6 August 2016

The Bay Challenge didn't start very well for me as I fell in at the first tack shortly after the start. Eric 
 Christianson had a good lead at the first mark (windward), Tom Purcell was second and I was third.
I managed to catch up a bit in the early stages of the downwind leg but Eric got a good gust south west of Alcatraz and he extended his lead. Eric stayed with that gust for a long time and I followed him. We ended up South of Alcatraz and headed towards Treasure Island. The two of us gybed West of Alcatraz and headed North East on port.
I was going well at that point, slowly catching up Eric. As we passed West of the Berkekey pier, we saw a bunch of guys who had gone North of Alcatraz ahead of us. Mike Percey, Steve Bodner and Tom Purcell had a good lead on us. 
I decided to keep going North to get the stronger wind. Eric must have had the same idea since he carried on too.
We gybed more or less together to head to the downwind mark just North of the eastward most gap in the Berkeley pier.
We were going downwind at a good angle.
I had good speed and I could go deep so I managed to pass Eric at that point.
I also caught up with the leaders and I rounded the downwind mark in third place behind Mike Percey and Steve Bodner.
Shortly after rounding the mark, I overtook Steve with better angle. 
At this point, I caught a nasty piece of grass around my fin so I had to stop and reverse to get rid of it.
Eric overtook me as a result.
I had to work extra hard to overtake him again.
Mike Percey was further ahead but eventually I managed to overtake him with better angle.
Things were looking good at that point as I extended my lead with good speed and angle. However, Eric caught up with me after a couple of good options North of Alcatraz.
He managed to squeeze ahead of a ferry.
Tom Purcell was not so lucky and got badly delayed by the wind shadow of the ferry.

At that point, I realized it was best not to gamble with the Bay tactics so I just covered Eric to win with a lead of 13 seconds.
The prize giving was amazing in the lounge of the St Francis Yacht Club overlooking the Bay.
It was great to win a crate of beer too!

Many thanks to the St Francis Yacht Club and the volunteers for running this legendary race. Many thanks too to ABK beer for sponsoring the event!