Cat Fight One is in the Bag!
By Bryan Paine March 30, 2017
On the weekend of March 25, 2017, a stacked fleet of sixteen F18’s, a Nacra 20, Carbon 20, and two A Cats raced in the Great Pacific off of Mission Beach, San Diego. The race committee did an excellent job, managing to pull off a trapezoid on Saturday followed by a windward leeward course on Sunday with several races having boats finish just seconds apart. Most of the teams are campaigning for this year’s highly anticipated America’s in Long Beach, September 5th-9th. Word on the street is that we could see over 100 F18’s at ABYC in September and even more are forecasted to face off Sarasota, FL next October for Worlds.
Tricky conditions on Saturday had teams searching for pressure and juggling different modes with waves bigger than the shifty westerly. The occasional kelp patches spiced things up, especially when teams had to sail directly into them just seconds after the start. The typical San Diego game plan is to play the right, but the left seemed to trump most of the weekend with the combination of ebbing current and better pressure.
On Sunday, Mother Nature provided the fleet with a 5-10 knot westerly with 3-4 foot rollers. The left side of the course was a safe bet both upwind and downwind all day. Teams were surfing down the waves so fast that they would run out of their apparent wind. Travis Vetter managed to convince a good number of sailors to carry their phones so that they could compare tracking notes via Race Q’s after the race.
Rolex Yachtsman of the year, Bill Hardesty, and his Echelles World Champion wife, Mandi Hardesty, had an extra gear over the rest of the fleet all weekend, squeaking out last year’s winners Steve Stroebel and Matt Morris by four points.
The future of the fleet looks bright, competitive and inclusive as we have lots of new young talent, an America’s Cup designer and America’s Cup skipper looking to get into the fleet in the near future. Lots of exciting events to looks forward to and great competition to be had.