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Boracic pursuing Tom Baffico on The Maker, which finished first. ©2012 Kevin Wilkinson
Open 5.70 Fleet in the Spring Keel
March 26, 2012
The Northern California Open 5.70 fleet participated to their first Spring Keel Regatta at the San Francis YC on March 17-18. The weather forecast did not deter eight Open 5.70s from join fleets of Express 27s, Moore 24s, Knarrs, Melges 24s and J/105s on Saturday morning on the Cityfront. Due to lack of wind, the start was postponed until around 1400 hours when a good westerly breeze started to pick up. By the time of the second race, the wind was up to 20 knots and provided great surfing moments for the fleet.
On Sunday, the race was postponed due to a significantly high wind forecast. With the four-knot ebb on the Cityfront and very cold weather, the conditions were too rough for many of the boats with new crew. The Knarrs and the Open 5.70 fleet decided to play it safe and to start the season with limited damage. However, a couple of the Opens had great times surfing downwind towards their home harbors in Alameda and Richmond.
Tom Baffico describes the ride back to Alameda: "The ride on The Maker back to the Estuary was an interesting experience. I don't know if it was much windier than a windy Sarcoma Cup race, but the waves sure were steep. We headed out from the St. Francis and went upwind for a bit. I wanted to get upwind so we could do a speed run in towards the race deck. We were pretty comfortable upwind as long as we kept our speed up.
"We sailed with white sails in the Central Bay, and if it was really blowing we tacked around. After reaching in to the club we broad-reached out to Alcatraz, and that might have been an error as we ran into the ebb tide flowing off the south side of the island. The waves were big and chaotic. We were getting fire hosed and taking solid waves over the foredeck and into the cockpit.
"We continued to broad-reach back and forth and hit some more big ebb at Blossom Rock, which produced those nice square waves. Planing off one wave I stuck the bow into the back of the next wave (error #2!). That was interesting. The boat slowed way down, Nick flew forward into the shroud and the boat hung there with the foredeck underwater and the cockpit awash. Not knowing what might be next I put the helm down and did a slow round up to unload the boat (and to get out from under that water). The boat popped up, we sheeted in the jib, all three of us hiked hard and we put the bow back down on course.
"The breeze was really lined up in the Estuary going straight down the channel for the first mile or so and, as I didn't want to do a lot of jibing in a narrow channel, we still didn't set. But as soon as we turned the corner near Jack London Square we popped the chute and sped through a Sunday afternoon race, for a great ending to a tiring weekend."
Frank Ross on Destiny reports: "Our trip home was one of the most fun and intense sails in a very long time. Running with a reef in the main and no jib, we were on plane most of the trip. The boat was singing most of the way home. Between the waves coming from different directions and wind shifts, I did not dare to relax or take in any of the sights. When we did hoist the jib we screamed. At one point we were on plane, a wave hit us from a different direction (of course we never saw it coming) and it hit us with enough force to throw the cooler (sitting next to the spinnaker bag and jib block) up in the air, turn upside down with everything coming down on the starboard side of the cockpit along with a large wave of water that tried to wash everything out to sea. Bob was quick and was able to save the sandwiches and beer. Kudos to Bob!"
Congratulations to The Maker with Tom Baffico, Nick Burke and Joe Carter who finished first. Marc Finot, Stephen Woodward and Emma Yates on Frolic finished second. Michael Gough, Tyler Gough and Kevin Wilkinson finished third overall. Click here to see a video. For results, see www.stfyc.com.
– Marc Finot, Tom Baffico, Frank Ross