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2018 OYRA Duxship

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  • 2018 OYRA Duxship

    Images churning on computer... a fistfull of selects... Oh, and it was nuking...

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

  • #2
    2018 OYRA Duxship: Cookies Lost, Carnage and Whit Knuckle Entertainment

    It's not often that the weather wonks get it so wrong, but the forecast for Saturday May 12th was a big exception.

    The mainstream news casts insisted on gale force offshore wind Friday night in to Saturday then transitioning into a slight southerly flow
    with fog beginning to work its way into the area late in afternoon. From previous similar forecasts crews mya have expect a light spinnaker
    run out the gate from the start before riding the ebb through a transition zone, switching to headsails, up to Duxbury Reef, a reach or possibly run
    to the Entrance Buoy followed by a runs back into the gate.

    However, conditions had changed in the early morning hours, and a strong south westerly had already started working its way up the coast and the
    starting area off the Golden Gate Yacht Club was already seeing winds into the 20 knot range for the 10:00 start of the 31.8 nm trip. As sailmaker John Amen, who was sailing
    aboard Warren Holybee's Morgan 382 Eliana as a practice for the Pacific Cup, pointed out "Things got snotty really quickly". Mal de mer, was common throughout the
    fleet, even for many of the veteran sailors. "There was a low off the SoCal area that was pumping up a southerly swell of 6'-8' every 10-12 seconds that was mashing with the primary
    NW swell and tossing boats around with abandon
    " John added. And surprisingly, the northwest winds were still blowing north of Bonita, and did not switch to the new wsw direction until
    the boats got to Duxbury, meaning they got an uphill ride in two direction.

    Michael Moradzadeh of the SC 52 Oaxaca provides this summation of the day:

    "Uncertain weather forecasts tossed in the trash can as a strong system swept the race course. So we all put on our big boy pants, hooked up the smaller sails, and headed out. Upwind both ways, with a lot of bumpy water that tended to slow boats down. Nice for heavier boats."

    "Adverse current in both directions made the race a bit longer, of course, and placed a bit of a premium on finding current relief.
    The weather made clear that the Safety Equipment Requirements were a good idea, by and large. Jacklines, proper PFDs and the like added to the ability to maintain a proper set of safety behaviors on the course."

    "So, for our race, we were a bit late to the start, as one of our jib cars took a vacation in the count-down, and we had to re-set. A few other gear cobwebs needed to be blown out, with additional performance hits, most notably an outhaul that would not haul all the way out!. We had a great first leg, reeling in most of the boats we had let start ahead of us. Second leg was hard to maintain optimal VMG course, and we had to throw in a double tack, as did Hana Ho at the Light Bucket."


    "Debates about when to set were rife. Hana Ho set early and was clearly struggling with it with a big-shouldered kite. We held back a bit, biting our tongues while we waited for the right angle and they pulled away. THen we set the A3 and slowly started to gain back on them. Hana made a smart move, running over to the Headlands for current relief. We stayed south and got lucky with only a minor current knock. We started to reel in Blue as well."

    "Our Waterloo came at the south tower. We had to gybe to clear it, and we simply bungled it, trapping a crewman's hand between winch handle and snagged runner. I turned up hard to try to relieve pressure, but wrapped kite made that unworkable. We gave up a bunch of time, allowing several boats to run past us."

    "Well, the weather was great kite weather on the last run. Surfing at regular 20kts on the heavy wave action. That part was swell.
    Finished under plain sails. Made a punch list to fix before spin cup.
    Chicken and beer at the dock...."

    Michael Moradzadeh,


    From Will Paxton aboard Velvet Hammer:

    "We had a great start but had to give way to a large whale just afterwards which was on starboard. A lot of whales spotted Saturday. Made it to Duxbury in 1st but then encountered a strange transition zone as the south wind met the northeasterly, and ended up bobbing for a while while a number of boats caught up. A restart at Duxbury and a gnarly beat to the entrance buoy . We had a reef in and set the shykite (A-7) with Can't Touch This and Condor in close proximity.

    The beauty of the A-7 is it keeps our boy up much more than the larger kites, less submerging is faster. We seldom get to use it as it is for 25 knots plus, but the more we get to use it, the more we like it.

    Sailing Tactics was pretty spot on with their morning forecast, even showing the wind shear just outside the gate, where we gad some strong gusts. But nothing like we saw inside the the Bay. It was tough to hold the line to the finish and rounded up and flogged for a minute or so near Anita Rock before gaining control and finishing. The ride back to Richmond was something for the ages with breeze 30-32 and gusts in the 40 knot range. Event with the A-7 we went completely submerged on several occasions. It's a day people will be telling their grandkids about for some time. Kudos to crew who performed beautifully all day in marginal conditions."

