Headed for the San Francisco Bay

At the 2011 Sperry Top-Sider San Francisco NOOD, I'll be watching the tide roll in in a whole new way.

Sailing World
Tide960
TideTech's image viewer provides detailed information about the changing currents on San Francisco Bay.Courtesy TideTech

On the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta circuit, top prize goes to the boat that wins the most competitive class. Determining the "most competitive" class is never an easy feat, as the judges weigh factors like fleet size and margin of victory to come up with just one overall winner from among several deserving candidates. The panel will find no relief in San Francisco this weekend. Of the 11 classes competing at the 118-boat affair, the majority will have more than 10 boats. The Laser and F18 share the title of largest division, with 16 entries each; there will be 15 J/105s, 15 Laser Radials, and 15 Moore 24s.

In the F18s, look for Jason Moore, last year's third-place finisher, to make a push for the pickle dish; in the J/105s, expect Jason Woodley's Risk team to put up a hard fight defending last year's overall title. As the Moore 24 class makes its San Francisco NOOD debut, look for John Kernot's Banditos team, Top 5 finishers at last year's nationals, to make a strong showing.

As I make my way around San Francisco Bay this weekend, I'll be test driving TideTech's tidal stream image viewer, which displays detailed vector diagrams of the racing area. I always knew the Bay had crazy current, but studying the hour-by-hour tide map reveals a wide range of potential chutes and ladders laying in wait of St. Francis YC. My heart goes out to all you Bay Area navigators.