Tuesday, June 29, 2010

West Sound Corinthian Yacht Club Brownsville Race-WSSA #7

Saturday was the seventh(and final) race of the West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) series. Going into this race, Dulcinea(J105) was the leader overall with us on Great White(J35) four points back. After the last race around Blake Island, other potential front runners like Falcon(Cal 9.1) had fallen many points behind.

This race is in my home waters near Brownsville. But it is far from a favorite. The race starts off the Brownsville Marina breakwater, and is typical, the wind was shifty and light, with a large westerly component blowing out of Burke Bay and off the SW shore line. Up until our 4 minute signal, the wind was blowing lightly. We were a bit late for the start, but when the starting signal was put up, the wind dropped to zero. We were the farthest upwind of the rest of our class and coasted above Tantrum II(Schock 35). We could see the wind just upwind and when it finally reached us at about 5 knots, we took off in the lead. After some close crossings with Dulcinea (J105), we rounded the weather mark at University Point in first. Downwind toward the leeward mark at Pt Bolin, Dulcinea sailed passed us and rounded well ahead. I did not sail very fast downwind and tried to keep left away from the flooding current in Agate Pass.

On the beat back, the wind lightened and we started gaining on Dulcinea. We stayed close to the left side of the course near Battle Point looking for the port tack lift along that shore and kept gaining on Dulcinea who stayed out more in the middle. At the start/finish line we were 10 minutes ahead of Dulcinea as we started the second lap. The wind built back to 5-7 knots. We maintained the lead around the mark at University Point, but once again Dulcinea gained on us going downwind. We rounded the mark at Battle Point and headed toward the Brownsville mark again. This leg turned into a close reach. The committee shortened the race at the Brownsville start/finish mark for a race of 11.4 NM. Dulcinea finished about three minutes behind us and since we owe them four minutes, they corrected on us for first overall and first in class. We saved our time over everyone else for second overall and in class.

For the series, Dulcinea was the series winner and we were second. Complete results can be found at: http://www.wscyc.net/new%20site/WSSA/index.htm

WSSA sponsored an after race picnic in the marinas park with drinks and eats provided by an anonymous donor.

We did have a good race, and even though the winds were light, the sun came out in the afternoon and the day was warm. Thanks to my team of: Jim, Ron, Peg, Kathleen and Michael for working at keeping us moving.

The course for the race. A complete race would be: long lap, small lap and long lap. We completed a long lap and short lap.
Spinnakers approaching Battle Pt. on the first lap. Left to right: Dulcinea, Great White and Tantrum II.
Photo: Rachel H.

Friday, June 25, 2010

June Friday Night Six Pack Race Series

My club(West Sound Corinthian Yacht Club) sponsors an evening race series twice a year in June and September. For nearly 20 years it was a Friday night series with a race each week. I always found it a fun series. Most of the competitors did not take it too seriously. What better thing to do in the summer than to get your boat out and race. Ussualy there was enough time after the race for socializing afterwards. I used to go to work early, get off early, be underway by 1530 and have the boat at Port Orchard ready to race by 1700. After the race I usually was home by 2230 and then sleep in on Saturday morning, until at least 0700. I was hard core about participating. I would do strange things like get off the airplane from places like Japan and go directly to the boat to go to Port Orchard to race. Sometimes I would go to work REALLY early, work overtime and still go racing.

A few years ago the race day was changed to Thursday night to accomodate someone who could not race on Friday. Since Thursday was a "school" night and I needed to get up early(0430) to go to work, I felt that I could not race on Thursday, get home late, go to work the next morning and be productive. So I stopped racing the evening series and fell out of the habit.

This year the Club moved the race night back to Friday night. So now I am racing the Friday Night series even though I have no excuse for not racing on Thursday because of work.

These races are short races around club and Navy mooring buoys in Sinclair Inlet. Three classes are started: Cruising, Race B and Race A. I start last in the Race A class for the fastest boats.

First race was a one lap race around the Club Buoy south of Port Orchard, through the start/finish line, around the light at Pt Herron and return to finish. The wind was a strange angle from the west that turned most of the race into a reach. I started behind "Reign Maker"(C&C37/40XL) , but past them shortly after the first mark. Had a nice beat to Pt Herron, set the spinaker and reached out into the favorable current to finish 1st in class and 1st overall.

Second friday, the wind was out of the north around a Navy mooring buoy and the club buoy, twice around. I had an ok start right behind Tantalus(Express 37), but past them before the first mark and proceeded to sail away to once again place 1st in class and 1st overall.

Third Friday was a beat to Pt Herron, club buoy and return for about 5 miles. I had a great port tack start at the pin end of the line. I was concerned about crossing the ferrys path, but there was plenty of room and I got by him OK. I jibe set the spinaker at Pt Herron and sailed a good route to the leeward mark. The wind was spotty allowing some boats to get closer, but I made up lots of time on the final beat and once again corected on everyone for 1st in class and 1st overall.

Tonight was the final Friday night race for June. The winds were light. I had a good start and closed up on the slower boats that started 5 and 10 minutes ahead and by the first mark, only a couple of boats were ahead. I set the spinaker. The winds were puffy and changed direction a lot, making it difficult to get ahead of a couple of the slower boats. Finally I snuck ahead and by the leeward mark I was ahead of everyone. The wind settled some for the beat back to the windward mark and I started stretching out my lead. I was first to finish and saved my time, to finish first in class and first overall for the fourth straight race. I collected my six pack of soda and had a nice evening motor back to Brownsville.

The series went well onboard "Great White". My sail handling, boat speed and tactics seemed good. But it was just fun to once again get out and race in the warm summer evenings. I was the overall and class winner for the series.

