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Photo by Chris Ray

Lifts from the Left, Pressure from the Right, Arbitrage’s Transom in Front

..and so went the extremely challenging Summer Keel regatta managed by the San Francisco Yacht Club. It was obvious that the day was not going to be “normal” on the drive across the Golden Gate early on Saturday. The wind was already blowing, but from an unusual, Southerly, direction and the high clouds were drifting Northwest to Southeast – clearly something odd was going on.

Jeff Zarwell set the course up to manage a breeze coming from about 200 degrees, with the pin slightly favored to discourage those “go right on the circle” boats from gelcoat-exchange and bad language close to the RC. The plan worked, helped, perhaps, by the allure of early ebb on the left. The fleet bisected and the two parts headed off in different directions - a pattern that repeated after each start and each leeward mark rounding throughout the regatta, with some skippers convinced that the right paid due to the curl effect around Angel Island, and others favoring stronger current, and unusual port tack “lull-lifts” on the South side. During the usual informal hand-waving debriefs at the excellent post-race party and BBQ, the fleet also split into two camps – the certain and the conflicted – with no apparent advantage to either attitude as far as picking the correct side or in the results of the racing.

At the end of the day, Bruce Stone’s Arbitrage managed the unusual conditions best and won the regatta convincingly with three bullets, a second and a fifth, followed by Blackhawk and Mojo. Risk and Godot tied on points for forth/fifth overall, with Risk taking the tie breaker due to winning the first race.

Don’t forget to sign up early for the Big Boat Series – September 18th is the deadline to avoid a whopping $250 late fee.