Southern Sound Series Rep Report:

What is the Southern Sound Series?
Less than a month to go!
A Valuable Asset

Winter Vashon 5 December
Duwamish Head 9 January
Toliva Shoal 20 February
Islands Race 19 March

Duwamish Head

Race Abandoned! The race committee elected to abandon the race around 1500 Saturday, 9 January 2016. The committee boat was stationed off the Duwamish Head dolphin, a mark of the course, anticipating shortening the race there. The wind was dying and an adverse current prompted them to abandon the race.

Well, on the positive side, it was a beautiful day!! As boats traveling from Tacoma broke out of the thick fog with about 200 feet visibility, all could see the start line off the Des Moines fishing pier. The start was accomplished in a light southerly breeze and racers could hold their spinnaker or wing-on-wing, all the way to Alki Point. The sun was out, no rain, and all were having an enjoyable time.

Then the call was made over the VHF that the race had been abandoned. Since the majority of the fleet had not rounded Alki Point yet, there was confusion of why that decision was made. As mentioned above, what little wind there was did not make it over the bluff at Alki and the current from the Duwamish River was adverse, thus the decision.

For the boats traveling from Olympia, the delivery up was pleasant. Several used the reciprocal moorage at the Tacoma Yacht Club and enjoyed a delightful dinner Friday night. All knew, from hearing the fog horns throughout the night, that it was going to be an interesting nine mile delivery to Des Moines in the morning. It was! The fog was thick. We could see boats on our radar that were very close, but could not visually see them in the fog. All arrived safely for the start!

The return delivery on Sunday was also enjoyable. The sun was out and the Seahawks won!

The third race in the four-race Southern Sound Series is our own Toliva Shoal Race on 20 February.

Dave Knowlton, Koosah

Winter Vashon

The 2015-2016 Series has started! The Tacoma Yacht Club hosted the Winter Vashon race on Saturday, 5 December 2015. Seventy boats registered for this annual event that kicks off the four-race Southern Sound Series.

The Tacoma Yacht Club is to be commended for their excellent organization of this race. The docking committee ensured that boats had a place to tie up and for most had an opportunity to plug into shore power. The registration desk greeted every one as they entered the club house and the check in was flawless. Racers could obtain their meal tickets for dinner as well as breakfast and purchase a real cool-looking Winter Vashon 2015 shirt. The PHRF class breaks were posted around 1730 which allowed all to discuss about their competition before the dinner which was served at 1800. One of the major topics of discussion was the weather predictions: Winds from the south 15 to 25 knots with a lot of rain! It could be a fast race!

The start on Saturday morning was also well organized. Classes were informed on Channel 72 of the warning , the prep flag going up, prep flag going down, and the count down for the start. The use of the radio is being used more often to coordinate races, which in my opinion, is great: racing can be intimidating for the novice and the radio takes much of that fear away during the start. The cruising classes started at 0930 in a light southerly and headed towards Colvos Passage with the help of a flood tide. Thirty minutes later spinnakers were raised on the first PHRF class start. As mentioned in past reports, starting first in the NFS cruising class allows you to see the entire fleet as they zip past you! All were able to sail downwind until around Pt Richmond when the wind shifted 180 degrees to the north.

The wind remained light and the Race Committee wisely chose to shorten the race at the north end of Vashon Island. Being in the back of the fleet this was discouraging because we did not see the fast boats motoring back to Tacoma after their finish. The riddle was solved when we discovered that most of them kept on motoring north to their marinas in Seattle!

The shortened course meant that one had to finish within 8 hours of your start. Koosah was almost to the finish line around 1630, 7 hours from our start, when the wind died and we were swept past the committee boat on the incorrect side!! We missed the boat by about 50'. We fought back against the current in the light wind and then made the decision to go for the line before our 8-hour, 1730 cutoff time. Again, the current caught us and we had to start our engine to avoid a collision with the committee boat! This happened to a couple of other boats, so we didn’t feel so dumb, just frustrated! It was a long motor back to TYC!

Thank you again to TYC for reserving the docks Saturday night! There were twenty boats from SSSS who participated in the race and many of they stayed at TYC that night and would deliver their boats back to Olympia Sunday morning.

Sunday morning confirmed the weather forecast from the previous day! Winds were out of the south in the mid-teens gusting into the mid-twenties. With a flood tide, the waves through the Narrows and then up near Toliva Shoal, made for a slow slog back to Olympia!

Results may be found on the website. Most racers could see how they placed by using their smart phones and check the website on their way back to the dock. US Sailing Regatta Network seems to work well. It was great to visit with sailors from up north whom you only see during this series.

The next race is Duwamish Head on 9 January 2016, sponsored by the Three Tree Point Yacht Club.

Dave Knowlton, Koosah

A Valuable Asset

This is written a month before the Winter Vashon Race, 5 December, so there is nothing to report about the race. The Duwamish Head Race is next, on 9 January.

We, as sailors, have a valuable asset in Puget Sound. Jan Anderson, known as Shooter, and her husband, Skip, known as Boat Boy, provide our sailing community with gorgeous photography of our events. You may find a link to her photos on our SSSS web site: go to the Bar and then click on the Sailing Photos from all over the Sound by Jan Anderson. She has supported South Sound Sailing Society by photographing our Black Star Regattas and our Toliva Shoal Races. She also supports the Southern Sound Series which includes Winter Vashon, Duwamish Head, Toliva Shoal, and the Islands Race. You can spend hours just enjoying her excellent shots of sailboats racing and sailors having fun.

