It’s been blowing the dog off the chain the past few days. Saw gusts over 40 knots several times over the weekend of 2/17/2018. I reset the dock lines twice to accommodate first the blast from the south and then from the north. We even had a nice little snow flurry one morning. While I was sitting around enjoying this weather I decided to learn how to use some real video editing software and downloaded Lightworks 14. Not bad for a free version. I have a lot to learn about making good videos. Despite what is implied by the intro screen this is a boring video shot in the marina.
Thanks to the Shilshole Bay YC and the Snowbird series we were able to participate in our first sail of 2018. The weather could not have been nicer for early February. Pure sun, nice breeze and not that cold. Despite being over early by a nose we sailed well and finished third in class. Work on the jib halyards by Ballard Sails’ rigging shop has sped up our hoists and with some trimming tips from Alex Simanis the boat pointed well and our tactics were solid. Wrapped up the day with a very nice lunch on deck back at the marina. If only every Winter race day could be this nice!
Too busy and too short of a race for pictures so here’s a nice poem by Pablo Neruda that I like.
Here I came to the very edge
where nothing at all needs saying,
everything is absorbed through weather and the sea,
and the moon swam back,
its rays all silvered,
and time and again the darkness would be broken
by the crash of a wave,
and every day on the balcony of the sea,
wings open, fire is born,
and everything is blue again like morning.
The race of the year here in the NW for a lot of people is Round the County and we made it again. Barely. The top end of the Universal engine got rebuilt after a total failure just a week before departure. The crew pitched in with the repair work and moving sails to make it happen. Added some new people to the roster that were a great addition and I think everyone had a great time.
Rented a house for the first time this year which was great. It made life so much better on Saturday night for a crew of eight. Nice dinner, hot showers and some comfortable quarters to relax and discuss our day’s efforts. Turns out we did rather well considering it was a light air day. The wind was light but never completely gone and that is what works for the big Nordic 44. If you can keep momentum up it will glide from puff to puff. We watched the boats ahead and did our best to avoid the places where they were parked up. It was an evening for celebration.
I managed to be over early for the first time ever and had to clear the line and restart. I figured that was going to be the end of our day so I was very happy to see we managed a good come back with great crew work from everyone. The start was wild with a crazy move by a big Beneteau making a dive in on port tack at the committee boat forcing several of us to dive out of the way and then yell for them to come up. That pretty much forced us to go up and over the rest of the fleet now heading towards the line. Who barges on port tack? I hope they learned something in the process and no one got hit thanks to some good boat handling by the rest of the fleet.
Sunday dawned a bit on the gloomy side and the forecast had left me uncertain of the best call for headsail choice. It was light but gusty in Mosquito pass so we hung on to the #1 thinking it would be light enough that we’d need it to get out the starting area. Unfortunately, the wind just kept building and we were quickly over powered and falling behind. I chose to reef the main rather than switch to the #3 thinking it might go light soon but again, I guessed wrong. We fell further behind and eventually had to go to the #3. We were now out of touch with our division and unsure of going into the beach or staying out. We ultimately started gaining back some time but it was too late. We got caught in a wind hole just after Salmon bank and had to put up the drifter to get out of it. That thing really works! We now call it the “weather changer”. We soon had to pull it down and go back to the #1.
Rounding Lopez the wind was up and the rain was starting to fall. Finally on a beam reach we launched the A3 for the long run up Rosario to the finish. The rain and the wind kept building and soon we were ripping along in 20-25 knots of wind. We had to dump the main a few times but never wiped out. We slowly reeled in another boat in our class but it was nearly race over and dark by then. With the light gone, the finish all but invisible, I elected to drop the kite and unfurl the #1. Just didn’t feel safe bombing downwind with smaller boats around us in those conditions flying a kite. Not worth it to place second from last instead of last in division. The finish in the dark, wind and rain was not fun but we got it done. Pretty sure everyone was as relieved as I was to have it over and get on the way back to Anacortes.
Another exciting RTC, the 30th edition, according to the tee shirt. We’ll be back next year for a CCW lap and hopefully do well BOTH days this time!
