Three Bridge Fiasco

The 2019 edition of the Three Bridge Fiasco in San Francisco, CA will go down in the history books as one of the nicest in recent memory—sunny skies, gentle northeast winds of 4 to 12 knots and warm 72 F temperatures. The Singlehanded Sailing Society welcomed a fleet of 334 boats that were entered as singlehanded or doublehanded teams (most were sailing doublehanded). It is believed the race, a 21.0nm dash around three marks is considered the largest shorthanded sailing event in the world. Starting off Golden Gate YC on the south shore of the Bay, the sailors can choose which direction to go (clockwise or counter-clockwise). The marks are Blackaller Buoy near the south pylon of the Golden Gate Bridge at the westward opening of the Bay, around Red Rock Island near the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge in north Bay, and around the Bay Bridge by rounding Treasure & Yerba Buena Islands. Since the race is a reverse start (pursuit) race, the start time for each boat is based on its PHRF rating, with slowest boats starting first at 0900 hrs and the fastest at -102 starting two hours later. There was an enormous turnout for the J/105s, with 18 boats showing up on the starting line. Will and Jayden Benedict’s ADVANTAGE 3 easily won, crossing at 13:47:58. Chasing them was Chris Kim and Carl Plant’s VUJA STAR, finishing just under five minutes behind at 13:52:29. Morgan and Jordan Paxhia’s STILL PINCHIN finished 14:12:59. A pair of racers were left rudderless after a collision with a whale in the middle of the San Francisco Bay on Saturday. Adam Spiegel and his partner had been roughly an hour into the race before the incident occurred. They'd rounded one the race's marks up by Fort Point and were heading across the Bay toward the Richmond-San Rafael bridge when their J/105 JAM SESSION abruptly came to a stop. "All of a sudden, it felt like we'd ran aground," Spiegel told SFGATE. A second or two later, Spiegel said, there was another thud, followed by another thud. Then, the pair heard a loud, cracking noise and what sounded like a splintering sound. After that, a gray whale, which Spiegel estimated to be at least 25 feet long, surfaced next to them. Spiegel couldn't see any blood in the water or damage to the whale, but they wondered if the whale was going to "come after" them like Moby Dick. Then, they wondered if their boat was going to sink. They figured out they'd lost partial steerage and couldn't get back safely on their own. Spiegel and his partner contacted the dockmaster of the St. Francis Yacht Club, and they came out in a powerboat to rescue the pair and tow them back safely. The boat's rudder was dislodged and the underside of the boat was scraped up by the whale, Spiegel said. It's still not clear what injuries the whale sustained. Ship collisions are a frequent cause of death for whales along the California coast. Here is the story on SFGate.com: https://www.sfgate.com/whales-sharks/article/Whale-hits-sailboat-three-bridge-fiasco-race-adam-13565892.php. For more Three Bridge Fiasco information, visit http://sfbaysss.org/main/.

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