Brisk J/Stop

San Francisco Bay gave sailors and race committee some of the usual course challenges, but the result was a great weekend of racing for the 23 J/105s that came out for J/Stop. The regatta commenced on Saturday, May 5, with overcast skies and raw conditions that had sailors commenting on the cold by the end of four races. Fortunately, the sun broke through in time to warm up competitors during post-race beers on the docks. The wind cooperated early with westerlies building steadily to the mid-teens. Racing started with the tide just turning from ebb to flood and, as often happens with this very competitive fleet, the first start led to a general recall as most boats got to the line too early and were pushed over. From then on, Saturday’s races were started under the "U" flag rule, and the fleet behaved much better. To the sailors’ great credit, Sunday’s starts were all under the regular "P" flag, with no boats called over early. Wind was brisker on Sunday, reaching into the high teens. As veteran Bay racers know, the tide first turns close to shore, so in the early races there was a greater advantage in getting out to the middle of the Bay when going upwind to catch the last of the ebb tide heading out the Gate. To compensate, the race committee set a start line that initially favored the pin, making adjustments for each race as the flood set in across the whole Bay. It’s always a challenge to convince the sailors that the line is fair, so they don’t all crowd one end, but it doesn’t always work, even if the math is done right. In race 6, for example, while the bulk of the fleet thought the committee boat end was the place to be, Arbitrage and Mojo came in from the pin end and port-tacked the whole fleet with room to spare. Arbitrage went on to win that race and took third overall in the regatta. Many of the top competitors shuffled first-place finishes, and prizes were awarded for each, so several skippers took home some StFYC glassware, including SFYC’s Ryan Simmons on Blackhawk for races 1-2, and Tim Russell’s Ne-Ne in races 3 and 7. StFYC’s Donkey Jack, skippered by Shannon Ryan and Rolf Kaiser, Walter Sanford’s Alchemy and Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault on Arbitrage finished first in races 4, 5 and 6, respectively. Though StFYC’s Ian Charles’s Maverick didn’t take any firsts, they finished second overall in two days of racing, seven rounds total. View all the results at

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