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2017 PAC 52 Cup: Delivered In Spades

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  • 2017 PAC 52 Cup: Delivered In Spades

    Day 1 Report:

    Pac 52 Cup 2017
    San Francisco Bay Delivers a Punch

    Opening day on San Francisco Bay for the inaugural Pac52 Cup hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club held back nothing, as boisterous conditions welcomed the fleet of six boats and crews from all points of the globe in spectacular fashion. From the initial gun fired off Treasure Island, winds funneled through the Golden Gate and down the racecourse with reckless abandon.

    “It doesn’t get any better than this”, gleamed both Frank Slootman and Manouch Moshayedi, owners Invisible Hand and Rio, post race, while reliving the day. “We saw winds in the 30 knot range, and had downwind speeds at 25 knots, with really close sailing” Slootman added.

    But all this fun and excitement does not come without some pain. “It was a lot of pressure on the tiller today” Moshayedi explained, the contestant pounding along with the tugging locking up his lower back, forcing him to hand the keys off to the crew while he went ashore after the lengthy Race 1.

    The fleet enjoyed three races inside the Gate during the day, the first of which went all the way from the Treasure Island Starting Area up to Blackaller and back down twice, with a Hollywood finish. Tony Langley’s Gladiator, sailing their first San Francisco event, showed some great upwind speed, rounding the weather right ahead of Karl Kwok’s Team Beau Geste. That lead would evaporate at the bottom, but Gladiator fought back on the second leg, rounding the weather mark neck and neck. The pain continued to be delivered, this time on Gladiator’s first gybe when the bowman got flushed off the bow and the team was forced to retire.

    Other boats would watch their kites explode upon launching, eating up precious time before resetting and rejoining the fleet. The joy as well as the pain was well spread amongst the competitors throughout the day.

    The second and third races were just as boisterous as the first, but mercifully, a tad shorter. The ongoing rivalry between Slootman’s Invisible Hand and Tom Holthus’s Bad Pak was exacerbated during the day, as they both seek the season’s title, each boat keeping close tabs on the other. The Hand had shaken some leftover Rolex Big Boat Series funk in the first race, rounding ahead of Bad Pak before it too had a kite explosion. The boats finished the day with 9 points for Bad Pak and 10 for The Hand. Only the near-perfect Team Beau Geste would finish the day unscathed, bringing three aces to the table for a three-point total.

    The racing continues Saturday, with three races, and will finish Sunday with one long distance challenge.

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    Kites are made for shredding!


    • #3
      Day 2 PAC52 : A Day of Deuces

      On the 2nd Day off the inaugural PAC52 Cup, the SF Bay turned down the volume a couple notches with a short AP display before play resumed, with winds ramping up in the low teens under brilliant sun and pleasant temps.

      With the starting line moved to the west of Alcatraz, and the weather mark just east of the Golden Gate, the RC would fire off 3 course two’s with 1.7nm legs, that would test the teams in 4 lap heats, all encompassing the downhill Hollywood finishes.

      In race 4 it appeared that it would be more of the same, with Beau Geste grabbing an early lead and extending across the race track, to tack on yet another bullet to their collection. The surprise came when RIO with local sailing legend Morgan Larson calling the shots, took a flyer that payed off handsomely and led them to their 2nd deuce of the regatta.

      But changes were coming, including a big shift in wind direction to the left of the course. While the RC wrangled the weather marks into position, things were percolating on some of the boats. Victor Wild’s FOX found a new gear in Race 5, after overnight changes in crew, that led to team captain David Servais moving to the bow, a position he embraces with fervor. The result was dramatic, as FOX stopped dragging their tail and finished 2nd in yet another tightly contested heat, their best finish of the regatta. At the top was again, Beau Geste, which seemly would not be denied.

      Much of Beau Geste's success can be attributed to the solid crew work across the board, but closer a exam in this regatta suggests that the many of the gains come at the weather mark, when slightly more timid skippers may not push the issue. Although a cat one sailor, Harry Dobson, Beau's driver owns his own 52’, the 2007 Mayhem, purchased from Ashley Wolfe a few years back and it is sailed feverishly in his native Auckland, where numerous older generation 52’s enjoy robust seasons of sailing. It’s that ability to really push at the weather mark, to gain the advantage and move up a position or two with remarkable consistency as has been demonstrated throughout this event as well as the Rolex Big Boat Series which proceeded just two weeks back.

      But the shocker of the day occurred in the finale, with Beau Geste taking an OCS and having to return to the starting line while the fleet ambled on ahead. And despite spotting the other teams a generous lead, Beau clawed their way back, and were threatening yet another come from behind win, but could not reel in Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand, which claimed its 1st ace of the event, in a dramatic closer for the afternoon. It is worth mentioning that FOX too, enjoyed another fine race following The Hand and Beau in for a 3 spot, a refreshing change of pace and a great morale booster.

      As we close for the day it is worth noting that BadPak and The Hand are tied for the event, all knotted up at 21 points with tomorrow’s long distance Bay Tour to decide their rivalry for the regatta, Team Beau Geste having already secured the regatta 1st place position.

