Southern Crossing sets sail: Wicked takes Windjammers Yacht Club race, field limited due to low lake levels
The 33rd edition of Windjammers Yacht Club’s Southern Crossing race belonged to a boat from the North Shore. Wicked beat out three local fleets over 23 nautical miles last Saturday in the latest running of the South Shore sailing race.
Wicked completed the course in 5:42:12, and finished with a corrected time of 7.5296 hours to win the race for first time since 2011. After adjusting for its PHRF handicap of nine, the Farr 36 won by approximately 34 minutes.
This year’s Southern Crossing started and finished on the waters just north of Tahoe Keys. The starting cannon sounded at 11:05 a.m. as boats set sail for Rubicon Bay then across the lake to Cave Rock before passing by Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course and heading back to the Keys.
Wind on the lake averaged 10 knots and was consistent throughout Saturday’s race — it only became light when the boats hit the first mark off Rubicon Bay. At that point, Wicked wasn’t ahead — but the lack of wind that would typically serve as an equalizer benefited the boat that races out of Tahoe Yacht Club.
“It was so light that none of the other boats could move — but Wicked being super light and having such a big rig was able to walk away from the rest of them,” race master Kurt Rasmussen said.
Dianne took second in Saturday’s race, finishing in 7:39:06 to place second by a little less than two hours before adjusted time — fellow Express 27 Eagle came in third after completing the race in 8:00:11. Lov’n Life, an Erickson 35, rounded out the field by finishing in 9:25:34 to end the race just after 8:30 p.m.
Four boats competed in the 2015 edition of the Southern Crossing, one-third the size of the field in last year’s race. At least 11 boats raced in the event in each of the past five years, and Rasmussen said the continued closure of the channel near Tahoe Keys Marina kept a number of local vessels from joining.
“It was definitely a disappointment that we didn’t get more boats,” Rasmussen said. “Even if they could get in and out of the channel, the water below the hoist isn’t that deep — it really kept a whole class of boats out of the competition.”
The channel closure kept defending champion Apres Ski, a Moore 24 captained by Lynn Woodward, out of this year’s field. Dredging scheduled for completion by mid-June that would have opened the channel is still taking place — most sailboats need about six feet of depth to make it from the marina to the lake.
“A lot of the local sailors aren’t even putting their boats in this year,” Rasmussen said. “They figure that even with the dredging they’re only going to be able to get a month or two before it’s too shallow again.”
In addition to its weekly Beer Can Races held Wednesdays through Oct. 7, Windjammers Yacht Club has nine more races on its 2015 calendar — the next event is the World Intergalactic Beer Can Race on July 1. For more info, visit http://www.tahoewindjammers.com.
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