Monday, May 31, 2010

Kitsap Harbor Regatta- May 29-30

The great Memorial Day Weekend! The unofficial kickoff to the summer vacation season. Bremerton celebrates this with a Harbor Festival with displays, old boats, concerts all centered on the new Bremerton Marina and the adjacent boardwalk. Boats come from all over Puget Sound to participate in the festivities. Part of the program includes the Harbor Regatta, two days of sailboat races sponsored by the festival. I decided on Friday to race this race. This is the second year of the regatta and participation has been low. But this year, some clubs were planning cruises to the marina for the weekend and some of the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club boats were planning to race.

Saturday was rainy with the winds predicted to be light SW winds to 10knots. The race start was located at off the Port Orchard marina and was to consists of two laps of a course with the windward mark near Gorst in the south end on Sinclair Inlet and a leeward mark north of Annapolis for 10.6 nm.

I had a great start in the very light winds and opened up a good lead. The winds came more out of the NW and spinnakers were set on boats behind and some closed up on me. I set a spinnaker and gained some more only to have the wind shift back to the SW and the leg became a beat once more. The boats behind gained again. Around the weather mark, up with the spinnaker and headed toward the next mark. The winds became light and variable again near Ross Pt and once again Emerald Lady(Catalina 27) and Tantrum II(Schock 35) closed up on me. I finally wiggled free and took off in 10 knots of wind. The wind stayed steady until I got near the windward mark when it was shifty in direction. I got to the windward mark and set the spinnaker once more. The boats behind struggled through the variable conditions and I gained a lot of time. Around the leeward mark once more and to the finish. I owed Emerald Lady 26.5 minutes for the course. They finished about 23minutes behind me and won the race for the day. I was second. I sailed part way home to Brownsville and motored the rest of the way.

The race on Sunday was another 10.6 nm race, but this time it started in the waters in front of Bremerton, sailed north to a temporary buoy north of University Point and back. This time, the wins were SE at about 7 knots at the start. The race started downwind with the spinnakers up. Emerald Lady and I got great starts at the gun. Dacha(C&C115) was a bit late and had to fight a strong ebb current at the starting line. Dacha got clear and we had a good duel downwind to the mark. The beat back turned into one short tack and then one long tack for me from University Pt until way past Illahee as the winds shifted more east. Dacha took several tacks. At a location locals call the "Tennis Courts", the winds dropped again and after a transition zone of variable winds, the wind filled in from the SW. I could see Emerald Lady way behind sailing fast as I set trying to get into the new wind. After the wind filled in, I short tacked the beach for current relief and crossed the line first again, but had to wait until Emerald Lady finished to know the final results.

Finally last night I received an email that said that I won the race on Sunday. This placed Emerald Lady and I tied with the same number of points. The tie breaking rules are confusing, but I won the tie breaking process and was first for the weekend. The overall prize is a boat haulout at Yachtfish Marine in Port Orchard. This is great, because I was planning to haul the boat out of the water this year for bottom maintenance anyway and was trying to figure out a way to save up enough money to do it. So, this becomes a miracle win for me!

Thanks to the Harbor Festival, James F. and the participants of the regatta.. It was good to see Dacha from Sloop Tavern Yacht Club along with some of their crew who I have known for several years. And thanks to my crew, me.

Total miles travelled for the weekend(including deliveries to/from Brownsville): 63.5 nm.

EDIT: 6-4-2010 The race committee made a mistake calculating the results for Sunday and when they were recalculated Emerald Lady actually won on Sunday by 52 seconds. They won both days and wone the regatta. So tonight I will present them with the letter authorizing them a haulout at Yachtfish Marine.

After the start on Saturday. Light rainy conditions.

Tantrum II gaining on me at Ross PT on Saturday.

Emerald Lady gaining on me at Ross Pt on Saturday.

Tantrum II and Emerald Lady on Saturday.

Our course on Saturday. The start was in front of the Port Orchard Marina, the weather mark to the left and the leeward mark to the right. Confusing with the tracks of two laps overlayed.

