Day 2 of the California Race Week hosted by the California YC, saw a bustle of activity as a 51 additional boats in 9 classes joined the PAC 52 Class on Santa Monica Bay on Saturday. With wall to wall sunshine and slightly lighter westerlies blanketing the course, racing began in earnest with a 12:35 start on the 6.6 nm double sausage course 5.
Seas were flat and winds in 6-8 knot range, with an even start, new comer David Team’s Vesper taking the far right side for leg one and arrive at weather mark just ahead of Manouch Moshayedi’s RIO, then Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge, Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand and Tom Holthus’s BadPak.
Vesper’s reputation as a light air assassin was reinforced as the boat continued to control her own destiny through the race, making the right calls while the fleet shuffled in her wake. At the bottom gate IH had moved into second with Int keeping 3rd position with BP in 4th and RIO dropping to 5th. Leg 3 would witness the fleet spreading out across the upwind beat, but when they regathered at the windward mark, only BP and Int had swapped positions, with Interlodge filing a protest against Badpak for a mark rounding infraction ( which they would later win). It was on the final downwind leg, when it was clear that Vesper would claim their 1st bullet, in the regatta and as a bonafide PAC52 member, and magically, they guided down the last stretch by a pod of white sided dolphins!
Race 5 began on strike of 14:00 in very similar conditions and same course. A very tight start with all boats hitting the line simultaneously, with IH and RIO choosing far right, INT center and BP and Vesper going left. Interlodge’s middle of the road approach yielded the lead at the top with RIO right behind, then Ves, IH and BP. Interlodge would retain their advantage through the next 3 legs, with Vesper and Invisible Hand taking 2nd and 3rd respectively down to the finish.
It’s probably a good time to note that with owner/driver Austin Fragomen out with an excused absence, rookie 52 driver Pete Must took over the helmsman role as alternate driver, completely new to the boat, the program and the fleet.
Race 6 saw pressure actually drop to the 5-7 knot range, and the course shortened slightly to a 6nm total double sausage, with a dead even start, all boats hitting the line in unison. BP and IH would engage in a tacking duel on the right side, to be joined by Vesper 1/3rd of way up the course. Interlodge, with Morgan Larson working tactics would make the right moves and find just the right line on the left and run the table from 1st weather mark to finish with Vesper and Badpak swapping places around the marks, with BadPak taking 2nd and Vesper 3rd to end the day.
Vesper now stands atop the leaderboard, sharing 1st with Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand at 16 Points each, Interlodge in 3rd with 19 points, BadPak in 4th with 22 points and RIO 3points further aft in 5th.
2 additional races are scheduled for Sunday to determine regatta winner.