Mooretician stretched an unreal, close to - 20 minute lead - over the rest of the Moore fleet to take the monohull overall victory in the DHF. Peter, your ocean skills are crazy.
Saturday gave us amazing #1 conditions all the way to the islands, 6-15 kts all day. Has this ever happened before?! The wind backed to westerly, making it an unusually long upwind leg, but full of shifts to be played. The ebb was massive, and we came back with the tail end of the flood. No epic surfing, but epic views of the islands. 6 Moores sailed -Mooretician, Snafu, Topper II, Foamy, Incognito, and Oxymoron.
Great to see everyone! Next trip out the gate in two weeks - DHL.
Race Report by Peter:
When boats get spread out on the racecourse and you lose sight of your competition, you never have a true sense of your standing in a race. It’s not until you see the results posted that you find out how well you really performed. That’s how the DHF was for us and the end result was better than we ever thought.
Full disclosure - we were a minute late to our start. I started my countdown timer on the previous class' four minute signal and was setting up for a pin end start at Mark X when it hit me like a ton of bricks. The gun goes off and there go five Moores across the start line. Sh#! - not the way to start a race. The fleet quickly tacked to port to get into the favored ebb tide in center of the Bay. Seeing this, we continued to sail on starboard until we were well clear of the port tack fleet and only then did we tack out. This strategy worked in our favor because the port tackers were now headed while we were lifted. We made our first big gains against the other Moores by favoring the southern side of the Bay. After a few more tacks, and now close to the Golden Gate Bridge, we had pulled ahead of Snafu and Topper II. Topper II tacked closer to the South Tower and beat us under the bridge by a few boat lengths. I was okay with that. Snafu was just behind us and to leeward.
The strong ebb flushed us out of the Bay and into the ocean. We managed to stay high on starboard tack, pointing high enough to skirt along the south entrance channel markers without any tacks after passing under the GG bridge. Many of boats were significantly south of us by the time we reached the first channel marker. Despite the light (~5kt) breeze, the strong ebb enabled us to reach the SF Approach buoy (~10 miles offshore) in only an hour and 45 minutes. The seas were a little lumpy untilwe reached the distinctive point where the water becomes visibly darker and the seas flattened out.
The weather forecast had called for 5-10 knots of breeze from the west. The wind was from the west, but it was oscillating 20+ degrees, and we knew that a fetch to the island was not in the cards. Neither was going to the north. It was going to take lots of tacking, smart tacking, to take advantage of the shifts. While Roe became very proficient at reading the GPS to determine the favored tack to the island, I just kept the boat moving. Boats were spread out all over the course at this point so we kepttabs on the heading of the boats in front of us to see if a persistent shift was working its way to us. The significant first left hand shift came through and we witnessed many of boats to the south of us tack on the shift, including California Condor, well ahead of us. The breeze went right again and when we eventually reached Condor's layline it didn't look to us like the shift was paying for them so we kept going on starboard. We did eventually tack on some of the more persistent lefties but always went back as soon as we were headed on port tack.
As we got closer to the Southeast Farallon Island we could clearly see the rocks to the north of our turning mark that make up the scraggly looking Middle Farallon, and more rounded North Farallon and the Isle of St. James. Southeast Farallon and Maintop Island were green and surprising free of the usual guano stench. We picked a layline that took us toward the center of the rock pile, tacking approximately 0.5 miles short to make sure we didn’t overstand the island on our next tack. Once we reached the NE tip of Maintop we were able to ease the sheets and work our way around the west side of the island. It was my first time sailing the entire upwind leg to the Farallones on the Moore with a #1! The hard work was done.
On the way back in we reached up to the north on a port pole, generally headed toward Mt. Tam. At about the SF Approach Buoy we looked back and saw dark clouds coming so were expecting another left shift to come through. It eventually showed up and we gybed onto starboard for the final approach to Gate. Motorcycle Irene was hot on our heels at this point so we were motivated to try to keep her behind us until we finished. We were mostly successful until they passed us abeam of the St. Francis YC.
As I look back on the race, I attribute most of our success to spending much of our day focusing on compass heading/VMG to the Farallones. We didn’t have any rip-roaring reaches or downwind runs on the way back to the finish as in many other years, but Roe and I enjoyed another fantastic race and were extremely pleased that the challenging upwind efforts payed off.
Hope to see several Moore boats out for the Double-handed Lightship race on April 7.