2014 Doublehanded Farallones – Winner’s Report from Mooretician

The 2014 edition of the Doublehanded Farallones race read much like a good story: it had a tricky beginning, interesting middle and an unpredictable end.

The beginning was all about timing the ebb tide "drift" to the start line. Four of the six Moores executed this maneuver successfully - two others were not so fortunate. Our next challenge was to make the most of every whisper of breeze to ensure we cleared the South Tower. Once at the Gate, we were met with an 8 kt westerly with 3 kts of residual ebb that carried us on our way to the Farallones. Sea conditions were a little confused as we cleared lands end but really settled down once we were beyond the SF approach channel.

(El Prez Note: link to pictures from the first 2 miles of the race (or, alternatively the first 2 hours) below)

Which leads us to the middle part of our story. We weren't even at the halfway point to the first mark when the wind dropped to about 1-2 kts.

The light zone lasted from about 1pm to almost 3pm and the ETA to the Farallones on the GPS was not looking good. I'm very happy that Roe never told me exactly how late our ETA was, and knowing that information, never asked if we should bail out, even if he did think it!

We hung in and felt that we made the greatest gains during this point in the race. Three of us (Mooretician, Banditos, and Mas!) stayed relatively close and managed to reel in the Express 27 fleet that started 5 minutes ahead of us. We passed two multihulls that were getting ready to retire, passed the J-105 that eventually won its division, and stayed even with a Wyliecat 30. Meanwhile in the Moore group, we led the pack of the four remaining Moores with Banditos keeping the pressure on us. We would build a nice lead and they would catch up like the ball on the rubber band of a toy paddle. Mas! was also making a charge to the south and White Trash was keeping a loose cover just northeast of us. By 3pm a welcome northwesterly filled in slowly and steadily allowing us to easily fetch the rock pile with our closehauled #1, making 6-7 kts over the ground. Mas! reached the island first, Mooretician was second, and Banditos was third but not very far behind.

At about 5pm we finally rounded the west side of the island and set our spinnaker in about 15 kts of breeze along with Mas! who was off our starboard bow. The ride back in was a perfect pole-on-the-headstay reach with following swells off port stern quarter -- perfect surfing conditions -- find a line, get a well-timed puff and go. Mas! took a below-rhumbline approach and we, along with Banditos, stayed more north. This went on for a few hours and was worth the light air pain to get to this point.

The conclusion of this story has the fleet approaching Point Bonita in complete darkness. The only light came from the lighthouse beacon, which shed just enough light to help us complete our gybes -- a little unnerving. At this point we're leading the parade with Banditos only a couple hundred yards off our hip -- that rubber band between us was getting tighter again. Mas! was slightly further behind and coming in from the south side of the SF approach channel. We traded a few more gybes with Banditos and then split, with them crossing the Gate entrance before reaching Rodeo Beach. We stayed closer to the Marin shore and aimed at the North Tower. We executed the final gybe just east of Rodeo Beach. Actually, we should have been executed for that gybe -- we ended up with a tight wrap in the kite and thought our chances for glory were gone. After lowering the kite to resolve our issue, we were finally off again. Our spirits were lifted only slightly with a nice little white rooster tail illuminated by the stern light as we had brief planing conditions just inside the Gate. It was then that we noticed that the boats we were close to just outside the Gate, were now behind us. Staying north paid off with constant wind pressure during the mid-Bay approach to the finish.

It was a great day of racing that will that not be forgotten anytime soon. Kudos to Banditos and Mas! for keeping the pressure on right to the end. And, an overall 1-2-3-7 finish by the fleet is a testament to how well Moores are suited to the conditions we had for this year's DHF race.



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