An optimistic fleet of 29 boats headed out under the gate late Monday morning under the watchful eyes of PRO John Siegel, start line chair Bobbi Tosse, and a host of volunteers. Pictures will follow.
Some of the starters were already sporting reduced sail ("a bit premature," muttered one race deck observer), but all were anticipating the forecast heavier winds to be found offshore. A low-pressure trough passing through our area poses an interesting challenge for our early racers.
First, they must get away from the near shore so as to avoid the dreaded "glass off" -- the light air near shore that is common from early evening till some time in the morning. However, the prize for avoiding that is pretty lumpy water and winds gusting in the 30s forecast. To put it mildly, this is more "sporty" than most of us seek out. While not excessive for an ocean-capable yacht, this will give our fleet an uncomfortable ride for a while.
Early tracker views show multi-race veteran Jim Quanci aboard Green Buffalo leading the pack, with the protype Figaro 3 A Fond Le Girafon almost even. All boats appear to be heading a bit South of the Farallon Islands, heading offshore as quickly as possible.
We're looking forward to Tuesday Morning's reports to hear how our fleet handles the night. Looking farther out, once past the trough, 96-hour forecast shows a classic Pacific Cup weather pattern, with a nicely-formed high pressure zone (the "Pacific High") and very nice winds in quite pleasant ranges in the mid-teens. A fitting payoff for a challenging start.