Sunday, August 28, 2016

2016 Elvstrom Zellerbach Report - Parker Shinn

(Late Posting, this event took place on April 30 through May 1, 2016)

Last weekend St. Francis Yacht Club hosted the biggest Elvstrom/Zellerbach regatta since it’s conception and did so in spite of the fact that only five 5o5’s made it to the start line.  Apparently people thought France was the cool place to be…  Regardless, San Francisco certainly did not fail to deliver once again.  Both days saw great breeze ranging from 12 to 20 knots as well as plenty of devious currents to deal with.

In the first race the ebb was still in full affect making for short upwinds and long downwinds with Jeff Miller stringing together a series of puffs on the last downwind leg to pass Mike Martin and take the bullet.  From there on out though things got a bit trickier with the current.

The flood started to come in on shore with a distinct current line running just to port of the starting line.  If you ventured across it all of a sudden you were sitting in almost 2 knots of current.  While it was fairly clear what to do upwind, the downwind legs got complicated as you tried to weigh sailing toward shore to get into the flood vs. jibe setting into the pressure.  It didn’t seem to matter much for Mike Martin and Adam Lowry though.  They had a different gear from the rest of us once the breeze came up and finished the day with 2 bullets.

Day 2 started with a long postponement on shore and had some of us wondering if the breeze would fill in at all.  The wind was oscillating between North and East and the westerly wasn’t forecasted to fill in until 2pm.  Luckily though… the breeze filled in early and by the time we got on the water there was 15 knots on the course.

With the later start the current was already flooding hard on shore so most people wanted to start on port and get right as quickly as possible.  I thought we finally got lucky in the first race when a third of the way up the last beat Mike and Adam broke the primary line on their boom vang.  We pinched to get above them as they fiddled in the boat and didn’t think we’d see them again for the rest of the race.  We should’ve known better.  In the last 200 yards of the beat they hooked into a nice righty and made up a ton of distance.  Then on the downwind it was their turn to get a lucky break when our spinnaker pole popped off the mast twice.

In the last race it was Bob Tennant and Steve Bourdow who were able to get the boat ripping and challenge Mike’s speed.  They beat him to the top on both laps and only got passed on the downwinds… hey doesn’t that sound backwards?  Mike held him off at the finish, but not without exposing his mortality.

In the end it was a great regatta with plenty of breeze along with big shifts and current to navigate.  Despite the less than stellar turnout it seems like the rest of the fleet have had enough stinky cheese so Santa Cruz next weekend is going to be awesome.  Make sure you don’t miss it!


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