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San Diego Bay to Bay 2006

Saturday - April 15, 2006

By Bill Jenkins

The Bay to Bay record of 3:48:15 set way back in 2002 still stands, but not by much. The event this year was marked by the fewest number of participants - three boats - and by steady wind from the northwest all afternoon.

Team Weasel, the only team to have sailed in every running of the Bay to Bay since it's inception, formed up yesterday to defend their title of Bay to Bay champions. After a slow start, we managed to get out in front a mile or two down the coast and lead the group the rest of the way around the course.
Newcomers Whit and Rob made a last minute appearance, sailing 8024 for only the second time. Having never sailed the course before, they took the cautious approach of following everyone around all the marks, then making a last minute dash at the finish to take second place. There must be a story there waiting to be shared.
Channing and Karl, in 6991, duked it out with the newbies during the run down the coast, then seemed to take a solid hold on second place only to see their lead whittled down and finally taken during the beat up the bay from the bridge. A bitter pill, I'm sure, but at least they will have the honor of receiving the Tail End Charlie award at the banquet next fall.
This was a quick running of the course, thanks mostly to the northerly direction of the wind. Wind strength was pretty consistent - 8kts in the ocean, with puffs and some sustained breeze in SD Bay way up in the 12kt range. We did not have to beat around the kelp bed right after the start and, in fact, were able to head far enough offshore that the kelp bed was never an issue. That wasn't on purpose; we just sailed out to where the corner usually is and then bore off and set spinnakers. Even though we went out too far for kelp, being outside seemed to work. When Channing and Karl bore away early, they sailed out of the wind and dropped back a ways until they could get further outside again. We were even able to sail straight to #3 at the southern end of the run without having to dodge or sail over kelp beds.
The sail into the bay was very nice with the wind westerly enough that no tacks were required. Since there was a 1 knot ebb predicted as we entered the bay, current management was a major preoccupation. Dan and I elected to stay high of the channel to get the puffs from Point Loma, then reached across to the North Island side just before the constriction at Ballast Point. Channing and Karl followed more or less the same plan. Whit and Rob took the low road right after rounding #3 and sailed up the Zuniga jetty side. From what I could see, it looked like that route wasn't quite as fast.
There was plenty of wind to make the bay part of the sail fun. Reaching with the spinnaker up, we were just about perfectly powered up and got to enjoy the envious looks from folks on their cruisers as we planed past them. No sudden direction reversals like last year either. After rounding the bridge, there was even enough wind during the first half of the beat to rake the mast back a couple of notches.
Highlight of the day? Being met at the launch ramp by the Sailing Supply guys with a van full of beer, sushi, and other snacks. We had a quick presentation of awards once the boats were packed up - three boats, three awards, simple - and headed out for the next adventure. Can't wait to do it all again next year!
Final times were:
8411 - Dan and Bill - 3:50:39
8024 - Whit and Rob - 4:00:06
6991 - Channing and Karl - 4:00:36
Lame excuses:
Where to start?...
Dan should have the GPS track online soon, so keep an eye out for that. I think the 8024 guys had GPS too, so maybe they'll post their track as well.



It happened pretty much as bill says. - by Channing Hamlet

 Of the three Bay to Bay events I’ve sailed, this one had by far the best conditions.  Shortly after the start, hearing Dan from behind say, “This sucks, your old boat is in front of you and my old boat is on front of me” was pretty funny.  Karl and I decided to sail lower than the other two figuring that a straight line would be faster and that with the wind from the NW we could always head up to stay clear of kelp if needed.  It worked well against Whit but Dan and Bill seem to have another gear in the close reaching conditions and pulled away.  It was great reaching down the coast, especially when the sun came out – amazing views of the cliffs and the Coronado Islands.

We rounded #3 about 4 minutes behind Dan and Bill and about 2 minutes ahead of 8024 for the sail down the bay.  We pretty much followed Dan and Bill and watched 8024 sail in on the other side of the channel.  It felt like we got more of the puffs coming over point loma and sailed a little further ahead.  After the bridge, we chose to work the right side of the course and watched 8024 sail up the left side.  After we rounded the corner, for the final push to the finish, we were in much lighter breeze and watched as 8024 pulled ahead to beat us by ~30 seconds.  The lesson learned:  if you are ahead and want to stay there: cover. (Especially if the sailors on the other boat sail on San Diego bay every day)  Highlights … 

-          Sushi, beer and cookies at the finish from Sailing Supply.  This was an awesome tradition to start this year.

-          Storing trailers and putting things away at SDYC – thanks to Bill for setting that up.  Way nicer than facilities in years past.

-          Not having to tack until after we rounded the bridge (a few jibes on the way down the bay)

-          Good breeze

-          Every boat won a prize!

 It’s the third year in a row that 8024 has followed Dan and Bill around the course to win second place (only I was not on board this year) and the second year in a row that 8024 has rounded the bridge in third and made a pass on the final beat up the bay (Karl and I narrowly passed White Trash last year).

 Hope to have a better turnout next year.

 Next regatta for Karl and I is the Thrilla…