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This post appeared in the November 20 edition of electronic Latitude 38
San Francisco J/125 crew “Double Trouble” recently wrapped up a last practice day together before they travel east to Quantum Key West Race Week and the Conch Republic Regatta to Cuba. A signature San Fran send-off was delivered—4 knot winds on Saturday and mid-20 knots with gusts to 40 on Sunday.
Boat partner Peter Krueger has a history of training top crews for competition in significant regattas around the world. “We have taken advantage of the West Coast’s racing opportunities and look forward to pitting our skills against the finest the East Coast has to offer. The race to Cuba will be memorable, giving us a chance to experience the country, its people and the splendors of the island. Noah Weissich, James Clappier and boat captain Andy McCormick hauled-out the boat earlier this week. She’s getting a paint job, then Andy will truck her across the U.S. at the end of December. The entire crew and their wives, plus guest skipper Justin Kromelow from the J/70 “Loose Lucy,” will arrive in Florida mid-January. We’ll get in practice, then hit the water running.”
Quantum Key West Race Week is first with racing January 18 to 23. The Conch Republic Regatta is significant in that it heralds the United States’ return to legally permit limited boat travel to Cuba. Regatta routes will take fleets between the U.S. and Cuba, as well as the coastline for host cities Varadero and Havana. Five days of scheduled races start January 28 and end February 5.
The J/125 “Double Trouble” is a 4-time ROLEX San Francisco Big Boats champion with numerous additional Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay buoy racing wins. The crew is comprised of 11 lifelong sailors whose combined number of sailing years tallies more than 300. The program is privately funded by boat owners Krueger and Andy Costello. Krueger helms buoy events and Costello, who plans to compete in the 2016 Pacific Cup, favors ocean competition.
"Double Trouble" Yacht Racing Facebook page
If you are a native San Francisco Bay racer you know that just because it’s warm and docile one day on the water, this does not necessarily mean the next day will be a repeat. Similar to the flex in temps seen in the area (a recent weekend witnessed sunny 79-degrees one day, then a cool and wet 40-degree the next), change is a constant.
“Double Trouble,” the winning San Francisco J/125 yacht that one J/Boats editor has tagged as ‘famously fast,’ held a two-day practice session line of sight the Richmond Yacht Club this past weekend (November 14, 15). The session marked the last time the crew can practice together on the vessel before the boat is dunked in Atlantic waters at Quantum Key West Race Week, January 17 - 23, followed by the Conch Republic Regatta to Cuba.
Saturday’s practice was a slow crawl rounding temp buoys strategically placed by the crew’s marks boat. Initial helm by Peter Krueger, co-owner of the boat (Andy Costello is the second owner), took the boys on a navigation up and around with a focus on nailing each marks’ entry and exit. Starting off the day in 4-knots winds permitted a bit of momentum round the course. Seventy-five minutes into the practice and Krueger handed off the wheel to guest skipper Justin Kromelow, owner of J/70 “Loose Lucy” (Kromelow will make the East Coast trek with “Double Trouble”).
Sunday was a different weather story. With dock time a repeat 11am, and predictions of 30-knot winds on the course, the crew opted for long pants and jackets as opposed to shorts and light jackets. NOAA offered, “WINDS...NORTHWEST SUSTAINED WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS BETWEEN 40 AND 55 MPH.”
The crew banged about for two hours before conditions reached the upper threshold for a practice day. A final sprint on a northbound run to the Richmond Bridge and back was followed by a headsail drop made closer to land. Despite the winds, a quick hoist to top ‘o mast was made by bowman James Clappier, who executed a double check on rigging before the mainsail was lowered and flaked.
Bill Helvestine's Santa Cruz 50 "Deception" crew makes a sail change look easy. Shooting across San Francisco Bay at the Great Pumpkin Regatta in October, the scramble keeps four on the fore moving quickly on a 17 - 20 percent heel. Perfection.
The racing was tight all three days; no boat won more than one race. "Shenanigans" prevailed, taking the trophy away from a fleet of 22 other competitors. Race results at http://express27.org/schedule/428
View full photo album at http://www.renegadesailing.com/express-27-nationals.html
Amongst the many New England shoreline regattas that occur during the summer months, it is the vintage wooden yacht events that draw the graceful lines and full tall sails. The Herreshoff Classic Yacht Rendezvous & Regatta, a two-day competition on the waters of the Narragansett, hosted various divisions, including starts for "S" class and 12 Metre—both Herreshoff builds.
Yet from a strong fleet of local racers within the CRF Class A (Classic Rating Formula), it was an invading British vessel that caused upset, claiming the silver trophy at Saturday’s competition. “The Blue Peter,” helmed by owner Mathew Barker, nudged out Tim Rutter’s “Marilee” by just over four minutes and Gerald Rainer’s “Falcon” by six minutes.
As appearing in Classic Yacht magazine:
“The Blue Peter” was designed by Alfred Mylne and built by W. King & Sons of Burnham-on-Crouch. Although launched in 1930, her hull features teak brought from Thailand in 1870. Lore has it that in 1938, first owner Desmond Molins of London, an engineer famed for inventing the automated rolling process for cigarettes and inventor of one of the earliest roller furling systems for sailing yachts, decided that he wished to sail a bigger boat. Rather than replacing with another yacht, “The Blue Peter” was lengthened by approximately ten feet: her bow was extended by six feet in order to meet the head stay after the bowsprit was removed, and three feet were added to her stern.
Named for good luck at sail, “The Blue Peter” gives a nod to the regatta circuit P flag which is hoisted as the preparatory signal to start a race. The flag displays a white rectangle on field of blue. Whether it be naming foresight, lines of the vessel, acumen of helm and crew, or combinations thereof, her winning pedigree remains true to this day. Helmed by Molins and sailing out of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Burnham-on-Crouch, her first 20 years on the course garnered wins in more than 50 races that took place in and around the south coast of England. Read full article in September/October edition of Classic Yacht Magazine, pages 10-11, 18-19, 74-78, 114.