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2024 DH Farallones: Taming The Beast!


  • 2024 DH Farallones: Taming The Beast!

    The Doublehanded Farallones Race was a true test of mettle this year, dishing out 25-35 knots of southerly storm winds, which gradually turned offshore, meaning that it was sort of a reverse Farallones race – off the wind on the way to the island, and upwind on the way back. Boats that were able to reduce sails and remain in control found that they had a record-fast sail out to the island in rough conditions, but had a slower return back against the wind. The winds eventually turned light inside the bay, and late returners had a beat back to the finish inside the bay, against the new ebb.

    We had 43 boats registered. The Doublehanded Farallones Race was the first offshore race with the new 2024 offshore equipment requirements, which now includes a requirement for an AIS transponder. To smooth the transition, boats had the option to register for this year’s race with “any Jibeset-supported tracker”, which included satellite-based trackers and the cellphone-based Traccar Client app. However, that was hardly necessary. In the end, 39 of 43 boats had AIS transponders. It was clear that many boats had freshly installed their new AIS transponders just ahead of the race.

    Continuing with our focus on safety, BAMA conducted equipment inspections of a randomly selected set of boats before the start of the race from the race committee dinghy, asking each boat to show that they had various required safety equipment on board. We are happy to report that all boats had their gear in order. The race committee dinghy also handed out the commemorative DHF 2024 six-pack coolers to each boat.

    Jack Peurach / John Duncan
    Farr X2 Shake And Bake
    image Slackwater

    Given the strong forecast, 10 boats elected not to start this year. Several boats turned back once they saw the conditions offshore, and there were equipment breakages. The worst one was the Farr X2 monohull Shake & Bake, which dismasted outside the Farallones. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. They were able to secure the broken mast on deck, and motored back on their own to inside the Golden Gate. Among other boats, there were reports of a broken bowsprit, lost battens, a lost mast top antenna, various other lost gear washed overboard, motor problems, and various radio and tracker problems. Still, racers tackled these challenges well. Out of 33 starters, 21 boats finished. Pretty impressive for one of the roughest Doublehanded Farallones Races in recent memory! And everybody returned back safely at the end of the day.

    In terms of results (see, the ULDB 2 class (Express 27s, Moore 24s and similar) had the most finishers, with all but one starter finishing the race. Well done!

    Rufus Sjoberg / Ian Rogers
    J-125 Rufless

    And it was a very quick race overall – near record-breaking territory. First to finish, in the ULDB 1 fleet, was the J/125 Rufless, with Rufus Sjoberg and Ian Rogers, finishing the course in just 5 hours 57 minutes and 33 seconds. That is just the third time that a monohull has finished in under 6 hours in the history of the race (since 1980)! The two previous monohull finishers under two hours were the Santa Cruz 70 Mongoose in 1992 (the overall monohull record-holder), and the Owen Clarke Open 50 Truth in 2012.

    Elliott James / Kyle Vanderspek
    Mancebo 31 Bloom County

    However, the overall winner on corrected time, also in the ULDB 1 fleet, was the Mancebo 31 Bloom County, with Elliott James and Kyle Vanderspek, finishing with a corrected time of 6 hours 59 minutes and 3 seconds. Correcting out under seven hours is so rare that we refer to it as the “seven hour barrier” for corrected time. No monohull has been under seven hours in detailed records going back to 1998, so this is a truly rare feat, although not quite a race record. The race record was set in 1992 with the Formosa 41 ketch Valkyrie.

    Sergei Podshivalov / Frank Van Diggelen
    Sunfast 3300 Sun Dragon

    In the Mono 2 fleet, the Cal 40 Shaman, with Barton Hackworth and Ron Tostenson, corrected out in 7 hours, 0 minutes and 38 seconds for the win - very close to Bloom County’s time, and they were also faster than any other monohull in race records dating back to 1998. In the Mono 1 fleet, the Sunfast 3300 Sun Dragon, with Sergei Podshivalov and Frank Van Diggelen, corrected out in 7 hours 3 minutes and 25 seconds for the win. All very fast finish times!

    Alex Simanis / Kurt Lahr
    Point Bonita 27' Pell Mell

    In the ULDB 2 fleet, the Pt Bonita 27 Pell Mell, with Alex Simanis and Kurt Lahr, corrected out in 7 hours 19 minutes and 15 seconds for the win, just ahead of the Moore 24 Oxymoron.

