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Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

2023 Ronstan Bridge to Bridge Race at St. Francis Yacht Club

by S/C Paul Heineken 31 Aug 06:27 PDT

Mike Martin describes this event as "the best race in the world, ever."

Certainly, that description is up for argument, but who could complain about a downwind blast in 20+ knots of breeze between the iconic Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay Bridges? What started 25 years ago on a bet between windsurfers and Aussie 18s as to which craft was faster downwind, has now evolved into a test of the fastest hydrofoils, powered by windsurfers, wings, kites, and this year, electric powered boats (for demonstration only).

The major challenge of this race is choosing the right size sail, wing, or kite to power the rider because the wind varies over the course. There is no substitute for a big sail for the downwind flight, if you can hang on to it. And then there's the problem of sailing back to StFYC after the race.

This year fog rolled in at the Golden Gate Bridge starting line, which diminished the early breeze for the start of the race at 1730 hours on August 24. Then it increased to its usual 20 knots in the middle, and as is typical, nearly shut off at the Bay Bridge finish line. While a couple of competitors swam the last few meters across the line, nearly half of the wing fleet never made it. At least this year it wasn't a kite graveyard—many fewer rescues and RIB Uber rides were required than in past years to get the competitors back to the Club.

Results? No new record was set. The winner was kiter Adam Keaton who sailed the course in 11 minutes and 2 seconds. The 5O5 team of Mike Martin and Adam Lowry cross-trained effectively for the upcoming 5O5 World Championships, coming in fifth and seventh, respectively. The first windsurfer was Max Rosenblad with a time of 16:20 followed by Al Mirel in second. The leading winger was Jacob Rosenberg with a time of 17:01. Other results include Henry Vare second, Joey Pasquali in fifth, Erika Heineken in 14th and the first woman, and Dominic Bove, 15th.

The Candela and Navier electric foiling boats were given a one-minute head start, were passed midway by the kites and then after the finish helped provide Uber rides back to the Club for a few competitors. This was a truly unique San Francisco Bay event!

Thanks again to Ronstan for supporting this one-of-a-kind event!

See full results here.

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