The forecast for the day did not look real favorable. The models I looked at showed light S to Sw winds and the possibility of rain and maybe even thunder showers! While we were lining up for the 1030 first warning, the winds were very light from the SW and we hovered around the left end of the line. But as the time started counting down to our 1045 start, the wind shifted around to very light out of the north. We scurried over to the now favored right end. We approached the line on starboard, squeezed out one barger and had a great start on time.
We sailed about a quarter of a mile on starboard before tacking to port above most of the boats that started in the earlier classes. After tacking to port, we sailed toward the eastern shore to get a boost from the ebbing current. As we approached Rich Passage, the wind increased to about 7-8 knots and with good ebbing current, we quickly passed Pt Glover and tacked toward Blake Island.
We had one long port tack between Orchard Rocks and Bainbridge Island and rode the current towards Blake Island intending to leave it to starboard. As we sailed into the open water, we noticed the rest of the fleet stalling at the east end of Rich Passage. When it did start filling in for them, it was out of the SW. As we aproached the east end of Blake Island, our northerly winds started easing and right on que, the wind shifted to the SW along with black clouds and rain. It quickly built to about 15 knots. We had a good beat against the ebbing current along the east shore of Blake Island. We could see some boats approaching Blake Island behind us, but it was hard to make them out with the distance and the heavy rain.
We set the chute and had a fast reach along the south shore of Blake Island and toward Bainbridge Island to buoy #4. The winds built to a puffy 20 knots. After rounding buoy #4, we close reached into Rich Passage with the #1 genoa. We could see that the wind was still blowing strong around Pt Glover, so we changed to the #3 jib. Sure enough, the wind continued blowing strong. We had a fast beat. We kept to the right side of the course sailing close to shore looking for relief from the still ebbing current. We finished off the Port Orchard Marina at about 1413. The next boat to finish was "Dulcinea" (J105) about 14 minutes behind us. The pesky Thunderbird "Swan" finished close enough to us to correct on us by about 80 seconds. So, we were first in class and second overall with "Swan" first overall and "Dulcinea" second in class and third overall. When the results are finalized, they can be found here: Blake Island Race 2012 Results
Bremerton Yacht Club reserved the party float at the Port Orchard Marina and had a great time of socializing, drinks, brats and awards after the race. Just before we finished, the sun came out making the social event a fun affair.
I am not supossed to name boats that had difficulties(I have been called insensitive and various other things in the past), but several boats seemed to be surprised by the sudden increase of the wind. Some boats finished overcanvassed without reefing or changing to a smaller headsail. One boat reported a ripped #1 jib.
The next race is June 30th at Brownsville. It will be the final race of the series. The top boats are very close in points. "Great White" is one point ahead of "Dulcinea" for the overall championship. But "Swan" is lurking about four points back. A lot can happen!
This was a challenging race for us and it was a suprise that it was mostly beating or close jib reaching, very little spinaker work was involved. Thanks to my crew of :Walter, Kathleen, Dave and Rainer for staying focused and working well together.
No track charts today, nor any pictures. Just this video from the GoPro mounnted on the Redneck Engineering levelling camera mount.