SF Bay launches spring season

Published on March 8th, 2015

The first regatta of spring on San Francisco Bay can feel like a gamble as to whether the early-season breeze will make an appearance. This year’s Spring Dinghy Regatta (March 7-8) at the St. Francis Yacht Club did not disappoint.

Though racing was postponed on both days, Saturday’s breeze filled in and Sunday served up some seriously exciting conditions. Sunday kicked off with 10 knots prevailing from the West and by mid-day, there was an average of 15-16 knots with puffs in the 20s–perfect conditions for dinghies that can’t wait to get on a plane. The conditions allowed for a full six-race regatta, showcasing tight competition in five fleets: Club 420s, Laser Radials, Laser Standards, 505s and Wetas.

“There were a lot of good sailors out this weekend, with lots of close finishes and crowded mark-roundings,” says Regatta Chair Kurt Wessels (StFYC). The upper echelons of the Laser fleet saw particularly tight racing that illustrated how, in sailing, age matters very little. In the Laser Radial fleet, Master Laird Henkel finished 1st with 6 points trailed by Junior Sumner Strumph (StFYC) who finished 2nd with 8 points.

Similarly, the Laser Standard fleet saw a tie for 2nd between Junior Will Dana (StFYC/SFYC) and Master Andrew Holdsworth (StFYC), both of whom finished with 16 points. In that same fleet, Richard Didham (StFYC/RYC) secured an impressive 1st with only 5 points; he gave up the bullet once to Alex Moody (SFYC), but threw out that race at the regatta’s end.

In the Club 420 fleet, 1st and 2nd were closely contested between Will Martens (SFYC) and Lawson Willard (StFYC and SFYC); Martens took the podium with 8 points while Willard had 9.

The Bay-based Weta fleet came out in full force with seven boats. These singlehanded trimarans are almost as much fun to watch as they are to sail, though they can be tricky to keep upright in big wind. Sunday afternoon’s conditions proved a bit much for some of the fleet; over half of whom were DNC in Race 6.

St. Francis Yacht Club’s Race Manager Lynn Lynch commented that this weekend’s conditions were some of the best in recent memory for the Spring Dinghy Regatta. Laser Master Andrew Holdsworth agreed, expanding to say it was some of the best dinghy racing he had participated in recently.

Complete resultsPhotos by Chris Ray

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