Sunday, April 29, 2012

Poulsbo Invitational Race-How Far Can You Reach?

Saturday was the Poulsbo Invitational Race. This was the 4th race in the seven race West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) series. This race starts just north of Battle Point and with a south wind it heads to a temporary buoy near University Point, then north to the #6 navigational mark near Pt Bolin and then follows the shoreline to a finish off of Poulsbo Yacht Club in Liberty Bay. This course was 9.6 miles. In case of a north wind, the race is run first to #6 mark, University Pt and then PYC for a distance of 11 miles.

On Saturday, the wind was from the SE at about 8-11 knots. With the wind direction, the starting line was set such that a boat could not cross the line on starboard, but could cross perpendicular to the line on port tack. We maneuvered toward the boat end of the line and with the time counting down, sailed starboard about halfway down the line and tacked to port, crossing the line well ahead of the other four boats in our class. Dulcinea(J105) and Carmanah(C&C 43) were off to the right of the boat end, and Tantalus(Express 37) and Blackout(Schock30/30 GP) went too far north of the line into lighter winds and could not get back to the line in time for the start.

The first part of the course was a close reach past Battle Pt and then when we cleared the point, we went closehauled and pointed right at the the mark at University Point. We out pointed the other boats in our class and had superior boatspeed. We also passed the previous two classes with the exception of one cruising class boat that we passed just after rounding the mark. As we neared the mark, the winds lightened under the bluff that shadows this area. We had to take two short tacks to get around the mark. Dulcinea went deep into the cove towards the right and gave up a lot of distance.

We set the spinnaker and had a straight forward reach/run to the Bolin Mark. The wind was spotty ahead of us. Dulcinea and Carmanah closed up some on us even though they followed our track. Another hazard of being a target in the lead. We cleanly rounded the Bolin mark and close reached from the mark around Pt Bolin. With 40 years of racing in these waters, I was confident in knowing how to sail in the shallower waters around Pt Bolin. Dulcinea and Carmanah were not so confident and took a starboard tack back out into Agate Pass and the ebbing current. In the process, they lost some ground.

We reached toward Keyport and when the wind came far enough off the bow, we set the spinnaker and ran in to the passage to Liberty Bay. Again, the wind ahead was shifty and the targets on our backs were showing for the boats behind. The wind picked up as we entered Liberty Bay and the boats behind closed up on us. Dulcinea and Carmanah finished close enough to us to beat us by about 35 seconds after Dulcinea edged out Carmanah for first in class by about 6 inches! Blackout was fourth in class while still trying to figure out their boat and Ole on Tantalus was fifth, probably due to bad luck. Overall, the Division II boat, Emerald Lady(Catalina 27) was first overall and Swan(Thunderbird 26) was second overall.

This race was fun, but also frustrating to me. We led the entire race, made no mistakes and yet we had trouble correcting on slower boats behind. The only place that we may have given up a little time was taking down the spinnaker early at the Bolin mark. I attribute this a lot to the course that had about 1 mile of close hauled sailing and the rest reaching and running. Now if the winds had been out of the north, there would have been about 2 miles of running and reaching and 9 miles of beating. This is the second race in a row of predominately reaching. Someday maybe we will get another race with lots of beating and maybe turn the tables in our favor.

Thanks to my crew of Jim and Michael for working hard at keeping the boat moving.

Results are here:

Video onboard Great White during the Poulsbo Invitational Race. Sorry, not many boats can be seen ahead during most of the video! Shot with a GoPro Hero camera on a Redneck Engineering leveling mount.

Our track for the day. Notice the lack of tacking!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bicycles, Bridges, Ferries And Islands. OH MY!

Yesterday was a fantastic day in the Northwest. The temperature got up to the low 70's and the sun was out. I decided that it would be a great day to do a long bicycle ride to a location I have never been before. I had been planning to ride to Anderson Island for some time.

I was up at 5 and on the road by 0615. My plan was to truck the bicycle to the Gig Harbor park and ride and continue from there. I was on the bike by 0706 and heading down the Cushman Trail toward the Narrows Bridge. This is a nice paved trail that was the old powerline service road. It makes a nice way to get to the Narrows Bridge and beyond.

