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.
With wind in the low teens the fleet engaged in a quick taking duel to the Alcatraz cone, seeking relief from the steady flood. Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand shot out to an early lead which the protected up the course with Manouch Moshaydi’s RIO, Austin Fragomen’s Interlodge and Tom Holthus’s BadPak in close pursuit. The teams rounded Alcatraz and utilized the windward cone for a short spell before cross the flood and working their way around the temporary mark and setting kites for the quick dash back to the gates off Treasure Island. The Hand refused to relinquish their lead, despite valiant efforts by RIO, Interlodge Badpak. The boats would round the leeward gate in that order in quick fashion and repeat the aforementioned course with little drama yet tight crossings yielding no remarkable lead changes before finishing off the StFYC. The end of Race 3 would have Invisible Hand taking their 2nd bullet of the regatta with RIO taking a 2nd Interlodge in 3rd and BadPak in forth… Yet an infraction protest later would result in a DSQ for RIO.
Moving over to the Alcatraz Course for Race 4, the RC set the fleet off course 31, and 18nm mini bay tour that would take the fleet up to a weather mark, back below Alcatraz, then up to Cavolo Cove then down to Treasure Island and then a long beat out the Gate to Point Diablo before a fast reach to the finish off the Race Deck.
Things got interesting at the start, with boats from the J 105 fleet attempting to get an early read on the stiff currents at the start combing with a dredge barge working their way towards the pin end. Still the PAC 52’s managed to get off cleanly with westerly’s now in the high teens, they gobble up the 1st weather leg in short order. They arrived at the 1st weather mark in very tight fashion, The Hand perhaps a boat length in the lead, With RIO, Interlodge and BadPak all rounding simultaneously. The stiff current made the rounding even tighter, forcing Interlodge to roll over the mark and giving them some 360 practice.
A run back downhill ensued with the Hand and RIO taking the most direct route, a tricky gauntlet through the J-105 starting area, Interlodge opting for a safer but long ride north and BadPak taking a flyer going south around The Rock. When the fleet reunited, The Hand would have a 10 second lead over RIO, 15 second on Interlodge and 30 second on BadPak.
RIO would not give in so easy and managed to claw their way back, arriving at the 2nd weather mark off Cavallo Point a few boat lengths ahead of The Hand with Interlodge and BadPak very close behind. A tight reach had the 52’s blasting towards Fort Mason without kites, where a second dredge barge had set up shop, proving additional amusement, combined with a herd of Jet skiers converging simultaneously as the fleet approached. Interlodge, sensing an opportunity, set their kite and bore off, getting around RIO and The Hand momentarily, before the others followed suite, making for a great but short dash for the next mark.
A neck and neck battle between The Hand and Interlodge followed as the boats made their way to the last leeward mark, but then things changed drastically. Interlodge bore off and head towards Blossom Rock instead of “7”, a bit of confusion as which course they were on, giving the other boats a gift. The fleet would arrive at “7” at the same time as the Express 37’s and begin the last long uphill beat towards Point Diablo.
The ride up was uneventful, save for a fleet of ORR boat running past with theirs kite fully loaded, until the waters off Yellow Bluff where things got very blustery, waking the crews from the long ride on port. The Hand would exit the Gate and round Point Diablo with a sizable lead over RIO and BadPak, which were in a neck and neck battle for 2nd, Interlodge resigned to running sweep for this leg in 4th. A fast run back in under the Gate and The Hand would take their 3rd bullet of the regatta, Rio in second, BadPak in 3rd and Interlodge in 4th.
Standings now for the series has Invisible Hand in 1st with 7 points, BadPak and Interlodge tied at 11points each and RIO one point back with 12.