Apr 18, 2014

Formula 18 @San Francisco: Sequoia Open report

Report sent by Cherie Sogsti / SFF18.org: "Inaugural Sequoia F18 Open a hit in SF Bay Epic racing conditions greeted Formula18 sailors in Redwood City, California last weekend for the inaugural Sequoia F18 Open on April 12th. There was a little bit of everything in the four races PROs Dustin Fox and Heather Ouellette pulled off: memorable gusts, tight starting lines, a few ebb-tide waves, fights with marks, a 360 penalty turn and a capsize to top it all off.

San Francisco winds were pumping a brisk but manageable 10-16 knots in the San Francisco South Bay. High performance catamarans like F18s eat up that type of breeze and spit out speeds over 20-knots downwind.

Skipper Phillip Meredith and crew Erwan Griziaux dominated the day taking bullets in all four races, but Dan Peake and crew Shawn Hwang were only seconds behind. Peake's upwind speed was almost unbeatable, but Meredith played his traveler downwind, eking out every morsel of speed and regaining the lead on the downwind legs. With seconds separating the competitors, every maneuver counted. A second faster tack equals one boat length; a second slower gybe costs two boat lengths.

Cherie Sogsti and crew Greg Retkowski battled Frank Ternello and Brian Hearn for an overall third place. They eventually tied, but not without some drama. As they closed in on the last lap for the final race, Sogsti capsized her boat in a dramatic fashion. Apparently she wasn't getting enough attention. Depending on who you talk to, she tacked too fast or the crew went across the trampoline too slow. The punishment? Being soaked, sloshing around in waves, watching their competitor cross the line in front of them. Upside down is not fast. Ironically Sogsti's boat is named

: This Side Up. Perhaps she should take her own advice.

What's the best way to end a day of high speed F18 chases on the water? A warm sunset and cocktails with fellow racers at Sequoia Yacht Club.

Interested in the San Francisco Formula 18 fleet? The F18 fleet is one of the fastest growing fleets in the San Francisco Bay with over twenty local boats. Check us out at SFF18.org and come join the fun."

One minute video of the Sequoia Open : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ2kJRIlZek