The build up generated by 6 extremely tight races in the previous 2 days was palatable as crew finished their preparations for Sunday 2 race California Cup finale on Sunday. If impendent roundings, flawless crew work, brilliant sunshine with clear blue seas is your thing, you have come to the right place!
With scores from the previous two days so close, it was still anybody’s regatta to win. Despite having winning 3 races, Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge entered the day with 19 points, trailing both Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand and David Team’s Vesper by 3 points, (see Class’s Alt Drive Rule*) Just off the pace, Tom Holthus’s BadPak, was sitting in 4th with 22 points after a DSQ in race 4, still very much in the running. Even Manouch Moshayedi’s RIO was very much in contention for a podium spot, needing just a bit more consistency to hold onto the early leads they earned on the early legs.
Sunday’s course conditions were more sporty than the previous two days, the westerly already at 10-12knots at the top of course and a bumpier sea surface, much of it due to, especially at bottom of course, a concentration of pleasure boat wakes rolling through. Rio would get a slight jump at the start and she and The Hand would take the right side to windward and Interlodge taking far left with BadPak and Vesper a bit further inside. As they rounded the weather mark, Interlodge would round just ahead of Vesper, RIO, IH and BP with the fleet all taking right side initially. The trailing boats would gybe off 1st only to reunite for the final approach to the gate, Interlodge maintaining their lead followed closely by Vesper, IH, and BP all on port. BP would gybe onto starboard just before the gate forcing IH into an unexpected gybe, at which point RIO slipped through unscathed.
The following weather mark rounding would be one of the closest of the entire regatta, with the Hand leading Rio and BP in from the right, Interlodge would emerge just ahead of Vesper from left, both crossing just ahead of the right-side boats, and all turning within 30 second of each other. Interlodge would keep to the right side on downhill slide with Vesper, coming back just above the finish, INT sailing in clearly, but Vesper intertwined with the Hand and BP for the last 100-yard dash. The hand would show some of her downhill prowess and power past for a much needed 2nd and BP taking 3rd in a bang-bang finish.
Interlodges 5th bullet of the regatta now had them in striking distance of taking the Cal Cup Trophy, but they needed another one and help to make it happen. Invisible Hand’s consistency despite losing their navigator Jamie Gale to a family emergency on Friday, still had them in the drivers seat, and Vesper was lurking like a great white to pounce ant any sign of weakness. The PAC52 class bylaws include a tiebreaker rule that will be decided by the winner of the final race of the regatta. A lot at stake riding on the final race with Interlodge, Vesper and Invisble Hand all knotted up at 20 points each. Not only did each of them need a perfect race, but now BadPak and RIO both had roles as potential spoilers…
Final Race: Course 5 Wind 245 degrees 12 -15 knots
The final gun fires and nerves seem frayed, Interlodge takes the pin end with the Hand, Rio and Vesper just aft, bit BadPaK crosses the line on port nearly hooking the committee boat’s anchor line in the process. BadPak would stay to right with the others going offshore. At the 1st weather mark, Interlodge rounds 5 seconds ahead of Vesper, BP and Rio next and the Hand in unfamiliar territory of 5th. With no clear lane for passing, the Hand’s downhill speed would serve them no good following the pack down the right side so they gybe to the left on a flyer in hopes of regaining position. At the bottom mark, Interlodge maintain their lead with Vesper and BadPak between them and the Hand.
BP and Rio head for the beach with Int and Vesper taking the middle of the road and the Hand looking for opportunity on the outside on leg 3. When the arrive at the final weather mark, Interlodge has maintained the lead with BP leading a tight pack of Vesper, RIO and then the Hand. The 4 front boats would keep their order down the right side forcing the Hand to go left again in search of clear air and a passing lane. As the near the finish Interlodge would take their 6th bullet, 39 seconds ahead of 2nd place BadPak, with Vesper in 3rd 9 seconds later, and Rio 4 second after and the Hand 7 second after them.
Interlodge would hold on to win their 1st PAC52 regatta, despite absorbing 8 points in penalties for alternate helmsman, one Pete Must, who before this event had never crewed on the boat before, and never driven a 52 before. David Team’s crew on Vesper would take the tiebreaker and the 2nd place overall regatta finish in their 1st PAC 52 event. Invisible Hand would have to settle for 3rd, yet still remain in 1st for overall season title. With 3 more events pending, including Long Beach Race Week in just over two weeks’ time, there is plenty of time to shuffle the cards again…
“It’s a lot of fun, and it’s pretty challenging and amazing getting these boats around a 7-8 mile course and you have boats overlapped at the finish, it has a lot to say about the class and what these boats are all about”
“Were having a great time here on the West Coast, the hospitality of these yacht clubs has been fantastic! It really good to be part of the group!”
Boat Captain: Interlodge