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Doublehanded Three Bridge Fiasco - Centomiglia

posted Jan 30, 2012, 12:14 AM by Fabio Maino   [ updated Feb 21, 2012, 10:38 AM ]
The FT10 Centomiglia finishes 13th monohull overall, out of 334 entrants, at the Doublehanded Three Bridges Fiasco, in San Francisco, California. 

With our start at 10:13:30, and looking at the tidetech/pressure-drop charts it was clear clear that clockwise was the way to go. I decided that only if blackhaller looked like a parking lot, we would have gone straight to red rock. It was a typical fiasco start, just enough wind to stay near X fighting the dying ebb. We started right on the clock, and we could see boats rounding blackhaller, so we hoisted right after the start and headed west. We were a bit surprised when we saw the eight ball tacking toward red rock. For a moment we thought about following them, but the tidetech chart were clear so we stuck with plan A. We stayed outside where there was a bit more pressure, hearing over the radio of boats having trouble with Anita rock. We passed a lot of the early starter, and rounded blackhaller in light air, but still moving. We doused and once tacked the pressure kept increasing, and with the help of the building flood we got quickly to Racoon. It was a bit light and fluky in the strait, but we did get to the other side. Heading toward red rock, we stayed on the tiburon side. The spear and the other FT10 had caught up with us in the strait, and were ahead but still within reach. We rounded red rock clockwise, while the other Tiger went counter clockwise. We were focused on making sure there were no boats below our jib, and we were totally surprised by the FT10 coming toward us on the high side, a few feet from our port. I wavered a bit on the helm (we were port tackers) and we heard them calling protest, so we took our 360, jibed and hoisted the spi. We carried the spi a bit longer than the others, and that got us in the middle of the bay. After a bit of light air, it was good pressure after the chevron dock all the way down to the bay bridge on the east side of TI, reaching with white sails. 

At the coast guard station it was a giant parking lot... It was THE parking lot... We noted that there was a small blue spinnaker that was making progress south of the whole group that was bobbing around the shoreline of TI. We hoisted at the bridge and it helped getting south of all the parked boats. We kept pressure in the sail most of the time, and slowly but steadily we kept making progress passing 50-80 boats... There was a bit more pressure once back to the bay bridge, even if coming forward of the beam. We have an amazing small flat spi, made by quantum for heavy air, that can be used almost as a zero when it is light. We kept the spi up and we crossed to pier 39 with wind always forward of the beam doing 6-7 knots while the boats behind us were still struggling with the parking lot south of TI. Once pier 39 was cleared, we bear off and run to the finish. We didn't hear many finishers calling over the radio, so we were pretty happy. Right after crossing the finish line we saw the eight ball coming toward the finish line, from the west, we turned around and saw yucca behind us and that was when we realized we had done a good race. It turned out we were 3rd in the DH sportboat division, and 13th monohull to finish... not bad at all! 

Thanks to tidetech for the detailed chart, it makes so much easier to come up with a strategy, especially in a race like this with a unique combination of strong currents and light winds.

Fabio Maino - FT10 Centomiglia - USA 15