On Friday, February 14th, the Olympia Yacht Clubhouse opened its doors to welcome racers to the very first race of the 200-2003 Southern Sound Series. Sailors watched the first race of the Americas Cup on the big screen TV. They sported their new Toliva Shoal Race t-shirts; thanks to Dwayne Young. They savored the locally brewed Fish Tale Ale, and enjoyed good old-fashioned-sailor-oriented cheer!! Jans wonderful Baron of Beef dinner gave us an opportunity to support the local youth sailing; it seems that a lot of folks did just that. The Corvettes with George Barner entertained us with tunes ranging from smooth blues to the rocking 50s music. George Barner night-capped the dance crowd with his trade mark song, "Louie Louie". George Barner is a former Thurston County Commissioner that supported a state initiative to make "Louie Louie" the Washington State song in the 1980s.
The Toliva Shoal Race was held on Saturday, February 15. Light winds welcomed the racers to the Olympia Shoal on race day morning. The first start was at 1000. Of the 73 registered boats only 2 decided not to start. The racers hoisted their spinnakers with a light Southwesterly. After the entire fleet had started the race, the wind faded and the ebb continued. Dana Passage was crowded with inbound and outbound freighters. By 1435 a 15 knot Southerly filled in and invited the racers to proceed past the Toliva buoy. The wind looked like it had arrived.
Until approximately 1700. The wind faded at dusk leaving racers strewn from Budd Inlet to Eagle Island. At the Olympia Shoal, at 1919, the Toliva Shoal Race Committee recorded the First to Finish racer, Strider, a F9A owned by Rod Tharp from Olympia. Strider will be awarded the Governors Perpetual Trophy for being the First-to-Finish racer. In the next seven hours 17 boats followed her across the finish line. Courageous, a J-35 sailed by Bill Wilmovsky and Sandy Mackie will be awarded the Toliva Shoal PHRF Perpetual Trophy for being the first overall on handicap. Perfect Ten was the last boat home. She finished just before her time expired.
Back at Olympia Yacht Club, scores of tales were exchanged describing the tough challenges navigating through the strong currents, good wind, bad wind, and commercial traffic on the course. 45 boats rounded Johnson Point together at 1430, and I mean together. It looked like one huge moving raft up! Winds at the Toliva Shoal mark were noted as high as 28 knots while boats were rounding the mark. Dave Knowlton, the skipper of Koosah reported two visits from McNeil Island State Prison patrol while at anchor. Rod Tharp, Strider, reported the last two miles were sailed in two hours. Racers report sparse wind retuned on course after 2300 hours.
The Magic Wind Machine collected $19.82. The proceeds have been forwarded to the Thurston County Food Bank. Thank you for contributions.
I extend a huge thank you to the Race Manager, Susanne Ames, for her fine management of the Race. She and her crew were very dedicated to managing a fair race for the fleet. I want to especially thank the skippers of the RC boats: Gary Larson, Mort James, and Sean Trew.
Thank you, to Jan Visser for the fantastic dinner and breakfast! Thank you to the City of Olympia for the moorage fee waiver. Thank you Department of Corrections for the parking privileges. Thank you to all the enthusiastic volunteers that supported the Toliva Shoal Race event. Thank you Olympia Yacht Club and South Sound Sailing Society for cosponsoring this 33rd annual event!
Above all, thank you racers for competing in the 2003 Toliva Shoal Race! Please race with us next year!
We have photos of the Race. There are links to them in the Toliva Office. There is also a place to voice your opinion about the race.
We are looking forward to seeing you next month in Gig Harbor for the second and final race of the Southern Sound Series!
Toliva Shoal Race Committee Chair