Sunday, January 8, 2012

Duwamish Head Race-South Sound Series #2

The Duwamish Head Race is the second race of the four race South Sound Series. This race is sponsored by Three Tree Point Yacht Club and starts at the Des Moines Marina breakwater. The course then heads north around Alki Pt into Elliott Bay, around the Duwamish Head light, west across Puget Sound to Blakely Rocks. After passing Blakely Rocks (leaving them to port) the course continues south to the finish off the Des Moines Marina breakwater. The total length is 30.8 NM. Even though this race is run in the middle of the winter, the winds are often light and the course has been shortened at the Duwamish Head mark several times since I started racing it.

I was underway Friday morning at 0700 for the delivery to Des Moines. I like to leave early and I arrived at Des Moines at 1010 and found an empty slip in the transient morning. By mid day other boats were arriving. I helped the arriving boats moor which gave me some time to kibitz with other competitors, many that I know from previous races.

On Saturday, our start was at 1010. The winds were light at the start and not predicted to get much over 10 knots for the day. We got a good start on starboard with the spinnaker up, but we jibed to port shortly after starting and headed toward Vashon Island. “Melange” (J35) and “Jeopardy”(J109) both got a good jump on the class by heading left. “Bergan Viking” and “Fast Feather”(both J35’s) jibed back toward the right and sailed into a hole along with “Tantivy”(J109). We fought with “The Boss” (yes, another J35!) for a while before we jibed back to starboard on a favorable lift. We stayed ahead of “The Boss” to Three Tree Point but the lost ground by sailing closer to shore north of Three Tree Point and then again south of Alki Point.

When we rounded Alki Point, “The Boss”, “Melange” and “Jeopardy were well ahead. But we could also see that the committee was on station and finishing the boats at Duwamish Head. As we reached towards the finish, the boats ahead ran out of wind and we closed on them. As we got closer, we once again defied convention and stayed to the right near the shore and had a few favorable puffs. We soon found ourselves even with “The Boss” and “Melange” and right on the transom of “Jeopardy”. We thought for a while that we could finish ahead of “The Boss” and “Melange”, but  both boats got a nice puff and passed us to leeward. “Jeopardy” finished first and “The Boss” finished second, one second behind after trailing “Melange” and “Jeopardy” for the entire race. We finished fourth, three seconds behind “Jeopardy” and since they owe us time, we corrected to third place in our class. All four boats finished within 3 seconds! That is a really close finish!

This race has always been a struggle for me. I never seem to be able to figure out how to sail the fast track from Des Moines to Duwamish Head in light running conditions. This year was no exception; we lost ground to the boats ahead, but no boats from behind passed us. Fortunately, even though the wind lightened near the finish, we did not give up.

The big mystery to me was why the race committee shortened the course. We finished at 1400 and even though the wind was light at Duwamish Head, it was sufficiently strong enough to have completed the entire course long before the time limit would expire. And it would have been fun to see if we could catch the leaders during the beat back to Des Moines. After we finished, we sailed the entire way to Brownsville and arrived at 1630.

Thanks to the crew of Jim, Tom and Michael for working hard and staying focused.

Results can be found here:Duwamish Head Race Results

On the delivery early Friday morning I spotted these sea lions lounging on a navigation buoy in Rich Pass.
Race boats crowding the Des Moines Marina prior to going to the starting area on Saturday morning.
Race boats crowding the Des Moines Marina prior to going to the starting area on Saturday morning.

Ready to go!
Our track for the day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Captain Dan's Fleet Of Sailboats-Part 2

About a month ago, I posted about my fleet of sailboats that I have owned over the last 45 years (Captain Dan's Fleet Of Sailboats). What gave me the idea for the earlier post was that I found old photographs of my earlier boats. I scanned the photos and attempted to clean up the files to make them presentable. I printed the scanned photos off at 8 X 10 inches and framed them with frames purchased at Goodwill. I also printed some of my favorite photos of my most recent boat (Great White) that were already in digital format.

I spend a lot of time in my home office (some people might consider this my "man cave", but my whole house is my "man cave"), so I thought that this was an appropriate place to hang these photos along side and above my "ego" wall. Most people will agree that I lack artistic abilities, but I think the way I am presenting these photos is classy, although somewhat casual. Since I bought my frames at Goodwill, very few match. I felt that this was sort of highlighting the various eras that these boat represent.

While I was working on these photos, I also undertook an ambitious project to scan the several hundred slides that I took during a couple of extended cruises to northern Canada in the mid and late 1980's. That will be the subject of a future post.