This year I had the privilege of being invited to race aboard "What? A Tripp!" a Peterson 37. I have never raced on this boat before, but skipper Gary invited me about a month before. This boat and crew have a great reputation in Puget Sound for being a very competitive boat, so I quickly accepted and packed up my sailing gear.
The format for race week is 9 classes of one design keelboats and tightly grouped classes of handicap racing. Races are held outside of Oak Harbor in either Penn Cove or Saratoga Passage(depending on wind direction). We raced in class P3. This class is sometimes referred to as the "Furniture 40" class because it often consists of older somewhat heavier boats in the 35-43ft range. The class was not that large, a couple boats dropped out just before Race Week started, one from some damage and lost and destroyed equipment and rigging incurred a few weeks earlier. The class was still very competitive.
The first day of racing on Monday was a bust. The race committee waited most of the day for the wind to fill in and then set a fairly long course which we could not finish. The rest of the week the wind filled in enough each day to get in 11 races in four days, three races a day on Tuesday through Thursday and two on Friday. The racing is usually multiple laps of tight buoy races. The RC does a good job of trying to keep the starting line square and the marks directly up and down wind.
My job was to work in the pit. I tailed halyards during hoists, set halyard tension, raised and adjusted pole height, dropped the spinnaker and adjusted the foreguy. It was a lot of fun working with a well trained crew. I was a bit insecure at first(and did trip one halyard inadvertently the first day), but felt like I did my job well and added to the effort.
The entire week, our chief competition was "Shoot The Moon" a Peterson 40. We virtually matched raced them the entire time. They owed us a small amount of time. We started the week leading them for two days, but then they had a run of firsts, often correcting on us by only 5 to 20 seconds! When it was over, STM beat us for the week by two points. Our score of first and second place finishes was very respectable, but STM was just a little bit ahead.
The post race partying was typical with bands, dancing, award presentations, volleyball and something called a "Bacon Off" which would be sure to be a artery clogging event! Thursday night is the boat "renaming" night. A few of our crew participated late at night.
Thanks to Gary and the rest of the "What! A Tripp?" crew for giving me the great opportunity to race with them and providing me with a place to sleep and eat.
Results can be found here: http://whidbeyislandraceweek.com/results_2010.html
Boats racing in Saratoga Passage on Thursday.
Boats at the dock.