The 2019 Sausalito Yacht Club’s Rear Commodore’s Race started near Point Knox at the southwest corner of Angel Island, took a very short upwind leg to the “Little Harding Rock” buoy, and finished at the Vallejo Yacht Club, about 21 nm up through the North San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. Santa Rosa Sailing Club Commodore David Gray and his son Noel joined Pat Broderick aboard “NANCY” for the race. The competition was three larger racer-cruisers in the spinnaker division. Although “NANCY” only has one sail and no spinnaker, Northern California PHRF rules mandate that we sail in the spinnaker division when we race.
The Start was scheduled for 11:05 near Near Point Knox. Wind was predicted to be SW in the high single digits around start time, about an hour after maximum ebb building into the mid-teens later in the day. That made the short first leg quick and easy, but presented a major problem the first part of the upwind leg through Raccoon Strait and into the North Bay. With the additional runoff from this Winter’s snow, Ebbs are earlier and stronger than predicted in the 2019 Current Booklet. The decision was to sail directly back toward Angel Island on the shoal that exists on its western side, enter Raccoon Strait at Point Stuart, the NW corner of the island, hug the island where there was some relief from the adverse current, then jump across to the North side of the strait about halfway through. The strategy worked and “NANCY” emerged from the east of of Raccoon Strait ahead of the other boats.
The ebb continued to be a problem, however, with the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge the next objective, directly upstream. The decision was to sail to across Upper San Francisco Bay to the east side, take Red Rock Island to port, hug the Richmond shoreline, passing under the east end of the Richmond Bridge near Chevron’s Long Wharf, and continue along the two Navy piers beyond the bridge, then sail between the East Brother Island and Pt. San Pablo before turning into San Pablo Bay. The other boats chose to stay toward the middle and continued to lose ground.
Once into San Pablo Bay, past Point San Pablo, the course was to stay south on the shallows to avoid the ebb in the middle. Point Pinole was the next objective. Since current speeds are different at different times at the Golden Gate and Carquinez Strait the ebb abated and was gradually replaced by the afternoon flood. Watching the scud lines which marked the changing current past Point Pinole, the decision was to cross to the north, toward the entrance to the Mare Island Strait, the mouth of the Napa River. The further up San Pablo Bay, the more the flood began to be felt. Once inside the Mare Island Strait the flood increased, but now aided in pushing the boat upstream toward the Finish Line at the Vallejo Yacht Club. The growing Flood added over a knot to the boat speed. Current can be your friend!
The Finish whistle tweeted at 15:13:23. It took 04:08:23 to sail the 21 nm course. “NANCY” corrected out at 03:58:50, beating the 2nd Place boat by 00:27:59 – almost half an hour. It was an enjoyable race, with very nice reaching conditions across San Pablo Bay, a definite plus for a Wyliecat, and flat water, a definite plus for a light boat. The weather was warm; no foulies needed. Sunscreen was the order of the day. In all it was a near perfect day of sailing with wonderful conditions. Commodore David, Noel, and Pat enjoyed themselves very much. David and Noel chose to return to Santa Rosa after the boats were tied up stern first to the VYC guest dock.
Pat’s Cousin Rick from Napa joined him for the double handed return sail Sunday in nearly identical conditions. The sail home took about the same time in mild, warm wind and cooperating currents. It was one of the best two-day Vallejo weekends for Pat, whose first Vallejo race was in 1971!Also follow us on Facebook and Meetup