Three Bridge Fiasco

The 2019 edition of the Three Bridge Fiasco in San Francisco, CA will go down in the history books as one of the nicest in recent memory—sunny skies, gentle northeast winds of 4 to 12 knots and warm 72 F temperatures. The Singlehanded Sailing Society welcomed a fleet of 334 boats that were entered as singlehanded or doublehanded teams (most were sailing doublehanded). It is believed the race, a 21.0nm dash around three marks is considered the largest shorthanded sailing event in the world. Starting off Golden Gate YC on the south shore of the Bay, the sailors can choose which direction to go (clockwise or counter-clockwise). The marks are Blackaller Buoy near the south pylon of the Golden Gate Bridge at the westward opening of the Bay, around Red Rock Island near the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge in north Bay, and around the Bay Bridge by rounding Treasure & Yerba Buena Islands. Since the race is a reverse start (pursuit) race, the start time for each boat is based on its PHRF rating, with slowest boats starting first at 0900 hrs and the fastest at -102 starting two hours later. In the seven-boat J/22 fleet, it was Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault sailing TOM ALLEN who took one-design honors crossing at 15:01:23. Second was Owen Lahr and Connell Phillipps’ YANG at 15:07:08, and third place went to David James and Roy Haslup’s FRITZ JEWETT at 15:12:39. Stone said, "We had a reverse order start at Golden Gate YC in either direction. Nicole and I chartered a J/22 from St. Francis YC. We decided that based on tide, we would go clockwise. We won our fleet. However, Will Benedict in his dad’s J/105 ADVANTAGE 3 went counter-clockwise and crushed; they finished way ahead of everyone! Course length was 21 miles, winds were light, around 6-8 knots from the Northeast. We started late in the ebb tide, which then turned into a light flood tide, making it hard to get around Treasure Island. Some boats, like Scott Sellers in his J/70 1FA, reported losing 70 places there! We passed at least that many boats by cutting inside them along the southeast corner. But then we lost around 20 of those as the big boats caught up and passed us. The winning move there for us on the J/22 was to get to the city front near the ferry building and short tack the docks in a substantial early ebb, hugging the shore all the way back to the finish line at Golden Gate YC." For more Three Bridge Fiasco information, visit http://sfbaysss.org/main/.

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