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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Winter Shaw Island Classic 2014

Winter Shaw Island Race:
v. 2014

Race Course in Red.  Delivery in Green.
Delivery to the Event:

We had 7 bodies for the delivery over in decent weather.  No rain and very little wind.  5 slept on the boat in West Sound Marina, where they gave us a very sheltered and easy access slip on the very north of the Marina.  We were very happy to be snug in there as it started to blow in the 50s that night.  Our friends on Journey, another Catalina 42 got in after dark and took a slip on the south side (read weather side) of the marina and didn't get a lot of sleep.

We had a choice of going to the Orcas YC for a potluck or just eating our own food on the boat.  The walk in the rain and wind kept a couple on board all night and all on board for dinner.  The taco salad would have been tough to keep  and transport.  3 crew went over around 8:30 with 2 (Ben and Sarah) getting  a ride to the Orcas Hotel for the night.  Apparently the activity shut off quick that night as there were very few attendees in the report given in the AM.

The morning brought a good breakfast to the table with bacon, hashbrowns, cantalope, scrambled eggs.  Also sunshine and maybe 5 k of wind.  It really died down for the start of the race.  We picked up Hawkeye, Lucky Dave and Stephanie who came in on the ferry and then Ben and Sarah.  Then we were 10 total on board.  The rest of the crew included the Naviguessor, Rear Admiral Papajani, Polisher, Jalapeno, the Fire Marshall and photographer, and Count Enrico Ferrari.

The Race:

There were 3 classes starting in one start after the local ferry cleared out.   Jah Mon got a good start in clear air but somehow Journey got a better one and sailed over us early on.  That was disconcerting as they have a rating of 150 and ours is 123, so we owe them 27 seconds a mile.  It was fun seeing another C-42 out there but it was better to see them behind us as we finally crossed them tacking through the channel, looking for the best pressure we could find.

Odd observation about this race:  Count Ferrari usually gives up the helm after the start but he was having so much fun that he steered, without interruption for the entire race with finished at 12:36 for us.

We got into Upright Channel ahead of Journey by a little and the entire fleet just close reached in 18k or so all the way to the next turn to the right into San Juan Channel.  Chutes came out and after the world's longest chute set (halyard had gotten wound up in the furler) Jah Mon said good bye to Journey who doesn't fly a chute.  We had a couple of good gybes in 20k of wind or so and pushed hard into Wasp Passage where we applied the sock, dropped and then deployed the 140% headsail again.

Wasp Passage is a tight little bit of tacking with puffs coming wherever they want to.  The wind ranged from 0-15 in that section and we acquitted ourselves well with boat handliing and reading the puffs.  Once out of the pass we beat to the finish and took down our sails.

We finished, after correction, 6th out of 8 and had a great time!

Delivery Home:

Delivery to Anacortes was the next thing and if we had it to do over we would have hunkered down in West Sound Marina for the night.  It was only blowing in the high teens on the nose at the finish at Orcas ferry landing but built to the mid 20s near Lopez Island and then out of Thatcher Pass to Rosario Strait we had mid 30s with the wind going to 42 at peak gusts on the nose as we approached Anacortes.  The wind was against the current so we had some steep seas to deal with.  10' waves were the biggest seen.  The 3k current gave us about 4-5k over the ground a full cruise on the motor (usually about 7-8k in still air).

Once we rounded Cap Sante rock we slowed to 1.3 over the bottom as we lost our big current push.  Polisher and Ben drove the big boat all the way to the entrance to the marina in the pounding.  Sitting on the forward head in that almost needed a seatbelt!

Alternatives were discussed for docking and the only solution was to come into Cap Sante Marina and find a slip in all the empty 65' docks they currently have.  The Count cranked the motor to 3000 revs and we surfed and powered in behind the breakwater. Tthe wind stayed in the mid 30s as we looked about for a dock to snuggle up to.  This was an undesirable situation.  Learn from our debacle and just don't do it.

We made one approach to a weather slip but couldn't get there and had to do an emergency back out to the fairway.  No touch, no foul.

We then shifted fenders to starboard and came in hot with a bump.  Firmly attached by the wind we could barely move the boat forward with full throttle and 5-6 guys pushing and pulling us to the front of the slip where we could tie off and slump with relief.  The moral is "Just say NO to 30+ k wind, given a choice".


There should be some photo documentation posted here soon.

Respectfully submitted as accurate by Count Ferrari.

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