SAN FRANCISCO (#1030) – On Thursday the third stop on the 2018 Hydrofoil Pro Tour "For the Riders, By the Riders" got off to a great start on the iconically beautiful and reliably windy San Francisco Bay. Some of the 50 riders entered from 16 countries actually complained about there being too much wind! As one rider told your Ed. this morning, "It's tough being bounced off the rocks in front of St Francis upwind in 25 knots" – meaning having to tack repeatedly up the shore in front of host St Francis Yacht Club. This because of the flood tide – the current was from the west, same as the wind, which tactically favors getting to the shore for less adverse current when sailing upwind. Downwind, with strong breeze and a following tide, some riders clocked 40+ knots.
Last year's winner, Nico Parlier (FRA), leads after winning all five races yesterday. Local favorite and former World Champion Johnny Heineken (USA) is in second with five seconds. In third, with a 3-3-3-5-3 scoreline is tour leader Guy Bridge (GBR). Top female, and junior, and the other local favorite, is 17yo Daniela Moroz (USA), who stands sixth with scores of 7-10-6-3-8. Moroz was the 2016 Rolex USA Yachtswoman of the Year. Full results here. The field includes many of the world's top riders.
Crissy Field beach, just to the west of StFYC between the Club and the Golden Gate Bridge, is the shoreside base for the event. The start-finish line is in front of Golden Gate YC just east of StFYC. The windward mark is off Crissy with a leeward gate just east (downwind) of the start-finish line. The course is one or two windward-leeward laps with a race-target time of 14 minutes. Racing begins at 1300 (1pm) and ends by 1700 (5pm).
Crissy Field beach looking west to the GGB (obviously). Image is an vid-cap from the Day 1 video below, courtesy of Brent Davidson.
On the Hydrofoil Pro Tour the equipment is all open with prototypes allowed, which, as one rider said, "It's how we can keep developing the sport. I own six kites and change them given different wind conditions. It's also how a 150lb rider can compete with a 200-pounder."
On the World Sailing / IKA sanctioned circuit riders must use "registered" production equipment – meaning equipment that is taxed by IKA – and riders are limited to one foil and four kites.
The SF event has a prize purse of $10,500 with the winner receiving a check for $2400. Racing continues through Sunday with a max of five races scheduled per day. Saturday's schedule includes a distance race downwind to Berkeley and back. Rules geeks can read the full Sailing Instructions here.
Read the StFYC press release following yesterday's racing here. Photos courtesy of Chris Ray, StFYC.
Day 1 re-cap video, with a local touch, courtesy of Brent Davidson (USA).
The scene last Crissy Field beach, the shoreside launch point for the Hydrofoil Pro Tour just west of host St Francis Yacht Club. In the background is Tiburon and Belvedere in the North Bay. The Golden Gate Bridge is just to the left (west).