Crew Pix 23-Sep-2018.jpg

Trip Report    

Sail - Esther, Port of Edmonds Marina

A good day of racing, with a solid start and first leg. Second leg? Eh, not so good. I blame the wind.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The race started great, with nice steady wind, maybe 10 knots.  Perfect to get things moving. But it died away in Appletree Cove, and also pulled the "Sunday Usual", clocking from Southwest to Southeast, to Dead East(!), and finally Northeast.  Ugh.

This race was part of the CYC Edmonds' Halloween Series.  Besides your most humble skipper, the rest of the crew were "repeat offenders", Bill, Chegwei, and Kyle. We rigged up for racing, including the spinnaker rig. Spoiler alert, we didn't get to use it.  We got to the starting area as the Race Committee boat was setting the marks. They set up for a unique course, one I've often sailed, but never raced. Port of EdmondsThe course was from south of the Port of Edmonds, off the off-leash beach, over to Appletree Cove in Kingston, and back. In theory, this should have been two reaching legs, hopefully one a broad reach where the spinnaker could do its work. But, as noted, this was not to be. But we were so young and ignorant then, full of the un-jaded optimism.  Waiting for the marks to be set, we motored about. And, in a classic move, motoring toward shore on a falling tide, we ran softly aground!  As we teach in every class, "There are two kinds of boaters, those who run aground, and those who are about to run aground." It wasn't my first rodeo though, and luckily we were only in soft sand. The crew quickly moved to one side like a well oiled machine. What great training they have had! With a good heal on, we motored back to deeper water.  OK, I'd say I won't make that mistake again, but then I'd be a liar.  Time to up sails and get ready to race. We lined up on the start line, pulling a few tacks and jibes to warm up.  After blowing start after start this year, I put my previous race experience into use. We tried a Vanderbilt Start, heading away and turning back on 30-second courses, but this time included 30 seconds to make the jibe back to the line. Lo and behold! We go over the line only 7 seconds after the horn!  And ahead of our competition, the fast T-bird Prospero, even! We got to the first short mark and tacked over, Prospero hot on our stern. She has waterline and a weight advantage, so the PHRF ratings give us a bit of time on her.  Still, it was nice to be so close, and the early wind seemed to be just the thing to keep us hot on her wake when she did pull ahead. We hung close all the way across the Sound. We watched for big traffic and small fishing boats, but were sailing great, though strangely close-hauled.  Wasn't this supposed to be a reach? 

Close hauled.We were more than 3/4 of the way across when the Division 2 boats (the faster class that started 5 minutes after us) finally caught up and stole some of our wind. But we were hanging in there! Entering the lee area of Appletree Cove, Aeolus turned his favor away and the wind went very light as we ghosted in.

Kingston Ferry dock.The race course instructions called for a temporary mark to be set in the cove, but the Race Committee hadn’t done so. A “gentleman’s agreement” was made that the first boat in got to choose the mark. One of the Division 2 boats scooted in and chose a near mooring ball as the turning mark.  Glad they didn’t pick one close to the beach. Our competitors, one by one, were able to make the mark, bear away, and head back to the open Sound for a little breeze. Struggling closer, ever closer, we eventually rounded and gave chase as best we could. It seemed like current might be doing more for us than wind. But the fickle wind eased and eased, and clocked around, stifling our efforts. The poor crew had no spinnaker work to do, as it seemed we were always fighting a headwind. With breeze they sat on the high side, in calm the low side. Back and forth, though not even often enough to keep from getting bored. As the competition reached out ahead of us, we twice were diverted by commercial traffic, costing us more time. Though it was a long and somewhat frustrating race, after such a good start, the crew kept their spirits up, or at least awake, until we finally crossed the finish and got our horn.  As of today, results still haven’t posted, so we may have corrected to First, but there is no way we got less than Second. We headed back to the bar and put the boat away, including the spinnaker, still packed in its turtle. I thank the crew for being good sports about the light and fickle wind.  The great start and strong first leg were something to be proud of. And it was a pretty nice day on the second day of Autumn.

High cloud Sun halo.

Thanks to Kyle for the pictures!