We had a great time with the SYC Tri Island series and will be sure to do it again next year. We learned more with each race and made some hilarious blunders that we get to laugh about for many seasons. It was great to bring some new people on board and we enjoyed their company and learned from them as well. Every race someone got to drive, something I wanted to make happen regardless the results. I think we’re seeing what works and what doesn’t and there is no better way to find out except by doing. I have no idea why more people don’t try racing as a way to enjoy sailing. Done right it can be a lot of fun. A couple of pictures to prove we had fun on race #3.
Practice session between races landed on opening day here in Seattle. Surprisingly few boats out on a really nice day. The Seattle fire boat was putting on a show at the Meadow Point buoy where we wanted to do some practice starts so we sailed up to Richmond Beach. The whole crew took turns at the helm learning what it is like to time a start line. We also spent time getting everyone more familiar with the chart plotter so we all know where we are and where we’re going. The run back home was a good chance to get the A3 out of the bag. Only took a few gybes and we were done. Nice to see the sun again.
A new race series for the Kinetics crew this year is the Seattle Yacht Club’s Tri Island Regatta. First up was the Protection Island event which, for the long course boats, is from Seattle out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Protection Island and back. We opted for the short course which is to Double Bluff (a point on Widbey Island) and back. The weather was decent and we had nice breeze all day. We sailed the boat well and had a great time. Unfortunately one big navigational error killed our chances for what probably would have been a respectable finish. On the plus side, everyone learned from the experience and I think that is a big part of why we sail. It is nice to see your efforts validated in the results but there is a lot more to racing than how you finish (learning that makes doing this so much more fun and rewarding). Here are a few pics from the day. Next up is Vashon Island where we will learn some more stuff.
Crew Jumps Ship, Sails on Tranquillite
We decided to all go out on Tranquillite, a Swan 46, owned by a friend here in Seattle. Another nice day for racing with what was likely over 100 boats starting in over a dozen classes. STYC does their usual awesome job getting off over a dozen starts on time. We had decent breeze round the course from Shilshole over to Blakely Rock and most of the way back but it shut down as forecast right at 2pm. Down came the .75oz kite and up went the drifter which allowed us to drift our way around Meadow Point buoy and on to the finish. As the scratch boat in our class I don’t think we passed anyone so the day was all about sailing with friends, helping to raise money for the Sailing Foundation, a great organization, and enjoying just being out on the water. Here are a few pics from the race.
Next up for Kinetics is the Tri Island series with SYC.
At last a fine day for a race! Wind, no rain, we weren’t last and didn’t hit anyone. And we had fun. Success on the whole. We will ignore the part where I screwed up and started 5 minutes late. On the plus side we caught most of the people in our class and made up the 5 minutes. If only we had started on time. Because we were so late to the start line we ended up having to try to barge at the boat end and got peeled off big time with the Express re-Quest. That was exciting. Regroup, trim, keep going.
Here are some photos from the race. Next week we will sail on Tranquilite unless the weather is bad in which case we will take Kinetics out for the STYC Blakely Rock Benefit benefiting The Sailing Foundation.
Thanks to my new club the CYC for putting on the Center Sound Series.
Adding a nice photo from Jan’s Marine Photography from the start sequence wind up. Looks like about 30 seconds before we got scraped off for barging!
It was incredibly nice today. Maybe it just seemed awesome after record rains stopped long enough to let the sun shine all day long. Finally was able to hoist the new Ballard Sails drifter to see how it looks. Should be a game changer for us on those light air days when we have trouble getting the big Nordic moving.
I wouldn’t say Scatchet Head was my favorite race based on the first two attempts. This second time around it rained. Of course it did. We’re having the wettest, coldest winter in decades here the PNW.
Other than the rain, and a confusing start, the downwind run to Widbey was uneventful. We kept pace, meaning we sailed to our rating or better. The last couple of miles not so much, which was entirely on me. We should have gybed west to stay in the wind like most everyone else had done. Our inside drop of the kite went well and we elected to keep the #1 up for the return trip to Shilshole.
However, the wind speed kept building and building until we were well into the 20’s, gusting to 30, and risking the health of the #1. Being a bit light on crew we had trouble furling and decided to duck into Kingston to try and get it rolled up. Unfortunately things did not go well and we ended up not being able to complete the task. With the rain and the wind, and our growing realization of being dead last in class, we decided to tuck in under the dodger and sail home on the main.
Next race we will be ready with all the “first race of the season” problems sorted out. At least we didn’t break anything this year! That’s an improvement over last year.