    Velvet Hammer crosses ahead of Can't Touch This above

    CTT and Condor do some submarining

    But once boats got a round the Entrance Buoy, things got real interesting, with winds now in the 20's the boats with crews not entirely seasick and gear strong enough to take a beating, launched their kites and started making quick work of the waters through the shipping channel and into the Golden Gate Strait. With ebb still flowing center channel, the edges were the preferred places to be,but handling kites in big breeze can be a concern, so leaving room for roundups, round downs and whale avoidance also cam into play. Leading the pack back to bay, was Zachary Anderson and Will Paxton's canter, the modified Shock 40' Velvet Hammer taking some wide angles, sailing near Mile Rock on one tack then gybing hard but very much controlled, and racing back to the north side, and crossing just in front of Rich Pipkins and Mary McGraths J-125 Cant Touch This. Bothe boats at times nearly disappearing from sight as the sumarined into swells they were over running, complet firehose conditions one might compare to the Volvo Boat might encounter.

    Rich Pipkin J-125
    Can't Touch This:

    On Bringing Trevor Baylis on: "We had noticed that we were just not getting the J-125 up to her potential, and Trevor is the known go to guy here in Northern California. He has had remarkable success on several J-125's including this boat when she was Double Trouble. Trevor gave us some training when we 1st acquired the boat from Andy Costello, and we checked his availability this spring and summer, and as luck would have it, he was available for several events including the PAC Cup!

    On Saturday: The forecast was all over the map most of last week, and did not really know what to expect, but when we had in wind in the Estuary Saturday morning things looked up!

    Our uphill ride to Duxbury was unremarkable, however as we approached the mark, we noticed that VH had sailed into a nice glassy patch, so we were able to reel them in, so to speak, but they would take that all back on the downhill leg. We flew 3.0 kite, but in retrospect, could have used the 2.5, it would have kept the bow out of the water a bit more.
    We were expecting relief once inside the bay, but that did not happen, we could not lay the mark with the kite up and had to finish with just the main up after a nice flogging incident! We had boat speeds of 18-21 knots, a great E-ticket ride all afternoon!

    More often than not, the winds mellow out in the Golden Gate Strait, but this was not the case today. Still in the 20's with higher gusts greeted the boats with The South Tower Demon Lurking ahead....

    Looking good then not so much... Hanna Ho, Blue and Mr Magoo

    Inside the gate, the compressed winds were now hitting the 30's, and the Demon's reach extended well beyond it's usual length, many boats finding themself on their ears just after reaching the relative safety of the bay, and the direct line to the finish awash in a solid line of howling wind. And for those lucky enough to keep their boats in say Richmond... The conditions in the slot, just damn terrifying...

    To be continued....


    The begginings of aGallery HERE!!!

    (Sorry, mommas day workload big today )


    And Some Drama:

    This long post is focused on my ocean racing friends. It is an email I felt compelled to send to two competitors in yesterday's Duxbury Lightship race. I'm sharing it with you to remind you what the RC does, is obligated to do and how you can make the process easier:


    My name is Jeff Zarwell. I was the PRO (Principal Race Officer) for the Duxship race.

    I would like to take a moment to share with both of you what the responsibilities are for not only me, but the entire race committee when managing a regatta, whether it is an event held entirely inside the bay or out in the open ocean.

    From the moment you show up in the starting area until you cross the finish line I am morally, ethically and to a great extent legally responsible for your safety. To a lesser extent, my entire race committee is bound as well. Before the race even begins it is MY responsibility alone to determine if it is safe to even proceed with the event.

    Beginning the Wednesday before, I am checking three different professional, subscription based weather websites. Additionally, I’m also looking at several NOAA sites for wave information and the base weather data from which the previously mentioned weather sites receive their data to use in their weather models.

    On the day of the event, I am up at 5:30 in the morning taking a final look at all the weather sites mentioned above and review what has transpired the last three days, as well as what is forecast for the day.

    At this point I have put in a full 8-hours of my time preparing for your safety and the event has not even begun.

    At the beginning of the race I deploy three separate two-person teams to different areas of the race deck to spot and record EVERY sail number that crosses that start line and the time at which they do so (even when over 30 minutes late), so that we have EVERYONE accounted for. We also take note of boats that start outside the designated start line, because WE DON’T KNOW IF YOU DID THAT INTENTIONALLY OR NOT.

    For the duration of the event we are constantly in contact with the Coast Guard, advising them of the status of our competitors (those that have AIS transmitters on their boats), what we are seeing in the way of wind and sea-state, based on what we can see with our eyes, on the various websites and later in the race from competitors who have finished.

