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2014 3 Bridge Fiasco: There Can Be Only 1 Winner


  • 2014 3 Bridge Fiasco: There Can Be Only 1 Winner

    357 shorthanded boats set out Saturday for a 21 nm tour of SF Bay. No big deal right?

    Wrong. The 2014 edition of the Single Handed Sailing Society's annual 3 Bridge Fiasco is one which
    will go down in infamy. Not because of snotty weather, freezing temperatures, pouring rain, hail or sleet.
    Not because too much wind or too cold. None of those. It was the wind. Or the lack there of.

    With many boats circling the starting area off the Golden Gate YC in the pre race hours before the 1st gun and the 1st 9:00 start of
    Cal 20's Can o Whoopass and Green Dragon rating 273, enjoying a nice 8-10 knot easterly and moved quite nicely in the
    building ebb, all looked well. The zephyr, which would slowly wane until the the last boat, Peter Stoneberg's Prosail 40' Shadow rating -99 crossed the line 7 minutes past 11:00AM offered the boats many options, none of which were very good.

    The early birds, which got the proverbial worm and the most breeze, had the best choices, and the wisest of them all were to cross the ebb of the Central Bay 1st and utilize what wind there was and try to get to the tide relief of the Berkeley shoals and then get up to Red Rocks and hopefully get some of the forecast NW winds before the tide got to strong.

    Richard Vonhrenkrook and Hana Bauguess on the Cal 20' Can O Whoopass made just that decision and looked golden, well ahead of the fleet as they exited Raccoon Straits, all looked ripe for the picking. With a bit of luck and some left over offshores, life would be grand!

    *( Read how The Can's remainder of the day went)

    A tad bit further back, John Collins & Mike Corleone, one of 10 J-22's racing in this years 3BF had enjoyed a bit of a kite run up to Stuart Point where they were greeted with vanishing winds and ever increasing ebb.

    Back on the City Front most boats hugged the waterfront looking for pockets of current eddy and a way to sneak past the building ebb:

    Geoff Mcdonald @ Scott Sellers on another J-22, Fritz Jewitt bask in the bright sun and mellow breeze on the City Front

    The Princess Cruise Ship "Aurora" arrived at Pier 35 right on schedule, and presented the fleet additional challenges;

    "I decided to try for Red Rock first, and we headed north in company with a few other boats. This put us on a collision course with the cruise ship as it came in, so we tacked to port and paralleled it as it went by. We were the recipients of the 5 blasts that BobJ called out on the radio, but they came from the escorting tug that was directly behind us, about 100 yards to starboard of the ship. We certainly didn't impede the ship and got out of the way of the tug in plenty of time, so I didn't feel guilty enough to retire."

    ~Mad Max~

    Marianne Armand & Julia Siudyla on the Merit 25 "Bandido" brighten up the morning as they pass by!

    Melges 20's sporting the next generation, Erik Shampain @ Stephanie Roble on "Kuai" above and
    Liam Kilroy & Steve Hunt onboard "Wildman" below

    Another option was the Cone. Which appeared to be genius for a while:

    But the solid 2 knot ebb and lack of breeze made getting around a near impossible task.

    Across the distance Steve Brown & Charles Meyer on the Tuna 22' "Sunny Day" appeared to be making fantastic
    time along the southern edge of Angel Island, and even past Point Blunt. But when we caught up the mirage quickly evaporated.
    "We got swept out the Gate and decided early not to take chances and threw in the towell" said Steve.

    Which proved to be a wise move, as dozens of other boats played yo-yo with the wind and ebb eddy
    near Lime Point on the North side of the Golden Gate after choosing to round Blackaller Buoy 1st.

    Peter Stoneberg was the last starter of the day and was rewarded with the lightest of air and ended up in the same situation
    as boats who left even early, to complicate matters, his outboard starter rope broke when leaving the dock earlier and that left him and Kyle Gunderson and the Prosail 40 in a bit of a jam:

    [I]"What a beautiful day for fishing, golf, sunbathing, etc, etc. A little tough for sailing.

    We started at 11:07, took the ebb towards Blackaller in 5-7 knots with our gennaker up, got around Blackaller in fine shape, then fell into a wind hole and river of ebb trying to get around the rocks at the North tower. The ebb pushed us hard toward the rocks and with no wind to help us escape we had to retire. Darn.


    Peter (Shadow)

    Meanwhile back on the City Front, many a boat dropped the ground tackle after the fun meter started running in reverse and just a fortunate few
    managed to avoid the bumper boats and gelcoat cracking along the concrete walls of Pier 39 and Aquatic Park:

    "I was able to break free from the crowd @ Pier 39 and rejoined 3-4 early starter Moore 24 @ TI for another drift fest. We finally broke free and I passed that crowd at OC-F. Had a quick conversation with Dark and Stormy who was running with an A2 from Red Rock and looking good with no other CW boat in sight. Got to lead the CCW pack around Red Rock and up to the entrance to Raccoon Straight. Got stopped by the building flood and the chasing pack snuck around along with the the Class 40 Condor. We all worked our way up the shore of Angel Island. I got back in the lead with one Moore still on my hip who was practically touching the shore. @ 6PM I was in the last nook along Angel Island trying to break out of Raccoon. No wind in sight all the way to the Golden Gate. The Moore 24s dropped out and I finally pulled the plug, Condor the same shortly after. I guess I should have gone CW with D&S !"

    Greg Nelsen
    Azzura 1000

    Scott Nelson & Warren Pelz of Lowly Worm 2.0, Pete Trachy & Sarah Deeds in the foreground are 2 of the 4 lucky Moores which
    succeed in crossing the T.I.-S.F. strait early on. The Moore 24 fleet was 33 boats strong for the 3BF!

    Meanwhile, elsewhere on the course "Poor decisions were made"
    Patrick Lewis
    e-27' Summer Palace

    ...and after quite some time bobbing in the lee of Angel Island smacking stone flies, it was time to crack a cold one...
    Photo: Small Craft Advisory/ Bags

    California Condor taking the great circle route around Yerba Buena / Treasure Island. Buzz Blackett and Jim Antrim
    would go on to almost finishing. After a massive round of retiring boats from 3:00 PM til sunset, California Condor was one of just a handful
    with a chance of finishing before the 19:00 deadline. Rod Hegebols and Jonathan Hunt finished 9 minutes before the cutoff on the 1D35 "Dark and Stormy".

    Thats just 1 boat finishing before the deadline. 1 boat.

    As Peter Stoneberg said in the 2014 3 Bridge Fiasco Thread :

    Another boat was listed DSQ with no running lights (ouch). Many others were still racing, but hit the time limit. Now they must know how ETNZ felt hitting the time limit 500M before winning the AC.

    Congratulations Rod and Jonathan!!! You win the "Never Say Die" award.

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