Wet and wild or light and shifty, Dave HAMMETT is making the most of mixed conditions at the 19th North Sails Race Week with four wins in the first five races and Texas just over the horizon.
Hammett, sailing DNA for the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, leads the J/80 fleet by nine points and two races remaining Sunday but insists he'll keep sailing even if he clinches the title. "I want to sail every race,"
Hammett said. "I won't go home early. We're training to go to the [J/80] Worlds at Fort Worth in October."
Saturday he handled light wind almost as well as the 18-knot breeze on Friday, slipping to second place behind Taylor and Crosby Grant's Seven in the last race of the day. That was after the gloomy marine layer that vanished Friday after plaguing Southern California most of the month returned and then dissolved in the early afternoon. "The last race I got passed," Hammett said, slightly offended. "But they're good sailors and were sailing very well."
Three boats loved the zephyrs and surged into first place by winning all three of their races Saturday: Paul Kent's Farr 395, Chance, in PHRF 3; Bob Marcus' Santana 30/30, Redline, in PHRF 5, and Fanger and Mario Yovkov's Sensation in the 1D35s.
One boat did drop out early. Roy E. DISNEY'S Pyewacket, after swapping wins with Jim DEMETRIADES' blue Transpac 52 for the second day, left after four races because of a prior engagement: the Aloha sendoff dinner for the Transpacific Yacht Race Saturday night. Pyewacket will take on Philippe KAHN'S Pegasus 77 in a Transpac "match race" starting next Sunday.
Kahn also is here but sailing his Melges 24 on one of the other three courses where he stands in sixth place among 16 boats. Kahn did stay for Saturday's third race before departing for the party. Yassou, taking 51 seconds per mile from Pyewacket, has corrected out by 15 and 22 seconds in its two first places and should collect the title unimpeded Sunday---unless Disney changes his mind and returns Sunday.
The Farr 40s have settled into a battle between John KILROY'S Samba Pa Ti, with 13 points, and Peter STONEBERG'S Shadow with 16. Samba Pa Ti, with Paul CAYARD calling tactics, won Saturday's first race despite being over the line early and returning to restart.
There are 130 boats competing in 12 classes, and two of the leaders, it seems, have been competing under assumed identities. Thomas Coates' J/105, Masquerade, from St. Francis Yacht Club suffered a hand injury recently and his boat is being sailed---and sailed very well---by Chris Perkins. With four firsts and a fifth, Masquerade has a 14-point lead in the largest class of 25 boats, who are contesting their Pacific Coast Championships.
Also, Jed OLENICK of the San Diego YC had to turn over the helm of his J/120, Doctor No, to tactician Joe CRAMER, because of business conflicts. He'll return Sunday to find himself in a two-boat battle only one point ahead of John Laun's Cape. The San Diego rival swept Saturday's three races with Doctor No second each time.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.