    I cannot comment on what other PROs do, or how concerned they may or may not be about your safety, but I go to great lengths to ensure your safety as best I can. To a great extent I am your lifeline.

    Now that you know what my commitment is to your safety, imagine what is going through my head when you are more than 4 hours later than ALL the other boats in your division and I cannot make contact with you by radio. At this point, I have no choice but to advise the CG and the YRA that you are unaccounted for. I provide the CG with details of your boat(s) including sail number, they then advise all commercial traffic to be on watch for you. The CG is also gearing up their search and rescue teams so that they are ready for deployment if necessary. I am calling the harbormaster at the marina you keep your boat in to see if you have returned. And yesterday, knowing one of you just purchased your boat recently, I called the previous owner of the boat who was racing also, to see if he had heard from you. MORALLY I CANNOT AND WILL NOT EVER LEAVE MY POST UNTIL I HAVE YOU ACCOUNTED FOR, REGARDLESS OF STATED TIME LIMITS FOR THE RACE.

    All you had to do yesterday was to call me on the radio and let me know you had decided to retire or that you weren’t actually going to race and started outside the start line intentionally. That was all you had to do. By not being courteous enough (let alone not following the rules) you set in motion all that I mentioned above needlessly. I’m sure it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you or maybe you’re not concerned with your safety, but we are.

    What if there was another boat that really was in trouble. Would we have been able to respond in time, when we’re preparing for the worst with you because we haven’t heard from you? How would you feel knowing if someone else had died out there because we committed rescue assets to you, thereby preventing us from responding to them in time?

    If you are not going to RACE, but just sail the course, starting outside the starting line is great, but as a courtesy to me and the rest of the race committee you should advise me of your intentions. Understand too, that if you’re not going to race, but still sail the course I am still going to watch out for your safety and you should still be checking in with me.

    I have been managing ocean races for the YRA since 1994. In that time I have had the misfortune of having tragic deaths occur on two different ocean races. I do not make assumptions that you are probably okay. If you are unaccounted for I begin the search process immediately, period.

    To refresh your memories:

    The sailing instructions require you to monitor the assigned VHF channel during the race.

    The FCC requires by law if you have a VHF radio on your boat, that you MUST monitor channel 16 at all times.

    The sailing instructions require you to notify the race committee at the time you retire, not after you have put your boat back in her slip hours later.

    Common courtesy would make these three “requirements” unnecessary, but courtesy was not extended yesterday.

    If you’re sensing that I am mad, you are very correct. These are not fun sails on the local pond, this is open ocean racing. Forget the pond, the dynamics of the open ocean are ten times greater than the energy inside the bay. As much research as I do, I still cannot predict a rogue wave or other conditions not accounted for in the weather models, yet I am still responsible for your safety. THE VERY LEAST YOU CAN DO IS KEEP THE RACE COMMITTEE INFORMED OF YOUR ACTIONS IN A TIMELY MANNER.

    I hope I have successfully communicated my concerns. You may think I’ve gone a little overboard, but remember I’m looking out for YOUR safety. Work with me, please.


    Jeff Zarwell
    Last edited by Photoboy; 05-14-2018, 10:27 AM.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #3
      Our trip back to the slip in Sausalito after the race with sails down on Junkyard Dog was perhaps the hardest part of the day. Sustained winds high 30's-low 40's throughout Richardson Bay with no relief in the typical safe spots. I haven't been sailing around SF bay as long as some folks but I've certainly never seen Richardson bay like that (possibly excluding big winter storms).

      2018 San Francisco YRA Ocean series "Duxship". 31 mile offshore race in 7-9 ft mixed filthy swell with short periods, winds 20+ most of the day and up to 40 knots by the end. "Uphill both ways" might be a good way to describe this years race!
      Last edited by Photoboy; 05-14-2018, 08:19 AM.


      • #4
        Sounds likes somebody is not happy.


        • #5
          If they didn't check in, I don't see how the PRO would feel obligated.


          • #6
            "The FCC requires by law if you have a VHF radio on your boat, that you MUST monitor channel 16 at all times."

            Maybe if you are a commercial operator.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Prince of Whales View Post
              "The FCC requires by law if you have a VHF radio on your boat, that you MUST monitor channel 16 at all times."

              Maybe if you are a commercial operator.
              That's what I used to think... Pleasure craft are not required to have a radio by law (they are in the SI's) but if a vessel has a radio (they are then a voluntary vessel) and are required by the Code of Federal Regulations to monitor channel 16. Here is our governments way of saying that.

