Thursday, February 28, 2013

Jim DePue Memorial Race-WSSA No. 1

It has been several days since the Jim DePue Memorial race at Port Madison. I had sort of run out of steam when it came to writing race reports, but my blog tracker keeps showing someone hitting my blog as if they are looking for a race report. Since it appears that at least one person must be reading my blog, I will attempt a short race report.

The Jim DePue Memorial is the first race of the seven race West Sound Sailing Association (WSSA) series. It is a 16.5NM race run in the waters of Puget Sound, starting at Point Monroe and sponsored by Port Madison yacht club. All week before the race, the predicted wind were reported to be light. The prediction was pretty close as we saw winds up to 8-9 knots for a while after the start. But the converse was that it was a very nice, sunny day!

We got a great start about a third of the way down the line. As predicted, the current was suppose to be a small flood, so we headed out. Soon we saw that most of the boats above us were heading toward shore. Sure enough, the current was better near the shore, so we tacked near the shore into Murden Cove. We took a short tack back out toward the middle of Puget Sound only to still find contrary current. Back to the beach! In our flounderings, we lost position to several boats that we owed time to. We stayed close to the beach the rest of the way to the mark off Eagle Harbor and gained back some time.

After rounding the mark and setting the spinnaker, we stayed a bit low of the West Point mark, but as the wind lifted, we sailed higher toward West Point. By the time we jibed at West Point, we had passed three boats. We sailed a lower coarse to the final mark at Point Jefferson and gained on some of the boats ahead. especially as we neared the mark. One boat just ahead stayed high of the mark and sailed really slow as they sailed down to the mark. We sailed a good angle to the mark, had a great takedown, rounding and ended up on a good angle to the finish where after one tack, we finished at about 1408. The wind had died a lot and the boats behind struggled to finish.

Our final placing was seventh in class and seventh overall. I take responsibility for giving away places by heading offshore. But I later heard that many boats also expected the flood and could not get any benefit from it. Oh well, it was still a good day for a race and we stayed focused and recovered some lost places.

Results can be found here: Jim Depue Memorial Results 2013

Our course for the day.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cruz Down The Coast-A Winter Camping Adventure

Last week I decided to take a "Cruz" down the Washington and Otrgon coasts. I confused a lot of people by calling it a Cruise. They thought I was taking the boat down the coast. But my "Cruz" was a car trip that involved camping for three nights a national and state campgrounds. I have been thinking about this for a few months to see if it is doable. I do not own a RV, so my camping consisted of sleeping in the back of my pickup and cooking under a canopy on the rainy days. Not the usual way people camp in the winter.
I got underway early Monday morning. I drove north around the Olympic Peninsula to the coast with my first stop at Rialto Beach in the Olympic National Park. I then backtracked and drove to the small village of La Push. Back again to Highway 101, I continued south through Forks. I decided a side trip to the Hoh Rain Forest was in order, so of I went up that road. Not many people were there and the visitors center was closed. After a short hike, off again I went to hook up with Hwy 101 again. I continued south to the National Park Campground at Kalaloch. I selected a great campsite overlooking the beach and the ocean and set up my canopy to provide some shelter from the rain. A campfire kept the chill off during the early evening until I retreated to my warm sleeping bag.
Tuesday evening I was underway early again and headed down Hwy 101 until the first opportunity to head back toward the ocean and Pacific Beach. I continued south to Ocean Shores for breakfast. After breakfast, I drove around Greys Harbor through Aberdeen to Westport. After a quick stop at Westport, I continued through Grayland and Tokeland to 101 at Raymond. From there I continued on to Long Beach for lunch and then to Cape Disappointment State Park where I was assigned a great camping site near the ocean. I hiked out to the North Head Light and the light at Cape Disappointment(Cape 'D"). This was a great sunny day but as night approached, it did get cold!
Wednesday, once again, I was underway early and crossed into Oregon. In keeping with driving the roads closest to the ocean, I left 101 near Warrenton and took a side trip through Fort Stevens State park to view the South Jetty and the wreck of the old sailing ship Peter Iredale. Again on 101, I continued south to Seaside and another side trip and on south until I reached Tillamook. Here I stopped at the cheese factory(something I have always wanted to do) before continuing on to the Air Museum in Blimp Hanger 'B' of the old Naval Air Station. That is a huge structure that was built during World War II and now houses a great display of old aircrafts and artifacts as well as dry storage for rent. After the visit, I continued on to Cape Lookout State Park were I set up camp again. I was hoping to hike to Cape Lookout, but I arrived too late in the day. This was a very stormy and rainy day, but with the right equipment, I stayed dry and comfortable.
Thursday, I again was again on the road early(have you noticed a trend here?) and drove back roads through Pacific City to the Little Nestucca Road that took me through the Coast Range to Highway 18 that I followed to McMinnville. At McMinnville, I visited the Evergreen Aviation Museum for several hours. I have been here before and was looking forward to seeing it again. On the road again, I drove to I5 and followed it north arriving home in the late afternoon.
This was a great road trip. I knew that it could be cold and stormy and it was for some of the days. But with the right equipment, I was dry and comfortable. The bunk I built in the back of the pickup provided a dry place to sleep. I proved to myself that this kind of winter camping is doable.
 Crescent Lake
 Rialto Beach
 La Push from across the James River.
 James Island
 For Twilight fans, they should know that this marks the beginning of the werewolf territory.
Hoh Rain Forest.
 Long Beach, DUH!
 North Head Light.
 The Coast Guard was training at the cliffs of North Head.
 Cape Disappointment Light.
 The Oregon Coast near Manzanita
 Cheese please!
The blimp hanger at Tillamook
 Typical campsite at Cape Lookout State park.
 How did that 747 end up on top of the building? The water park at Evergreen Aviation Museum at Mc Minnville.
 The Spruce Goose and I!
What I did for most of the time, I CRUISED!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Toliva Shoal Race 2013

