After Saturday’s chilly windy start and lengthy on the water marathon, crews welcomed the warm sun and lighter winds to start the Sunday Rolex Big Boat Series Finale Bay Tour. Well at least the warm sun part. Entering the day, Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand had already secured the series class title with a 5-point advantage over 2nd place RIO, and didn’t have to sail. “We came to sail, so sail we will” said a well-chilled Frank late on Saturday, and there the were at the Treasure Island start for the starting gun Sunday morning.
Saturday September 15 came in like a Lion and went out with a bang! With a strong residual ebb sucking out of the Bay, and winds ripping in in the 20-25 knot range at the start of play, the awe factor was pegged to the 11 mark on the Spinal Tap volume scale. Picking up where they left off the day before, the PAC 52’s moseyed over to the Alcatraz starting area for a 13.8 nm Course 7 breakfast. A big beat up to Point Diablo, a long run down to 21 just behind Alcatraz, back out the Gate again to Point Diablo and then finish off Treasure Island. Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand gave the rest of the fleet a headstart with the their 2nd uncharacteristic OCS, but quickly jumped back in the game.
Fridays racing on the Bay was greeted with cooler yet colorful weather as an early season weather front rotated offshore pulling in subtropical high elevation clouds from the south, and lower elevation stratus from the north. Racing for the PAC 52 class began off of Treasure Island, with course 14, an 11.5-mile jaunt up to Fort Mason, back to the starting area gates, back to Fort Mason return to the Gates and an upwind finish off the StFYC.
Sunshine, big currents, and wide variety of winds provide the PAC 52 a superb variety of challenges in the 1st two races of the StFYC Big Boat Series sponsored by Rolex. A short delay to low tide preventing the deeper draft boat kept the 52’s from starting until noon on the Alcatraz Course for race one. In near billiard table flat conditions thanks to a healthy flood, the fleet march straight up the course toward the 1st mark, Point Diablo just outside the Golden Gate. In 8-12 knots, the boats made quick work of the leg, working their way to the current relief of Lime Point in the shadow of the North Tower. While the land mass provides current relief, the towering bluffs also provide wind turbulence and the line between breeze and no breeze can be very fickle.
May 4-6, 2018
June 1-3, 2018
June 22-24, 2018
Sept 13-16, 2018
Sept 28 - 30, 2018