The award for the winner each night is a "Six Pack". Hence the name "Six Pack Series". Since I don't drink beer, I hauled away several six packs of soda and gave away most of it!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blake Island Race-6-12-2010-WSSA No. 6

Saturdays race was Bremerton Yachts Club's, Blake Island Race. This is the sixth race of the West Sound Sailing Association's(WSSA) seven race series. This race starts near Pt Herron in East Bremerton, goes out Rich Passage, around Blake Island(either way) and returns to the finish at Pt Herron for a total of 17 NM. There is also a shortened course option that finishes at Orchard Pt on the return for 12.5 NM.

This race is probably my most enjoyable race. Maybe because I have won it many times, but also because of the tactical challenges involved with the current and wind shadows from the nearby land.

This race was my first sailboat race win 35years ago in 1975. I had been racing for two years and had actually placed well in the Blake Island race in 1974. But in 1975, I had just bought a new(to me) 22 ft boat two weeks previously and found it much faster that my older boat and in the Blake Island race, I sailed a smart race and beat a field of about 25 larger faster boats. Of course, there was a outcry that it was not possible to own a boat for such a short time and do so well, so my handicap must be in error. So after my handicap was changed by a large amount a few months later and I still could do well, and owed larger boats time, the noise subsided some.

This years race was started at 0935 to take advantage of a strong ebb current changing to flood in the early afternoon. The weather was fantastic, clear sunny skies, but the wind was quite light from the NW at the start. Also, even though the current was ebbing, close to shore where the starting line was set, there is a back eddy and the current was actually setting the boats away from the line.

We got a good start near the pin end and tacked as soon as possible toward the east to get into the ebb current. Dulcinea(J105) and Tantalus(Express 37) started farther down the line near the boat ent and stayed on the western shore(against the current?). Tantrum II(Schock35) and us continued to tack up the eastern shore. Near Waterman, the wind really died and we found ourselves out of the main river of current. Tantrum pulled ahead and Dulcinea, Tantalus and Reign Maker(C&C40) passed us. We entered Rich Pass in last place in our class. At this point we also noticed that the boats that started in the two classes behind us were mostly still setting on the start line!

In Rich Passage, it was time to get to work. We could see the wind just past Pt Glover, but the important thing was to position the boat in the most favorable current. Reign Maker slid left and when we got to the wind, we easily past them on starboard tack. We short tacked up the Bainbridge Island shore riding the strong ebb. The other boats went right into the less favorable current. We tacked between Orchard Rocks and the Bainbridge Island shore and gained on the fleet. Reign Maker followed us through the gap. As we exited the pass, we stayed on port tack that took us away from the shore on the left. Tantalus continued too far left and found themselves in the backeddy and light air near Beans PT. Dulcinea and Tantrum headed way right past the Manchester fuel docks after making the decision to go counterclockwise around the island.

We stayed on port tack and as we approached Blake Island, we were lifted up into the new NW wind. We could see slick areas ahead, but when we got to them, they collapsed and we had ripples on the water. We worked the boat hard, kept our speed up and continually gained on Reign Maker and Tantalus. We set the spinaker near the state park boat moorage and reached across the top of the island. We had a good run down the east side and stayed close to the shore to avoid the north flowing current out of Colvos Pass. As we neared the SE corner of Blake Island, we saw Dulcinea on the Southworth shore and Tantrum much farther back. We now had favorable current along the south shore of the island. The wind came forward, so down with the spinaker and up with the jib. The wind was spotty until we cleared the west end of the island. The wind came up to about 5 knots and came farther aft until we could set the spinaker again. As we neared Orchard Pt at the entrance to Rich Pass, we could see the comittee boat anchored out. Time for the shortened course. As we approached the finish line, I became concerned about the now flooding current flushing us past the line or setting us into the boat. So we jibed to port and reached up to ensure we made it across the line.

We were first to finish and were far enough ahead to correct on everyone behind us. We owed time to everyone but Tantalus. Only nine boats out of 19 starters finished. When we motored home, several boats were setting near the west entrance of Rich Passage.

We did well by staying focused and putting 36 years of experiance in racing this race to good use. Local knowledge rules!

Thanks to the my crew of Jim, Walter, Kathleen and Michael.

Results can be found here when they are posted:


Division 2 and 3 boats stuck at the start.
Photo: R. Johnson

Here we are finishing at Orchard PT.
Photo: R. Johnson

Our course for the day. We went clockwise around Blake Island.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I will admit that I really do not like doing yard work. But I do it anyway, and usually like how it looks when I am done. This was the case after two days of cleaning up some landscaping.

There is an area in my back yard next to the deck where the previous owner planted two rose bushes and two shrubs. But he did not finish what he started. There was no barrier between the grass and the shrubs. The grass had crept into the area and I was hegligent at keeping the weeds out. The previous owner also installed a sprinkler system behind the shrubs but he laid the pipe directly on the ground. And of course, a low point froze and broke the pipe a couple of years ago.

So I started a project yesterday. I put in scalloped concrete barrier bricks and cleaned the sod and weeds out of the flower beds. I also buried about 50 feet of sprinkler piping and rerouted it under the deck structure by cutting and installing more fittings. I covered the whole area with bark. Looks good. But since it is in my fenced in backyard(aka "The Compound") it is not seen by many people.

It is really nice to have the sprinkler system buried and out of sight too. To bad I can't use it!

And I still had time to ride the bicycle 22miles today and wax on the boat for an hour!

Almost complete, I like it!
Nice barrier between the grass and the beds.