GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY
SW WIND 25 TO 35 KT. WIND WAVES 4 TO 7 FT. SHOWERS LIKELY
EARLY...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
Invitations were sent, RSVP recieved, but Gale did not show up for the party!
This race is the first race of the seven race WSSA(West Sound Sailing Association) series. It starts at Pt Monroe, heads south to the red nun buoy off Eagle Harbor and then crosses Puget Sound to the West Point buoy, to a club buoy at Pt Jefferson and return to finish at Pt Monroe. The total distance is 16.5 NM.
As said before, Gale did not materialize and at the start, the winds were about six knots. I timed the start poorly and was late and then got pinned at the flag end of the line. With a boat above us, I could not tack to clear the buoy, so I had to jibe around onto port. We continued on port far enough to clear our air before tacking back to starboard. We were the last boat to start.
After finally clearing the line, we tacked close to the Bainbridge Island shore for current relief. A side benefit of the island shore was that the wind started lifting us toward the next mark. Some weather models had predicted that the winds could swing west and staying on that side was part of our game plan. We saw wind speeds as high as 11 knots, but mostly it was in the 7-9 knot range.
We started picking off boats and by the time we were crossing Murden Cove, we were in the lead along with "Dos"(Sierra 26). Near the first mark, we traded places with "Dos" as we worked through the wild shifts. We rounded the mark and set the spinnaker and started reaching across the sound. The wind dropped off and we had to sail close reaching angles to keep the boat moving. Also the wind was oscillating wildly. After a couple of jibes, the wind swung around to the NE and we set the jib. Several boats had closed with us while we were in the convergence zone, but once we got the jib up we started pulling ahead.
The current was still ebbing, and as we approached the West Point buoy on starboard tack, we were set toward the left and had to head high to avoid missing it. The race committee was on station and finished the race here. A few of the boats behind us were swept to the west of the buoy and had to tack to port to try to sail back upstream. "Dos" was the first to finish, we were second, but two boats that finished behind us probably saved their time on us by a few seconds. So, we were probably fourth in class and hopefully overall.
Overall, it was a great day on the water. The Puget Sound Convergence Zone kept the strong winds away and allowed the sun to shine the whole day. I had prepared some contigency plans in case the wind did blow, but fortunatly we did not have to implement them.
Thanks to the crew of Jim, Kathleen and Tom for staying focused and working hard at keeping the boat moving. Results are here when they are posted: http://www.wscyc.net/WSSA/results.htm