One feature of the Nespresso International 18 Skiff Regatta hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club this week: some days the fortunes change as fast as the little boats sail.
But, Grant Rollerson said after Wednesday's three races on unstable San Francisco Bay: "It's not bad luck. You make your own luck."
The Australian veteran finished first and second in the first two races and was leading the third - a make-up of Tuesday's second race that was canceled because of strong winds - when his Mounts Bay W.A. (Western Australia) craft flipped moments after rounding the first windward mark. By the time he and crew Justin Healey and Marco Schurmann managed to right the boat in the churning waters near the Golden Gate Bridge, well...
"By the time we got up everyone else was at the bottom mark," Healey said.
So they sailed back to the beach and settled for discarding the last place as a throwout, which kicked in after five races.
Overall, Rollerson moved up from fifth to third in the 18-boat battle, a point behind the USA's Howie Hamlin, whose 3-3-4 day left him seven points behind pacesetting Alex Vallings. The C-Tech team has won three of the six races so far while tossing Wednesday's sixth-place finish.
"We could have done a bit better," Vallings said, "but that's all right. It's quite pretty where we are."
Jonny Goldsberry's CT Sailbattens, a local team with Jody McCormack and Nick Catley as crew, won the day's last race to move from seventh up to fourth.
"The second race we were late at the start," McCormack said, "but we stayed in the pressure and out of other boats' way, and when we had a chance to roll a boat we did it."
Remarkably, he added, "This was our third day together as a team."
Goldsberry, runner-up in the US Olympic Trials in the 49er class, said, "Altogether, I've had about six hours driving the boat."
McCormack also is a member of the Chinese team competing on AC45s in the local America's Cup World Series, not to mention crewing on a more conventional boat in St. Francis YC's traditional Big Boat Series next week.
Wednesday's winds were 15 to 20 knots, relatively mild compared to Tuesday's boat-flipping 25 to 30 which, McCormack said, "would have been a lot more carnage with the AC45s."
Thursday will be a lay day, then racing continues Friday with an 18 race at 4 p.m. PDT followed by the traditional 7.5-mile Ronstan Bridge to Bridge Race from the Golden Gate to the Oakland Bay at 5:30. The last two of 10 races will be Saturday.
Full results here