On the 2nd Day off the inaugural PAC52 Cup, the SF Bay turned down the volume a couple notches with a short AP display before play resumed, with winds ramping up in the low teens under brilliant sun and pleasant temps.
With the starting line moved to the west of Alcatraz, and the weather mark just east of the Golden Gate, the RC would fire off 3 course two’s with 1.7nm legs, that would test the teams in 4 lap heats, all encompassing the downhill Hollywood finishes.
In race 4 it appeared that it would be more of the same, with Beau Geste grabbing an early lead and extending across the race track, to tack on yet another bullet to their collection. The surprise came when RIO with local sailing legend Morgan Larson calling the shots, took a flyer that payed off handsomely and led them to their 2nd deuce of the regatta.
But changes were coming, including a big shift in wind direction to the left of the course. While the RC wrangled the weather marks into position, things were percolating on some of the boats. Victor Wild’s FOX found a new gear in Race 5, after overnight changes in crew, that led to team captain David Servais moving to the bow, a position he embraces with fervor. The result was dramatic, and FOX stopped dragging their tail and finished 2nd in yet another tightly contested heat, their best finish of the regatta. At the top was again, Beau Geste, which seemly would not be denied.
Much of Beau Geste success can be attributed to the solid crew work across the board, but closer a exam in this regatta suggests that the many of the gains com at the weather mark, when slightly more timid skippers may not push the issue. Although a cat one sailor, Harry owns his own 52’, the 2007 Mayhem, purchase from Ashley Wolfe a few years back and is sailed feverishly in his native Auckland, where numerous older generation 52’s enjoy a robust seasons of sailing. It’s that ability to really push at the weather mark, to gain the advantage and move up a position or two with remarkable consistency as has been demonstrated throughout this event as well as the Rolex Big Boat Series which proceeded just two weeks back.
But the shocker of the day occurred in the finale, with Beau Geste taking an OCS and having to return to the starting line while the fleet ambled on ahead. And despite spotting the other teams a generous lead, Beau clawed their way back, and were threatening yet another come from behind win, but could not reel in Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand, which claimed it’s 1st Ace of the event, in a dramatic closer for the afternoon. It is worth mentioning that FOX too, enjoyed another fine race following The Hand and Beau in for a 3 spot, a refreshing change of pace and a great morale booster.
As we close for the day it is worth noting that BadPak and The Hand are tied for the event, all knotted up at 21 points with tomorrow’s long distance Bay Tour to decide their rivalry for the regatta, Team Beau Geste having already secured regatta 1st.