Beau Geste blinks at PAC52 Cup

Published on September 30th, 2017

San Francisco, CA (September 30, 2017) – The second day of the inaugural PAC52 Cup, the San Francisco Bay turned down the volume a couple notches from yesterday, requiring a short AP display before winds ramped up in the low teens under brilliant sun and pleasant temps.

With the starting line moved to the west of Alcatraz, and the weather mark just east of the Golden Gate Bridge, the RC would fire off three course two’s with 1.7nm legs that would test the teams in four lap heats, all encompassing the downhill Hollywood finishes.

In race 4 it appeared that it would be more of the same, with Beau Geste grabbing an early lead and extending across the race track, to add on yet another bullet to their collection. The surprise came when RIO, with local sailing legend Morgan Larson calling the shots, took a flyer that payed off handsomely and led them to their second deuce of the regatta.

But changes were coming, including a big shift in wind direction to the left of the course. While the RC wrangled the weather marks into position, things were percolating on some of the boats.

Victor Wild’s FOX found a new gear in Race 5, after overnight changes in crew that led to team captain David Servais moving to the bow, a position he embraces with fervor. The result was dramatic, and FOX stopped dragging their tail and finished second in yet another tightly contested heat, their best finish of the regatta. At the top was again, Beau Geste, which seemly would not be denied.

Much of Beau Geste success can be attributed to the solid crew work across the board, but closer a exam in this regatta suggests that the many of the gains come at the weather mark when slightly more timid skippers may not push the issue.

Although a Group 1 sailor, helm Harry Dodson owns his own 52’, the 2007 Mayhem, purchase from Ashley Wolfe a few years back and is sailed feverishly in his native Auckland, where numerous older generation 52’s enjoy a robust seasons of sailing. It’s that ability to really push at the weather mark, to gain the advantage and move up a position or two with remarkable consistency as has been demonstrated throughout this event, as well as the Rolex Big Boat Series, which proceeded just two weeks back.

But the shocker of the day occurred in the finale, with Beau Geste taking an OCS and having to return to the starting line while the fleet ambled on ahead. But despite spotting the other teams a generous lead, Beau clawed their way back, and were threatening yet another come from behind win, but could not reel in Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand which claimed it’s first ace of the event, in a dramatic closer for the afternoon.

It is worth mentioning that FOX too, enjoyed another fine race following The Hand and Beau in for a 3-spot, a refreshing change of pace and a great morale booster.

The event closes with tomorrow’s long distance bay tour.

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Source: Julie Servais

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