Strong winds test Lipton Cup teams on San Diego Bay

Published on November 1st, 2014

San Diego, CA (November 1, 2014) – If it wasn’t for the iconic city front, it would be hard to believe the full, soaring sails of the 100th Lipton Cup regatta belonged to the same venue as yesterday. If day one was the calm, then today was certainly the storm as steady winds brought a flurry of heated competition to the San Diego Bay. Winds averaged between 12 and 14 kts, but at times reached up to 19 kts, allowing competitors to showcase their skill sailing in full winds.

From shore side viewing on the Embarcadero, the first race of the day looked more like a well-choreographed routine than a regatta. With the precision of a synchronized dance, the fleet split evenly off of the starting line as competitors made their way upwind. It was Coronado Yacht Club who took the lead at the top course mark, but a well-positioned downwind sprint allowed San Diego Yacht Club to take over as fleet leaders. Coronado wasn’t out of plays yet, as they and California were the first to recognize a wind change and gybe away from the rest of the fleet. It wasn’t enough to catch up to San Diego, who maintained an eight second lead at the bottom mark, extending that lead further in the last legs to finish first.

Spectating boats enclosed the outskirts of the race course, getting an up-close view of the bold tacking, stellar starts and fierce competition that was present throughout the whole day of racing. Perhaps emboldened by their near win in race four, Coronado made the bold decision to port tack across the fleet and head right after winning the pin at the start of race five. Eventually, the rest of the fleet followed suit and Newport Harbor Yacht Club gained fast traction on the upwind leg. Newport Harbor maintained their position near the top of the fleet, ultimately winning the race, followed closely by Kaneohe Yacht Club.

The start of race six featured a massive pin on the left side of the starting line and forced San Francisco Yacht Club to circle back across the line after hitting the mark. Meanwhile, St. Francis Yacht Club stole a significant lead at the top mark. Skipper Chris Raab and the rest of the St. Francis crew worked hard to keep their lead, finishing first in race six and repeating with a consecutive first place finish in race seven.

With beautiful sailing conditions and fast sailing, the Race Committee was able to fit in a fifth race of the day, where St. Francis’ second-place finish pushed them above San Diego, the previous scoreboard leader. Only three points separate the two now, and both Newport Harbor and San Francisco are tied at eight points behind first. This regatta has no throw outs, putting even more anticipation and pressure on the final day of racing tomorrow, which is scheduled to begin at noon.

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