      Last edited by Photoboy; 10-01-2017, 08:53 AM.
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #4
        PAC 52 CUP Finale: Beau & BadPak Finish On High Note

        As the morning dock off time closed in on Sundays Bay Tour Finale, the previous evening's festivities at the St Francis still lingered in the minds and souls of the multitude of Kiwi sailors participating in the inaugural PAC52 Cup. The countries All Blacks rugby team was on the video screen in a match vs Argentina on Saturday Night, and if there is one thing the Kiwis love more than sailing, it's rugby. And beer. Mix the three together, and you have a happy lot that can party on all night yet rise to the occasion the following day.

        The Noon start off Alcatraz for Sunday's final race of this series was greeted with brisk winds and again, heaps of legendary San Francisco sunshine. On the line, was the grudge match between BadPak and Invisible Hand for the regatta tie 2nd place breaker, Beau Geste's seeking redemption for failing to keep their string of bullets intact, and for other boats, finishing the season strong with hopes of also upsetting Beau's string of success. To become the best, one must beat the best.

        Also on the line was the RC's flag ship, WL Stewart's anchor rode. When the starting gun fired the fleet of 6 saw Rio and Beau fighting for the pin end of the line and The Hand, Gladiator, BadPak and FOX choosing the committee boat end. It was a nice clean start for all, with one exception. FOX had won the RC end with clean air and promise for a great start until things ground to a quick halt, with the committee boat in tow. Remarkably, they quickly doused the headsail, backed down and were back up and running in short order. It's a distance race, still time to recover!

        The course d'jour, # 48, would lead the fleet out the gate to Point Diablo, (or Punta Diablo for our Spanish speaking audience members) back in the gate and east past Alcatraz to the green 1 mark, back up hill to Blackaller, set the kites and blast down to the red 4 mark, then climb back up to a drop mark by Blackaller, then a short downhill blast to finish in front of the club in grand style. 18 or so awesome miles on an awesome autumn afternoon with the San Francisco Bay providing the goods, just like the brochure promised!

        Gladiator led BadPak around the Point Diablo mark with Beau in hot pursuit, and by the time they reentered the bay, Beau had magically found another gear and pushed ahead. The Hand and Rio not far behind, and FOX , undeterred, making up lost time with no quit.

        The Boats spread out across the central bay in 15 to 18 knots of wind, but fell back in line for the leeward mark approach then spread back out headed backup hill. Beau reached the 2nd windward mark with a 20 second delta on Gladiator then BadPak and The Hand then RIO not far behind, with FOX closing their gap even further.

        Another fun blast east this time east of Blunt saw the fleet compress at the bottom again, with The Hand having gained on BadPak only to hand it back with a bad gybe. "We really gave it to them at that point" Frank Slootman said after the race "Sometimes you just beat yourself, but that's yacht racing, isn't it?

        The Fleet mostly went right for the final uphill climb aside from FOX, with nothing to lose, why not take a flyer and see if lady luck is on your side. And damn if it didn't almost pay off. They shaved of even more time and arrived at the final windward mark a short distance behind The Hand.

        Beau finished the day and the regatta in 1st with 6 bullets and a deuce for a total of 8. Tom Holthus's BadPak managed to hold off Frank Slootman's Invisible Hand for the regatta, with 24 points vs 25 points, and the British team, Tony Langley's Gladiator in 4th with 26 points. Manouch Moshayedi's Rio in 5th, sailed the last two days without their boss on board, the tweaked lower back keeping him shore side, with eyes glued to the race track. Victor Wild's FOX showed resilience and fought the good fight throughout the regatta and will continue to get stronger with each passing regatta.
        The PAC 52 Season series title was claimed by Tom Holthus's BadPak , and was celebrated dockside at the end of racing today with a surprise champagne shower by crew, ending a remarkable regatta, and season for the class and it's members. Prior to the Rugby party last night, the owners sat down for their annual meeting and make plans for the future and assess the past. They all commended class president Julie Servais and with a vote of confidence extended her leadership for the next season.

        The boats will ship south in the following days and set up for the 2018 season, with some additional events to be added for the fleet to compete in. A revised schedule will appear soon at
        Today's results can be seen at :
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5
          Well done Team Beau Geste.

          Very impressive!


          • #6
            Nice coverage, great to see this program get up and running.


            • #7
              Hopefully some of the AC teams join the fun and build the fleet for a long while!


              • #8
                I wonder of the limitations on CAT 3 sailors would be prohibitive?


                • #9
                  Do you have to be CAT 3 to train with AC teams?


                  • #10
                    Maybe the AC teams will give candidates some training opportunities?


                    • #11

                      Interview with Tom Holthus 2017 PAC 52 season champion...
                      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

             Photo Gallery


                      • #12

                        That is a great quality to have winning or losing.


                        • #13

                          A brief conversation with Tony Langley, owner of Super Series 52 Gladiator
                          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

                 Photo Gallery


                          • #14
                            Great to see owners that are actually enjoying themselves, tends to reverberate through the program.

                            Sailing is after all, supposed to be fun!


                            • #15
                              True that. Some boats have a very grumpy persona, like they are pained to be out there.

                              Makes one wonder why they bother?