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Left to right: War Pony, Decatur and Deception. Two of them are headed to Monterey. ©2012 norcalsailing.com
Fast Spinnaker Cup
May 28, 2012
It's easy to forget the little guys in big ocean races like the Spinnaker Cup. The San Francisco Yacht Club annual run down the coast from the Knox racing area to Monterey and co-host Monterey Peninsula YC attracts a lot of really fast boats in Divisions A and B, but the majority of the racers are your everyday Bay sailors and cruisers. And it's easy to forget there is a shorthanded division also. This year eleven boats signed up shorthanded. Seven started, four dropped out and the three that stuck it out had a fun yet slightly intimidating ride down the coast.
"The race committee made a point of telling the racers the scary forecast, including steep 6-8-ft seas at 6 seconds, with wind waves on top of that," said David Nabors of the Olson 34 Temerity. "The reality was very light wind for the start, and a flood current already starting. It was a hard beat all the way to the R8 turning mark with only two tacks. And we actually started catching up with the C and D fleet boats ahead. After bearing off at the mark we found the wind was on or even a bit ahead of the beam. The seas were a bit choppy but nothing like the forecast. We stuck with the #3 sheeted to the rail and noticed no one in front of us set their kite yet either."
Among the crewed boats the wackiest and widest rating band was class C, with everything from Express 37s, a Quest 33 and little Can O' Whoopass, a Cal 20. With ratings from 72 to 273 and some ultralights thrown in, it was by far the hardest group to pick who would win. In the end the big Oceanis 42 Baquia won, with Elan, the Express 37, in second and the Can correcting out in third.
Class D was a little more evenly spread, including a Santana 35, a Sabre 402 and the always competitive Cal 40. In fact the Cal 40 Redhead won with Tiki J, a J/42, in second and Escapade, the Sabre 402, in third.
Back in the shorthanded division, David Nabors and Temerity kept on chugging along. "So we sailed and we sailed with the jib and main only. The next piece of excitement was seeing the Santa Cruz 27 Furthur blast past us, chute up and crew working hard. Oh, well." Aboard Furthur was owner James Clappier with Daniel Roberts as crew, and they put the throttle down once they turned the corner.
"With an estimated 30 knots of wind and 3 knots of flood, the beat out to R8 was kind of a hate mission," said James, "and we watched most of our fleet powering ahead of us, though we kept the Olson 911 Plus Sixteen behind us along with the Cal 20 in C division as they struggled against the tide.
"Once around the mark we shook out the reef, changed back to the #1 with an outboard sheet and sailed fast to Pillar Point (Half Moon Bay) where we set the kite and took off on a beam reach to hunt down our fleet. We caught up with an Olson 34, Culebra, before Pigeon Point and then passed the other Olson 34, Teremity, as we paralleled Pigeon Point. It felt really good to get past them since they destroyed us leaving the Bay, and our next focus was to just send it down the course without losing wind or sailing too many miles."
David on Temerity summed up their finish. "We finished at about 0430, with a elapsed time of almost exactly 16 hours. The harbor and MPYC folks were more than helpful and welcoming, and we enjoyed some minestrone while receiving the very pleasant news that we had placed second in our division."
James added, "Winning our division just made it epic as it was my first victory on Furthur! Also, it was the first ocean race for my crew Daniel Roberts, a sailmaker at Doyle Sails in Alameda, and he did a great job driving while I ran the bow and tweaked the boat for speed. Daniel normally sails Aussie 18 skiffs and will be crewing on Furthur for the SC27 Nationals at Richmond Yacht Club."
Okay, so maybe we should let you know how the big boats fared. It was even tighter racing for the fast boys in Division A as only four seconds separated the first and second finishers, Daniel Thielman's R/P 44 Tai Kuai and Andy Costello's J/125 Double Trouble. Double Trouble tried to nip Tai Kuai on the line but did correct out overall.
Full results can be found at www.regattanetwork.com/event/5209.