The 50th Anniversary of this iconic race is now in the Kinetics log book. Fellow sailor and our sailmaker, Alex Simanis, of Ballard Sails sold me on this race and I’m glad he did. It was a big effort to get the boat and crew ready but it was worth it. The two day delivery to Vancouver is only part of the challenge in participating. We all needed our Safety at Sea certifications renewed and the seminar was the weekend just before the race. The logistics of an out of town, overnight race are a big step up from a local day race and even more than the two day Round the County in the San Juan Islands.
After clearing Customs at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club we motored over to the host West Vancouver Yacht Club where we were provided with a nice slip in their newly revamped marina. The club and marina are in a beautiful West Vancouver area. The check in, dinner and swag were great. WVYC did a great job and are to be commended for their efforts.
The weather forecast and briefing was a bit dismal but like all forecasts in the PNW in the past year don’t turn out quite as expected. The Saturday start was delayed for lack of wind but finally commenced before the tides changed, trapping us in English Bay. The winds built nicely and Kinetics carried the big #1 genoa upwind to Ballenas Island reeling in a lot of faster boats. This is the boat’s strength. It may not point as high but its long water line and power make it fast upwind and our displacement is a bonus in the chop.
Rounding Ballenas we set the A2 kite and sailed downwind in a nice breeze. This leg to Entrance Island off Nanaimo was so nice. The moon was full and right on the bow. Besides being a spectacular sight it made working the night shifts so much easier. Trimming was hardly any different than during the day. We watched the tracker (all boat’s are required to carry Spot Trackers) to monitor how were were doing and it was looking good for us. We were pacing some PHRF Class 2 boats and well ahead of many of our own Class 3 boats.
Things got a bit dicey rounding Entrance Island as we tried to dowse the kite a bit late but we got it sorted and headed back upwind with the #3 jib. We elected to go with the #3 to make life easier for the short handed crew on the night watches. This turned out to be a good choice as there were times the winds were up over the #1’s 15k limit. Our approach to Ballenas saw us overstand a bit and this let Kraken catch us up and slide inside. We were side by side with them as we hoisted the A2 again for the run back across to the finish. Kraken sailed on south as we turned east across the strait. We should have gone south.
I went below to get some rest and when I came back up things had changed dramatically. The wind was gone. Completely gone. The crew had set the drifter and we did just that for a few hours watching the sunrise from the middle of the Georgia Strait. Looking at the tracker data we could see Lodos, a J109 from Seattle, to the north, Dominatrix (a class 3 boat the popped up from nowhere it seemed) and Kraken to the south. All of us trying to find breeze to escape on.
The other boats found it first leaving us to finish all by ourselves. We literally could see no other boats ahead or behind despite the tracker data. The scale of things is deceiving. We almost managed a spinnaker up finish but had to do a drop at the last minute to duck the buoy. Finishing just before 1pm on Saturday we put ourselves in 5th place in PHRF 3. A good result for our first go. This resulted in a 16th overall for the Medium course which was just over 100 miles in length.