After reaching the Tacoma side, I continued south on side streets that lead me to the ferry dock at Steilacoom and boarded the 0900 ferry. It is a twenty minute ferry ride to Anderson Island.

I have never been to Anderson Island before, so I had actually preplanned a route using Google Map. I chose a route that took me as much as possible around the periphery of the island. As it was, it was only 12miles around the island. The island seems very rural and quiet. There was very little traffic on the roads. The roads are mainly rough chip seal and there are many hills. I wondered about a "town", well, there really isn't one. The only businesses I saw was a General Store(with fuel pumps), Coffee Shop and Country Store all located together in the approximate center of the island.

I was back to the ferry for the 1130 sailing back to Steilacoom. From there to Gig Harbor I again followed the secondary roads and trails. I did divert through the Chambers Creek golf course facility that has several paved multipurpose trails. I was back to the truck by 1230. Total distance:39.1 miles.

A short video of my day trip.

This has been a frustrating post to write. Blogger has updated their interface and I was unable to write a post. Their "Help" is hard to use, but I finally found a setting in my browser that was easy to correct. Their original error message was that my browser was incompatible, so use ours! Right! I was about ready to abandon Blogger and I opened an account in Wordpress. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rambling Through Rich Passage And Around Blake Island

Today was the annual Rich Passage Ramble Race sponsored by West Sound Corinthian Yacht Club and is Race #4 of the seven race West Sound Sailing Association Series. This race is a race from the Port Orchard Marinas through Rich Passage, around Blake Island and Bainbridge Reef Buoy #4, leaving both to port. From buoy #4, the race continues again through Rich Passage to the finish at Port Orchard Marina. Along the race, competitors experience strong currents, protruding land masses and speeding ferries.

Division I starts last of the three divisions, so we watched the other boats starting to get ideas. The wind was oscillating from NW to NE. We first thought about a port start, but the last oscillation brought the wind more NE, so we scurried to the boat (breakwater) end of the line to start all alone on starboard. We tacked a couple feet from the breakwater and headed toward the pin end. After a few more puffs and lifts, we cleared the line and rolled over Dulcinea(J105) and into the lead. The wind increased to about 10 knots.We sailed toward the shipyard, got a nice header, tacked to port and headed straight toward Rich Passage.

After a couple of long port tacks, we entered Rich Pass after passing all the Division II and III boats. We stayed in the fastest flowing current and rounded Pt Glover on a port tack reach. Soon the spinnaker went up and we headed toward Blake Island. We sailed low of the island to stay out of the strongest current and out of the lee of Blake Island. A few boats were greedy and sailed close to Blake Island. After the oxygen masks deployed, they worked their way away from the island and into the strongest adverse current. But the damage was already done.

After a couple of jibes, we headed east and soon the wind came forward. Jib up and spinnaker down and we were close hauled toward the SE point of Blake Island. One of the hazards of being in the lead is that boats behind can see what you are doing right and wrong. Dulcinea did not go as deep as us around the island and gained some. We were clear of the island first and into the north flowing current from Colvos Pass. The wind increased to about 15 knots and we increased our lead some over Dulcinea and  both Dulcinea and us increased our lead on the other boats behind.

After a short beat north along the east side of Blake Island, we started a close reach west toward Bainbridge Reef Buoy #4. The wind stayed at 15 knots with higher gusts. Entering Rich Pass, the wind stayed forward and we jib reached until we rounded Pt Glover and set the spinnaker. We had a fast reach to the finish. Dulcinea stayed close enough to save their time on us and scored first in class. With a race like this with lots of reaching, it is hard to correct on a good reaching, a-sail boat like the J105. Especially when we owe them 21 seconds/mile!

The big winner for the day was the Division II boat, Swan(Thunderbird 26). They finished about 20 minutes behind us and we owed them over 40 minutes. It was a great day for a well sailed Thunderbird.

The day was wonderful with warm sunny weather and good winds all day. I think I got sunburned again today. Even though we did not win, it was fun to be in the lead of our division the entire day, and often by a large amount. Thanks to the crew of Jim, Tom and Kathleen.

Results are posted here: Rich Passage Ramble 2012 Results

 Tom is trimming the spinnaker and I am driving on the final reach. The red spinnaker is Dulcinea. They are not far enough behind us.
Here is our track for the day.