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Trip Report    

Sail - Esther, Port of Edmonds Marina

We came, we raced, we finished.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • I guess I shan't complain, the winds were good, almost too good.  They never died till we were finished, which is great, as we finished right around sunset, when they usually die away.  Actually, it was strong enough that, even with all five crew on the high side, we heeled over so far water came over the cockpit combing.  Skipper was pushing it a little too much then.  I think it trashed my "water resistant" hand-held VHF that that was on deck.

First up, your skipper must thank the crew for their patience, as he was much delayed getting off work and was almost half an hour late to meet everyone.  This lead to a bit of a mad scramble getting off the dock and to the race start line.  Two crew were students of the recent Mountaineer's Sailing Racing Class, and two were some experienced crew.  With the tight schedule already, the new crew were kind of thrown into the mix with little instruction.  But being good Mountaineers, they jumped in and did great.  Ryan and Bill, the "seasoned" sailors, rigged the spinnaker underway as we motored hard to the start line.  From the foredeck came the pained inquiry "Where's the head and clew?" Whoops, someone had taken the spinnaker home to dry it out from it's last shrimping expedition, and now it was just stuffed in the turtle.  Foredeck got it hooked up, but now we were gambling with an unknown chute situation.  Would it hour-glass, would it tangle? Were we doomed?  Dear reader, you will find out soon enough if you read on.  We arrived just as the first start, the Cruising Class, was counting down their last minute or so.  We checked in with the Committee Boat, then cut the motor as our start sequence was about to begin.  In the late rush, someone (the skipper) forgot the countdown timer.  Luckily, one of our new crew had a phone handy and we got a timer going.  Being the line wasn't crowded, and it was actually close to square with the wind, we tried a Vanderbilt Start, going away from the line for 30 seconds, planning to gybe  around and run back to the line for 30 seconds, and "boom!" hit the start line at speed.  Well, now we know it takes about 30 second to execute the gybe, so we were about 30 seconds or so late to the mark.  "Hey Kyle, I learned something today." "What's that, Stan?" "Give yourself 30 seconds to gybe on the Vanderbilt Start."  We made a decent line crossing, and in doing so guaranteed ourselves a Third place at worst, as there was only one other boat in the start, so even if we DNF, we'd get third. If we finished, a solid Second.  Wooo hooo!  We beat North in about 10 knots, going reasonably far out, and taking a tack on the lay line most other boats chose.  Soon the Third Start boats (the faster ones) overtook us, but we kept up the chase.  Alas, a bit of current and impatience, and it took us about six tacks when, if done right, it should have only take two, to reach the windward mark.  "Mistakes were made."  But we gloriously rounded the mark, so time to roll up the headsail and set the spinnaker.  With two new trimmers in the cockpit, Laura and Tim, and the seasoned hands up forward, we hoisted away. But not really.  Remember the sloppy packed spinnaker? There was some tangling, some twisting of the clews, but then, with luck and pluck, the chute filled and we were on our way.  We made some good speed in the right direction, but there was a little issue of a oil dock and land in our way, so we gybed.  Bill had been sailing with a Tacoma crew and advocated for a "pole dip" rather than an end for end.  I said OK, so we tried it, and what do you know, it worked.  Then another gybe to the leeward mark, this time not so pretty, but we survived.  Hitting the leeward mark, we doused, though not the Mexican Takedown this time, just a conventional drop and hoist.  Maybe next time?  Or even with, dare I say, practice?  Out came the jib and we began the beat back to the Finish Line.  It was on the return, pushing for speed, where we heeled so far we dumped some water into the cockpit over the combings (see the Route Conditions above). But on we sailed, then made the tack back to Finish.  Whoops, short of the line so tack again.  Repeat two more times for good measure before we actually go there.  The faster boats were almost to the marina but it seems were were within the time limit and got a horn.  I guess we'll see when the results are posted. But as I noted, can't do worse than Third, and probably a Second.   It was fun and the new crew at least got some experience in starts, rounding, and spinnaker gybing.  Again, I thank them all for their patience at my tardyness.  And next time, I'll flog whoever fails to repack the spinnaker the right way.