              ยง 80.310 Watch required by voluntary vessels.

              Voluntary vessels not equipped with DSC must maintain a watch on 2182 kHz and on 156.800 MHz (Channel 16) whenever the vessel is underway and the radio is not being used to communicate. Noncommercial vessels, such as recreational boats, may alternatively maintain a watch on 156.450 MHz (Channel 9) in lieu of VHF Channel 16 for call and reply purposes. Voluntary vessels equipped with VHF-DSC equipment must maintain a watch on 2182 kHz and on either 156.525 MHz (Channel 70) or VHF Channel 16 aurally whenever the vessel is underway and the radio is not being used to communicate. Voluntary vessels equipped with MF-HF DSC equipment must have the radio turned on and set to an appropriate DSC distress calling channel or one of the radiotelephone distress channels whenever the vessel is underway and the radio is not being used to communicate. Voluntary vessels equipped with a GMDSS-approved Inmarsat system must have the unit turned on and set to receive calls whenever the vessel is underway and the radio is not being used to communicate.

              It is also just good seamanship. Some think they have a radio in case they need to call for help. I believe we all have radios in case someone else needs our help. That is why OYRA (and others) require fixed radios with mast head antenna (extending range) and in the SI's we require that they be monitored.


              • #8
                I'm just glad RC didn't have an up close and personal crotch strap check this race after the events of "crotch-gate" unfolded after last race.


                • #9
                  Thanks for that clarification, but I doubt many "Sunday Sailors" bother and If just out for a pleasure sail most would have it turned down so low it would be inaudible.

                  Most buoy races the radio is on 68, 69 71 or 72, but I suppose the RC's all have two to 3 radios on and can listen to several channels at once.


                  • #10
                    Some may recall that I served 2 terms as YRA Chairman a few years ago. I have also served on many OYRA/SSS Race Committees and as PRO on OYRA races in the past.

                    But first a little history. When I first began crewing on ocean racing boats in the early 1970s, the attitude was, "Pack an extra sandwich and a second six pack and let's go ocean racing." You could dodge into the GGYC or StFYC on the morning of the race, fill out an entry form, pay your fee, and get out to the start line before the gun. The total safety requirements were the Coast Guard minimum. Period. VHF radios used crystals, so many boats only had Channels 16, 22, one or two boat-to-boat channels, and the marine operator. We sometimes used the marine operator to call in because that antenna was higher than the the yacht clubs' and we could get through - for a fee.

                    And the races were much longer, sometimes lasting into early Sunday morning or even later, depending on conditions. Boats just sailed out the Gate and vanished until sailing back under. I served on OYRA Race Committees in that era and we'd bring sleeping gear so we could stand watches while waiting for "Sunday boats" to finish. The WWII search light at the old StFYC could actually light up Fort Point and we'd use it when we thought we could see a boat coming in. Several times when boats did not finish I visited marinas to check to see if the boat was in its berth before calling back to the race deck to confirm it was safely tied up - after finding a pay phone to make the call. Although an emergency phone number was on the entry, it was often someone else on the same boat or a distant relative in another state who didn't even know a race was going on.

                    Thinking back, I wonder what I was thinking and what kind of liability I potentially faced. I don't know what kind of insurance there was, if any. This was before the USSA Race Officer Program.

                    Now, my YRA Chairman Experience:

                    It was my unfortunate duty as YRA Chairman to participate in 2 Coast Guard hearings involving ocean racing fatalities. Neither was a OYRA race, but it is the YRA that arranges all Marine Event Permits for racing activities with the Coast Guard, and YRA is the organization they call first when something bad happens. The Port Captain, Safety Officer, SAR Officer, Permit Officer, and others sat on one side of the table. Laura Paul (Executive Secretary - and our CG contact person), myself, the then-OYRA President, the race PRO, and once a hosting yacht club officer (more on this below) sat on the other. It was pretty much a one-way conversation in each instance. It's really (and I mean really, really) hard sit there when racers have died.

                    Each hearing resulted in Coast Guard recommendations and OYRA safety regulation changes. These included a revised and clearly written set of safety instructions., which have been refined by OYRA President Andy Newell and the OYRA Board; increased safety required equipment aboard ocean racing boats; improved communication requirements including EPIRB/PLBs; radio monitoring; check ins; Safety at Sea training requirements; and more.

                    And each incident resulted in increased Coast Guard participation. Perhaps some might recall being accompanied by a Coast Guard cutter on an ocean race or two? Before, ocean permits were issued for the season; now they are issued prior to each race - after the crew lists are completed. The Coast Guard wants to know how many potential rescues it needs to plan for. A large boat with a dozen crew might require multiple helicopters for a rescue, for instance. They want to know who is on the boat, how to contact emergency phone numbers, and want to be updated on where boats are during the race.

