CYC 06-May-2018 Crew 2.jpg

Trip Report    

Sail - Esther, Port of Edmonds Marina

2+2+(((5+2+1)/3)(x))+2=1! Four Seconds=One First!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Soooo little wind, so very little wind for two hours.  Then, a gentle breeze to carry us home.

Cockpit crew.


The crew as we flew the spinnaker home.


Sunday was the last of the CYC Edmonds Frostbite Series.  We went in holding three Second Place finishes, including the previous Buoy Day. This was also to be a Buoy Day, where the racing was on a short course and hopefully multiple races could be run.  Regular long courses of one race per day challenge the crew to stay focused on the trim for the long length of the race, to read the wind and currents over course, and hope they choose wisely and find the favorable current, wind, and course, while avoiding going on a "runner" where everyone else finds those favorable conditions and you find yourself far from the fleet and far from the finish.  Short course buoy racing challenges racers with some of the fundamentals over and over, such as getting a good start, solid mark roundings, and multiple times to make a mess of the spinnaker hoist, gybe, and douse. 

Alas, this day was to mostly challenge our patience and sunscreen. The crew of Greg, Scott, and Ryan met me at the marina, ready for action.  After a safety orientation/briefing, returning crew Ryan and Scott would work the foredeck and set up the spinnaker rigging.  Fresh out of the Crew Class, Greg joined your humble author and skipper in the cockpit. Though warm and sunny, there was little to no wind as we motored to the North of the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry dock and Underwater Park to the field of honor.  Now, 12 days ago I had just taught a little weather in the Crew Class, and had correctly predicted rain for the following weekend.  Rain in Seattle on a weekend?  Imagine that.  But, I would have really wowed the class if I had remembered to predict the following weekend would be warm and dry, since my cousin visited from Wisconsin this weekend, and in her four visits to Seattle had never seen it rain.  Though, to finally break the curse, it started to rain Tuesday as her plane taxied from the terminal at Sea-Tac.  But enough digression.  To make a long story short, we got to the start area and there was no wind.  We hoisted sails, and there was no wind.  We drifted backwards in the ebbing current, and there was no wind.  We almost drifted in the Edmonds Underwater Park preserve, and there was no wind.  The Race Committee (RC) wisely hung the "Cat in the Hat" flag of delay, in hopes for a Northerly to fill in.  And we drifted, drifted, drifted, periodically starting the motor to get back into position, the position being where the sun was on the other side of the sails.  After an hour's delay, from 11:00 AM to noon, the slightest breeze came across the course, and the RC decided to have a start, with the shortest buoy course, a simple upwind-downwind. We got the "rail meat" on the leeward side to shape the sails and struggled to get in position.  Old Esther, she doesn't do well in light to no wind, and she doesn't point too high, especially in those conditions.  We wiggled to the start, with about 6 other boats, only one in our class, a Thunderbird with a pretty good crew.  We were even on Starboard when the horn went off, making for the line.  The far end of the line, by the "pin" buoy.  Alas, the wind was light and we were not pointing high enough by the time we ran out of starting line, so we had to gybe, trying not to lose momentum, and took the line on a Port tack.  No worries about giving way, everyone else was across on Starboard and heading West. We struggled almost to not hit the RC boat on the other end of the line, but cleared them, heading, well, straight toward the Eastern shore.  We carried on until we had to tack away from the land.  And the light wind went lighter.  We all sat to leeward for sail shape and tried to not lose our minds in the hot sun.  Slowly we crept windward against velocity headers, light wind, and the ebb tide, for almost an hour.  I think the course was maybe a mile or two, but we crept up it as the other boats, a bit more modern, a bit lighter, got further ahead.  After a while, we saw the RC boat up anchor and head to the windward mark. Could it be they were shortening course?  This really would be a one race day, and a short distance one at that, but plenty long trying to cover it.  And finally after an excruciating hour, the breeze finally came up a bit, maybe 4 or 5 knots, maybe less.  But it was something.  Of course, being a Northerly, it got to the lead boats (well, really all the other boats were in the lead) before it finally worked its way down to us, giving us boat speed faster than a running clam.  We saw the other boats ahead finishing and heading for home.  One race is all we'd get today, but in some ways, quite enough.  Now just to finish before the time limit and get our well deserved Second Place in class.  But even a DNF would help us hold our Second overall for the series.  A few tacks to avoid running aground, and we finally made it across the finish after almost 2 hours (1:48:26 to be exact).  We thanked the RC for their patience and headed back to the barn.  Since we had it rigged, we decided to hoist the spinnaker for the run home.  Almost a good thing we didn't use it in the race, we had a line run wrong and ended up with a wrap for a little bit.  The crew worked it straight, no pressure, and we made it back to the marina in about 20 minutes.  Two hours to go about one mile upwind, 20 minutes to go 1.5 miles back. We put the boat away, and a celebratory beverage and snacks, with some racing talk and hopes for the next series. 

And to bring closure, our four Second Place wins in the overall series, and 100% participation, got us a First Place in the overall series!  So I'd like to thank all who come out this series and made it happen!  See you on the water soon!