Friday, March 28, 2008
All Boats Great and Small
I could explain myself till I'm blue in the face but no amount of explaining will ever get through to those who don't share the passion, and those who do share it don't need my help.
Here's what set that off.
In my little corner of the cosmos—that would be San Francisco Bay—I find myself pig-in-clover thick with sailing matters great and small, each wonderful in its own way. Maxi-cat Gitana 13 has a plan to set out some time over the weekend to hook into a weather system that promises a few hundred miles of rapid westing before Lionel Lemonchois and crew have to start weather-routing their way across the Pacific. They're out to beat the San Francisco-Yokohama record of 14 days, 22 hours now held by Olivier de Kersauson and the big trimaran, Geronimo. We don't see a lot of 110-foot multihulls in these parts, so it's worth dropping a jaw. Here's a recent bay "cruise" as photographed by Peter Lyons . . .
© Peter Lyons Lyons Imaging
Gitana will probably get out the door on Saturday afternoon—or wait, if the weather lacks jumpstart potential. Fair-weather sailors might ponder this ocean-coastal forecast from the National Weather Service that apparently sounds pretty tasty to the Gitana gang:
SAT AND SAT NIGHT
N TO NW WINDS 20 TO 30 KT...EXCEPT FAR W PORTION 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 8 TO 12 FT. HIGHEST WINDS AND SEAS NE. ISOLATED SHOWERS SAT NIGHT.
Ponder also this Pacific crossing as a puddle jump compared to the boat's recent 43-day record on the Clipper Ship route, New York to San Francisco and wrong-way-Charlie around Cape Horn.
Saturday morning, regardless of weather, is devoted to the Bullship.
Lives like it sounds. An event of intergalactic consequence and, as Janice Joplin might say, great social import. A San Francisco Bay crossing in 8-foot El Toros. The race starts early, before the seabreeze builds enough to swamp half the fleet en route. That means, however, that you're sailing in fluky wind the whole way, thus the rule of thumb: Everybody leads the Bullship Race for five minutes.
El Toros were once the standard junior trainer in these parts, and whacked-out events like the Bullship are important to keeping the flame alive. They're hard to recover if swamped, however—the race brings along a "cowship" fleet of escorts for the bay crossing—and along the cityfront of San Francisco, it used to be impossible to run a junior training program. For kids in El Toros, too much wind; wave. Now we have Optis, and the kids can sail any day, anywhere. The Opti is a better trainer for that, but El Toros have soul.
I know. I've raced the Bullship. For about five minutes, I was winning.
And then, on Tuesday . . .
Nick Moloney and the iShares Extreme 40 catamaran are doing a little event along with Jonny Mosely that promises to be very cool. Nick you should know as a guy who's gone around the world three times and is the only person ever to windsurf from mainland Australia to Tasmania. Jonny you may think of as an Olympic skier, but around here we think of all Moselys as sailors. Amazingly enough, that's only the shortlistKimball