Two races for the price of one!!!! But Wait! The adventure starts way before the race held on Saturday, 7 January 2017!
It was bitterly cold the days before the race. There were five racers moored in Swawntown Marina and they unable to move due to about an inch and a half of ice in fairways! Thanks to Bruce Marshall, Olympia Harbormaster, and his crew, they ran the Ports aluminum skiff up and down the fairways to break up the ice. Four of the boats on H dock departed around 1100 on Friday headed for the Tacoma Yacht Club, the fifth departed later in the afternoon and went directly to DesMoines. The four boats arrived at TYC around 1500 and tied up at the reciprocal moorage docks. As we have done for the past twenty years, we had reservations at the wonderful TYC dining room for dinner! A great way to break up a long delivery and have electricity at the docks!
We had all read Bruce Hedricks prediction for this race: Four knots of wind dying in the afternoon. Cold. Eighty percent chance of an accurate forecast. So upon arrival in the starting area, all were surprised to discover some wind in the low teens!
The start in front of the DesMoines breakwater went out without a hitch. Boats, after clearing the line, were able to use their spinnakers as they headed north to Alki Point. Then Bruces prediction became accurate. The wind diminished and the fleet slowed down. About three in the afternoon, most of the boats had worked their way around Alki Point in the soft breeze. Crossfire, with a minus 105 handicap had made it all the way to Blakely Rock. Crossfire contacted the committee boat on VHF Channel 72: This is Crossfire; we can anchor here and take times when you shorten the course! You could hear throughout Elliott Bay sighs of releaf that this drifter was at least going to end at the rock! The committee boat responded: No, we are going to complete the entire race. You could then, again, hear sighs of frustration. This could be a long drifter!
Well, the Three Tree Point Yacht Club race committee must have a real powerful crystal ball! About a half hour later the wind picked up from the south and started blasting the fleet! Naturally several sail changes were made, some reefs put in, and the fleet beat hard to the finish line back in DesMoines! Several of the slower boats in the cruising classes decided to drop out. The wind was too much for them.
Approximately 53 boats registered for the race and about 11 did not finish or did not start. So, 42 boats completed the entire course! This is important, because the past three years of Duwamish Head Races did not happen: too much wind and the boats could not get out of the marina; too little wind; and an abandonment near Alki Point/Duwamish Head due to lack of wind and adverse current.
The Three Tree Point Yacht Club ran a great race, although most did not realize it until about 1500 in the afternoon!
The SSSS boats returned to TYC and tied up to the reciprocal docks again and had a cold, wet delivery with a flood tide back to Olympia on Sunday. Tying up to the TYC docks must bring good luck: Bodacious and Jolly Rumbalow were first in class, Koosah second in class, and Follie a Deux third in class!
The next race in the Series is our own Toliva Shoal. Bruce Hedrick will have his weather and tide predictions for the 18 February race. He nailed it last year!
Results may be found on the Southern Sound Series web site: www.ssseries.org.
Dave Knowlton, Koosah and Series Chair
Wind, wind and more wind! But letfs go back to Friday night first!
The Tacoma Yacht Club is undergoing a Federal Superfund reclamation of the copper smelter slag spit on which the clubhouse is built. There are huge mounds of contaminated dirt, huge mounds of other dirt to replace the contaminated stuff, and lots of construction equipment everywhere! To the credit of TYC, all racers were forewarned of the situation and all boats found moorage and the crews found parking.
As in years past, the Friday night party was a huge success! Class breaks were posted around 1730 and the dinner started around 1800. The club has a new Chef and the meal was delicious! Great salad, steamed vegetables, a chicken and gravy entree and sourdough rolls! Perhaps adding to the celebratory spirit was the University of Washington Huskies dismantling the University of Colorado for the Pac 12 championship! Huge wide screen TVs were in the party area.
