San Diego, July 6-7, 2012. With nearly a week’s worth of planetary rotations having passed since the 2012 GFU, most of the evidence is well enough dissipated to allow a regatta report to be published. This was the 27th nearly-annual running of the infamous event which I’ll describe a bit for the uninformed. The GFU is a relay Snipe race held at Mission Bay Yacht Club. Teams of sailors spend 24 hours racing laps around Vacation Island nearby MBYC. In good conditions laps take under thirty minutes. In the middle of the night, in adverse current, it’s anybody’s guess, but veterans know that sailors should be well prepared and provisioned, and an anchor is not optional equipment! Various format changes have occurred over the years, but the most popular has been the shift to a Friday-Saturday schedule, allowing competitors an extra day to recover from their extreme exertion and to be reabsorbed by humanity.
The 2012 running was in question for several months. Luckily SCIRA Commodore Don Bedford is a determined leader with a bend toward tradition, and would not let the event be dropped. The decision was made to leverage the mid-week Fourth of July holiday, and run mid-day Friday-Saturday. Concerns of Arizona-based personal watercraft mayhem overrunning Mission Bay turned out to be unfounded, and three enthusiastic teams got things started at precisely 3:09pm. A traditional start sequence was employed, consisting of a consumptive phase at the prep flag while Snipes are tied to the dock sans sails. When the RC was satisfied that each team had met its hydration requirements, teams worked feverishly to rig, hoist, and shove off.
Under Team Captain Nevin Snow, Prestige Worldwide (wide..wide…) took an early lead over teams led by Chris Wright and Commodore Bedford. This lead was quickly erased though, when Prestige was ensnared in an angler’s wayward cast, losing several minutes. By the time racing was paused for the traditional live music break, Bedford’ Team Don Patrol had racked up a 16 minute lead! After some jams from Peacefrog, 40 Oz. Idiot, and Bedford sitting in on bass, racers were off again, now facing vast glassy patches of the bay, and a massive seven foot ebb due after midnight.
There are many rumors, allegations, and excuses, but those who could bear witness at 4:30 am know that Don Patrol found its steed hitched to the post with no riders to be found. Team Prestige tagged the dock and sailed off into the history books!
As seems to be the case for previous editions of the GFU, no one seems to really have a solid handle on how many total laps were sailed. Wormholes and alien abductions may have played a role. Per the Sailing Instructions, photographic evidence of the event has been sealed in a waterproof capsule, and jettisoned in an undisclosed location on Mission Bay. What does GFU mean? God Forgive Us? Go Fast Upwind? Join us for Fleet 495’s next GFU and decide for yourself!