You are encouraged to purchase a photo or two of your boat, or of your friend’s boat, and one for each of your crew. The photos make a nice Christmas gift while supporting her business.

She recently photographed the Seattle Yacht Club’s Grand Prix Invitational Regatta and Corinthian Yacht Club’s Puget Sound Sailing Championship. Some observations from the photos:

Although there were some SSSS sailors working as crew members, I did not see any SSSS boats!

Sailboat racing is a demanding sport. After the race, it is enjoyable to sit down to enjoy and share some photos of your boat.

Dave Knowlton, Koosah

Less than a month to go!

The Series Council met on 24 September at the Tacoma Yacht Club to organize the 2015-2016 Southern Sound Series. The dates were confirmed:

Winter Vashon 5 December
Duwamish Head 9 January
Toliva Shoal 20 February
Islands Race 19 March

Regatta Network will, again this year, be used as the registration and scoring program. Each sponsoring yacht club will link its registration to the series web site: .

For consistency, the following changes were made:

Winter Vashon will start one hour later than in the past, thus making the warning sound for the cruising classes at 0925 and the first PHRF class at 0955 for all four races. Be sure to check the individual race instructions to confirm this change!

The Islands Race time limit was extended to 13 hours, the same as the other three races. Again, check the individual race instructions!

The class breaks will be announced a couple of hours earlier than in the past. The committee plans to meet at 1700 and have the breaks posted soon after.

Teams may consist of three boats in any of the PHRF divisions from the same Yacht Club/Sailing Society.

The Tacoma Yacht Club is gearing up for a grand kick-off party Friday night, 4 December. Drop in for a fun time!

Dave Knowlton, Koosah Your Rep and Series Chair

What is the Southern Sound Series?? Why Race it?

The Southern Sound Series consists of four races: Winter Vashon, Duwamish Head, Toliva Shoal, and the Islands. The Series offers SSSS/OYC sailors an opportunity to compete with boats from throughout Puget Sound. For the novice racer there are two classes to ease into racing: The Commodore Class, flying sails, and the Cruising Non Flying Sails Class. These two classes do not require the Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet Northwest (PHRF-NW) membership to compete. The boats do need a handicap however and they may obtain one free from the Series handicapper, Mark Harang, (206) 235-5716, Our D Fleet handicap is not valid for this series, although let Mark know what it is so he may compute yours; they are often identical.

Winter Vashon is hosted by the Tacoma Yacht Club. This year it will be held on 5 December 2015. The 30+nm course usually races clockwise around Vashon Island with the start and finish in front of the clubhouse. TYC has ample moorage at their club. They provide members to guide you to a spot at a dock. The party is always loud and fun. This is the time to renew friendships since several have not seen each other for at least six months. The class breaks are established at this meeting along with the three-boat teams from each club.

The second race is sponsored by the Three Tree Point Yacht Club in Des Moines. Duwamish Head starts on 9 January 2016 in front of the Des Moines marina, heads north past Alki point, round the Duwamish Head dolphin to port then a sprint over to Blakeley Rock (watch out for the sand bar on the north side!) and then back to the finish in front of the Marina. Moorage is available and at the marina and the party is hosted at Anthony’s. Several SSSS/OYC racers arrive Friday night at the Tacoma Yacht Club, use our reciprocal moorage privileges, plug into shore power, and enjoy a wonderful meal as a group in the club’s dining room. There are also free showers below the clubhouse! After the race, several boats return to TYC for the night and return to Olympia Sunday during the daylight.

The third race is ours! Toliva Shoal, sponsored by the Olympia Yacht Club and South Sound Sailing Society, will be held on 20 February 2016. You will receive much information about this race and the outstanding party on Friday night at our meetings and through the Ship-to-Shore. This is the most complicated race of the Series. There are several current gates to pass through and numerous marks on the course. It is the longest race of the Series, 38+nm; however, it has the most diversified scenery on the course! This is the race that is most attended by SSSS/OYC racers.

The Series is culminated with the Islands Race. Hosted by the Gig Harbor Yacht Club on 19 March 2016, it starts just outside the mouth of Gig Harbor, goes north up Colvos Passage to a mark north of Blake Island and return. The club’s party is held after the race and they always have wonderful food and videos of the race along with the results. Moorage may be found at the public dock or throughout the harbor.

So, why race the Series? First, it is fun. It also requires a skipper to really plan ahead: the northern races usually are three-day affairs. They require coordinating the boat delivery up and back; the crew rides, the menu, and sleeping arrangements. If a SSSS/OYC crew thinks it is hot, the competition from the clubs up north will confirm if you really are hot, or not!. For most of us, it is very competitive but on a lower key level. The friendships developed over the years with sailors from clubs throughout Puget Sound are priceless. Sailors from the Series see each other at races, boat shows, cruising, and “investing for safety” at numerous marine stores.

So, you are encouraged now to start your plans to participate in this series! If you wish to participate as a crew member there are several SSSS/OYC racers that would welcome you aboard! And it is a great way to race prior to racing your own boat!

And, did I mention, that the trophies are something to treasure, but more importantly, the memories.

Additional information may be found on the Series web site:

Dave Knowlton, Koosah