                    This applies to all ocean races leaving San Francisco Bay - SSS, BAMA, OYRA, Coastal Cup, PacCup, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and so on. The Coast Guard issues Marine Permits based on requirements established by the race authority (organization) and expects the rules to be followed - and enforced.

                    And they want to be informed if a boat is overdue. Overdue can be missing a required call in after dark or when all the other boats have finished and one is missing. When they are called, they assume the worst. Emergency contacts are called and the CG begins to prepare for a search and rescue mission. Their helicopter crews down the peninsula need to be alerted and the helicopters warmed up. The small boat/cutter crews need to be assembled. They don't wait until an emergency is declared; they begin begin at the first alert. And they're not happy to spend all these assets for false alarms.

                    Now about yacht clubs. OYRA SSS, BAMA, and other races almost all depend on two yacht club race decks. There have been several times when those two yacht clubs decided it was too risky to allow ocean races to be run from their facilities (note when a yacht club officer attended a Coast Guard hearing and discovered how unprepared OYRA was set that time). Old timers might remember BAMA races being run from boats or an RV in the parking lot following the Farallones Race involving multiple fatalities. One club decided to avoid OYRA races following a more recent incident for a short time --something that might not be so well known. Safety is everyone's concern; liability is the yacht club board's concern. We don't know how many millions of dollars were involved in the most recent multiple fatality incident.

                    And now a personal comment:

                    I think boats that decide to not comply with OYRA requirements should be disqualified from ocean racing. Period! Racing in the Gulf of the Farallones and beyond can be dangerous. There have been multiple fatalities since I began racing and managing races in 1972. I love ocean racing - that why at 78 years old I'm still out there, and I don't want some jerk making that more difficult or even impossible.

                    I think everyone on every boat ought to thank the volunteers who organize and run our races. At one point YRA was able to hold a banquet for this.

                    I agree with Jeff. Running an ocean race begins days before the actual race and can extend into days following, especially if there's an incident involving loss of life. The folks on the Race Deck care about us. Don't make it more difficult for them.

                    Pat Broderick
                    Former YRA Chairman, SSS Commodore


                    • #11
                      It's a difficult, often thankless position.

                      Thanks for you years of service!


                      • #12
                        Today's radios have the scan option, I believe 16 is automatically included.

                        Still not clear what the offending persons failed to do, if they had not officially started, they may have assumed they had not done anything wrong.

                        And big thanks to Pat for his years of service as well.


                        • #13
                          Another thought here. EVERY ocean racing Race Committee makes a note of boats not registered that "APPEAR" to be starting a race. Sail #, boat type, apparent # of souls on board, color, etc. This takes attention away from the official starters to check on whether the boat is headed for the bridge -- or whether it's just happened by, or taking pictures, or waving goodbye, but not going out. On an ocean race day, if a boat calls the Coast Guard from beyond Lands End with a distress call, the CG will contact the Race Deck to check and see if it's a racing boat. I know Race Officers "shouldn't care," but they do. It not at all unusual for boats to "accompany" a race. Happens all the time. Sometimes those boats check in to say they're going, sometimes not. It's a good idea to check in, and if a boat does, it needs to check back in when it returns. I suppose there's no legal/insurance requirement, but it's good, safe ocean sailing practice. -- Pat


                          • #14
                            I don't want to speak for those involved but at the same time things tend to take on a life of their own on these here inter-web thingy's with wild rumors running amok so I feel somewhat compelled to offer up what I know about the situation. The good news is there were no real catastrophes that I'm aware of, just a lot of miscommunication. As an objective observer I can understand not only how some of the miscommunication came to be from the boats but also completely understand why RC was pulling their hair out in both concern and frustration especially given the conditions of the race.

                            I wasn't directly involved but from what I've gathered I think one boat was late to the start so just ran part of the course and never crossed the start line but along next to it. Understandably, RC saw them and even though they were late and didn't go across the start line still felt obligated to keep track of them although I think the boat involved had no idea RC was tracking them. I think there was some miscommunication when they headed back in and didn't notify RC they were back in the bay. I believe another boat didn't notify RC when they retired. I hope I'm not giving out false info and if so I hope others can provide clarity and correction to what I'm assuming I know. Isn't there some saying about assuming? 'Don't assume, it just makes an....


                            • #15
                              The retired boat, no doubt owes the RC and apology. And maybe a case of wine.

                              The boat that did not compete should not be hanged until the witch test is conducted.