brendan Busch’s ' Rocket 88' D class catamaran in 4 hours: 14 minutes and 24 seconds, a tad shy of her record of 1:15:32. 2nd to finish but with the quickest time on the course was Pater Stoneberg’s Prosail 40’ Catamaran ' Shadow, consuming some 4 hours 10 minutes and 23 seconds.

The most impressive performance award has to go to Richard Vonehrenkrook and his Cal 20 'Can of Whoopass' finishing at 16:28:40! The last boat to finish was Tony Wyant and his Moore 24 'TAZ' sneaking across the line with 25 seconds to spare before the 7:00 Pm cut off. Most time on course honors goes to Greg Demetrulias and his Ranger 23 ' Road Runner' which gobbled up 9 hours 7 minute and 07 seconds!

Raccoon Straights was an adventure

The over worked Nor Cal Sailing image gathering machine!

Congratulations to all and War Dog will have the winners of the unauthorized and unofficial Pressure Drop Divisions. Thank to all who signed up and we look forward to seeing some of you at the awards part at the Oakland Yacht Club on the 9th!

www.h20.com
www.pressure-drop.us

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