Sunday, May 18, 2008


Check out my photo album website for hundreds of photos of the Stone Cup Regatta:

Saturday started out sunny and warm with a moderate wind blowing already in the early morning-- not a good sign since it usuually means winds will later be in the 25+ knot range. Early on, a finger of fog was shooting into the bay through the gate and obscuring the gate itself.

We left port about 1 pm, hoping to get out there and watch and photograph some of the great racing happening on the bay: the Stone Cup Regatta, and the first YRA race, as well as some others. Winds on land were moderate at that time, but we raised single-reefed main and headed out into the central bay.

As we headed out into the central bay, winds began accelerating in velocity and the bay waters had already been stirred up by the wind and ebb current as this lovely race boat blasted upwind with port rail in the water.

We could see some fleets heading downwind and others heading upwind so we sailed main only toward the leeward mark and starting line of the Stone Cup, soon being passed by the J105 boats, like this one, heading upwind after rounding the leeward mark.

Some of the J105 boats were headed right for us at one point, but we were already moving out of their way, and they were never as close as this shot might suggest-- zoom lens, remember.

Meanwhile, some of the IRC fleet boats were headed for the finish line of the first race, like ENCORE here, looking good!

I should remember the distinctive name of this boat heading downwind with her unique spinnaker design-- oh, yes-- now I remember: Phantom Mist, I'm pretty sure is her name. She's looking good also!

GRACE DANCES, a J120 that a friend of mine crews on, was also heading for the finish line under spinnaker.

DAVENU, another J120, was flying jib and spinnaker as she headed for the finish line.

These two J120s crossed the finish line and were here dousing their kites.

I should remember the name of this boat in the IRC fleet also, but it won't come to me -- but she is looking good as she approaches the finish line.

We were heading toward the cityfront and watched as the IRC fleet started the second race with these lovely boats heading right toward us at this point with crews on the rails to balance the boat, but still well-heeled-over.

This race boat in particular was looking great as she blasted upwind with port rail almost submurged at times.

Here, four of the IRC fleet were blasting upwind, all of them looking great!

A bit later, we caught ALCHEMY heading downwind with kite flying and on starboard tack at this point.

Here, her crew is preparing to gybe-- a somewhat difficult maneuver in strong winds-- with foredeck crew preparing to pull the asymmetrical kite around the furled jib on the forestay.....

... but the kite takes a giant twist in the process of gybing and the foredeck crewmen are straining to untwist it....

...which they eventually succeed in doing so that they are looking good and continuing to blast downwind on port tack now.

A bit later, we spot the J120 fleet heading upwind after their start of the second race, and here is MR. MAGOO blasting upwind with crew on the rail but lots of bottom showing.

This might be GRACE DANCES blasting toward us as we are heading up to get out of the way of the fleet.

Whichever of the J120s she is, she has starboard rail in the water and sends up blasts of spray as she storms through the wind waves as both wind and wave increase in ferocity.

Here, TWIST is sending up a big blast of spray.

This J120 looks great as she blasts upwind in the heavily white-capped sea...

... as does this one.

Now, with the J120 fleet past us, we decided to head for home port as the wind and wave were too strong for comfort and ANTICIPATION was taking blasts of spray all over the boat, threatening my camera and it was just no fun out there under those conditions. We sailed into the lee of pier 27 since a cruise ship was tied up at pier 35 and doused the main there and then motored into the teeth of wind and wave with some ebb assist until we rounded pier 35 were in quiet waters again.
After landing and tying up, we went down the pier to visit with Dan, a neighbor with an Islander 36 race boat that had been out racing. They quit the race to rescue a smaller boat that had been dismasted in the hellish winds, towing them into port by the Golden Gate YC.

We then went out to the end of pier 39 to watch and photograph more of the racing from the safety of 'land', soon spotting this small race boat beginning to look a bit rocky....

... and then starting to broach.

Here is a video clip of the boat crew's attempt to recover from the broach.

Here HOWL is blasting upwind, which another smaller race boat is blastign downwind with kite flying.

Due to the strong winds, most of the race boats heading upwind had to depower the main, letting it luff up, like here to avoid being overpowered with too much heel and thus losing speed-- letting the jib do the upwind powering of the boat which is its main function anyway.

A bit later, we spot the leaders of the J105 fleet heading downwind with kites flying like this one....

...and this group of boats.

Here, STEWBALL is heading downwind with kite flying while a 1D35 boat is blasting upwind.

The boats of the J105 fleet continue to flash past, the crew all somewhat tense, I imagine, in the strong winds, in contrast to being relaxed when flying downwind with light winds where little or nothing can go wrong.

The portion of the J105 fleet that was further out on the bay, closer to Alcatraz, were somewhat misted out like this boat.

DESDEMONA was looking good as she passed us.

We continued watching the racing action until we caught this shot of SCORPIO heading upwind and then we went back to ANTICIPATION to download the photos and then take a nice nap.

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