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Race report from this weekend’s StFYC Elvstrom/Zellerbach regatta

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  • David Berntsen
    May 5 & 6 produced some great sailing conditions for the St Francis Yacht Clubs Elvstrom/Zellerbach Regatta. The race was attended by 99 boats with fleets of
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7, 2012
      May 5 & 6 produced some great sailing conditions for the St Francis Yacht Clubs Elvstrom/Zellerbach Regatta. The race was attended by 99 boats with fleets of Laser, Laser Radial, Finn, Moth, 505, 29er, Formula Windsurfer, Kites (new Olympic class) and of course Wetas. The StFYC ran two race courses Wetas, 505 and Finn starting just west of Alcatraz and weather mark half way to the GG Bridge in the center of the bay. The other fleets raced closer to the StFYC up Chrissy field.

      Both days were perfect sailing conditions. Early races were in moderate breeze in 12-15 in a flood tide and as the day progressed the wind built to 20+ and a nice ebb filled in turning the flat flood conditions to ebb chop.

      There were 8 Wetas racing throughout the weekend but family obligations forced some to sail only one day. We had two new Weta owners attend who had no time to practice for the regatta but did well anyway. Robert Fox (Redding, CA) sailed Saturday on Sunday Ann Marie Moore sailed with her friend Scott (as crew). This was Ann Maries first day on the water sailing her new Weta, and she and Scott charged through the first two races. Nice work! Ann Marie is our first women owner/skipper so I hope she influences other women to join our fleet.

      About the racing – the bay has its shifting tides so it's important to know where to go so you use the tides to your advantage. A good rule of thumb is to follow the 505's that started before us. Some of the world's best 505 sailors were attending so following their lead was a smart bet. At the start a starboard tack will run you in to the strongest ebb (or weakest flood early on). A few beats to weather and you met the weather mark. As the day progressed it was really easy to over stand the weather mark as the ebb got stronger. This weekend was full moon and the closest the moon will be to earth all year (did you know that the moon was only 200,012 miles from earth this weekend? – you can drive that in a well maintained minivan, although only one way). So because of the full moon we got strong tides up to 4.8kts.

      After rounding the weather mark you'd jibe in to the central bay and run with the flood to the leeward gates and finish. Kite rides were fun and only got better as the day progressed and the wind increased and there were some fun waves to surf down. On one downwind leg I was blazing downwind and noticed a cabin cruiser powerboat charging through the race course. I held my course (sailboats have right of way, but powerboats are bigger) until I realized that this guy was not giving way or probably did not even see me. At the last minute I luffed the kite and head up to avoid getting crushed and the powerboat continued on it's course as if I did not exist. I gave the driver a nice salute and went on my way.

      Gerard Kupereus (a philosopher – he thinks) is a newer member to the Weta fleet. He grew up sailing in the Nederlands and his father was a boat builder, so he fit into the Weta really fast and is quite competitive. Jonathan Weston (a videographer) and a converted Laser sailor has been racing Wetas for over a year now and is really quick upwind and downwind. Apparently Lasers are great boats to sail before you hop into a Weta and go twice as fast with half the effort.

      Thanks to the StFYC for running a great regatta and helping with the development to of the Weta fleet by inviting us to all their dinghy races.

      David Berntsen – 5 pts – 1st place
      Jonathan Weston – 10pts – 2nd place
      Gerard Kupereus – 13 pts – 3rd place.

      Next race is Whiskeytown in Northern California. There are at least 8 Wetas signed up already. This will be warm(er) lake sailing, warm winds, camping, sailing with the kids type racing and beer drinking and BBQ at night. Will be lots of fun.
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