30 seconds after the start, USA-76, helmed by Larry Ellison drifted across the line, the first yacht to catch a very light breeze that was sufficient to push them against the flood and into the wind. The remainder of the fleet wallowed for several minutes before following suite, but not quick enough to give the 2002-class yacht a generous advantage.
At the point that the rest of the fleet rounded Yellow Bluff to the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, the breeze built to a stiff 20-25 knots and with a strong flood tide made for challenging conditions down the San Francisco city front.
In second position but still some distance from USA-76, ITA-1 was the first to blow a chute approaching Pier 39, followed 10 minutes later by NZL-14 at the back of the fleet and appearing to be struggling in the chop. Not five minutes later, USA-11 also lost their kite approaching Pier 39.
USA-11 closed on ITA-1 approaching Blossom, the farthest mark on the city front and the two rounded very tightly, heading up the beat neck and neck, with NZL-20 close behind.
USA-76 easily won in one hour and twenty three minutes, while the rest of the fleet sailed into parking lot conditions on the final beat toward Elephant Rock in Racoon Straits. The breeze dropped from 15 to zero at the top of Richardson Bay, leaving ITA-1, USA-11 and NZL-20 to park up for some time, worsened by the flood pushing them to the south of Angel Island.
NZL-14, a good 3 miles behind the fleet at this stage, was able to capitalize on the breeze they were still enjoying to pass the parking lot and take the lead into Racoon Straits. Some clever maneouvering with virtually no air in the Straits saw NZL-14 round the final mark in front, followed by NZL-20.
The two red yachts from down under sailed a close final leg, with NZL-14 taking second place and NZL-20 third, some 40 minutes after USA-76. Meanwhile USA-11 and ITA-1 continued to struggle in the Straits, finally finishing a good 30 minutes behind the rest of the fleet.
Two races scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday June 21. Scheduled start-time 1000 hours, weather dependent.
Friday June 20 – Day 1 Results
Race 1 – Start 1307 hours
(hours, minutes, seconds)
1st USA-76 (01:28:45) Helm – Larry Ellison
2nd NZL-20 (01:37:19) Helm – Karie and David Thomson
3rd ITA-1 (01:39:15) Helm – Peter Stoneberg
4th NZL-14 (01:39:20) Helm – Mary Coleman
5th USA-11 (01:41:46) Helm – John Sweeney
Cumulative Point Standings