40 boats in 7 classes took part in the 2019 Spinnaker Cup race from San Francisco Bay to Monterey.
The Spinnaker Cup is the first of 3 races in the CA Offshore Race Week, to be followed by the Coastal Cup and SoCal 300. 9 teams are competing in the full series, and many boats have their Transpac Race crews on board in preparation for this summer’s 50th running of the Transpac Race.
Corrected time winner of 2018 Sydney Hobart Alive has returned to the West Coast To Compete in the Transpac and CORW
Alive formerly known as Black Jack, was acquired by Tasmanian businessman Phillip Turner from Peter Harburg early in 2014. Her narrow, light and canting keel combined with a powerful new Southern Spar rig makes her a technically advanced and challenging boat. The new owner and crew have enjoyed consistent success with a first place ORCi and IRC overall in the Brisbane to Gladstone, first IRC overall in Sail Paradise, third over the line in the Brisbane to Keppel, second overall IRC Division 1 at Hamilton Island Race Week and most notably, the 1,850 nautical mile MYC Melbourne to Vanuatu in which she won line honours and IRC as well as cementing a new race record.
The boat was sixth across the line in the 2008 Rolex Sydney Hobart. In 2012 she recorded the second fastest time ever in the Sydney Gold Coast Race, breaking Brindabella’s (a conventionally ballasted yacht) 13-year race record, claiming the second fastest time for the Open record after finishing in 26hrs 24 mins and 2 secs. The boat was originally launched in the US in 2006 as Stark Raving Mad.
One such team preparing for Transpac is the Spinnaker Cup’s first finisher in 2019 and top corrected time in the race, Alive, Phillip Turner’s Reichel Pugh 66 visiting California from Derwent Sailing Squadron in Queensland, Australia. Alive finished in 7:16:17, about 30 minutes behind the monohull course record. Alive is racing the full Offshore Race Week series before taking on a massive 17 boat Division 1 in the Transpac Race in July. Also in PHRF-A Class was the next edition of the Santa Cruz 70 battle between Edward Marez’s Buona Sera and Joel Ronning’s Catapult. After a correct time tie between the two in 2018, Catapult managed to hold off Buona Sera this year, pulling away on the final downwind leg crossing Monterey Bay to cover the rating difference and take the SC70 win. They’ll have their work cut out to keep pace with Alive as the three will battle in Class A in the Coastal Cup.
In the PHRF-C Class, James Bradford’s Farr 40 Bright Hour sailed the shortest distance in the class to help net the class win, sailing 92 miles vs the 100 sailed by Zachery Anderson’s J/125 Velvet Hammer who finished 2nd in class. The other Farr 40 in the class, Barrington Darcy’s Taurus visiting from the UK, also in Transpac Race preparation, took 3rd in class.
The always competitive Santa Cruz 50/52 class kept the racing tight once again this year. As experienced teams from Northern California racing this course, Oaxaca, Lucky Duck and Deception all finished within 13 minutes of each other and corrected to even closer with Michael Moradzadeh’s Oaxaca taking the class win despite sailing the most miles in the class. Wayne Zittel’s J World’s Hula Girl had to return to the dock soon after leaving San Francisco Bay with some damage to the boat. The team was scheduled to race the full week, so having to drop out soon early seemed like a major problem. Thanks to a weekend welder and fiberglass repair, the boat was repaired, tested and made its way down to Monterey and will be on the start line for the Coastal Cup. All 4 Santa Cruz boats will have another chance to compete against each other as they are all doing the full race week.
Ray Paul’s beautiful Swan 53-2 Blue was the winner for Class E, taking a straighter line across Monterey Bay to pass Michael Clarke’s J/120 Shenanigans who had led the fleet down the coast most of the way.
More than any other race in the series the Spinnaker Cup lends itself to including smaller boats as the course is under 100 miles, arrives in Monterey on Saturday/Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and allows Northern California’s the chance to race and get home over the holiday weekend. So the Classes E and F are typically larger classes made up of these types of local teams.
Andrew Hamilton, Pete Trachy and Bill Erkelens sailed Wolfpack further outside to get to the steadier pressure and it paid off
in spades, getting wind gusts that the inside boats did not, and only had to gybe 2 times during the 88nm race!
Class E was won by Pete Trachy’s Donovan 30 Wolfpack. They took the farther west line in the class to pull out in front and finish nearly an hour before any other Class E teams for the class win before turning around and heading straight home with the boat. Brice Dunwoodie, sailing in his first Spinnaker Cup in the C&C 115 Raven took 2nd place. James Goldberg used the Spinnaker Cup as the first chance to take his new JPK 1080 Psycho Tiller II out for an ocean race. After racing a J/109 for many years, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make the move to the JPK 1080 when a rare one became available in the US. Psycho Tiller II finished 4th in Class E.
In Class F, the Cal 40s took two of the top 3 spots, led by Don Jesberg’s Cal 40 Viva. Jesberg is new to Cal 40 racing, taking a close line to the rhumbline to win the class. Viva will continue to race head to head all week against Rodney Pimentel’s Azure, who is stacked with an experienced Cal 40 team. Rebecca Hinden’s Express 27 Bombora was 2nd in Class F for the second year in a row, using her past experience in this race to finish ahead of the other to Express 27s and just about all of the Class F competition.
Rafi Yahalom sailed LookinGood II as the lone multihull entry, finishing with a corrected time of 10th overall.
For those racing in the full CA Offshore Race Week, teams were dual scored as PHRF (using PHRF downwind ratings) for the Spinnaker Cup as a stand alone event, and with ORR for the overall CORW series scoring. The best ORR corrected time went to J/125 Velvet Hammer.
A big thank you to Encinal Yacht Club and Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club for excellent presentation and management of the regatta on both ends of the race. The atmosphere at MPYC is always a big welcome to competitors as they arrive at all hours of the night to a clubhouse full of volunteers and fellow competitors.
Next up is the Coastal Cup race, with 17 teams racing nearly 200 miles to Santa Barbara on Monday, May 27, 2019.