Our course for Sunday with the start off the Bremerton waterfront and the turning mark north of University Pt.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Port Orchard Yacht Club Invitational-WSSA #5

Saturdays race was the Port Orchard Yacht Club's Invitational race. It is the 5th race of the West Sound Sailing Association (WSSA) series of 7 races. This race started at Port Orchard Yacht Club and sailed north to a temporary turning mark at Battle Point and return to POYC. The distance is 16.4 NM.

The winds were forecast to be light from the SW, switching to the NW later at night with a possibility of rain during the day. At the start, the winds were light SE and the sky was sunny.

We had a great start ahead of our class and stayed right. Dulcinea(J105) jibed west and Tantrum II(Schock35) fell behind us. We sailed past Pt Herron and then headed west along the East Bremerton shore to escape the flooding current. Near Enetai Creek, the winds shifted ahead toward the NE and we changed to the jib and close reached along the shore with Dulcinea just ahead. The rest of the fleet did not get the shift and fell behind.

As we neared Illahee, the wind came aft enough to reset the spinnaker. We stayed close to Dulcinea and rounded just behind them. The wind was up to 7 knots by this time. The course became a beat for us and we started getting distance ahead of Dulcinea. At University Point, the wind became more SE and the beat became one long tack parallel to the shore.

As we sailed into the main channel near Bremerton, the wind came farther NE and we could see spinnakers coming downwind toward us. We managed to gain some on Dulcinea and then set the spinnaker. We were on the front of the new wind and would overrun ad the spinnaker would collapse and the windex would swing in circles. Finally near the finish we had to change to the jib as the wind started coming more SE. Dulcinea finished 34 seconds ahead of us after taking a great circle route around us to the west. The wind filled in stronger from the NE and some of the smaller boats of Division 2 saved their time on us.

It was still a great day and our crew of Jim, Ron and Cindy did a great job.

Preliminary reports have us in 2nd in Class and 4th overall with Division 2 boats Emerald Lady(Catalina 27) and Falcon(Cal9.1) saving their time on both Dulcinea and us.

Results when they are posted can be found at:

Great White, Tantrum II and Dulcinea just after the start.
Photo Credit: Massey Family.
We had a great start at the left end of the line.
Photo Credit: Massey Family.

The wind filled in from the NE as we headed north to Battle Point.
Photo Credit: Massey Family.

And then the wind came aft as we neared the turning mark at Battle Point.
Photo Credit: Steve N.

We rounded close behind Dulcinea.
Photo Credit: Steve N.

Rounding the mark.
Photo Credit: Steve N.
The wind filled in from the SE for a while giving us a shorter than desired for beat.
Photo Credit: Steve N.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Motorcycle Trip to Sonoma, Ca, Infineon Raceway-Part 3 The Ride Home

After the races, I planned to ride home up the Oregon coast. My plan was to stop at Cape Blanco State Park and Fort Stevens State Park near Seaside.

After a very quiet last night at Infineon(everyone had left Sunday night except me and one other camp) I got underway at 0513. The weather was cool, but no rain. I stopped at Ukiah for breakfast and also put on some extra clothing. It has been a number of years since I have taken 101 north. It is still has nice scenery and the road is in great shape. The trip along the coast is my favorite.

I stopped in Crescent City for lunch and got to Cape Blanco early in the afternoon, set up camp and went for a walk to the lighthouse. 429 miles for the day.

During the night, the wind started blowing and it started raining. I was warm and dry all night in the tent. In the morning, I packed up and started riding north. It was really raining hard and my riding pants soaked through early on. I put on extra clothes and proceeded on. The rain stopped for a while near Newport, but picked up again near Tillamook. Since the weather was suppose to be worse on Wednesday, I decided to ride the rest of the way home and not spend another night on the coast. It was only 438 miles home! The rain quit as I got inland north of the Columbia River. Arrived home in the early evening.

Overall it was a really great motorcycle trip. Even the rain was not enough to discourage me. It is the NW. If you wait for the weather to be perfect, you may never get anythin done!

My total trip distance: 1732 miles.