The racers woke up Saturday morning to a cold, southerly wind blowing in the high teens to mid-20s. The cruising classes started at 0930 and headed north up Colvos Passage to the mark boat at the north end of Vashon Island. The PHRF fleets started, in reverse order, slower boats first, at 1000. There were sixty-four racing boats heading north in some great wind! Aboard Koosah we knew it was going to be a fast race since only two spinnaker boats passed us before the mark boat at the north end of Vashon. In previous races they usually pass us about half way up the island!
Looking behind, you could see all the colorful spinnakers. You could also see several of them shred making popping noise similar to gunfire. The sailmakers must be really smiling!
Koosah thankfully tucked in a double reef prior to the mark boat but Jolly Rumbalow waited until after rounding the mark. As Pax the Space Spider zipped past Jolly Rumbalow they yelled out:Nice keel! Jolly was really over on her side!
The return to the finish line in front of TYC was a rather straight forward beat to windward. A couple of tacks and most of the fleet finished before 1530 in the daylight without rain!
Twelve SSSS boats participated in the race. Since the finish was completed in the daylight, several motored back to Olympia in a cold rain arriving around 2100. They were able avoid a 3.3 Ebb current scheduled for 2300 and were able to see the lighted boat parade in Budd Inlet!
A great way to start the 2016-2017 Southern Sound Series! The next race is Duwamish Head sponsored by the Three Tree Point Yacht Club on 7 January 2017. Results for Winter Vashon and registration for the remaining races, Toliva Shoal 18 February; Islands Race 18 March, may be found at www.ssseries.org .
Dave Knowlton, Koosah, Series Chair
This is written in late October, so the Winter Vashon race has not started, but by the time you read this, it should be over! Details of Winter Vashon will be found in the January 2017 Ship-to-Shore.
The second race of the four-race-series is Duwamish Head 7 January 2017. It is sponsored by the Three Tree Point Yacht Club which meets in the Des Moines Anthonys Restaurant. The course starts in front of the Des Moines Marina and the race committee situates itself at the end of the long fishing pier at the marina entrance. The race goes north to Alki Point, then east to the Duwamish Head dolphin, then west to round the north end of Blakely Rock, and back south to the start/finish line. Approximate distance is thirty nautical miles with a 13-hour time limit.
This race is the most difficult for most of our SSSS racers. It is a long delivery to the start line and should the race be shortened in Seattle, it is a long motor back to Olympia usually in the dark! This race has been cancelled/abandoned at least six times in the past twenty years. There has been too much wind, thus not allowing the boats to get out of the marina or not enough wind to conduct a start. Last year most boats made it to Alki Point in a dying wind when the race committee decided to abandon the race. Alki Point was blanketing the southerly light breeze and an ebbing tide would prevent most of the boats to make the Duwamish Head mark.
Too much wind: The race course has a lot of fetch from the south and the north. Boats discover unsafe circumstances exiting the Des Moines Marina, especially racers with an outboard. The prop comes out of the water with every wave and each wave pushes them back into the entry which is surrounded with a huge rock jetty. A Tartan Ten attempted to enter the marina in high winds to pick up her crew for the race. She soon lost control and also her mast as she ran under the fishing pier! The only damage was to the boat and the pride of the skipper.
More Wind: One year several SSSS racers departed the Tacoma Yacht Club for the nine-mile motor to the start line. Most boats hoisted a sail to assist with the delivery since the wind was blowing 30+knots from the south. Flying Circus, skippered by Mark and Dave Elliott, soon discovered that they did not have reef points in their main sail. They had not reefed any time before! Needless to say reef points were installed soon after that experience. Almost all the SSSS boats anchored in the lee of Murray Island, anxiously awaiting the radio call from the race committee that the race was cancelled. It finally came. Several boats hoisted a small jib and started the motor sail back to the Tacoma Yacht Club. Aboard Koosah we were sill heeled over quite a bit so most of the crew sat on the windward rail. Then someone shouted, Boy that was a warm wave!! Shortly after we learned that Hal had thrown up and the wind carried that entire warm wave back to the crew on the rail! Savage, skippered by Bill Maclean, elected to sail back without the motor. They arrived at TYC at least an hour behind Koosah. Since it was still early morning, all elected to motor back to Olympia. The wind was high and the waves were huge against the flood tide; it took forever to return home!
