View Full Version : First time regatta participant nerves

05-22-2001, 05:48 PM
Doesn't look like too many people in San Francisco are checking out the forum yet 'cept for a handful. Well I've had a nervous stomach all week. I'll be racing my boat, John T (Winslow ketch), for the first time in the Master Mariners regatta this Saturday. I have a decent crew and the boat is stout, but it's still making me a bit of a wreck. We have 77 boats participating this year. Ten boats in my class, Marconi III. 15.5 nm course. Flood. Anyway, I'll report back soon how it went. Have a good Memorial Weekend!

Art Read
05-23-2001, 04:39 AM
Any time two sailboats are in sight of each other and going in generaly the same direction, it's a race... whether the skippers admit it or not. Consider this weekend just another sail with LOTS of boats all going the same way. Don't let yourself get all wraped up in that whole "America's Cup" mentality. Enjoy the day, enjoy the boat and your companions and then just see how well you can make her go... Races are a great learning experience. There's nothing like having somebody coming up fast behind you to show what sail trim combination works best... Bottom line is that nobody etcept you is gonna really care who won once you're "celebrating" at the post race party. Any nobody etcept you is gonna be worrying about anything you broke trying to win. This is supposed to be fun, right? Oh, yeah... and don't yell. The best run boats are the quietest.

Dave Thibodeau
05-23-2001, 06:33 AM
Breathes a Captain with soul so dead

That never to the crew has said

"Pull in that jib just a hair, I believe we can catch that schooner up there "

from one of Tristian Jones books

05-23-2001, 11:12 AM
Raced for years on Lake Michigan and a little on S.F. Bay. Always butterflies before the start but once the gun goes off, it's just boats going in the same direction as Art said above. Your butterflies will disappear immediately at the start. Let us know how you fared.

ken mcclure
05-23-2001, 11:15 AM
Y'know, even if you finish last you win. Just because you were there.

05-23-2001, 11:15 AM
Raced for years on Lake Michigan and a little on S.F. Bay. Always butterflies before the start but once the gun goes off, it's just boats going in the same direction as Art said above. Your butterflies will disappear immediately at the start. Let us know how you fared.

05-23-2001, 11:50 AM
Ariane: Best of luck in the Master Mariners.
You probably know these, but remember some of the axioms about racing on San Francisco Bay: Don't pinch to windward in choppy water; if the race is on the regular course, mostly in the central part of the Bay opposite the Golden Gate, in beating to the westward stay out of the flood tide--outside the edge of the flow where a bit of ebb might be left; running to the eastward, get into the full flood and avoid the remnants of the ebb; the color of the water will tell you whether you're in the ebb or flood--the flood is darker and cleaner, with the edges defined by foam and debris; unless the course takes you there, don't try to short-cut through Racoon Strait, an area of chancy winds and calm even if the regular westerly is blowing outside. If the tide is flooding, it could take a long time to get through to the west; in mid- to late afternoon, look for the front of the fog at the Gate and over Yellow Bluff toward Sausalito--that's where the strongest breeze will be. Since in the open bay the wind is usually constant, the winners will be the ones who work the tides the best.
This is some of what I remember from twenty years' racing on the Bay, all in wooden boats, before I transferred to fresh water (Lake Michigan). Hope you do well, or if not, it's still a great race. I think it's wonderful that so many qualifying boats are still around the Bay.
Best regards, Clint.

[This message has been edited by Bayboat (edited 05-23-2001).]

05-23-2001, 02:47 PM
Thanks for encouragement. Bayboat, it is the usual course, we won't be going through Racoon Straits. It will be a flood. I did a practice last Saturday, but in an ebb, seemed to be blowing 25-30, lots of chop. Hopefully, considering the flood, no chop this Sat. I have an older guy on board (you may know, John Haynes) that's going to help navigate/be tactician. What I'm most nervous about is not hitting anything. Each year I hear of expensive damage to a few boats, not too much about people getting hurt though. I hope to do respectably in the race, don't care about winning. Top competition in my class are Simpatico, Eclipse and Pampero (their photos are on our website). It'll all be over soon. Will be hard for me to relax at the party though as I'm on our board and caught in the middle of everything all the time. Was able to match up an x-SF Bay person visiting from Boston to be crew on Yankee (the Ford's boat). It hasn't done the race in several years because of extensive restoration project.
Back to work. I will let you know how I fare.

