The final day of the 2018 Pac52 Season Opener brought yet another sun splashed afternoon on the South Course of the Coronado Roads sailing area. The sea state had increased slightly overnight yet the unstable air mass that plagued the prior day had given way to a more predictable NW wind with far fewer holes and much less shifty conditions. Another positive, the kelp patches that plagued the area the last two days had lessened substantially.
An ominous beginning for team RIO, as they entered the start on port and got boxed out, forcing them to the right side of the course. In 10-12 knots with minimal wind chop & 2-3' swell, the fleet made quick work of the up windward leg. Showing no drop off from prior day, Invisible Hand led the very tight pack, with FOX, Interlodge, RIO & BadPak in close pursuit. The order would remain the same through the downwind leg, and the next 3 legs to be exact, despite various routes employed, only a tad more distance between boats, and slight softening of the sea breeze.
Entering race two, Invisible Hand needed just one more bullet to clinch the class division in the regatta, a far cry last season, where things just did not go well. On the other end of the spectrum, last season's champions, BadPak was still trying to regain their mojo, and an aggressive maneuver, stuffed IH at the start and looked to get back on track to glory.
BadPak would sail a strong weather leg but arrive just behind their nemesis, IH followed by RIO, FOX then Interlodge. A tight downwind leg saw BadPak shift gears and nearly roll IH going downhill. They came up just short as IH arrived at the gates just ahead, with IH headed left and BadPak opting for the right. They would reunite at the weather mark in close proximity again, but the Hand refusing to budge, rounding ahead, with FOX, Interlodge & RIO not far behind. The 2nd downwind leg would see BadPak take an early hitch to the left side of the course, hoping for a clean lane toward the finish, The Hand would soon gybe to cover. In lightening breeze, the two would gallop down the course, but BadPak could not shake IH’s cover, while FOX had made gains by going right longer, slipped in between.
Invisible Hand would clinch the regatta, along with the race with FOX, BadPak Interlodge & RIO following.
The wind regained strength for the final race of the day and of the regatta, back into the 10-12 knot range, with a slight chill, and a visit by the replica schooner America, charging in from the left while the J-120’s finished to the right. The Hand would take the pin with FOX and RIO blanketing them. Meanwhile, Interlodge would exit stage right, contradictory too what they had been doing all afternoon. “We noticed better pressure on that side during the final leg of race 2 and decided to give it a shot” explained Austin Fragoman, owner of Interlodge.
While the “Core Four” worked the left side, INT had the right side all to themselves. A close taking battle between all boats as they closed in on the weather mark, INT coming in from the right, had rights and forced IH and RIO to duck then scampered off while the Core Four battled for rights and a clear lay line, perhaps the tightest, non-parade rounding of the regatta. INT would hold their lead back down the course, exiting the gates to the right with RIO and IH rounding simultaneously and followed shortly thereafter by a simultaneous rounding of BP and FOX. This being a 3-leg finale, it was now Interlodge’s race to lose, but that was not something Austin and crew were planning on. They drove the black back up the course right side, protected their lead and claimed their 2nd bullet of the regatta!
Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand would end the regatta with 6 bullets and 17 points total, with Gwen & Austin’s Interlodge in 2nd, with 2 bullets and 24 points, and in 3rd, RIO with a single ace and 27 points.
The 2nd stop of the 2018 Pac52 Season Series shifts up the SoCal Coast with action out of Marina Del Rey and the California Yacht Club for the Cal Race Week, where the fleet will welcome David Team’s Vesper to the fold. The action and fleet continues to grow!