Took a little side trip in northern California.
I always look for the "Ship Ashore" when I travel the coast. Just south of the Oregon/California border.

Cape Blanco.

Rock near Cape Blanco.

Shoreline north of Cape Blanco.

Motorcycle Trip to Sonoma, Ca, Infineon Raceway-Part 2 The Event

The three days at Infineon was a lot of fun. The displays were great. There were two displays of vintage motorcycles. The Army had a big presence. The paddock where all the teams parked there haulers and trucks were open. The larger teams had garages that were also open. On Saturday and Sunday just before racing started, those with a "Grid Pass" could go onto the track and the pit area and talk with the teams. The "Grid Pass" was included in my ticket package.

The racing was spectacular. There were four classes of road racing: TTXGP(Time Trial Extreme GP) Electric bikes, Supersport, Daytona Sport Bikes and AMA Superbikes. On Saturday and Sunday, the Supersports, Daytona Sport Bikes and AMA Superbikes raced. The TTXGP only raced on Sunday. When there wasn't racing going on, there was practice or qualifying. The racing was intense. Some races would see the lead change every lap. Crashes happened and often the racer would show up in the next race. It was definatly not just a parade around the course. Infineon has got great views of the course. From the grandstand you could probably see 2/3rds of the course. From the turn 9 terraces, you could probably see 3/4's of the course.

Two historical items happened during the weekend. One, Elena Myers, a 16 year old lady won the Saturday supersport race. This was the first female to win an AMA pro race. The second was the first electric motorcycle race in the United States. This was also very exciting racing and has promise for indoor racing in the future.

My camp was nothing more than a spot in a grassy fields with a few sanicans around. I had to fill my waterbottles at the track. But it was comfortable and close and my fellow campers were frindly and quiet.

Following racing on Saturday, I went for a ride to Napa and then the back roads through the vineyards to Sonoma. Both towns were neat and I can see why people like to visit the area.

There are many more pictures on my Facebook page.

Continued on Part 3

Erik Buell Racing's trackside pits.

The winning TTXGP electric motorcycle.

Used up tires at the Dunlop Tire shop.

Turn 9 action. The main grandstand in the background.

Looking off the back of the grandstand at the paddock and the display areas.

The other way behind the grandstand, more display and one of the motorcycle parking areas.

The winning TTXGP electric bike doing a massive burnout. Do not understand how he had enough energy left!

Opening ceremonies.

The Superbike Class lined up ready to start.

Motorcycle Trip to Sonoma, Ca, Infineon Raceway-Part 1 The Ride There

Somewhat on a whim, I decided to go to the Westcoast Moto Jam at Infineon Raceway. This was three days of AMA Pro motorcycle races, May 14-16. The new Erik Buell Racing Team was putting up an entry in the AMA Superbike class, and since I am a Buell rider, I should be there to see what happens.

I watched the weather and decided it was stable enough, so decided to ride the motorcycle. I left on Thursday. The weather was good and I had a nice ride down I5 to Valley of the Rogue State Park. It was a little cool when I started and the traffic through Portland was slow. It has been a long time since I have taken I5 that far south and I forgot how southern Oregon is really quite scenic. By the time I got to Valley of the Rogue in the late afternoon, the temp was quite comfortable in the 70's.

I was up early on Friday and underway by 0630. Stopped for fuel in Medford and then breakfast in Ashland before heading south over the mountains. The weather was clear and cool and the riding in the mountains was excellant. I stopped for fuel in Redding. This was when things started getting bad. The highway was flat, it started getting hot and cruising at 70mph in a straight line was just BORING. Furthermore, my knees hurt and I was getting sore from sitting. When I exited to highway 505, the scenary was better, but by the time I got to Vacaville, the traffic was getting heavy. I stopped at Fairfield for gas and got to Infineon at about 1430. I checked in and was escorted to my camping spot on the grasy hill.

I set up camp before heading down to the race track.

Continued in Part 2.

My camp at Valley of the Rogue State Park
The sign says it all!

Mt Shasta

Mt Shasta

My camp on the grassy hill above the Infineon Race Track

Infineon Race Track from the grassy hill

Friday, May 7, 2010

Off to the races!

