Race to the Straits

First, there is only one Strait, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and we didn’t actually get all the way there. Whatever. This was something new to try. A double handed race. Just two of us to manage the 44 foot Nordic. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I figured we would sort it out along the way. Well, we did. Regular crew Jacqui took up the challenge. And it was a character building experience. We came in dead last. The photo below sums it up. The big A2 was simply too much for the two of us to handle when the winds kicked up past 20 knots at Double Bluff, the only mark in the race between Shilshole and Port Townsend. We learned a lot and nothing got broken but our egos. We blast reached into the finish line under genoa on Saturday with the meter showing 30 over the deck. Awesome. And it was sunny for a lot of the way North so it wasn’t all bad.

Sunday was another story. We got another late start but not because we got up too late but because the #1 reef line decided to untie itself. With a reef finally in the main and the genoa rolled up to about 110% we started the long grind into the current and 25 knot breeze. I tired out pretty fast. The tacking was murder. There is just too much sheet to release and trim with that genoa and it is not all efficient when furled. To make things worse the leech tensioner broke after about 5 tacks and the leech flogged like mad the rest of the day. We could never get the boat moving and despite doing our physical best we failed to reach Shilshole before the 7 PM deadline. Missed it by 30 minutes I would guess. Damn.

We were both really wiped out. I’ve never been so tired. Everything was wet. Spinnaker was drenched. It rained for part of the day on Sunday too. Sheesh. However, looking back, with some changes in the boat we would do it again and do a lot better I think. In fact a new racing #3 head sail is on order from Ballard Sails. A mothballed ATN spinnaker sock will be refurbed and put back into use for shorthanded sailing. This can be done!

Spinnaker Tug of Ware
Photo by Jan’s Marine – Spinnaker Tug of War