    Mark Eastham / John Donovan
    Corsair F 31 Ma's Rover

    In the multihull fleet, we only had one finisher, the Corsair F-31 Ma’s Rover, with Mark Eastham and John Donovan, finishing in 6 hours 28 minutes and 23 seconds, and correcting out at 7 hours 22 minutes and 7 seconds – a very good result. Ma’s Rover has previously posted the fastest multihull elapsed time and corrected time three times each, and this year’s result was just two minutes slower than their win in the 2016 race.

    We had the last finisher back at 7:14 PM, the Express 27 Ergo, marking the third year in a row with very early finish times. We did have one boat remaining on course at sunset, but they eventually gave up and motored back in against the current.

    Truls Myklebust
    Bay Area Multihull Association


    Started full main and jib top, sorta light but the boat powers up easily and any thought of kite was extinguished due to angle and not being able to carry long enough.

    Outside the gate confused seas from many directions, Alex took the helm at Bonita and easily averaged 11.5 reaching with more gas available but launching off waves when we pushed hard. It seemed like the PM knew she was home and wanted to show her stuff.

    Three miles from the rocks (1130-1200) breeze built to 30 as the front rolled through. Reefed the main, got to the islands and breeze continued to build. Dropped the jib top in conditions gusting to 40 and hit 14.6 under reefed main only with my fat arse on the bow.
    Thumbs up to the CG chopper while I was up there, nice to have them looking out (didn’t know about the Farr at that time). Alex gave over the helm and went and put the dacron three reefed to a 4 on deck by the time we got to the North end.

    Turned upwind as the front had clocked things left and began wondering if we could do it in that breeze and sea state or would we be headed to Tomales Bay. Wasn’t comfortable to the body power squatting for balance with one arm wrapped around the stanchion as waves would hit abeam and push you on your side, but 5.5 min boat speed was enough to keep the miles clicking off.

    Wind started backing down to 25 a couple miles beyond the Lightbucket. Boatspeed continued to improve the way to just inside Bonita where it got light, reefs were shaken and then 5 or 6 tacks to the finish.
    Finishing in daylight was great, the rain, the crazy seas and the gusts into the 40’s meh. Great day testing new boat and personal gear and such a killer, forgiving and fast boat Alex has.

    Kurt Lahr
    Point Bonita 27' 27' Pell Mell

    Less than ideal start. Wind was down 5-10 kts right at our start time, so all the sudden we were in zero conditions. Frantically got the zero up and proceeded to reach out the gate.

    Massive ebb helped get us out quickly. We ended up zero reaching about half way to the island, that Doyle cable less code zero is an amazing sail.... We were were really scooting 10-15 kts with windspeed in the low 20s until it got too windy to lay the island and we had to take it down approx halfway there.

    I have never had the boat so airborne before, launching off a wave the wrong direction with the zero up doing 13+. Peeled to j3. We hit 18.7 rounding the island with just a main and j3.

    Never have given the islands so much room because the waves looked so nasty. Waves were breaking all the way over the northern island that I could see. We rounded the island clockwise, a first for me. Then it was a big slog at like 60 twd to get back in.
    A big squall rolled in right after we rounded. Rain and wind so strong it was stinging our faces and eyes. Several huge breakers over the boat with the southerly swell. I have never been concerned with the main ripping in half due to the waves breaking halfway up the mast before.

    Really glad I installed some more foot chaulks in the cockpit sole the day before the race. I had to grab Kyle by the harness a couple times when the boat heeled over close to 90 in the swell, to the point where he was going to fall into the cockpit because he had the tiller in one hand and mainsheet in the other so no hand to hold himself to the boat.

    Jokingly, we called the trimmer the seat belt position, holding the Skipper down lol. Beat back slowly saw wind die from 30s to high teens. Winds went east and light right after Pt Bonita so we peeled to the j1 and tacked our way back to GGYC in a ripping flood.

    Elliott James

    Mancebo 31' Bloom County

    Oh a few other adds,
    Saw lots of man of war jellies, many of them washed up in odd places on the deck. Lost our Windex at some point in a wave and ripped our very well used ao sheets cover, our only failures. More leaks to track down in the boat and more rebedding in my future.

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