Trip Report    

Sail - Esther, Port of Edmonds Marina

A nice breezy day of buoy racing. I'm sure we got first in our division.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • It was a "just about right" day for wind.  We had some puffs, and put Esther on her ear, but we didn't fill the scuppers.

This was a Buoy Day race in the CYC Edmonds Frostbite Series.  This meant several races around a short buoy course.  They ran a total of three, but as we arrived a little late for the first starts, we got two races in.  The committee boat set a pretty good triangle course, with upwind starts and a down course mark requiring at least one spinnaker jibe before the downwind mark.  A good test of the essential maneuvers, starts, roundings, and spinnaker handling. We were a little late to the Field of Honor, as one crew, who will remain nameless, didn't realize the race started an hour earlier than the regular one-race days of the series. "Fifty lashes with a wet noodle!" for them. However, and slightly unfortunately, we were also the only boat in our division, Division 1, to participate this day.  But as Division 2 had 3 and then 4 boats, all bigger and rated faster than us, we did have competition around us to make things interesting.  We rigged up as we headed out in a bit of a hurry. 

The Foredeck Union at work.Laura, who has taken the Racing seminar, got to earn her Foredeck Union card with Bill.  Bill has done a bit of racing now, and so has Laura, but this was her first time on foredeck.  Always good to expand one's horizons and try new things, right? The Afterguard was rounded out with John, Scott, new student Nikita, and your humble skipper.  Though Esther is small, it worked out to have a good sized crew this day, as we could stack plenty of Rail Meat on the beam to keep her flat.  And it make tailing and grinding the winches easier too. 

As we arrived a little late, we did get to see the Division 2 make their first start, and it looked like good racing. The course was about about a mile over all, and the fast boats made their first complete circuit in just half an hour. Then we moved into the start area after a few warm up tacks and jibes.  Even though we were the only boat in the division, we worked to make a good showing at the start. The wind was a little tricky, putting us almost on a close haul on port tack, and we almost ran out of start line as we headed to the pin, but then the horn sounded and we hardened up what little we could and headed to open water.  Beating to windward feels fast, but intellectually you know it is two steps forward and one step back. But we briskly made it to the upwind mark.  Well, actually we watched the Division 2 boats that had passed us round the mark, which made it a lot easier to see.  Chasing them down, we furled the headsail and set the chute.

Spinnaker up!

Spinnaker up!  Ok, it took a little longer to get it set, we were rusty from a long winter. It wasn't up long before we hit the jibe mark and did  a pole-dip jibe.  Not exactly what the skipper was expecting, but the Fordeck Union had madness to their method.  A quick scoot down the rest of the course, and and just made it across the finish before needing anther jibe.  We doused and prepared for the next race.  For the third race (our second) the Race Committee extended the course.  Instead of the previous upwind-reaching mark-finish course, they added a extra upwind-downwind leg.  This would require two spinnaker sets!  Really putting us to work.

The start began and again we made for a good showing, just making a tack almost at the line and trying hard not to go over early. At the horn we were just right there and off really well. In the first race, the faster Division 2 boats made it to the windward mark ahead of us by a few minutes.  This time we made it to the windward mark ahead of two of the Division 2 boats!  Good job!  They did quickly catch us on the downwind leg, but we take our victories where we can.

Curse you, Red Barron!

"Curse you, Red Barron!"  The CYC Edmonds' Commodore and Fleet Captain's Division 2 boat passes us on the upwind.  "Ain't now replacement for displacement" they say in auto racing, and "Ain't no replacement for waterline" applies to sailing.

We ran the course to the reaching mark, then made an end-for-end spinnaker jibe, much to the approval of the skipper this time. Then to the downwind rounding and spinnaker dousing.  Already a week has passed and I forget the particulars, but I think we had some minor issue getting her down.  Something about the halyard getting wrapped in the unfurling jib? Any crew who wishes to comment may do so below.  Those who do will be flogged at noon on Sunday.

Bill went below to repack the spinnaker, while the Afterguard did the hard work of another slog to windward.  After a solid rounding we again popped the balloon and headed straight back to the finish line. It seemed some of the Division 2 boats might have headed to the reaching mark again.  Did they misunderstand the course, or were they just heating it up to increase SMG?  I'll have to ask at the next potluck.  Crossing the line, we got the horn and gave a big Thank You to the Committee Boat.  They did a great job, though in getting the races off quickly they didn't leave much time for eating or head breaks.  But we must suffer for our art.

Who knocked off my hat?Heading back to the barn, we tidied up. And that's when my hat blew off.  "Hat overboard!" we called and circled back.  Using Man Overboard procedures, I spotted and pointed.  Hard to track a dark blue hat on a dark blue sea, but I kept it in sight. John steered us back to the spot and Scott dipped it out of the water with the boat hook.  Textbook rescue!  Though now my head was cold with no hat.  Luckily we were almost back to the dock.

Back on Dryland, everyone retired to the local watering hole for cold beverages and hot nachos.  A good day of racing and camaraderie.  Oh, and we got first in both races in our division.  Points is points.