Corsair 24: Multiplying on the Bay
Corsair 24: Multiplying on the Bay
All the hoopla surrounding the 34th America's Cup has San Francisco Bay's multihull community electrified. From the January/February 2013 issue of Sailing World.
Adams’ crew Bill Cook, who also owns an F-24, nods in agreement and adds, “It’s competitive, but everyone sits down and has dinner together after.”
The fleet’s camaraderie is most evident when the guys start talking about their annual summer raft up, dubbed the Harmonic Convergence, on Lake Tahoe. Conceived and initiated by Harvey in 2000, the far-out sounding rendezvous takes place the Thursday before the 45-mile Trans-Tahoe Race out of Tahoe YC in July. A dozen or more Corsair sailors trailer their boats up to the lake and sail to the southern end of Emerald Bay with their friends and families. The state park allows them to set up camp; with sterns to the shore, they lift their daggerboards, and anchor their bows. From there, the racers-turned-cruisers-turned-who-knows-what step off transoms that just kiss the beach and go about doing … harmonic things I can only imagine.
Camaraderie is also one reason that Adams and his other crew, Dan Mone, will endure the 25-mile sail across San Pablo Bay and back home to Benicia, Calif., after the NOOD awards are given and the rum pour ends. Sailing the distance is more appealing than using a suspect trailer on the I-80. And a beehive of multihull activity on the Bay lures Adams to make the commute under sail.
The recent uptick in multihull sailing on the Bay is the result of a number of factors, says Bob Naber, the commodore of BAMA: “It’s a combination of things: more visibility, growing the base, greater interest, and neater boats available.”
There’s been no shortage of media spotlight for multihulls with the big cats of the 34th America’s Cup and AC World Series training regularly on the Bay. The fastest trimaran in the world, Hydroptère, has set up base camp for the winter in San Francisco after waiting in vain for a weather window to attempt to break the Transpac course record from Los Angeles to Hawaii. In fact, the trimaran was anchored just a stone’s throw away from the NOOD partygoers at Corinthian YC in Tiburon, Calif.
Multihull divisions were embraced by more events on the Bay this year as well. Two weeks before the NOOD, a handful of catamarans competed at the Rolex Big Boat Series—a staunchly traditionally monohull event—for the first time. Naber says it was the third year they’d attempted to add a multihull fleet to the regatta. “It looks like we’ll be back next year,” he says. “It would be great to expand that core fleet and maybe add another one.”
BAMA has used its 35-year-old connections to yacht clubs in the area, along with other organizations, such as the Singlehanded Society, to integrate smaller multihulls into the scene, too. The blossoming Weta Trimaran fleet, which includes many BAMA members, has been a focal point. “We got the Wetas into the Golden Gate YC beer can series,” says Naber. “We were able to leverage that to get small multihulls [Wetas, F-18s, and A-Class catamarans] permitted at the interclub series.”
The A-Class catamarans have grown into a unique role in San Francisco. “In the last couple of years, it’s really coming alive because it’s a cool boat, it’s singlehanded, and it’s high-performance,” Naber says. “A lot of the America’s Cup guys are using them for recreational sailing and racing, and just as an alternative component to training programs.”
BAMA’s further grown interest by promoting the use of GPS tracking and archiving races back to 2008 on their website. Sailors can send their tracks to BAMA to compete on the 10-mile “BAMA Racetrack” around the Bay anytime they care to. From the windward ama, which Stein has dubbed the “geriatric trapeze,” it was easy for a newbie like me to see why Stein, along with his trimaran compatriots, take their fair share of stabs at the racetrack: The boats are wet, wild, and fast. And with multihull ranks swelling around the Bay, they’ve got lots of sparring partners, too.