The first race of the four-race Southern Sound Series lived up to its name: Winter! Seventeen SSSS boats registered for the romp around Vashon Island and at least three decided that the weather was too cold and windy while another two did not finish. It was Freezing and Windy!
The delivery from Olympia to Tacoma required the boats moored in Swawntown to cut their way through the ice. Those who delivered on Thursday had it easier than those who chose to go on Friday. Friday saw stiff northerly winds against an ebb tide. The smaller the boat, the more spray froze on the deck and the rougher the ride.
Tacoma Yacht Club hosted a warming prerace party and taco bar Friday night. Class breaks were announced and then most sailors retired to their boat or went back to their warm home! For those who slept on their boats, the wind howled all night and the temperatures plummeted below freezing.
Crews started arriving around 0700 and by 0800 the two cruising classes headed out to the start. This year the slower classes start ahead of the faster boats. The start witnessed strong, cold north winds and several boats had to reef their main. As the fleet tacked their way up Colvos Passage, the wind moderated ever so slightly. Most of the faster fleets started passing the cruising classes at the north end of the Island.
As the racers rounded the mark boat at the island's north end spinnakers were launched and the race to the south began. The wind moderated even more and those who had a reef in their main shook them out. Ice still remained on the decks from the spray on the beat up Colvos Passage.
The spinnakers were held to the finish line in front of the Tacoma Yacht Club. All finishers were able to cross the line before dark.
The Southern Sound Series implemented the US Sailing Regatta Network program for registration and scoring. The results were posted on the TYC site shortly after the last boat finished.
The delivery back to Olympia was with a flood tide and wind behind us. Koosah was able to view the OYC Lighted Boat Parade as we entered Budd Inlet. Very pretty! We had to motor through the ice to get into our Swawntown slip, but happy to arrive!
The second race is Duwamish Head on 11 January. Registration may be accomplished on the web site, ssseries.org. The third race is our own Toliva Shoal on 8 February followed by the Islands Race on 15 March.
Dave Knowlton, Koosah
Winter Vashon, the first of the four-race Southern Sound Series, is Saturday, December 7. There may still be time to register. See the Series web site.
The second race is Duwamish Head 11 January 2014. Sponsored by the Three Tree Point Yacht Club, it starts outside the Des Moines breakwater, heads north to Alki Point in West Seattle, then east to the Duwamish Head dolphin in Elliott Bay. Racers the sprint west to round north of Blakely Rock and then back to the start/finish line.
Each year presents unique circumstances for the racers. Two years in a row the race was cancelled because of no wind. One year it was cancelled due to too much wind. The race is a favorite for several Seattle boats. If the race is shortened at the Duwamish Head mark it is a short delivery to return the boat to their Seattle moorage. The majority of the years the race has been completed, although often in the dark!
For our South Sound Sailing Society racers, several usually tie up at the Tacoma Yacht Club reciprocal moorage, plug into shore power and then enjoy a meal together in the TYC dining room. Last year there were 22 skippers and crew who sat down to the famous Sunset Dinner special. Please let me know if you wish to participate! Saturday morning, we motor nine miles to the start line.
After the race, most boats return to TYC to spend the night before going back to Olympia on Sunday.
Dave Knowlton, Koosah
The Southern Sound Series Council met at the Tacoma Yacht Club 28 August 2013 to plan for the 2013-2014 Series. The following decisions evolved:
1. Dates: Winter Vashon 7 December; Duwamish Head 11 January; Toliva Shoal 8 February; Islands Race 15 March.
2. Registration will be over the Internet. Racers may pay the entry fee with a credit card. Register at the web site: www.ssseries.org. Further information regarding online registration will be available in late October.
3. Scoring will be accomplished with US Sailings Regatta Network.
4. All four races will have a reverse start. The Cruising and Commodore classes will start 30 minutes before the PHRF starts, then the slower classes will begin their starting sequence with the last start being the multi hulls.
5. Non PHRF boats may obtain a handicap from Mark Harang. Our SSSS D-Fleet handicap is not accepted for this series. Inform Mark what it is however and it will help him assign a Southern Sound Series Cruising or Commodore handicap, at (205) 235-5716 or email@example.com If you have a rating from him last year it should be good for this season.
6. The Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions will be on the Series web site: www.ssseries.org
7. A post card reminder will be sent to all known participants in November. I will contact all known SSSS racers who race the Series via email to update you on the implementation of these improvements.
For our SSSS sailors, now is the time to start planning your campaign! We usually have at least two teams consisting of three PHRF boats a team, so think about whom you would want on your team! The key for a winning team is for each boat to compete in all four races.
Also, remember to pay your 2014 PHRF dues. You should receive a reminder in the mail in November. If you do not have a PHRF rating, contact Rafe Beswick, our SSSS PHRF handicapper, at 888-9844, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Southern Sound Series provides a unique opportunity to meet and race boats from the Tacoma and Seattle area. Winter Vashon had 87 boats last year. Lets see if we can make that mark for all the races!
Please contact me should you have questions! Koosah@hotmail.com
Dave Knowlton, Koosah
Your Southern Sound Series Rep