Dark and Stormy Racing

A day to photograph 100 percent and not worry about trim—although waving the opportunity to work the mainsail in front of me almost framed things differently. Thankfully talent from the core crew stepped forward; rain check on that offer please?

Easy Breezy
With plenty of time to spare, we’re off the docks at Golden Gate Yacht Club and setting sails. Pre-start milling gives the chance to check wind and water, determine startline position. The crew notes a definite low pressure patch closer to shore. In deadpan, with tones similar to our former governor Ahnold, “It’s not the place to be unless we want to rest,” so we tack and turn a bit northwest, dodge Zamazaan, watch for Double Digits. Flags are raised and the bow calls course four. Skipper and main trimmer raise three fingers and gently correct him, “No, course three.” Smiles all around, a few one liners and a reminder about fake facts.

We’re off--fleets running a straight line toward Golden Gate Bridge. The boat is to the north of many boats, which gives me opps to snap shots of USA 76 along the shore as she passes others rounding a different buoy. Coming up on our mark, bow preps for the set. It’ll be close with boats ahead, inward of us and behind. Gybe and poof—up she goes and skipper fills the red chute. Three boat lengths from the mark and I’m watching Cento Miglia take a hit, Argo just ahead taking time to set, Sapphire still perfecting things—we’ve got a zig zag left-right path of boats heading east and west at one another.

Once out of the fray, the crew settles into the haul downwind. It’s masterful handling of asym and helm with only a few dips and runs in the water for the lower spinny edge. We’re keeping ahead of Mudshark and creeping up and on Argo and Ohana dueling it out below Alcatraz. Can’t Touch This, Twisted then Gentoo zip by opposite direction on our port. At Blossom Rock it’s sights on Greg’s rainbow spinny. Boats are upright and bunching up. Only overlap is with Hawkeye astern—for a few seconds. Soon all are within Grey Poupon distance. As our boat rounds and hauls in headsail, I’m watching the bird boat stretch its blue and white wing à la Bob Fosse. Our bow is all grins and yells, “Look back. I know the bowman! Did you get that shot?”

True to form, it was a dark and stormy day on San Francisco Bay at the Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta.

True to form, it was a dark and stormy day on San Francisco Bay at the Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta.

Final leg back toward the GGYC harbor opening and it’s trim and trim. A solid race if you ask me. The crew says it was not one of their best, then I recall a comment pre-race, “We’re either in the penthouse or the doghouse.”

I’m watching the bird boat stretch its blue and white wing à la Bob Fosse

Batman’s Acceptance Speech
It’s not midwinters without hot lunch and beers at the club house, and GGYC does things top notch. Sitting with crew at the big oval table gives a chance for conversation, so while we’re waiting for trophy presentation the topic is brought up, “Did you hear what HE tweeted this morning?” Roll of eyes, etc. The best response, “I hear HE stole parts of his acceptance speech from the movie ‘Batman.’ ” Album of photographs from the race may be viewed here.