Pacific Cup: And They're Off!
At 1:00pm on Monday, Division A boats crossed the start of the 2012 Pac Cup race from San Francisco to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. A report in shortly after the start from race committee boat Valis, also sailing in Division A, said blustery conditions belied the predicted light weather off the California coast.
No Strings Attached (Baltic 37 skippered by Nick Salvador) won the unofficial race to the Golden Gate Bridge, with Valis close behind in second (Pacific Seacraft 44 helmed by Paul Elliott) and Cassiopeia (Islander 36 skippered by Kit Wiegman) third.
No Strings Attached gave up her lead position up early on, pausing to replace her headsail with a smaller high tech blade responding to the weather conditions, a move expected to pay off.
Conditions were reported as cold, overcast and breezy with winds in the high teens. Competition was tight in Div A as they worked their way out under the Golden Gate towards the Farallon Islands, the first waypoint en route to Hawaii.
Meanwhile, shore-side, from E.T.’s blog posted following Lee Chesneau’s weather briefing this morning it seems the crew on the Antrim 27 may be just a tad stressed. Navigator Simon Bell blogged:
“It's gotta be Global-Warming??? Gosh-Darn-It..Things are SO screwed-up we have decided to bring in a Consultant at the last minute to help share the blame. And we have decided to run an Open-Boat with E.T. taking advantage of the group intelligence onboard for Nav :) I like working on an Open-Boat myself but if you see E.T. take off in 4 different directions after the start then you'll know we're still working on coming to a consensus. So which way would you go???”
Chesneau agreed that the weather pattern particularly for this week is not typical, and similar to how Transpac set up last year.
"It’ll be a challenging race as we’re starting to see things that we don’t normally see such as an upper level low right smack in the first third of the racetrack and that’s forcing the surface high to shift west of its normal position and the breeze to slacken off especially off the California coast to about 135 west, south of 35 north.”
He said tropical storm Fabio wont help matters and is generally expected to contribute to a weaker breeze along the racetrack especially in the more southern latitudes, east of 135 west.
Lee’s advice? “Boats that tend to hang out at a higher latitude will get more wind. Those who head south right away will tend to get less wind.”
Sounds simple enough, right?
Meanwhile, the 24-hour countdown is well underway for Tiki J, the J/42 skippered by Scott Dickinson, who celebrated at the Coyote Point Yacht Club Bon Voyage Party on Monday evening. Tiki J starts on Tuesday in B Division, and with the Tiki Trophy at stake, will be on watch for Tiki Blue, the the Beneteau 423 skippered by Gary Troxel.
Three divisions started today - Division A (six boats), and two double-handed Divisions D H 1 and D H 2 (each with five boats). Tuesday’s race start is at 1:30pm for nine Div B boats. Race starts continue through Thursday 19th, when the final group Div E boats will leave. -- Event website: http://www.pacificcup.org/