ARBITRAGE Circles Fleet in J/105 “Pi” Doublehanded Race

J/105 Fleet #1 continues to have fun organizing their own one-design doublehanded racing on San Francisco Bay. With races easily started and finished just off Golden Gate Yacht Club, and with a few hundred navigational buoys to choose from on Bay charts, it's easy to tailor a race course to the forecasted breezes and tides for the day. Here's Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault's report from aboard ARBITRAGE on the inaugural "Pi" Doublehanded Race held on 3.14.21: "The wind was uncharacteristically from the south, around 8-10 knots, so the PRO set us on a reaching course from the Golden Gate YC's X Buoy against the 2-3 knot flood tide out to Pt. Bonita buoy and back. We had an ultra-cautious start (not our usual, of course). We were a bit late at the start, as we decided to hoist the big asym spinnaker before the gun and allowed a generous amount of space so as to not risk being over-early. Most of the other boats started ahead of us and then jib-reached up along the shore to avoid the flood and what appeared to be lighter air. By contrast, we felt the extra sail area would allow us to plow ahead on the rhumb line, and that proved to be the winning formula against the adverse current. We were in much more breeze, and we were well-ahead by the time the others hoisted their spinnakers. We then nearly stopped dead when passing the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge and running into both its wind shadow and a 4-5 knot flood...reducing our VMG to around 1.5 knots! We persisted and poked through to some relief. We were then knocked toward the north shore of the entrance channel, but did not mind that as we expected early ebb, which proved to be true. As we got closer to the lee shore (on the north side of the channel), we were headed some more and dropped the kite, but then lifted back up to the mark and benefited from the ebb. After passing Pt. Bonita, we were still way ahead of the fleet. However, we couldn't locate the mark! We suspect it had been pulled for maintenance! Oops! We called our competitors on the radio and asked if any of them could find the mark. We then suggested they should round our spot (GPS coordinates) and race to the finish. Everyone agreed, and we then turned for a pleasant close-reach and then a beat home to the finish. It was notable that two of the teams, RUSSIAN ROULETTE and AKULA, had young crew on board. Nicole had baked some fruit pies and awarded them to the second and third place finishers, AKULA and AQUAVIT."

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