Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Duwamish Head Race-The Race That Wasn't

The Duwamish Head Race is the second race of the four race South Sound Series. This race is sponsored by Three Tree Point Yacht Club and starts at the Des Moines Marina breakwater. The course then heads north around Alki Pt into Elliott Bay, around the Duwamish Head light, west across Puget Sound to Blakely Rocks. After passing Blakely Rocks (leaving them to port) the course continues south to the finish off the Des Moines Marina breakwater. The total length is 30.8 NM. Even though this race is run in the middle of the winter, the winds are often light and the course has been shortened at the Duwamish Head mark several times since I started racing it. But this year, the forecast was for strong gale force winds and thunderstorms.

I was underway Friday morning at 0700 for the delivery to Des Moines. The winds were huffing at speeds to 30 knots. This created a rough wet ride most of the way to Des Moines.  I arrived at Des Moines at 1040 and found an empty slip in the transient morning. By mid day other boats were arriving. I helped the arriving boats moor which gave me some time to kibitz with other competitors, many that I know from previous races. Surprisingly, only 19 boats arrived by the end of the day. Normally with this race, the boats are rafted across the harbor. And most of the boats were from the larger faster classes with only a few that were smaller boats from the slower classes. Maybe these people knew something?

All night the winds blew strongly from the SW. Occasionally, stronger squalls woke me with heavy rain and winds. A few times I turned on the wind instruments to see how hard it was blowing. The highest I saw was 35 knots.

At breakfast, the race committee was considering the conditions and said that they would meet to decide what action to take about the race. Sure enough, by 0900, a postponement was signaled. And by 0945, the race was cancelled before it was started. It is unusual that a race in the northwest is cancelled due to too strong of winds. But other factors entered into their decision. While we were waiting at the dock, lightning flashed to the south and even though the wind was only blowing at about 25 knots, gale warnings were forecast for later in the day. Had the race been started, the results could have been very skewed with most of the small boats unable to even leave the marina against the waves. In the year 2000, similar conditions and constant 40 knot winds also shut down this race. And someone said that it was  also cancelled in the 80's for high winds. Most of the competitors were in agreement and several prominent boats left to go home even before the race was cancelled. 

After the boat was cleaned up and the gear stowed, I started for home at 1015, which was coincidentally my starting time had the race been run. I thought I would use a small jib and sail back, but the crew had already put the sheets away, so I motored. With the wind behind and a favorable current, I soon rounded the north end of Vashon Island. As I approached Blake Island, the wind came forward and increased to 40 knots. The wind also brought a violent hailstorm and brought visibility to less than a quarter mile. The winds also heeled the boat 20 degrees with out any sails up. The squall cleared after about a half hour and the wind settled to only 25 knots for the rest of the trip home. I arrived back to Brownsville by 1315 and was home to watch the Seahawks play New Orleans.

It was still a great time to be out on the water and spend a night on the boat.

 Although this looks strange, with my face fully covered, it was quite comfortable.
Following the hailstorm, it took a while for the hail to melt.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Years Day Car Show At Sharis

On New Years Day, I was up at my usual 0600. After breakfast and taking care of some house work, I watched the coverage of the Rose Parade for a while and then went to the Sharis Restaurant New Years Day Car Show. This is similar to the Tuesday evening shows that are run during the spring and summer. It was a cool foggy day. Surprisingly, there were a lot of cars, as many or more than in the Summer.  There was a lot of cars that I had not seen before and it appeared that some groups came from out of town. The Mustang club was out in force! I ran into some old friends there too.
 Even though it was foggy and damp, a lot of cars filled the parking lot. And they all looked clean and pristine. How does that happen with the wet streets? 
 Cars of all kinds lined up. A black 82 Foxbody Mustang is parked on the right.
 I believe this is a 1996 Mustang Mystic Cobra with the blue/green shifting color paint. If it is a Mystic Cobra, it is rare with only 2000 built.
 I was more intrigued with the engine!
 This was a pretty sweet looking Mustang.
This pulled in and was immediately surrounded by people. It was branded as a Diamond T (an older truck model). A sign in the cockpit said that this special Diamond T was built for the 1948 "Grand Prix Truck Racing Series". It was a long paragraph that went into detail about the series, driver and history. Something did not seem right. This car/truck had many newer parts and construction methods. I talked to the owner. He laughed and said that after he built this vehicle, he concocted the whole story. There was no truck racing series. He built this vehicle with a tubular frame, mid engine and independent rear suspension. It was well done. I don't know what he uses it for.