We solicited a few of the fleet skippers for their recaps and reports of the terrific and fun Small Keelboat Series, hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club. Don’t miss the video from Randall showing not only the excellent conditions, but a special guest appearance by Dean Don!
Alex and Craig from Fly By Night:
“The 3rd and final day of the San Francisco Yacht Club Small Keelboat Series was held in the Berkeley Circle on June 28th. Warm weather and mild wind combined to create ideal sailing conditions, which gave the sailors the luxury to focus more on tactics and less on survival! Six J-24s participated including Woof, Flight, Downtown Uproar, Rail to Rail, Shut Up and Drive and Fly By Night. The race committee overcame engine woes before setting and then resetting the course following a big west shift. Race 1 saw Rail to Rail, Downtown, and Shut Up pull away from the fleet while Flight and Fly By Night found themselves in a tight match race on the final downwind. Rail to Rail got the win, followed closely by Downtown Uproar and Shut Up and Drive. Between races the wind started to build, prompting several boats to switch down to a jib, but the wind soon lightened and these boats were left underpowered. Woof capitalized on a south shift and moved up to fourth place before just being edged in a dramatic finish. It was all genoas for the third race. Rail to Rail avoided the crowd with a great start at the pin on the way to their third bullet of the day. Fly By Night battled it out with Downtown Uproar for second place, with Fly By Night slipping ahead after a tight leeward rounding. Once the racing was through, four teams met up at the gorgeous SFYC. The friendly staff there welcomed us and provided complimentary ice-cold Trumer, which we all enjoyed on the patio with a breathtaking view. The consistency of Downtown gave them the overall win, with Fly By Night in second and Rail to Rail overcoming a trio of DNCs on the first day with a near-perfect 7 points through the next 6 races to come in third. The well-run regatta was a big success for the resurgent J-24 fleet. On behalf of the entire fleet, we want to extend a big thanks to the race committee and SFYC for hosting the event.”
Darren from Downtown Uproar:
“A better Summer day for racing on the Bay, I can not conceive of. Cloudless skies, no fog, and south by southwesterlies never really making it to the 18 kts. mark. An organized and communicative race committee, great competition, what more could one ask for? This was the scenario for our final set of races in the SFYC series of three.
We went into the day one point behind Alex and “Fly by Night”, so our focus would mainly be on them. Though it would have been nice to take one or two away from Rich and “Rail to Rail’s” near monopoly on firsts. Was a little bit late on the first start, but still on top of a lot of boats, “Rail to Rail” in contact, but out in front. Stayed on their tail the majority of the race. We separate some from the others, but could not find the speed (or angle) to get past R2R.
Race 2, saw some boats changing down to blades, but we were not seeing Karl at the Gate, so thinking the weird (for this time of year) southerlies were mitigating the big blow. We spun up one setting on the shrouds. Shadowed by R2R into the start by the committee boat. But, got an opening, pulling the trigger a little late again, put over a good portion of the fleet. Saw some boats stuck in a “second row” start. R2R out in front with a great start again. Val and “Shut up and Drive” made a tight cross on us. Maybe the pin was favored? Though the left paid off for us, and we stretched out a little, though out of striking distance on R2R. One above base felt a little slow here.
Final race, starting to feel a little more pressure, but the genoa still manageable. Again shadowed by R2R on the prestart. But, they peel off to start down the line. Hit this one pretty good, but on the first tack R2R is well ahead. Thinking we missed the shift here, and the pin-favor? FbN goes all the way out to the port layline, and are able to round inside of us (overstood). Good drag race downwind, we have the inside. Big shift from the South at the leeward side of the coarse. Slightly late and sloppy douse / gybe, and again FbN slip inside the open door. Try and split with them, but they are dialed in and sailing fast, extending by a couple boat lengths.
We sailed to SFYC for a round of mai tais on the deck, and socializing. Sunny and beautiful as usual. Great reach home around the Island on the settled in southwesterly. ”
Randall from Flight:
“The Battle of Red and Blue
Some might have thought Alex and I had planned to be Fourth of July patriots for day 3 of the SFYC Small Keelboat Fleet Regatta. To go with our similar names, both Flight and Fly by Night had identical red and blue spinnakers to go with our white boats. The truth goes a bit farther back in Fleet 17 history. Don Taylor always had red and blue spinnakers on On Belay and years ago Don gave one of his old kites to Val, last year Val gave it to Alex. With the forecast of 30 knots for the regatta Saturday, I decided to bring out the old double stitched red and blue kite which I inherited from Don when I bought On Belay and renamed it Flight 4 years ago. To add to the coincidence, Don Taylor was back trimming his old red and blue kite on Flight Saturday.
In the last downwind of the first race Saturday, Flight and Fly By Night ended up in the battle of the Red and Blue Kites. We had held Fly By Night off for the first 3 legs of the race and rounding the upwind mark for the last time, Flight was still several boat lengths ahead. The guy tripped out of the end of our pole just after the set and by the time that was fixed and we jibed over onto port, Fly By Night was pulling even to the left of us. We tried to push him up but was too far away, so we just went for speed. Alex responded by jibing over to starboard, so we jibed over to avoid fouling him. Now the windward boat, we were able to pull forward, and came within 6 inches of breaking overlap, but no matter what we did we could not pull forward those extra inches to get rights ahead. Soon it became apparent we were heading to lay line for proper course to the finish mark and we both jibed back to port. Being inside, Fly By Night had now pulled ahead and finishing a couple boat lengths ahead. Here is the video from our stern pulpit:
In the overall results of the regatta, Downtown Uproar took first overall with their usual consistent great sailing each day of the regatta. Alex was just a few points behind in second, and Rail to Rail was third after missing the first day of racing and getting all bullets but one in all of the races they sailed. Val took fourth on Shut Up and Drive. A broken rudder gudgeon causing SUAD’s retirement (and much excitement) in second race of Day 1 was the major contributing factor there. Evil Octopus moved down to sixth overall giving us fifth, since they were in Long Beach this weekend representing Fleet 17 in the J24 Western Regionals. With heavy air and light crew Woof doggedly stayed in the hunt, several times showing great boat speed.”