Nathan's Sailing Blog/Notes


Sailing and related topics, SF Bay and beyond.



Nathan Bossett is a San Francisco area racer and now cruiser on a variety of boats.

This blog will evolve in form over time. It's intended to preserve a blog format while keeping subjects/tags intact for sort/search. For now, the minimalist cms bloxsom is an excellent fit.

  • CSS instead of tables
  • links by month
  • cleaner spacing on pics/text

Mon, 28 Oct 2013
RYC Great Pumpkin 2013 on Marishanna, 28 Oct 2013
hendrik bruhns, maggie freeman, marishanna wylie 39
john freeman marishanna
sapphire synergy 1000
serge zavarin marishanna
surprise schumacher
john freeman, nathan bossett, marishanna

Full size versions of the Great Pumpkin 2013 Pictures from Marishanna are available in the usual place.

The Great Pumpkin is an annual pursuit race run by the Richmond Yacht Club. The slowest boats start first and the fastest last; theoretically everyone should finish at the same time. The fly in the ointment is that the race typically features building wind, which means that the boats starting later (the faster ones) also experience more favorable wind conditions.

The big decision during the race is whether to do the race clockwise or counterclockwise: you need to go around Angel Island and Alcatraz but you get to pick which order. We did it counterclockwise, as did the winner (Colin Moore on the Wabbit Kwazy). Some other folks who did extremely well went clockwise, such as the Cal 20 Can O' Whoopass.

The wind direction was slightly unusual, so we had one upwind leg followed by two reaches which were slightly too hot to carry a spinnaker on from Angel to Alcatraz and then from Alcatraz to Pt. Richmond. This year, RYC ran a very short upwind leg to finish.

We were a bit shorthanded and Marishanna's sails are a little tired (holes in the main) so we lost ground on the upwind versus folks like the Express 37's who share our rating. Off the wind was fun and easy sailing. While we didn't do well, for the fleet in general it was probably one of the fastest Great Pumpkins ever- we were finished by 1430 or so and the fleet was relatively tight.

We were buried in the standings. Colin Moore on the Wylie Wabbit Kwazy won by a few minutes with a variety of boat types closely following ranging from Open 5.70's to a Cal 20 and others.

Sun, 27 Oct 2013
Elise - Richmond Yacht Club Great Pumpkin 2013 (Saturday)
Nathalie Criou and upwind Express 27's
Mike Sowa, bowman

The full size versions of these Great Pumpkin Pictures are at the usual place (only 3, we were busy!).

The annual Great Pumpkin Regatta is divided into two events: Saturday is a series of buoy races and Sunday is a pursuit event.

This year, we sailed Elise with 4 people: Nat, Mark, Mike, and I. The three races built from light #1 conditions to low end #3 conditions.

Our performance improved as we went but unfortunately we had a lot of difficulty getting our act together in the light stuff. 3 races, 17 Express 27's. Finishes of 17, 7.5, and 13, which is notable at least- I can't recall being scored as a tie in a single race before. That got us a 12 overall- congrats to Wile E Coyote, Peaches and Magic Bus in 1st through 3rd for the day.

We had trouble with our tacks in the first and second races. Once we found a groove, we pointed well (average, not with the best in the fleet) and had good speed (including pacing well even against the folks like Wile E Coyote when they hadn't yet moved up the course). Our spinnaker maneuvers were a bit slow and complicated, particularly the douses.

Mike did his first round-the-buoys event as bowman. As a special challenge, we were shorthanded and had forgotten the spinnaker pole sleeve (which really complicates stowing the pole away and clearing for a gybe/tack at the leeward mark).

Sun, 13 Oct 2013
Bay View Boat Club Champion of Champions Regatta 12 Oct 2013

Pictures of Breakout crew and the competition are up as usual.

The three boats which had done well in preceding series:

  • Breakout, Lloyd Ritchey, Santana 35, PHRF 114
  • Cappo Gatto, Sal Balistreri, Nonsuch 30 (cat rig), PHRF 180
  • Kai Manu, John Jaundzems, Cal 29, PHRF 186

The rating spread was significant, 114 to 186. The courses were three quick windward leewards to three different leeward marks as the wind rotated over the course of the day. The course was the usual BVBC start/finish line with other fixed buoys as the leeward. The first race just took us up the shoreline. The second and third took us to NAS2 and SC respectively.

Breakout finished 3, 1, 2 for a 2nd place. We didn't have a #1 but the #2 was a reasonable size as the wind built. Being scratch boat by a large margin (needing to finish 5+ minutes ahead each race)tactics consisted mostly of trying to sail the fastest course.

In the first race, we had a poor start and took long enough to catch up on the shortest course we had very little chance of doing well even a few minutes into the race. The second and third races we pulled it together and had a longer leeward leg to gain through spinnaker work and windward leg to gain by playing current/wind. As always, the push back to the finish mark near the gray ships is a tough call in current and variable winds.

Sat, 05 Oct 2013
Elise's Tiburon Yacht Club Shorthanded Races, Oct 5 2013

Pics are here including a shot of the woodie rounding the windward mark and a few great scenic shots (the "fire" on the Berkeley hills from reflections during a sunset and a nice shot of a schooner)

Tiburon Yacht Club hosts an annual shorthanded event consisting of two races, one doublehanded (or SH) and one singlehanded. I sailed both singlehanded.

Elise was "the sportboat" in a group of boats spanning a variety of performance characteristics including weight, waterline, etc. We had a larger, relatively old sloop, a couple of smaller sloops, and a beautiful cold-molded wood custom from the 70's.

The wind for both races was light but very sailable at the start and then dropped to drifter conditions. Having a spinnaker made all of the difference in the first race as I'd blown the start by misreading the course and preparing to start in the wrong direction. In either race, I was the only one who hoisted but the "downwind" in the second race was such a tight reach that hoisting was of marginal benefit if that.

Elise corrected out well ahead in the first race and by a minute and a half in the second. The first course was up to windward (ISO), then down the near edge of the channel (GRC) and back. It was shortened to end at the GRC mark rounding. The second race was ISO to the TYC mark and back, shortened to end at the TYC mark. Key to doing well was staying way left on the upwind, avoiding the steadily mounting ebb. Just judging from wind direction, I probably overstood by a quarter mile or more but by the time the current and decreasing wind were done with me it turned out to be only 30 yards- a price well worth paying. The boats which didn't go that far left stalled out in inferior wind trying to claw their way up against a bad current.


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