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Spring Regatta madness in San Francisco

by Jay Dean 17 Apr 13:16 PDT April 9-10, 2022
Spring Fest Regatta © Jay Dean

The 2022 St. Francis Yacht Club offshore racing season launched with the Spring Fest Regatta, April 9-10, with lively competition in spring sunshine and strong westerlies, thrilling spectators along the shoreline and at the Clubhouse.

J/105s Battle on the Cityfront

The J/105s, the largest fleet and largest boats competing in this event, always produce hard-fought, competitive racing. In Saturday's action, Tim Russell's Ne*Ne (SFYC), a regular at the top of the scoresheet, took two first-place finishes to take the lead into Sunday's racing, just ahead of Ryan Simmons's Blackhawk.

On Sunday, the J/105s drew two general recalls as the ebb current pulled this aggressive fleet across the line early. The third attempt at a start was successful. After rounding the windward mark, placed just off Crissy Field, the fleet ran downwind in a tense gybing duel close to shore to avoid the ebb flow. Crews struggled to control spinnakers in the building breeze and rough seas, while skippers threaded the needle through the mass of competitors.

Sunday's results brought different boats to the top with first-place finishes from Phillip Laby's Godot (NoYC), Ian Charles's Maverick and Adam Spiegel's Jam Session. A consistent performance from Simmons's Blackhawk claimed the overall victory with four 3rds along with a 2nd and a 4th. Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault, sailing Arbitrage, gained with each race on Sunday placing 4th, 3rd and then 2nd on the final race, ending the regatta in second place overall. Ian Charles was third in Maverick ahead of Doug Bailey (SSS) sailing Akula. Laby's Godot took wins in two races but was forced to retire from the final race and ended the regatta in fifth. Saturday's leader Ne*Ne suffered a breakdown on Sunday and was unable to sail the fifth race, dropping to sixth place overall.

Building Breeze Challenges J/88s and J/24s

Crews in the J/88 and J/24 fleets wrestled with spinnakers in the building winds on Sunday, but in both classes one team handled the challenge in a dominating fashion. Jim Hopp (SSS) sailed J/88 White Shadow to third-place finishes in the first two races, then scored four bullets to claim the overall win. Dave Corbin (SBYC) in Butcher won the second race and scored 2nds all day Sunday to finish 2nd overall. Brice Dunwoody sailed Ravenette to 3rd overall, one point ahead of Gary Panariello in Courageous, who led after Saturday but struggled in Sunday's tough conditions.

Jasper Van Vliet's (RYC) Evil Octopus dominated the J/24 fleet, winning four of six races. Anthony Jacuzzi (RYC) sailed Hotwater into second place after finishing tied on points with Paul Van Ravenswaay (RYC) in Feral Rooster. Both boats won a race, but Jacuzzi's two 2nds broke the tie.

Principal Race Officer and Regatta Chair Peggy Lidster set a course oriented into the southwest winds that kept the racing close and readily visible, providing what Commodore Peter Gilmore described as "great entertainment value."

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