Bay Area sailors were greeted by a-typical southerly winds on Saturday morning for Elite Keel and Swiftsure.
Jeff Littfin’s J/105 Mojo in a downwind dogfight to win the regatta. Photo by: Pressure Drop.
It was another busy weekend of racing on the San Francisco Bay with the larger one-design fleets—the J/120s, J/111s, and J/105s—racing along side the multihulls in the Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, and the smaller one-design fleets, from J/70s, to Melges 20s and 24s, to Knarrs and Etchells. On Sunday, the Santana 22s and the weekend’s only PHRF fleet joined the fun in the second of three YRA Spring Series races.
Saturday morning racers woke winds coming from so far south that for the Elite Keel boats racing on the Berkeley Circle the wind was left of Treasure Island. Nevertheless, the Venue Bravo boats racing closer to Berkeley Pier, including the Express 27s, Etchells, IODs, J/24s, and Knarrs, got started just about on time.
The race committee, taking advantage of the southerly wind, set a really unique race course for the first two races; competing boats found themselves racing in directions not normally raced in San Francisco.
When the wind straightened out to the more typical westerly in the afternoon, the race committee moved the weather mark, allowing the boats to play the ebb a little more sailing in the direction of Alcatraz. “It was kind of fun, like two regattas in one,” said Quantum’s Will Paxton, who was at the helm of his Express 27 Motorcycle Irene. “There were a few short postponements because the race committee was spread kind of thin, but then they’d get the weather mark moved and get us all going again.”
Quantum made a clean sweep of the Express 27 podium with Daniel Pruzan’s Wile E Coyote in second and Sergey Lubarsky’s Libra in third. John Rivlin took fourth with Peaches.
Over on the Venue Alpha course racing behind Angel Island, the J/70 fleet was the largest with eight boats. Peter Cameron’s Prime Number, sailing with a partial Quantum inventory, took the regatta with three bullets.
The battle among the J/105s continued at Swiftsure, with Jeff Littfin’s Quantum-powered Mojo taking the bullet in three of five races to win the regatta. Though the wind wasn’t as quite as far south on Saturday for the boats racing along the city front, shifty conditions prevailed. “It was really shifty, we were winning the first race, and we ended up [fourth] because we got caught on the wrong side of the shift,” said Littfin.” For San Francisco, even when the wind kicked in, it was pretty shifty.”
No one benefited from the changing conditions, if anything, it just heightened the competition. “Even though we won the two races on Sunday, it was a dogfight. We were leading, went back to fifth, and won. It hard sailing the whole time,” Littfin said.
“The key takeaway is, if you look at the scores, there were a lot of people fighting. In some ways we got a little lucky and were able to make it work. It wasn’t like the top three boats were launched; everybody was fighting. The level of talent from top to bottom is impressive.”
Gregg Kent and the Perserverence crew, which included his father Steve Kent and uncle Paul Kent, scored their first top-three finish in the J/105 fleet sailing with a brand new set of Quantum upwind sails designed especially for the Bay and their mast bend. “We got third despite two OCSs—the new sails made it easy!” said Kent. Look for them to be a threat as the summer goes on!
David Halliwill’s Peregrine made logged another win in J/120 fleet with three bullets. Peregrine was the only boat in this regatta with a Quantum inventory.
Meanwhile, the Moore 24s were racing out of Santa Cruz Yacht Club. Philippe Kahn’s Pegasus MotionX and John Kernot’s Banditos—both with Quantum sails—topped the 20-boat fleet.
For full results:
Elite Keel Regatta and J/25 Western Regional Championship
2015 Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta
2015 Moore 24 PPC
By Jenn Virškus for Quantum Sails