|District 5 Regatta Report|| |
Sat Oct 16th, 2004 through Sun Oct 17th, 2004
| Star Pacific Coast Championships|
October 16-17, 2004
Hosted by San Francisco YC
by Brad Nichol
This year's Pacific Coast Championship was hosted by San Francisco Yacht Club in Tiberon CA. It is always nice to sail out of SFYC when sailing on the bay because it always seems to be sunny when the city is shrouded in fog. We raced in the area just east of Angel Island by Richmond in a frontal wind from the south-west (uncharacteristic for the bay). The regatta was organized by Rick Peters and run by the ever-helpful Matt Jones as PRO.
After an informal skippers meeting Saturday morning the fleet left the docks at 11am under tow by the race committee and the Team Pegasus tender. We reached the sailing area and warmed up in a light 5-8 knot breeze and a strong flood that wrapped around Angel Island and flowed north towards Richmond. Matt Jones ran two practice starts before starting the first race at 12:30pm.
With the current stronger on the right, a pin favored line, and more pressure on the left George Szabo sailing with Brad Nichol started at the pin with Bill Fields and Austin Sperry and Rick Peters with Mike Marzahl challenging for the same end of the line. The left looked good for the first few minutes until the fleet started seeing cruising boats in a strong breeze out of the right. Doug Smith sailing with John Rogers had started at the boat and went right and caught the new, fresh westerly first and rounded well in front of the fleet followed by Doug Steele sailing with Greg Hillman and Team Pegasus sailors Andy Escourt with Paul Larkin and Phillipe Kahn sailing with current World Champion Anders Ekstrom. The right stayed favored for the remainder of the race and the order held constant for the next three legs resulting in Doug Smith in first followed by Doug Steele and Andy Escourt in third.
The wind had filled to a fresh 10-12 knots by the start of the second race which was shortened to a one lapper after a long first race in the light air. George Szabo started at the boat and protected the right side to lead the tight race wire-to-wire and was closely followed by Doug Smith and Rick Peters.
For Saturday's final race the course was lengthened back to a two lap windward-leeward and started in 12 knots. Sabo and Nichol started a bit down the line with good speed and tacked to cover most of the fleet as they went right. Szabo was able to control the fleet leading them at each shift to the weather mark. At the weather mark Szabo went low as Doug Smith jibed out to the right and Rick Peters and Andy Escort went high. Szabo was caught in the middle as the fleet bore down on the leeward mark and was unable to get an overlap on Escort who rounded first closely followed by Szabo, Smith, and Peters. Half way up the beat Escort split with the fleet and hit the right side while Szabo covered Smith on the left. Escort rounded first followed by Peters, who had also gone right,and Szabo and Smith from the left. Escort and Szabo jibed out as Peters and Smith went high. The right filled and Escort and Szabo thought they had the fleet and started to do battle and finally jibed for the pin end of the line. Meanwhile Peters and Smith caught a puff and were screaming for the boat end of the finish line. Szabo edged out Escort and Peters finished ahead of Smith but it was not until the dock when everyone found out that the race was scored with George Szabo in first with Rick Peters in second followed by Andy Escort and Doug Smith.
Sunday turned out to be much less dramatic despite heavy wind, threatening weather and multiple breakdowns. The race committee ran a practice start in 15-18 knots before the first race and it because quickly apparent that the sailors would have their hands full. Race four went was started in the same strong southwesterly and after the boat end battle shook out there were a few boats noticeably missing. Both Team Pegasus boats helmed by Philippe Kahn and Any Escort were being towed in behind the team Protector with broken head-stays. George Szabo and Brad Nichol were clearly faster then the fleet upwind and took a commanding lead at the top mark that would not be relinquished. Bill Fields was left to fight it out with Rick Peters and Dough Smith. Fields came out on top followed by Doug Smith in third.
After a third boat retired in the first race the PRO Matt Jones decided race 5 would be the final of the regatta. At the start Szabo fought for the boat and won, shutting out Bill Fields and Austin Sperry. Szabo held the fleet out to the left until he was able to tack on top of the fleet and protect his lead to the top mark. Szabo continued to pull away on the run as the wind built to 18-20 knots and more boats began having problems.
Alejandro Bugacov sailing with JEEP had already had a rough weekend with car trouble on the way to the regatta and it got worse when he broke his starboard backstay at the deck. Miraculously, his mast stayed upright and he was able to be towed in to the yacht club. George Szabo continued on to win the race followed by Doug Smith and Bill Fields. On the sail in the wind built to a solid thirty making the upwind slog back to the club that much more uncomfortable when it stated to rain. The fleet made it back to the docks safely and were greeted by a friendly Vice-Commodore with hot chocolate. Thank you to the San Francisco Yacht Club.
2812 Canon Street
San Diego, California 92106 USA
Phone: +1 619 222 0252
Fax: +1 619 222 0528
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