Yesterday was the second race of the West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) series. This was the Spring Shakedown Regatta sponsored by Port Orchard. It is a two lap, 11.7 NM race in Sinclair Inlet and Port Orchard. It has provisions for shortening the race at the end of the first lap for a distance of 7.6 NM.
The weather for this race was not real encouraging. It called for light winds to 10 knots early in the day with SW winds 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.
At the start, we had about 5 knots from the south and rain. We got a good start at the pin end. It was a short beat to the first mark where we rounded second in our class just behind "The Boss" (J35). "The Boss" was on it's first race with a new owner, and it showed as they were very slow setting their spinnaker. We had a great bear away set on port and got up to speed rapidly passing "The Boss". Shortly after setting the spinnaker, we jibed over to starboard to cover "Dulcinea"(J105) and opt for the more favored right side of the course. We sailed hot angles and stayed ahead of "Dulcinea" past Annapolis.
There, the wind shifted ahead and gave indications that it would shift toward the North. We took down the spinnaker and set the jib and started beating into a light wind. The boats that stayed near the left side of the course still had a Southwest wind and lead by "Falcon"(a division II, Cal 9.2) they passed us and "Dulcinea". Fortunately, when the new SW wind reached us, the boats ahead slowed down. We reset the spinnaker and closed with the boats ahead and soon found ourselves leading everyone.
As we approached the Waterman Mark, the wind again shifted toward the north. We dropped the spinnaker and reset the jib. We dropped the spinnaker on deck and left it rigged in case we needed it again. As we neared the mark, our mission was to stay upstream of the mark. The current was ebbing and the boats behind us that did head toward the mark early found themselves being flushed past. We rounded the mark first, jibed to starboard, reset the spinnaker and headed for the right shore. Again, we reached at close angles to the wind to keep the speed up. We also found current relief along the right shore. But a few boats stayed along the left shore or in the middle and for a short time had better winds. "Dulcinea" passed us in the middle and Aldebaran(Catalina 30) did well along the left shore.
As we approached Pt Herron the advantage of the boats that stayed left or in the middle evaporated. "Dulcinea" slowed down and we started gaining on them. We jibed close around Pt Herron and into the ebbing flow of Pt Washington Narrows and received a good boost from the current. Unfortunately, we could not close the distance on "Dulcinea" in the remaining distance and they crossed the shortened course finish line ahead of us.
"Dulcinea" and us decimated the rest of the fleet. "Dulcinea" was first in class and first overall and we were second in class and second overall. In an exciting finish, "Aldebaran" almost finished ahead of the faster, larger, division I boat, "Tantalus"(Express 37). The previous owner of "Aldebaran" is the current owner of "Tantalus".
We had a great race and the boat was very fast. The crew did an excellent job and we worked well together. Thanks to Jim, Michael and Kathleen.
One interesting thing about this race: We had 19 starters. And even though we are a small group way out in West Sound, away from the great sailing center of Seattle, we completed a race when Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle had to abandon the Pully Pt Race on the same day!
Results: http://www.wscyc.net/WSSA/2011/Race2spingshakedown.pdf Here is our track for the day. We started near the Port Orchard Yacht Club, headed southwest to the first mark. Then north along the right shore and returned along the west shore to finish at Port Orchard Yacht Club.
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