Racing

Published on March 30th, 2015 | by Moore 24 Class

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Race Report Mooretician’s 2015 Double-handed Farallones

Mooretician's 2015 Double-handed Farallones – A beautiful day of ocean sailing to and from the Farallones, completed with only four tacks and two gybes!

It was a close start, with all four Moores vying for the pin at 8:40AM.  It may be a 52 mile race, but getting a good start matters – especially in this fleet of well-sailed Moores. Thankfully, there was no need for anchors this year, and a freshening 5-8 knot breeze and early ebb allowed us to sail with our #1 headed straight for the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Fleets starting earlier than us tacked early, and opted for the center Bay exit, but they were headed toward Angel Island.  We chose to stay in the ebb tide that helped flush us out the Gate, and took one tack to port before the South Tower to clear the bridge. Banditos and Snafu were right behind us. By this time we had already passed all the Express 27's (they started five minutes before us) as well as several other boats in earlier fleets.

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Snafu momentarily thinks the Farallon islands are located in the south bay

Once past the South Tower, we continued on port tack toward the Marin shore until the wind veered.  We tacked and were solidly in the middle between the Marin and San Francisco shorelines, now headed toward Mile Rock.  We had a loose cover on Banditos, who was with us, and Snafu continued on along the Marin shore on a port tack lift – looking really good.  We decided to tack back toward Bonita Cove to stay on Marin side going out because we felt there was better early ebb there than in the middle where we were, and we didn't want to let Snafu get away.  Banditos tacked with us.  The edge that Snafu had on the Marin shore seemed to evaporate in the lighter pressure. When Snafu tacked onto starboard, both Banditos and us had gained quite a bit in better pressure.  We tacked one last time on a line half way between Pt. Diablo and Pt. Bonita.  From there it was a drag race to the rock pile.

We stayed north of the channel markers going out and were in a tight match race with Banditos, all the time extending on Snafu.  At some point, still north of the SF Approach channel, the wind lightened. The lighter breeze seemed to favor Banditos because they squirted ahead and were able to work to weather of us.  It was in this light patch that we caught and passed three Express 37's and the multihull Humdinger.  The wind started to fill slowly and by the time we were even with the Lightship we were thinking it was time to change down to the #3.  Banditos confirmed our thoughts and started the change first.  We quickly followed.  From there it was a real drag race to the Island.  We were able to gradually lift up under Banditos and managed to gain ground on them, coming within five feet of them at one point.   Seas started to get bigger at this point, with a prominent northerly swell that had very steep faces.  Luckily we were mostly broadside to them so we could sail over them without pounding down the back sides.  The sea state also had a northwesterly component that made for lumpy conditions.

The Farallones were clearly in our view at noon.  As we approached, it was so clear that you could even see the northerly islands.  Slightly after 1pm we started to see the lead boats sailing back toward the Bay – on jibs.   We reached the north-east tip of the island by 1:45pm with Banditos less than 50 yards behind in our wake.  In the leg from Point Bonita to the Farallones I don't think we were ever more than 250 yards apart.

 Once past "Low Speed Chase Cove" we started to ease sheets.  We could have raised the kite but decided it would only be up for a very short while because we would soon be on a jib again, headed back to the Bay.  Plus, we were already seeing 10+ knots of boat speed as we were starting to surf on the swells.  We gybed and were fully around the Farallones by approximately 2pm.  The wind direction was such that we couldn't hold a kite on a reach if we tried, so we continued on our #3 jib, fully powered up.

At the Farallones, the swells were more from the north, making surfing a little more challenging.  As the leg progressed, the wind built and swells started coming more from behind making extended surfs much easier.  By the time we reached the Lightship again, the wind had built to a solid 20 knots with gusts into the mid 20's.  It was now a screeching jib reach back the Gate, surfing for what seemed like minutes at a time.  We were in our element, hitting a top speed of 17.1 knots – with the #3 jib!  We chose to stay up, favoring a course that would keep us north of the approach channel for a northern approach.

About two miles from Point Bonita the wind shifted more behind to allow us to set the spinnaker.  Once past Point Bonita, we looked south to see Banditos' spinnaker as they were approaching Mile Rock. They were looking fast and we stayed focused.  It was the first time we had seen Banditos in while since we lost track of them when it they changed headsails on the reach back to the Bay.

We gybed under the Gate and had a tight reach back the finish.  The flood tide caused us to just clear the "X" buoy at the finish.  In hindsight, we could have gybed at Rodeo Beach to make the reach a little easier on my crew, Ian Rogers, who will be double-handing with Mark English on Mas! in the 2016 Pacific Cup.

We watched with a well-deserved cold beer in hand as Banditos finished less than three behind us!  What a race – Moores take the top four places in all monohulls and two of us beat the multihulls on corrected time!  As Ian put it several times on our reach back toward the Bay – it was an AWSOME day of sailing.  I couldn't have said it any better.

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