505 North Americans go Bridge to Bridge
Published on August 9th, 2018
San Francisco, CA (August 9, 2018) – The 5O5 North American Championships got underway today with Mike Martin and Adam Lowry nabbing two bullets and a fifth to lead 21 teams, with Michael Menninger and Reeve Dunn in second and Craig Thompson and Matthew Woodworth holding strong at third.
After the third race, the attention turned to the 20th running of the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge, a downwind distance race from Golden Gate Bridge to the west span of the Bay Bridge. Just as the tide turned from ebb to flood, 26 hydrofoil kites, 23 5O5s and eight windsurfers queued up with a steady 20 knots of breeze at the start and a flood tide.
As kiter Johnny Heineken sought to crack the 11-minute mark or better for a new course record, he didn’t quite hit those milestones but he did nab his sixth first-place finish and stands out for the most wins in the race’s 20-year history.
“It was definitely my fastest time ever down to the bridge,” said Heineken, who finished the course in 11:04, followed by Gabriel Wicke, then Joey Pasquali. Sailing a size 13 “was too much kite for the beginning of the race but that’s how it has to be for this race,” he added.
The bigger kite powered him through the light air at the bottom of the course that stymied most of the other competitors. Only seven kiters, five windsurfers and 12 of the 5O5s finished – a normal outcome for this tricky course that runs from the nuclear narrows of the bay’s entrance around the corner into the wind shadow of San Francisco’s eastern coast.
Among the windsurfers, Chris Radkowski won the day in 22:02, edging out Xavier Ferlet by ten seconds. Jean Rathle crossed the line third.
Michael Menninger and Reeve Dunn were first over for the 5O5 fleet, with a time of 25:08. “We started out away from everybody and keyed into a nice puff,” recounted Dunn. “Michael did a great job keeping on the pressure and I just held on.”
Racing is planned for August 9-12.
Source: Amanda Witherell, St. Francis Yacht Club