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Trip Report    

Sail - Esther, Port of Edmonds Marina

A great start to the racing season.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Good steady strong wind at the start and most of the upwind leg, but it started to die away close to the mark.  Luckily we made it around and were able to scoot on downwind under spinnaker.

This was a good first race of the season, a chance to knock the barnacles off the boat and ourselves.  This was the first race of the CYC Edmonds Frostbite series (as the very first race was cancelled for heavy weather).  Bill, Scott, and I have raced a few times before in the CYC Edmonds races.  The course was to the South of the marina, and they wisely set a straight upwind/downwind course, with a downwind finish.  Just our forte!  Though it would be a longish upwind slog first.  Getting to the start line, we mingled in with the other boats, did a  few tacks and jibes to the get the feel of things again.  We rate in the first start, so we hung close to the line, mostly chasing the Thunderbird.  The skipper (now referred to in the third person to protect the guilty) forgot two things for racing, (1) a handheld VHF to hear the Race Committee boat in case of course changes, and (2) batteries for the countdown timer.  We pretty much had to listen for the sound signals, and guess our actual timing.  Figuring the T-bird knew better, we just followed them to the start line, and when we heard the horn and they punched up, we gave chase.  Hot on our stern was an Ericson (27 or 29 I think), who was single handing and had a reefed main.  The T-bird stayed on starboard quite a ways into shore by the Point Wells oil docks, we stayed with them for a while but eventually tacked out to the Sound because most of the second start boats were doing that.  Though I wonder what Mr. T-bird knows that I don't?  Like local currents and geological wind shifts?  Mayhaps.  Anyway, we beat upwind, making tacks, with the Ericson slowly gaining.  He took some time after about half an our to shake out is reefed main, then began to climb up past us.  We kept chase and kept looking for the windward mark, a UW research buoy.  Like an Imperial Prob Droid really.  Luckily we caught sight of some of the faster boats as they zeroed in and rounded the mark.  Eventually the Ericson rounded a bit ahead of us, with us DFL. But not so far behind that our higher PHRF rating might put us in contention for 2nd, though we'd be happy with 3rd.  Heck, I was already happy we'd made it across the start line.  The wind was waning, but we kept on and made the mark, sighing relief we would make it back to the finish, probably before the 5 hour time limit.  Really it only took us about an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes to make the upwind leg.  As we headed down, we rolled up the jib and got the spinnaker up.  Yacht racing was far too easy, to they invented the spinnaker.  On our first hoist, we realize the sheet was inside the forestay, to the spinnaker was on the wrong side too.  Down the chute came, the line re-lead correctly, then up it went.  Luckily the wind had gone light, maybe 5 knots?  And the fix wasn't difficult.  If it was 10 or 15 or more, it would have been a "Houston, we have a problem" problem.  But Poseidon was easy on us today and we got it set nicely.  Nicely if we were heading out the Admiralty Inlet.  This necessitated a spinnaker jibe.  Everyone remember how to do one of those?  Well, a little line tangle here and there and we were back on a straight shot for the finish, right off the Committee Boat's bow.  The Ericson, under white sails only was reaching downwind, but we tried to gobble up the course.  Things seemed so calm after the windy upwind leg, but with the diminished wind and the added boat speed vector to the wind speed vector, and it seem as if we were almost becalmed.  But progress was made, with a few bumps into some flotsam in the tidal rip.  Clunk, clunk, clunk.  The advantage of a old fashioned full keep and keel hung rudder.  Up ahead the Ericson was seen to finish after taunting us with some downwind reaching.  He scooted back to his Kingston home port, but were were close behind.  We finished within biscuit-toss of the Committee Boat, after only about half an hour of downwinding.  No word yet on our handicap correction, but at least we finished.  I really hate having to drop out after starting due to dying wind.  But that is the way it is with yacht racing.  We made a solid start, beat upwind well, had a not-terrible spinnaker set, a real nice spinnaker run, and finished well.  A big thanks to Scott and Bill for being such good crew and all-around good guys.  More races to come, so watch for postings.