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.

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