Our first Round the County is in the books. It was exactly what I had heard RTC’s could be. A little of everything and a bit rough. Overall we performed well for our first effort. There is a lot involved in this kind of race. It starts long before the race weekend. The crew eagerly took on assignments from boat prep, logistics to meal planning and shopping. I could not have done this without their help. In another way, I owe this race to my mother. She passed away just two weeks prior. We knew she nearing the end but the timing allowed me to go. I know she would have wanted me to do this. I thought of her often over the weekend. Fair winds and following seas mom.
There are a couple nice write ups of the race which I will link to and keep my comments here focused on our experiences and what we learned. There is one here and one here. The always excellent photos from Jan’s Marine Photography are here.
We did the transit up from Seattle to Anacortes, Cap Sante Marina on Friday the 6th. The weather was decent and we sailed most of the way on a broad reach with the new #1 up doing 10+ knots. We had a bit of an “oh crap” moment on the way into the marina though. Managed to snag a crab or shrimp pot and wrapped the prop. Lost reverse and had to limp in. Fortunately we were able to get Jim from Bottom Time Divers out to unwind it all. Thanks Jim! No damage and we had a green light for the weekend. The party seems to have moved to Anacortes as there were a lot of boats in the marina for the race. It is a nice marina and the Anacortes YC puts on a nice event too (although I never made it because of the boat issues).
Up early Saturday for the ride to Lydia Shoals. It was clear pretty quickly we were in for a wet and windy day. The forecast was for 20-30K out of the SE and that was what we got. While circling for the start (we were division 3 so part of the first group to go) a shackle pin worked out of one of the main sheet blocks on the boom. Great timing. I dove below and managed to find the right replacement shackle on my second try and we were back in business with 10 minutes to go. We hoisted the #3 and made for the start. We crossed the line a 5 minutes late. Oh well. We made it. The angles were wrong for the kite so we drove up to the first left turn around Orcas but by then we were seeing quite a few boats crashing and burning with kites up. The crew wasn’t volunteering to rig the kite and I don’t blame them. The waves were picking up and the boat was moving around a lot. The consequences of a screw up with the kite were going to be high so we decided the better plan was to ride it out with the #3 and live to fight on Sunday. As it was, we still saw speeds over 12 as we surfed off the backs of waves. The boat was a bit out of balance and required real concentration. We swapped out helmspeople a few times; going below to warm up. Yes, we have heat, comfy seats, and hot beverages down below. Continue reading “RTC 2015”