Fifty-four boats signed up for the Westpoint Regatta, and four of them didn’t have keels. Our local F18 fleet decided to splash our boats at Treasure Island and participate in the race around Alcatraz, down the Bay to finish at Redwood City. F18s were the smallest and fastest boats in the fleet.
The conditions were bumpy, but manageable and the wind was switched on in the slot. There was a little bit of everything sailing on Saturday: ebb tide, confused seas, raging flood, brisk wind, big holes and a capsize. Tactics played a huge part, but after three hours of racing and 40 miles of sailing, the entire F18 fleet finished within 15 minutes of each other.
“That was some great racing,” said Nick Grebe who crewed on Water Bison. “There were some slow pockets,” but we spent the vast majority of the race doing over 15-knots on long trapped out legs.”
Grebe was grateful that skipper Alex van Brunt took the time to teach him ‘the ropes.’
“I put us in the drink hard on the first leg due to a little trip around the forestay,” said Grebe. “Proving that yes, it is entirely possibly to pitch-pole upwind.” After they capsized, they popped back up and started sailing fast.
“All four boats had a shot at the win,” said skipper Rich Vilvens.
The lead switched at times, but in the end Phillip Meredith and Erwan Griziaux were the first-to-finish and the fastest boat in the entire fleet aboard Aurora. Rich Vilvens and Jake Sailer put in a strong performance on Capricorn and took 2nd place, while Cherie Sogsti and Greg Retkowski sailed into 3rd place on This Side Up. Only four minutes separated 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place.
“This was our first distance race, and we were happy with our performance, especially considering we gybed down the Bay for over two hours with a torn spinnaker,” said Greg Retkwoski.
Sequoia Yacht Club hosted a rocking after-party with two bands and plenty of libations to quench the thirsty sailors.
Special thanks to our F18 fleet chase boat photographers Dustin Fox and Heather Ouellette.
More info? Check http://usf18.com/westpoint-regatta-san-francisco-f18/