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The Sarcoma Cup on Boracic Open 5.70

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  • The Sarcoma Cup on Boracic Open 5.70

    Tight racing all weekend in the Open 5.70 Class at the Sarcoma Cup, father and son
    team Michael and Tyler Gough team up with Nik Vale and won the 13 boat class, never placing less than 4th in the 5 races.

    Tyler Gough reports:

    It was classic summer weather this weekend. The fog so low in the morning it was blanketing us as we were coming over the Richmond bridge, and then clear all the way into the city front by the afternoon. The wind was little more than someone blowing through a straw in the morning, but by the middle of the afternoon we had a nice stiff bay breeze blowing through the Berkeley Circle through the gap between Angel Island and Alcatraz.

    Coming off of a successful weekend over on the city front the weekend before at the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s Open 5.70 West Coast Invitational Regatta, we had high hopes for the Sarcoma Cup, which to skipper Michael Gough’s surprise was also the Open 5.70 Pacific Coast Championships. The competition was also going to be a lot stiffer this week with a half a few boats from Southern California making the journey up north for the race - we’d have quite few more boats to keep an eye on.

    After buzzing the committee boat, kite flying, to check in for the morning we held our now seemingly traditional race meeting over our a bottle of Vitamin Water. We, more precisely Nik and Michael, decided that the focus was going be, in this case wind first, and finding it amongst the rather dense fleet that would be accompanying us up toward the windward mark. We would play the shits and hope we could continue to sail fast. Our main goal was consistency though. We knew there were a lot of fast boats and that we'd have to sail fast to stay on top of it, but if we wanted to win the regatta -- it was going to take constancy.

    After watching the J105 and Express 27 starts we were a little confused, seeing the lead boats from each fleet favor a different end of the course. A few minutes into our start sequence we decided to grab the pin end of the line, as we got off the line we found ourselves with a few boats between us and the pin -- top 3 of the fleet.

    Starts wouldn't be our friend Sunday, and next to our skipper's amazing jibes, they are on the top of the list for training -- that said, Saturday they were pretty spot on.

    The first race we sailed as quick as we could in the light air, and found Tom Baffico's The Maker the only thing between us and the finish line. We communicated well, and the boat moved well, but we weren't able to touch Tom and his crew. With the light air and slight ebb, each mistake felt compounded, and precision was painstaking to maintain. We'd be crammed at the front of the boat, holding our breath as we limped up the course. Downwind we'd sail as low as possible to find the shortest lane down the course. It was wonderfully nail biting, but not the most exhilarating of experiences.

    The second race was probably our best start of the weekend, finding ourselves on the middle of the course right toward the front of the fleet. We found clean air for the first windward leg. The wind had picked up at this point, and with the ebb tide -- we found ourselves crashing through some decently steep little waves and surfed them back down the course.

    By the third race, the wind was blowing in true bay fashion. The ride up the course was bumpy and healed over, constantly fighting to get the boat to flatten out and point up the course. The fleet was packed up at the front of the race. Shaun Plomteaux on Sonic, Tony Festa on II Havic, Joe Wells on The Rooster, and Tom were all right next to us (as in most of the races that we weren't a mile behind) at the weather mark. Sadly Tom's boat had some issues and wasn't able to continue, a decent stroke of luck for us though, because he probably would have had the regatta otherwise.

    On the final downwind leg we found ourselves close but behind Tony, and knew it'd be a drag race to the finish line. With each jibe Tony would cover, and we'd try and find a clean line. With a few short minutes left in the race we found ourselves ahead, but just barely, and with our final jibe to set for the finish he caught us back and won the race. It was a damn close race, and a damn impressive bullet for Tony.

    So with day two done, we lead the regatta, but nothing was even close to settled. We knew one bad race could ruin us, especially with so many boats so close.

    Day two was about being smooth and persistent. We wanted to race quick and fast, but we didn't want to fall apart on a risky move, or focus too heavily on a single boat. As Nik said at the start of the day, "this is race one." And, with that in mind, we got ready for two more starts.

    The first start was a cluster f@$! to say the least. We were pinned bellow two boats and probably got to the line 6-8 seconds after the gun just to be forced off our course by another boat on starboard. Nik pulled us together though with an, "Ok. Everybody lets just relax". We got the boat moving through the lackluster breeze and started to pick off boats one at a time. At the weather mark there was probably a good 6-7 boats in front of us, and with an almost tragic set where the kite spent some time in the bay, we found ourselves in yet another big breath moment. In the end we crawled our way back through the fleet and found ourselves in 4th. Nothing too impressive, but still a sigh of relief after an almost disaster.

    The final race of the regatta started off similarly to the one before it, but this time there was at least a little more breeze. We were constantly looking for ways to grab a little more lift and possibly grind back places. On the final rounding of the windward mark we were in 5th place, and we knew the key was to have a good patient set. Nik lead us through one more Mister Calm moment as we came around the mark toward the offset, and we all got ready for the last set of the regatta. As we rounded we caught Tony, who was having some shrimping issues on II Havic, and shortly after passed Shaun on Sonic who had also come to a grinding halt in the water with a spinnaker sheet under their rudder. We came in third as we crossed the line, right in front of a three way photo finish for fourth.

    All and all it was a successful weekend. We raced are butts off when we were behind, and took all we could when we got ahead. In the end we were consistent, and made up for our mistakes by limiting them and making ground. But, most of all, it was a really great weekend. I got to race with my dad who I hadn't had the chance to spend time with in ages. Nik was enthusiastic and extremely helpful (especially with explaining things to my novice self), and helped keep our yahoo skipper from getting distracted or clearing the deck of it's crew on his erratic gybes. Hope to see the fleet out in numbers again soon.

    Tyler Gough
    US 186

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