Author Topic: 2023 Race Results  (Read 118 times)

Mike Josselyn

  • #62 Uhoo
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2023 Race Results
« on: January 31, 2023, 06:24:30 PM »
Tim Porter started this theme back in 2018 as a way for skippers to record their results and tell their stories for various events where U20s are racing.  It has not been active recently, but provides a great venue for the Class to stay abreast of racing across the US and the fun that can be had in a U20 in either one design or PHRF racing events.  Please put your results and your stories (short or long) in this space so we can all share in the experiences of sailing this amazing boat.

Mike Josselyn

  • #62 Uhoo
  • Active Member
  • U20 Enthusiast
  • **
  • Posts: 188
Re: 2023 Race Results
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2023, 06:31:24 PM »
Three Bridge Fiasco--January 28

The Annual Three Bridge Fiasco was held on January 28th on San Francisco Bay.  Sponsored by the Single Handed Sailing Society, the long distance race is limited to single or double handed boats.  The course is simple, start at the Golden Gate Yacht Club and round Blackaller at the Golden Gate; Yerba Buena Island near the Bay Bridge, and Red Rock near the Richmond Bridge—approximately 21 nm if done in a straight line.  However, given that the race can take up to 10 hours and you can go in to any of the marks in any order you want; the decision on where to sail and when is dependent upon currents, tides, fog, and other boats.  This year, over 300 boats took up the challenge.

For the U20, it is usually a choice of how to sail under spinnaker for as long as possible and how to avoid being blanketed by bigger boats, especially at the start. This year four U20s, sailed the event so there was some internal competition as well. 

Getting to the start was challenge this year with no wind and plenty of fog.  Having a handheld navigation map on one’s cell phone was a necessity as well as plenty of gas or batteries to reach the starting point from Richmond Yacht Club.   It is a pursuit start sequence and U20s started just after the Moore 24s at 9:42 am.  With the biggest fleet in the race, the Moore 24s were all over the line; trying to avoid getting flushed by the ebb current too early in the nearly non-existent wind conditions.  Enter the U20s, and it was definitely a challenge to predict the rate at which the current was flowing towards the line and to stay on starboard tack.  Three of the U20s were off at the appointed time—but where were Mark Allen and Trent Watkins in Junta?  Their engine quit on the way over and they were quickly being taken by the ebb to the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Mark was busy taking the engine apart in the cockpit and Trent was attempting to keep the boat off the shore.  When they finally got going again they found themselves 40 minutes from the start line—but what the heck, the Three Bridge is always full of surprises, so they kept going.

The first mark chosen by the remaining U20s was Blackaller—it was a spinnaker run to the mark but there were also plenty of other boats headed that way whether they wanted to or not because of the current conditions at that time.  To say the mark was crowded is an understatement with skippers yelling “Room” regardless of whether they were right or anyone else could accommodate them.  Mike Josselyn and Howard Elfant on Uhoo! rounded first to starboard and then Donna Womble and Mark Gibbs on Peabody and Jeff Cook and David Pressley on Ubetcha. Uhoo! took off across the Gate to head north to Red Rock, but discovered the strong ebb still in play that earlier had taken Junta out.  So, they quickly decided to go to the Bay Bridge, but were quickly behind both Peabody and Ubetcha who button hooked Blackaller and were on the way. 

The race to the Bay Bridge was against the current and wind direction.  As result, boats hugged the shore along the City Front by short tacking.  Decisions on how far to go out, how to avoid other boats on starboard tack, and vagaries of the wind and current meant that each of the boats led on this sequence.  But at the end, Peabody came out ahead to round Yerba Buena Island first. 

On the northbound leg to Red Rock near the Richmond Bridge, the current and the wind direction aligned and the spinnakers (and finally the sun) came out.  But the wind was light still and boats were in displacement mode.  Peabody legged out and headed a bit west.  That was certainly a key as to which boats were catch the westerly as it was predicted to build in during the afternoon.  Finally it came when the U20s were about halfway there so that planing speeds were reached and we began to put other boats in the taillights.  Junta was still out there and took advantage of the building wind.

At Red Rock, the return was pretty obvious, head south and then follow the leaders down Raccoon Strait the separates Angel Island from the Tiburon Pennisula.  Getting over there, Peabody was still in the lead, Uhoo! next, Ubetcha close behind and Junta far behind.  Peabody entered the Straits and Uhoo! felt that it would be a 50/50 chance of overtaking in the tricky flood currents and sometimes fluky winds, especially near the western entrance to the straits.  So, Uhoo! decided to break off and head to the east of Angel Island and to cross the main part of the Bay behind Alcatraz and then tack up the City Front again to the finish line. 

For Peabody, it seemed an easy passage with minimal waves but the western end did indeed cause problems as they kept getting flushed backwards as the wind declined. Ubetcha stayed on the southern side of the channel and made progress on Peabody, but not quite enough while Junta doggedly kept on coming.  Meanwhile, Uhoo! found a dying ebb current along the east side of Angel Island and kept on going south in big waves and strong pressure—behind Alcatraz and then a bashing tack up the City Front.  Would it be enough to beat Peabody?

It turned out just enough and Uhoo! finished 3.5 minutes before Peabody after 6.5 hours of racing.  Ubetcha was not too far behind at 20 minutes---and Junta finished 30 minutes behind the leader wondering only if the engine hadn’t given out would they have won.

Another Three Bridge in the books and one of the most fun races on the planet.  U20s can do well in this race and all of the boats finished in the top third of the boats entered.  It was a big boat race this year as the winners were all superfast boats like the J125.  But smaller boats like the Moore 24 were also up there.  Choosing your own way to go, finding what works, and then realizing you can do better next year is addictive.  Consider racing it next year!