It is February and once again the crazy sailors are released from the asylums and they make there way south to Olympia for the Toliva Shoal Race. This is the third race in the four race South Sound Series. It is a 37.4 NM distance race from Olympia to the Toliva Shoal buoy and return through Balch Pass and other narrow passages. Even though it is still winter, this race has a reputation for light winds and shortened courses. I enjoy this race even with sometimes cold, wet, windless conditions. I must be one of the crazy sailors!

My race started on Friday morning when I got underway for Olympia. It was cold before the sun rose and the decks were slick with frost. The currents through the Narrows were going to become favorable around 0930 and remain favorable the rest of the way to Olympia. I got underway at 0500 from Brownsville. I had a good, favorable ebb current through Rich Passage. As always happens, the north flowing current in Colvos Pass slowed my progress to the Narrows. After the Narrows, the current changed and helped boost my speed through Balch Pass and past Johnson Point at the entrance to Dana Pass. I arrived at Percival Landing in downtown Olympia at 1250. I was not the first boat in on Friday. Some boats had arrived earlier and boats arrived throughout the day until the harbor was packed. The day was sunny, so I found some WIFI, walked around the downtown and kibitzed with other sailors. In the evening, Olympia Yacht Club sponsored their usual great dinner and raffle.

Saturday morning was clear and still. After a early morning breakfast at Olympia Yacht Club, we rigged the boat and got underway for the start at Olympia Shoal. We could see some fog at the north end of Budd Inlet, but the winds were too calm to blow it away. The forecast was for winds less then five knots and it looked like the forecast could be accurate. On the positive side, it was sunny and warm the entire day after the fog burned off.

After a half hour postponement, we started and headed north in Budd Inlet beating into very light winds. I got a terrible start and we found ourselves near the back of our class. As we chased he leading boats, we would get closer to them only to stall and then they would leave us behind.

As we approached Dofflemeyer Point, the wind did fill in to a barely sail filling 3-5 knots. At this point, the current was flooding against us. We tacked close in toward the shore and through the anchored boats in Boston Harbor. After Boston Harbor, we continued to tack close to shore often tacking in as little as 10 feet of water. We gained on boats in our class that were ahead only to hit the "wall" that slowed them and have them sail away from us again. We did sail through many boats that started ahead of us and some that had started behind us and passed us early in the race. In fact nobody passed us during the beat up Dana Pass. The short tacking took it's toll on some boats that would tire of tacking so many times. They would take a longer tack farther out into Dana Pass and find themselves swept away with the current.

As we entered Henderson Inlet, we found some good puffs of wind and really gained on a pack of boats that included most of the boats in our class. But is was too little, too late as the Race Committee made the wise decision to shorten the course at Johnson Point after only 7.5 miles. We finished at 1518 very close to some of the leading boats and placed 7th out of 9 boats. If we use this race as our series throughout, we should still be tied for first with "Melange"(J35) after their 3rd place finish. Early series favorites "Absolutly"(G&S 39) and "Tantivy"(J109) placed 6th and 5th respectively and are a few points behind us. Results can be found here: Toliva Shoal Race Results There is still the last race of the series at Gig Harbor in March.

After finishing, we motored through the Narrows to Gig Harbor where the crew rode the staged vehicle back to Olympia for their vehicles. I motored the rest of the way back to Brownsville arriving at the marina at 2112.

It was actually a fun race even with the light winds. I enjoy the challenge of trying to solve the mysteries of the race course. So, that is why I like this comment from a great (and somewhat notorious) sailor:
"My goal in sailing isn't to be brilliant or flashy in individual races, just to be consistent over the long run."
Dennis Conner
Thanks to the crew of Jim, Tom, Kathleen and Ranier for keeping focus and helping make this race a success. Perseverance always wins!
Here is our track for the day. Looks strange with all the changes in direction. I did not count how many tacks we made up Dana Pass, but there were a lot of tacks as we tried to stay close to shore and out of the adverse current.

Here is an enlarged track of our short tacking up Dana Passage. Not all of the points on the track are actually tacks, but you can get the idea about how close to the shore we stayed and how many tacks we made. I count about 35 tacks. This is where we saw some boats that seemed to grow tired of tacking, head out into Dana Pass and get swept behind.

A short video during the start when we were actually moving well!