By Paige Brooks
8 August, 2011: San Francisco Bay showed her true form today and sorted the wheat from the chaff in some of the fleets when a 28 knot breeze came up at 1400 today over the entire Radial fleet and Masters fleet, some racing and some on their way out to race. As the safety boats were out in force, there were more than a few capsizes, which is not unusual in Laser sailing, but everyone and their boats came out unscathed...so far a least. As I write at 1700, the racing continues.
The day started with a Southwesterly breeze, causing a delay for the Grand and Great Grand Radial Masters sailors, as the RC waited for the wind to settle and when it did, it came right up to a steady 15 knots. Radial Grand Master Louis Barrios (MEX), in 10th after four races, said “this is San Francisco: Strong wind, cold water, and lots of current!” Today’s first races were in flood tide, which means many competitors come toward the shore for relief, coincidentally just off the deck of the St. Francis Yacht Club. Cheering and heckling is par for the course from the competitors on shore for any sailor who comes close to the Club. One of the delights of this fleet is the great camaraderie of the sailors, some who only see each other at these annual worlds events. Bruce Martinson (USA) and Robert Lowndes (AUS) won the first and second races of the day today in the Grand Radial Masters.
On the North Course, racing started on time and was flukey for the Standard Apprentices and Grand Masters with big lefties, according to Standard Grand Master Peter Vessella (USA, StFYC) who finished the day in second over all. “I have to struggle upwind, but my downwind speed salvaged my races,” Vessella said. He competes in Lasers, Stars, and Etchells has a good feel for wind and waves on the Bay, but watched Australian Colin Dibb manage to get by him downwind in both races. The fun race for him was his last race of the day, when he, Dibb and Wolfgang Gerz (GER) duked it out downwind to the leeward mark. “We had a great downwind duel - the three of of us - all the way down, and he (Dibb) just got by us at the mark.” Mark Bethwaite, (AUS) and Colin Dibb (AUS) won the two Grand Masters races today.
While the scores have not been finalized as of this writing for the Standard Masters, it looks like Brett Beyer (AUS), who just “aged in” had a good day with a win in the last race and a first around the top mark in his first race, according to reports from the racers. Beyer was nearly unbeatable in the apprentice fleet, and is truly working out to be a menace in the Masters. “Too fit for 45,” said one competitor.
Races Five and Six are set for 1100 Tuesday; Wednesday will be a lay day for the fleet.
pix by Chris Ray www.crayivp.com
Additional photos at www.chucklantz.com
Updated on May 17, 2013, 5:39pm