05-23-2001, 02:49 PM
PS to Bayboat, what boats did you sail in SF bay?

John B
05-23-2001, 07:38 PM
Is SF normally that breezy?
We had a couple of bumper boat incidents in our regatta's this year. One Bowsprit lost, another one saw two rigs locked( a backstay lost and a damaged spreader as a result). Not acceptable in classics in my view. A couple of over aggressive skippers have had to be told to pull in the reins a bit.

As the others say ... it's the start that gets you wound up.

Ian McColgin
05-24-2001, 08:45 AM
A really good race committee will skew the pin end of the line a scootch to weather to make up for the penalty of starting down there.

This means that if you have an aggressive crowd to the fleet, you can let them do their elbows up thing at the gun and you can slip past the committee boat on the port tack in clear air. Sure you're a little behind but your nerves are intact.

The RC for the Moffett Cup (Holmes Hole Sailing Assn.) always talks about how this is the genteel race, no fouls, no protests. I vividly remember Grana and 5 other 20 ton or so boats at the Committee end, much shouting about who was barging whom, and into that melange a Soling was slaloming us all on port tack trying to dip the line after being forced over early. My crew later praised my serenity and skill in getting out of that mess in front and no splinters. It was really blank terror and a gamble that the only way out was ahead . . .

Pilots call it SA - situation awareness. Once you've got it, there's nothing so much fun as tight quarters fast manouver and risk. Accidents at the start are usually side by side bumping anyway and rarely risk more than a bit of paint. Unlike say (real example from Wianno's) a couple boats running close and hot, 'chutes up, and the one in the lead broaches into a death role, exposing lots of bottom for the follower to prong. The pronged Wianno went down in about 90 seconds.

But the point of these horror stories is that the situations are totally avoidable. Just throw water balloons at anyone who invades your comfort zone. No - somebody eats deflated baloons. So throw cherry bombs. Whatever. Have fun and let us know how you do.

05-28-2001, 08:31 PM
Originally posted by Ariane:
PS to Bayboat, what boats did you sail in SF bay?

Between 1939 and 1962:
Zaca, Dorade, Kettenberg PC, Elite (20-square meter), Smoothie Too (Golden Gate), Vixen (Q-boat); Pajara; Mickey and Eulalie (Kettenberg PCC), Merope (1898 gaff yawl); Pampero (Windward),Kay Too (Kettenberg K-40), Windward (M-boat), Java Head, Holganza,
Tasco II, Volunteer, Treasure Island class, Brilliant, Samarang, Wander Bird, Gracie S., Charlene, Panacea, Emerald, Anacapa and some others whose names I don't remember.

Just one or two times aboard Zaca, Dorade and Gracie S., and two were deliveries from the Bay (Volunteer and Panacea). Aboard two for Honolulu Races & return (Anacapa and Holganza), and three deliveries from Honolulu to the coast, one to Santa Barbara (Brilliant, which previously had been on the Bay) and two to San Francisco (Tasco II twice). Aboard most for one racing season or more.
Sailed the longest (6 or 7 years)with Glenn Waterhouse on Pampero and Kay Too. Owned Elite and Merope. All were/are wooden sailboats.

05-28-2001, 08:41 PM
Originally posted by John B:
Is SF normally that breezy?

Yes, SF Bay is normally that breezy in summer. A typical day starts with fog overcast, which burns off by noon or so. In early afternoon the breeze picks up quickly, to 25-30 knots, and it blows until late afternoon, especially in front of the next fog bank which comes through the Golden Gate and over the Marin County hills. A favorite place for knockdowns is the Marin shore just south of Sausalito, known as Yellow Bluff or Hurricane Gulch.

ken mcclure
05-29-2001, 07:29 AM
Well? How'd it go?

Ed Harrow
05-29-2001, 11:27 AM
Yes, really, how did it go? Hope you had fun, too!

