Total Pageviews

Monday, February 20, 2012

2012 Winter Shaw Island Classic

Where else do you get to dodge ferries in the middle of a race?
How was the race?

This is a very common question that is spoken by friends who know you went for an event or crew who couldn't attend for one reason or another.

The answer can be made very simple or complex and is usually tailored for the individual by those who were in the race.  The answers are below.  Read as much as you like.  Please leave comments so others can see what you think.

Example #1:

We got 4th place in class.

EX. 2:

We took 4th out of 10 in class and were the 6th boat to finish.

Ex. 3:

Jah Mon had the best finish in any Shaw race ever!  Sunshine and most of the fleet just couldn't stay with us.

The Full Monty:

The staying on the boat night:

Cousin Everett and John Papajani were on the boat and had it warm on Saturday night when the Count arrived with the groceries.  We went out to dinner at the Agave, courtesy of Cousin Ev, and ate too much excellent food.  Back to the boat where JP got in a victory in cribbage.  We ate some of Ev's homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and told tales for a great night.

The delivery over:

Rising at 6:15 AM, having fresh scones made at Griffin Hill the previous day with the coffee got us all primed as crew filtered down.  We were 6 going over.  Polisher Patrick, Juan the luckiest crib player ever, Ben the F-18 racer and the 3 of us who stayed on the boat overnight.  We cast off at 7:04 AM and rode our clean bottom out of the marina with a dry sky!
Polisher and Tiger Ben with Anacortes in the background.

The wind was out of the West and the current was running to the West which made for one very steep wave! We hit it and nearly stopped with 18" of green water coming over the bow along the sides of the cabin!  Whoa!  Were we going to get to the start on time?  We dodged up Bellingham Channel into the ebb coming straight against us but without much wind.  At least it was flat water.

Ben aloft wiring UP a block shackle.
It was his first trip UP a mast, we
were underway at 7k!

As we got by Eagle Harbor we sent Ben aloft to wire off a halyard block that needed some wire and then pulled into Orcas eventually at 10:02 with the start at 10:15.

The Winter Shaw Island Classic by Orcas Island Yacht Club for 2011: 

We picked up Lucky Dave, Hawkeye and Muamar did two circles, hoisted the chute and took off!
The F-31 trimaran takes the lead and Jah Mon is at the left end of a huge line in a good hot position.
The start line.  They don't get a lot longer than this.

We rocked the start and shot quickly to 2nd and then got hauled in until we were 2nd from DFL (Dead Freaking Last).  As we jockeyed for position the Count gave up the helm to Lucky Dave and served the homemade chicken soup that was prepared on the delivery over.  "The soup course is served" was announced to the fleet, as most were with 200' in light air.  You have to pity those with out comforts.
Count Ferrari looking crooked with a bowl of soup,
but really Jah Mon is heeled. Ben is getting ice
for making a G&T!

Here is a link to the only video we were able to bring back.  (Warning:  This video will kick you off the blog to Youtube and you will have to back up a page to get back to the reading.)

Video link showing the action after 10 minutes of racing (click here).

Then the holes in the wind started and we just used the 30,000 lb. momentum to coast from hole to hole using our little asymmetric spinnaker despite calls from the bow to gybe.  (Bad idea, said the Count).  We rounded the corner into Upright Channel, keeping Shaw to starboard (always this direction for the Winter race) and were in the middle of the fleet.
Dave Hodgeman dancing with Jah Mon.  A good touch!

The wind freshened as we bucked into the wind and current on our nose.  Jah Mon with Lucky Dave at the helm took to the right side of the course opting for more wind pressure and taking the extra current on the chin.  It paid off as the fleet separated as we exited from Upright channel out to San Juan channel.  Two boats, Sabrina and Limey Bastard ( a real name in huge graphics)  exemplified our correct strategy as they tacked across the mouth of Upright and were blown by the current back north at 2+ knots.  That was a real bad idea!  We just charged straight into it (slowing to 3k over the bottom or so) but the option of looking for relief just was not for us.  We opened up our lead over all behind us with that move and never had to worry about them again.
Cousin Everett Alfred, photographer and bosun.
Hawkeye doing photo work, JP and Ben being casual
on the foredeck.
Ben and Hawkeye setting the chute for deployment on the
2nd of three sets for the day.
Too much food!  Hawkeye preparing white king salmon and
halibut.  This goes with the chicken soup, tossed green salad,
and warmed sourdough bread.

We entered San Juan Channel and took a tight turn, near the point and rocks, threading through the newly moved kelp bed with a good bow watch and an alert helm.  That allowed us to pass another boat (a yellow SC 27).
Norn, with the red chute, Arne Hammer driving.  The start.

The run to Wasp Pass was fun in the sun with the chute drawing us to the leaders out in the big wind.  Arne Hammer's Norn ( a highly modified SC 27) was in our sights but then we had to go where the wind doesn't go in force.

We gained significantly on yet another yellow SC 27 who we came up on many times in Wasp Pass but as we went through the holes it was the same old story.  They would GO in a puff and we would MO after the puff was over.  The going was more successful and covered the ground quicker than did our momentum strategy.  BUT one has to go with the boat that brung ya.
Art photo

Finishing ahead of us was an F31 tri (rated 40 PHRF) in first place, Ptolemy (an Express 37, rating 81), and 3 SC 27s (rated between 150-159 PHRF).  Jah Mon with her 123 rating and full on cruising gear did very respectable.

The apres race feast and crib tourney:

The nine crew settled in to have BBQ halibut and white king salmon, along with soup, salad, and heated sourdough bread after grabbing a mooring buoy by the ferry.  Many games of crib were played.  The team of Ben and Juan were trounced by Planet Kevin and then had their own defeat (a near skunk) at the hands of the Oldsters of JP and the Count.
Cut throat crib with JP, Count F, and lucky Juan.
We even caught him cheating and he won.

The delivery back:

We offed the 3 imported rockstars from our crew back to Orcas for their van and future ferry ride and Jah Mon  headed back towards Anacortes around 3:00 PM.  We must have hit all the antiwater there was in the world, as we didn't get back to the slip until 7:20 PM and it was BLACK out.  General figuring will say 2.5 hours to motor to Orcas Island from Anacortes.   It took 3 hours over and 4:20 home!  Patrick and Ev did a great job of driving the delivery.  The Count took comfort in the heated salon even if he did have to take a couple defeats in crib from Juan.
The crew had leisure time to burn.
Note the smile of approval.

FYI for those coming into Anacortes at night.  There are lit up tankers anchored and moored at the refineries along with tug boats that look like bright cities, and the refineries are even brighter than that.  The opposite shore with the marinas are BLACK with little red lights (barely) marking the entrances.  Some of the navigation buoys do not have lights so go with caution.  It would have been better to arrive there in the day.

It was a great day on the water, no rain, some sun, and plenty of wind.  There were even sightings of snow on Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island.  Sleep was easy once home.


  1. Nice post, Count. And a good day of sailing it was.

    Is a higher resolution version of the start line photo available? It is the only evidence I could find that there was in fact at least one boat behind us at one time in the race.


    1. and it would make a nice computer desktop photo!

    2. Beluga, I am trying to find your contact info. I think you are the Pretorian 35?

    3. sam at rockisland dot com