Monday, April 27, 2015

Poulsbo Invitational Race- 4-25-2015

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.

The weather forecast was not good. The winds were predicted to be variable at up to 5 knots. Furthermore, even though the day was suppose to be somewhat sunny, there was also a chance of rain. This all pointed toward winds that would be changing direction throughout Port Orchard and Liberty Bay with a good chance of convergence zones forming parking lots between wind shifts.

The start was toward the south and with a NW wind, it was a downwind start. The wind was only about 4 knots. We started at the pin end of the line, was forced up by a leeward boat and ended up in the lee of a larger boat. We reached toward the west shore toward Brownsville where our early reconnaissance showed some wind flowing out of the lagoon. We lost three positions, but gained on boats that took the more direct route from Battle Pt toward University Pt. As we neared Brownsville, we could see the boats ahead getting a new wind from the SW. Sure enough, we too got the new wind, so up with the jib and down with spinnaker. The winds filled in to about 7 knots and we had a good beat to University Pt. We gained on the boats behind and seemed to close a little on the boats ahead. We rounded in fourth place.

Rounding University Pt. in fourth, we set the spinnaker, pulled the pole back and headed toward Battle Pt. As we neared Battle Pt, we could see the boats ahead struggling with a convergence zone and a change of wind direction toward the NE. We prepared for it and when the wind did change, we did not seem to skip a beat and sailed right into the new wind. The new wind filled in to a NW wind of about 10 knots accompanied by big black clouds and rain. We beat up the middle of Agate Pass to ride the ebbing current toward the Pt Bolin government light.

At the Pt Bolin mark, we set our spinnaker on starboard, pulled the pole back and had a straight run to round Pt Bolin. We were able to sail low enough to avoid the shallows and stiil stay out of most of the adverse current. Soon we were able to head toward Keyport. So we put the jib up, took the spinnaker down. Now the wind had dropped off again, so we worked the puffs coming off the north shore. We cut fairly close to the point heading into the channel. Then the wind shifted toward the SW and we tacked. We elected to not reset the spinnaker as the wind was ahead of the beam a little and I wanted to head high enough to get to the Keyport shore for current relief and also to be near another black cloud formation.

We stayed to the left side of the channel and sure enough, a new wind filled in from the black clouds to our left. We past the boats that were to the right of us. We sailed across the channel to the Lemolo shore and found better winds from the west as well as great current back eddies. We tacked close around Lemolo Pt and tacked in about two feet of water under the keel just as the black clouds passed over and the wind filled in from the north at about seven knots from the N. We thought we could make the finish line in one tack, but had to make a short hitch at the end. And just as we finished, the wind started dropping and eventually changed to a light southerly. Most of the boats behind set spinnakers.

We were the first boat to finish and should have corrected out to first in class and overall.

The results can be found here when they are posted:

This was a challenging day for a race with lots of shifting wind and sail changes. Thanks to Jim and Tim for all the hard work and keeping me focused.

This is our track for the day. We started just north of Battle Pt.and headed south to University Pt., north to Pt. Bolin and then to Poulsbo. The first leg to University Pt turned into a "great circle" course toward Brownsville.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rich Passage Ramble Race- 4-18-2015

Sailboat racing in the northwest this spring has seen many days of warm, sunny weather and remarkably it has included wind too! The Rich Passage Ramble Race this was no exception. 

The Rich Passage Ramble Race is the third race of the seven race West Sound Sailing Association (WSSA) series. It is a 20 nm race that starts at the Port Orchard Marina, heads out Rich Passage, around Blake Island, around the navigation Buoy "4" and back through Rich Passage to finish at the Port Orchard Marina. With the typical currents through Rich Passage and around Blake Island, this race can be quite challenging.

For the start of the race, we had NW winds near 10 knots. With the winds from the NW, everyone lined up for a port tack start. I was a bit late and on the breakwater end of the line buried under several boats. Most boat soon tacked away and with clear air, we sailed north along the breakwater. By the time we tacked toward Bremerton, the wind was much better on the left. After finally tacking back to port tack, we started passing boats. With long port tacks and short starboard tacks, we reached Rich Passage in four tacks. By now we had passed everyone but one larger boat that owed us time. 

Sailing through Rich Pass, we had the last of the ebb current helping us along. We passed the larger boat just before exiting the pass and set the spinnaker for the long reach around the south side of Blake Island. At the east end of Blake Island, we took in the spinnaker, set the jib and had a fast beat riding the north flowing current from Colvos Pass. We had a fast close reach to Buoy "4" and then headed down the middle of Rich Pass with the now flooding current.

At Point Glover, we set the spinnaker but after just a few minutes, the wind died ahead and we were left with the current pushing us along. We could see a new breeze coming down Port Orchard from the north. We reset the jib and headed toward the north to try to get in the new wind. In the meantime, "Dulcinea" (a J105) headed to the north earlier than us and got in the new wind ahead of us. When we finally got into the new wind, we reset the spinnaker and set off in pursuit of "Dulcinea". We finished 2nd and in the final results, we also corrected out to second in class and overall.

This was a great race. A after missing all my races in March due to a family emergency, it was great to get back on the water. Thanks to my crew of Jim, Tim and Tyson for 

Only photo from the race. It does not get much better than this: nice wind, sunny skies and and shirtsleeve temperatures.
Photo taken with my GoPro Hero 2 camera on my Redneck Engineering self leveling mount.

Here is our track for the day. Starting at the Port Orchard Marina, we headed out Rich Passage, around Blake Island, around the navigation Buoy "4" and back through Rich Passage to finish at the Port Orchard Marina.