Next Thursday, my plan is to ride my bike(the one with the engine) to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma Ca. to watch the AMA West Coast Moto Jam. This is three days of road, supermoto, flat track and motocross racing. It will be the first outing for Erik Buell Racing's Ameican Superbike campaign since the Buell Company was disbanded last fall. Their new race bikes are really awesome!

I have a camping spot between turns 3 and 4. Ought to be fun!

Afterwards, I will take a couple of days and ride back home up the Oregon coast.

Geoff May. Erik Buell Racing's rider for the season.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Race To The Straits May 1-2, 2010

Two great boating events occur each year on the first weekend of May. One is the opening day of boating season. This event has been happening for many years and includes boat parades through Montlake Cut, crew races and a lot of pomp and circumstance.

The other great event that occurs on this weekend has a shorter tradition then opening day. In 2002, Sloop Tavern Yacht Club of Seattle started the Race To The Straits. This is a two day race from Shilshole Marina to Port Townsend and after a nights stay, race back to Shilshole. Each day of the race is 30nm. The rules for this race is that all boats shall be sailed singlehanded(one person) or doublehanded(two people). The class breakdown was further refined for flying sails or non-flying sails as well as a Jack and Jill category. I raced singlehanded with flying sails(spinnaker). This year there was 106 entries making it one of the larger regattas in Puget Sound. Boats are also started in reverse order, where the handicap is applied at start. The first start for the slowest rated boat is at 0800, I started at 0930.

The weather forecast for the first day was for light south winds changing to NW winds in the afternoon rising to strong wind in Admiralty Inlet. The forecast was pretty accurate. The fleet drifted north and in the late afternoon off Point No Point, the northerly filled in as the current was starting to flood. The wind rose to 15-18knots by the time I reached Double Bluff at about 1719. I knew that I could not get to Port Townsend against the NW winds to 25 knots and strong flood current before the time limit expired at 1900. I took my time at Double Bluff and started the motor and bashed into the waves for three hours arriving at Point Hudson Marina at 2019. I went to the party and found out that no one finished the complete race before the time limit expired, so times were calculated based on the short course to Double Bluff.

Sunday morning the winds had abated and the forecast was for SW winds 10-15 all the way back to Seattle. We started into light south winds of 7-9knots. All was well until the fleet reached the first roadblock at Marrowstone Pt. The current was ebbing at about 3 knots. Many boats anchored to wait until the wind increased or the current decreased. I chose not to wait. I worked the back eddy west of the point and launched off into the flow. It took three times before I was able to finally get around the point. But I was in the first group of about a dozen that made it. I short tacked up the Marrowstone Island shore until I felt that it was a good time to cross Admiralty Inlet to round the Double Bluff buoy. The winds increase to around 10-12 knots for awhile and it rained some. After Double Bluff, I tacked immediately toward Hansville and worked the shore there. After rounding Point No Point, the wind died. I could see it blowing just beyond, but could not get to it even with the now flooding current. So at about 1630, I realized again that I could not make the finish at Shilshole by 1900, so I started the engine. Most of the fleet had already had the same thought and was heading south under power. Another day for using the short course option.

I motored for only about a mile when I got into the wind. And it blew hard. The motor home was miserable. The wind against the current set up some steep tall waves. Off Presidents Point, the boat was taking a terrific beating, going through several waves and pounding heavily. I finally arrived at Brownsville at 1930. I was tired, wet and tired and glad to be home.

Preliminary results show that I was first in class. This is subject to change as more people turn in their Double Bluff rounding time reports. Results are posted at

Total distance traveled for the weekend: 100.5 nm.

The basic course for the race. Shilshole, Double Bluff, Port Townsend and the reverse for the second day.
The wind built up quite strong near Double Bluff.

This race fills the Pt Hudson marina on Saturday night.

My route on Saturday from Shilshole to Double Bluff.

My route on Sunday from Port Townsend until I started the motor off Pt No Pt. I tacked many times to get around Marrowstone Pt and many more to get downt the shore of Marrowstone Island.