2014 - The WestPoint Regatta.
The F18 fleet was invited to the Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay, 2014 WestPoint Regatta. We had 4 teams answer the call to race the 27 mile distance race in San Francisco Bay. Greg and Cherie scouted out the launch facility and made the arrangements to hoist and store overnight. We had to provide our own safety boat which Phillip had covered with "Remy". Dustin Fox and Heather Ouellette were recruited as the driver for the day for the chase so we had that covered. Friday the group met up at Treasure Island Sailing Center to rig boats and get on the water. Phillip and Erwan with "Aurora", Alex and Nick on "Water Bison", Greg and Cherie on "This Side Up", Daisy and I on "Capricorn" (I was sailing with Jacob Sailer but Daisy was helping me rig) all got our boats rigged and hoist launched. We had to sail over to the docks for our evening storage spaces. I had a small issue with my hoist sheave but a quick tip over and we sailed over to tie for the night. Thanks to Greg and Cherie for the assist.
We tied up at the Treasure Island Yacht Club 2 by 2 and had to drive the trailers back to Redwood City. Saturday morning we had to pick up Nick in Benicia and drove to Treasure Island. The rest of the crews met in Redwood City and drove up on Remy. The group had a tour of the marks and the danger areas on the ride up on Remy. I got my jib on the boat and went over everything. Soon the group arrived by Remy and we all got together to prep the boats. We had a quick safety meeting and made bail out plans if things went haywire on the bay. Our safety cutoff is just above 20 knots for open bay racing with big chop. If things got bad we were going to turn at the safety boat and run the back side of the island and just run down the South Bay.
I had a spin line fouled but Jacob got it fixed quickly and we were ready to go. We all sailed down to the start area and waited for our start time. We were the last start and the wind and chop was building. The first mark was a tight reach from the start, and all 4 F18s took off on Port double trapped and flying. Phillip was out front nailing the start followed by Alex, Jake and I then Cherie. It was a nice tight reach and we got the boat in the groove and were making up ground. We had gained on the 2 leaders and I thought we would be able to catch at least one of them. Then Alex and Nick stuffed the bows and went down the mine. We were close enough that we had to duck under them and we saw both were ok and climbing back on so we kept pressing on. At the first mark YRA 26 we were in Second and we turned to a true upwind and began climbing the bay. Our next mark was Alcatraz Island. We tacked just past Phillip and he had about a 20 yard lead on us. We headed toward Alcatraz and chose to keep going as Phillip tacked off. We got to the lee of the island and tacked. This was a short leg and another quick tack had us positioned to get past the island but we were now in the large pack of boats that started before us. Phillip was coming in above us hot and had great boat speed. They hit the island first and turned and set the kite.
We were second and with the wind waves and traffic we chose to keep the kite in the bag till we had a clean lane. As we approached the Bay Bridge the water and traffic was clean enough to hoist the kite and begin the downwind leg. We had given up some ground but were still in contact with Phillip. Two gibes had us under the bridge and we chose to run the city front. Down past the bridge to China Basin the wind got light but we still had boat speed and it looked like Phillip was stalled out in the middle. Then we hit a huge wind hole. Boat speed dropped and we were making less than a knot of speed over ground. We watched as Phillip caught wind and proceeded to take off we watched his line to plan ours when we got the wind. Then to our surprise we looked and between the shore and us Cherie and Greg went sailing by at about 6 knots faster. We were now backing in third and as they got past us they got the wind line and took off.
We finally managed to get into the wind and dropped the kite and we were off on a reach with Jacob trapped and the hull in the air we were making up ground again and carried this all the way down past the airport and to the wind got light again. We chose to cross the bay as it seemed there was more pressure there. It was a slow run but once we got just over half way the wind began to fill again. With the spin full and a hull in the air we began to gain ground. After 2 jibes we were back in contention and gaining on Cherie and Phillip. The wind was shifting a bit and out of nowhere Alex came up from the outside and was back in the chase. Now all 4 boats had a shot at the win.
The back and forth continued till almost the bridge when Phillip got a good shift and was gone. He put distance on the pack and was off for the first place finish. We went under the San Mateo Bridge second and a couple quick jibes had us past 11 and we ran deep toward the Freemont side and made use of the wind to get securely into second. Alex and Nick were behind us sailing a higher angle and allowing separation. Greg and Cherie split but we had better pressure. We made the last couple jibes and crossed the finish line second followed closely by Cherie and Greg, then Alex. 27.5 miles in just over 3 hours, or under 3 hours in Phillips case.
We all started at 12:05 and the finish times were. 1720 AURORA 1 Phillip Meredith 14:58:59 14:58:59 seqyc Formula 18 usa5150 CAPRICORN 2 Richard Vilvens 15:06:18 15:06:18 other Capricorn F18 90or1010 THIS SIDE UP 3 Cherie Sogsti 15:06:59 15:06:59 seqyc Nacra Infusion usa28 WATER BISON 4 Alex Van Brunt 15:10:02 15:10:02 Ahpc F18
After racing we put the boats away and went to Sequoia Yacht Club for drinks and food. We all shared stories of the day and what a fun time we had. It turns out Greg and Cherie had a rip in the spin and had to be conservative the whole race. What a great day and wonderfully run Regatta. We then drove Nick back to Benicia Yacht Club and took him up on his offer for dinner. An excellent meal served overlooking the Bay was a perfect way to cap the evening.