05-29-2001, 12:27 PM
(There are some pictures posted at this link:
clockwise from top right: Black Witch, Briar Rose, Viveka, Whitefin, Nightwatcher, ?, Robin [Bird boat])

Here I am... back in one piece, from both the race and the three day festivities afterwards. Well, hate to tell you this but I was last in my class. I was late to the starting line, was almost there on time, turned off my engine five minutes before, but I was at the wrong end and had to beat back and forth against the flood. So that put me more against the strength of the flood for the first two marks, up to Little Harding, then to Blackhaller (Crissy), after that I was too far behind, but completed the race anyway. The other marks were a breeze, run to Blossom Rock, reach to South Hampton Shoals, another reach to channel mark 8 (I guess it's numbered 4 though), then on to the finish behind Treasure Island. From when I actually crossed the starting line to the finish took me 3 hrs 40 mins. I would have had to come in under 3 hrs to win anything. No one got hurt. Since I was late, I didn't have to deal with any tension at the start. There were other boats slower than me though, and about 13 boats that were supposed to race didn't start or finish for this reason or that. Only problem on my boat was my mizzen track started to lift in the middle but we strapped it down. I kept a first reef in my main the whole race because I'm on the conservative side. I didn't have one in the previous weekend and I was definitely overpowered then. Winds were not too overwhelming for the race, mainly about 25 kts I think. One boat blew out their spinnaker near Pt. Blount. Another boat was taking on so much water going to the first mark they dropped out. Another boat slightly touched sails with another at the start and dropped out. Still don't know all the stories. Winners: Big Schooners: 1) Alma, 2) Viveka, 3) Hawaiian Chieftain; Ocean I: 1) Lone Fox, 2) Bounty, 3) Robin; Ocean II: 1) Spirit, 2) Chorus, 3) Sunda; Gaff I: 1) Brigadoon, 2) Nightwatcher, 3) Johanna; Gaff II: 1) Dutch, 2) Black Witch, 3) Regulus; Gaff III: 1) Mercy, 2) Briar Rose, 3) Bullfrog; Marconi I: 1) Mossie Estelle (x-Dreamweaver), 2) Bright Star, 3) Pegasus; Marconi II: 1) Lydia, 2) Nautigal (this year's t-shirt boat), 3) M'Lady; Marconi III: 1) Simpatico, 2) Flotsam, 3) Pampero; Marconi IV: 1) Pisces, 2) Ragnarok, 3) Camembert (Bear boat); Birds: 1) Robin, 2) Petrel, 3) Curlew.

The party afterwards and next two days were great. We gave a nice gift to Terry Klaus of Brigadoon for his 60th b-day, a water color of his boat by Caleb Whitbeck. Sunday night was a highlight for me. About ten of us holed up inside Valkyrien. We did a round-robin reading of "A Raid on the Oyster Pirates" by Jack London, and then a woman sang to us a song from Les Miserables. There was fun and visiting non-stop til mid-day Monday.
Now I need to get to work a bit so I'll check in later.
BAYBOAT, boy you sailed on quite a number of boats. I'll have to research them. I moved to the area in late '92. Bought our boat April '94, got involved in Master Mariners in '95. Just looked at your list of boats again. I heard in March that Vixen was for sale in So. Calif, I think the asking price was $24K (not positive). One of the Ocean 1 boats this year was a Q boat, Robin, 50 ft, came in 3rd. As you saw, Pampero still going strong. Java Head changed owners last yr., new owner hasn't joined yet.
Thanks for comments and questions,

[This message has been edited by Ariane (edited 05-31-2001).]

06-05-2001, 01:45 PM
Originally posted by Ariane:
PS to Bayboat, what boats did you sail in SF bay?
I should have included in my list the IMP, a flush-deck Q, the wettest boat I ever sailed. SAMARANG is in good hands at Newport-Balboa; DORADE and ZACA are in the Mediterranean after refits; GRACIE S., which became WANDERER with Sterling Hayden, was piled up on a South Seas reef by a subsequent owner; WINDWARD, a brightwork=hull M, dragged ashore south of Puerto Vallarta. I've learned from you and others that PAMPERO, HOLGANZA, JAVA HEAD AND ANACAPA are still on the Bay. My 1898 gaff yawl MEROPE would have been a century old a few years ago; my guess is that she's no longer around. If you have news of any of the others, I'd appreciate hearing it. 16 years ago I acquired a Hinckley Sou'wester, built in 1947 (34'x9'2"x5'). I sure wish she were on the Bay to race in the MM.

07-12-2001, 01:57 PM
A new Yahoo group is set up for Master Mariners now at:
Please email me if you want to join: