|home contact us movies galleries stories store|
A fleet of Blind Sailing Regatta J/24s rounding the leeward mark with 0 wind in Sunday's first race. ©2012 Kristen Soetebier
California Invitational Blind Sailing Regatta
June 10, 2012
“There’s some stiff competition out there,” remarked Danette Davis of the Marin Sailing School Program for the Blind, “and some aggressive sailors,” she adds, coming in off the water from Friday’s practices, which saw at least one minor collision and lots of yelling for rights, on June 1.
Competing on J/24s on June 2-3 were one team from Japan, one team from New Zealand, two teams from Canada, two teams from the Carroll Center in Boston, and from California, one BAADS team and two from The Marin Sailing School for a total of nine. Each team of four includes a visually impaired (VI) helmsperson and main trimmer, and a sighted tactician and jib trimmer. The tactician may not touch any controls on the boat. Island Yacht Club of Alameda hosted the event.
The competitive spirit carried on into Saturday’s racing which, began at 10:00 on the Oakland Estuary in about 2-5 knots of breeze. Racers managed two short course races before lunch; by 13:00 the wind had built to about 10-15 knots with the strongest wind, as usual, further up the course towards Jack London Square. The race committee decided to take advantage of the perfect conditions and squeezed in four more races, two long course and two short before the 16:00 cut-off that day.
The racing was not without its controversy, which followed with three protests owing primarily to a number of aggressive port tackers at the start and a failure to observe inside overlap at the leeward mark. An adhoc protest committee headed up by Rob Macfarlane of the Singlehanded Sailing Society was formed, and the rule violation issues were resolved over beers at the bar just in time for dinner.
Sunday was a bit of a different story as the racing ended earlier in the day and the wind never quite filled in as well from the Bay. The first race was postponed for quite a while first due to an injury and then once that was sorted, a lack of wind. One of the sighted jib trimmers, Chris Rennie from Canada I, banged his knee up rather nicely when he broke clear through a closed forward hatch cover leaving a nice foot-size hole in the Plexiglas. An extra race committee orange sight line board and some duct tape patched that up for a bit and IYC member Dawn Chesney suited up as replacement crew.
Once the races began, it was an agonizing crawl up to the windward mark in 0-3 knots on glassy water, but Canada II ghosted just far enough ahead to catch some of the early, slowly-filling breeze well before the remainder of the fleet, and was able to round the windward mark and maintain a far lead. In fact, once Canada II finished to the gun, the course was shortened for the rest of the fleet who were directed to round the crashboat sporting a shortened course flag instead of the far leeward mark. Lunch was served on the water before the wind picked up slightly for the final two races.
The winner was decided out of nine races. Coming in third with 27 points was Canada II, and the home team advantage seemingly dominated, placing BAADS with 24 points second and California I first with 19. The Lion’s Center for the Blind in Oakland also sponsors a Sportsmanship Trophy voted on by the VI sailors and this regatta’s winner was the only female VI competitor, helmsperson for the California II team, Erin Lauridsen.
Folks from this regatta will look forward to competing for a spot at the World Championships next year in Yokohama, Japan.
For more photos, go to tinyurl.com/CIBSR2012.
BAADS (Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors), San Francisco
CARROLL CENTER FOR THE BLIND I
CARROLL CENTER FOR THE BLIND II
JAPAN BLIND SAILING ASSOCIATION
- Kristen Sotebier, Commodore, Island YC