No Wind: This situation has happened more often that too much wind. You still must show up at the starting line, just in case the wind fills in. When it doesnft it often becomes a floating party as boats start rafting up and talking about the Seahawks game that weekend. One race Graffiti tied up to Koosah and the crew came aboard. Since we knew it could be a long race, Koosah had two Papa Murphys pizzas. The crew of Graffiti, a J-24, learned a new appreciation of a heavy racer-cruiser with a three burner stove with an oven plus a great heating system. Another plus for no wind is that Jan Anderson can really focus her camera on a stationary boat and get the entire crew in the photo! After three no wind cancellations, the TTPYC mailed out lottery scratch tickets with the next years entry form! (This was before the Internet and Regatta Network)
Delivery: As mentioned above, this can be a long weekend for SSSS racers. To break this delivery situation into more manageable segments several usually motor to the Tacoma Yacht Club on Friday and tie up with electricity at the reciprocal docks. The docks are usually open, for who goes boating in the middle of winter!!!? We then enjoy a wonderful meal in the TYC dining room! Sometimes there are few as six racers and once we had forty! TYC is a cashless facility which means you must use a credit card. They have a new chef this year and I can tell you that the menu/food is wonderful! Each racer is usually contacted to determine their plans for the delivery and dinner. You are most welcome to contact me just in case you are missed! email@example.com. Saturday morning we all motor over to the start! The crews know how to get to TYC since they were there for Winter Vashon and the delivery crews are well fed and rested! After the race, most return to TYC, tie up, and take a hot shower in the basement of the club, and then head home on Sunday. This will be Koosahs twenty-fourth year enjoying this routine!
Special Considerations: Three Tree Point has a bunch of rocks going an unusual distance under water; you can see Koosahs blue bottom paint to warm you! Duwamish Head Marker, be sure to get your spinnaker down early since this mark is usually congested with everyone yelling for room and a few spinnakers have ended up on the pilings! Blakely Rock has a sand bar on the north end. One Flew Blue, a Newport 41, spent two days there until the tide was high enough to float her off. She is now cruising in the South Pacific! Restoration Point, keep that red buoy on your starboard side; donft try to take a short cut!
Some have mentioned that you learn more during one race than in an entire season of cruising. For those who donft race, come on out and verify this legend!
Dave Knowlton, Koosah Your Rep and Series Chair
The Series Council met on 6 October at the Tacoma Yacht Club to organize the 2016-2017 Southern Sound Series. We had scheduled our meeting for Septembe 22, but the entire peninsula at the Yacht Club is being decontaminated from the slag of then Asarco Copper smelter. Bulldozers, shovel scoops and trucks are all over the place. Perhaps a bulldozer cut the power line to the Yacht Club (?) but Yacht Club was closed!
The dates were confirmed:
Winter Vashon 3 December 2016
Duwamish Head 7 January 2017
Toliva Shoal 18 February 2017
Islands Race 18 March 2017
Regatta Network will be used for the registration and scoring program. This means you pay by credit card. Provisions can be made to pay by check or cash by contacting the sponsoring yacht club. See the Notice of Race. The NOR and Sailing Instructions are posted on the series web site: www.ssseries.org
Each club will link its registration site to the series web site
Each race will start at the same time and have the same time limit. The Sailing Instructions have the details.
Class breaks will be announced around 1800 at the Winter Vashon pre-race party Friday night.
Teams may consist of three boats in any of the PHRF division from the same club. SSSS won the Winter Challenge trophy last year with the team of Something Special, Korina Korina, and McSwoosh.
Bodacious won the First Overall trophy!
I will keep you informed of the status at TYC concerning docking for Winter Vashon.
The Tacoma Yacht Club is gearing up for a grand kick-off party Friday night, 3 December. Drop in for a fun time!
Dave Knowlton, Koosah
Your Rep and Series Chair