What has been a bad luck race for us the past 2 years almost became 3 in a row with an adrenaline charged pre-start. I was thinking we were done before we started but the foredeck pushed through and sorted things out just in time to get us to the line for a nearly perfect port tack start. We ended up rounding the modified (for the predicted light air forecast) course’s first upwind mark second overall! Eventually the faster boats rolled us but it was fun to be up front for a while. It was hard work with just the 5 of us with the big J1 needed for 3 upwind legs. Then we had the 2 downwind legs to round West Point twice. The weather was very nice and the wind held all day. We had a few issues which cost us some time but all things considered we did well. I even managed to forget to feather the prop and that was my gift to the rest our division.
Here is a great close up of some action at the leeward mark from Jan’s Marine.
And another from one of the crew.
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.
OK that didn’t go as planned. The weather was somewhere between great and wowza. Started out blowing in the teens and low 20s under cloudy skies at the start, which was nice. No rain made it even better. We were late to the line but given this was a long race I wasn’t too worried about the 15 seconds. It kept us out of the frenzy. We hit the line moving well with the #3 up on starboard on a broad reach. It was gong to be a 13 mile run downwind to Whidbey Island under some pretty decent conditions. Except things didn’t go as planned. The photo below from Jan’s Pics tells the beginning of the tale. A bit short on crew and new people in new positions with the breeze up and things went wrong quickly. Right after this photo the kite wrapped the headstay and eventually rolled up with the #3 for a real puzzler that took us nearly all of the run to Scatchet Head to sort out.
I was nearly certain we were truly screwed until one final desperate attempt managed to get the two sails untangled and allowed us to drop the kite. We had only a short distance to go so we just bagged the kite and sailed under the #3. We were happy to just still be in the race after that.
The ride home was a blast with the wind building to 30+ over the deck and plenty of sustained gusts to 40. About halfway home the 3/16″ stainless steel cable outhaul parted with a bang. Fortunately everyone responded to my “duck” command and the cable didn’t make contact with any flesh. We dropped the main, wrapped and taped the cable and rehoisted to the first reef and were off and beating to weather again. Guess that was the boat’s way of telling us we should have reefed a bit sooner.
Despite all the delays and problems we didn’t finish dead last! Broken but not out. Overall, another day of learning for everyone and some more things to sort out on the boat. The kite will be getting a new banding solution from Ballard Sails so hopefully our hoists will be better and the new outhaul should be good for another 30 years.