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Open 5.70 fleet surfing down to the leeward mark. ©2012 Jen Bookout
Open 5.70 North Americans
October 2, 2012
Kathy Conte of the Open 5.70 Boudicca filed this report:
On September 21-23, sixty sailors and twenty boats converged on Golden Gate Yacht Club for three days of racing to determine the Open 5.70 North American Champion. With three races on Friday, four on Saturday, and two on Sunday, the regatta promised to test every sailor’s stamina. The racing was so close that even though Southern Californian Tracey Kenney and her crew on Mor’ Shenanigans scored five bullets during the nine race series (with one throw-out), they came in second by one point to local sailor Tom Baffico on The Maker.
On Friday the wind favored the light-air SoCal sailors starting at about 10 knots for the first race and building to 17 with 20+ gusts by the end of the day. Facing a flood tide, 20 boats broke from the start line seeking relief near shore. Close tacking up the shore made for exciting exchanges and frequent shouts of “Starboard!” as the fleet converged on the windward mark to ride the flood down the middle of the course.
At the end of the day, Tracey Kenney was in first place with 2 points; Tom Baffico had 4 and the next three finishers each had 6 points. Similarly the second group of five finishers included three boats with 14 points and one with 15. The tight racing went deep into the fleet; finishers 11-14 were separated by only 4 points. Despite the close racing, the weekend ended with no protests from this fleet of friendly sailors.
Adding to the excitement on Friday was the fleet of AC45s, which set a practice course that took them right through the Open 5.70s’ start/finish line. Mixing it up with the AC45s was exhilarating!
The wind was light again on Saturday and steady at about 12 knots. The slack was about an hour after the start of the first race, so many boats sought more pressure in the middle of the course for the first race and then again looked for shelter from the flood as the day went on.
John Staff kicks in the after-burners. ©2012 Ellen Hoke/www.ellenhoke.com
Tom Baffico scored three bullets out of four races on Saturday to lead Tracey Kenney by 5 points and Marc Finot's Frolic, the eventual third place finisher, by 6 points.
On Sunday the NoCal wind finally showed up, building from 15 to 20 with gusts in the low 20s. Tracey Kenney and crew showed they are not just light air sailors, winning the last two races of the series. Tom Baffico scored a fourth and a second to hang on to the lead by one point. Marc Finot was 12 points behind to take third, with Michael Gough's Boracic taking fourth and John Gartman's Joslin from SoCal finishing fifth.
It was an excellent one design regatta. All the races were very close. The top 18 boats finished within seven minutes of the winner in all nine races. The top 13 finished with five minutes of the leader in all but one race, and in two of the races, all boats finished within five minutes of the leader. In addition, all protests were resolved on the water, which created a great fleet spirit on shore. The race committee was superb, keeping the course square and challenging, and the hospitality has wonderful. We’ll be back again.
- Kathy Conte, USA214, Boudicca
See www.open570USA.com for more details.