View Full Version : Protection Island Race - SYC

Ballard Sailor
05-01-2011, 09:23 AM
Absolutely a beautiful day on the water yesterday - albeit slow sailing with plenty of restarts, current, holes, etc.. to really test your patience. Tough to see the car struggling to make it past Double Bluff.....






05-02-2011, 12:51 PM
Writeup from ICON:

The 2011 Protection Island race started off with some great action at the start line for ICON. With 8 knots or so of southerly breeze and a dieing ebb tide, we wanted to go west. Most of the big boats fought hard for the pin, with ICON to leeward of everyone. We approached on starboard intending to gybe onto port and set the kite at the pin. With Wasabi overlapped directly to weather, and Neptunes Car and some others above them, we had a nice controlling position. Tachyon and Artemis were ahead though, and gybed onto port at the gun about two boatlengths down from the pin. We gybed right at the pin, with Wasabi about two feet off the transom, and Tachyon about six feet from our bow. With everyone onto port and kites up, we began to sail deep to get away from the bad air of all the boats going higher to protect their lanes.

Dark Star started at the boat end, in no traffic, and looked like they were doing quite well to the east of us. Flash gybed to starboard and headed over to the east side to join Dark Star and Strider. Down the track it was evident they did well, as we were only ahead by maybe a quarter mile when we came back together after our first gybe. Then Flash and Strider headed far west, and we stayed in the middle with Dark Star. Flash and Strider then looked like they were just killing us playing the shore south of Point No Point, and we figured we would lose them and be behind. But, every squirrel finds a nut now and then, and before we knew it we were sailing right into the northerly breeze that was filling south of Double Bluff, with the boats on the west side in a building flood and not much breeze.

We were the first boat into the predicted Northerly, though it had much more east in it than we anticipated. Dark Star was close behind, while most other boats were still behind No Point with kites up. At Bush Point we decided to cross in order to get to the Marrowstone side and out of the now 2 knot plus flood. We had to duck the mid channel mark, even though on approach it was 40 or 50 degrees off the bow. There was a lot of current. We eventually got onto the Marrowstone side, and got lucky I guess with a huge lift up the shore, staying in 18-20 feet of water until we were pretty close to Marrowstone point. When we looked back to see Dark Star tacking up the shore, we figured we got something they didn't, as we didn't have to tack until very close to the point. We rounded Marrowstone point and immediately tacked back to starboard into Port Townsend bay to get out of the current. No anchoring on Marrowstone point this year!

We stayed inside PT bay and approached Pt Wilson in dieing breeze. Rounding Pt Wilson was not so bad, but ahead looked ugly. Dark Star had just rounded Marrowstone when we rounded Pt Wilson. We sailed rhumb line towards Protection Island in fickle breeze, down to 2 knots or so at some points. We managed to keep ICON moving though, and while Flash and Wasabi had crept up behind us (Dark Star retired just after Wilson) we managed to get into a nice Westerly breeze before they did, and extend our lead back out to a more comfortable level. (We owed them over an hour for the race...) We rounded the island in good breeze and set the A1, running back towards Wilson watching all the smaller boats make their way in decent pressure towards the Island.

We rounded Pt Wilson in a strong ebb, playing the point to get out of the strongest current. Just after Wilson we had our best breeze of the race, having peeled to the A2 and now in up to 18 knots of wind, we were doing 10-12 knots of boat speed. We could see Flash behind us and timed their approximate rounding of Wilson. We weren't far enough ahead to correct... We crossed the ebb from Marrowstone to Bush Point, getting to the shore and actually getting a counter current north of the point. By this time it was almost dark and we were loosing sight of our competitors. We played the east shore down to Double Bluff and then crossed again to get inside No Point. We sailed towards No Point and tucked in behind it until the last moment, when we popped out back into the strong ebb.

From there on it was pleasant sailing in 8-12 knots of wind, just VMG angles downwind with the A2 and spin staysail. We finished around 11:30 and go to the dock around midnight. We watched Flash and Wasabi come in very close to one another, and knew our times would be close. As it turned out we corrected by around 7 minutes to take first place. A great time was had by all, with lots of comments that it was so much warmer than last weekend at Southern Straits!

05-02-2011, 04:15 PM
"It's going to be hard to argue ratings now..."

Protection Island for us was an amazing example of how results can completely mask the method, with the entire day sailing through extremely large gains and extremely large losses - but brilliant sailing the entire time with solid crewwork and smart calls. Couldnt really have asked for a better day, though the forecast was making us have nervous twitches since we had just finished the extremely light South Straits the week before. Wasabi really hungers for good breeze, and these light air days with epic adverse current are really challenging. Just about the last thing you can do on a day like this one was just throw up the sails and point the boat in the right direction!

Ian covered the start pretty well, and you can see it first hand in the linked video(!). After the start we went West with Tachyon, and by Point No Point found ourselves being passed by Dos and Lunch Box. Ug! The first hint of a jib on Icon confirmed our suspicion that the Northerly would fill on the East, and Icon and Dark Star were doing really well, along with a bunch of short course boats. With Artemis, Strider and Neptune behind us, and Flash abeam, we start up towards Bush Point. Flash and Wasabi tacked through the rip and it was really close. Wasabi ran aground once. Fast forward a couple hours and with only Icon and Dark Star ahead of us, we passed Flash and continued North up the shore while they committed to cross at Bush Point, while we eventually crossed at Lagoon. We had made very large gains on the East side, and re-established with Dark Star here, and couple miles ahead of Flash. We match raced Dark Star boat for boat to Point Wilson, rounding Pt Wilson with them, and finding Icon parked in the Straits. We advanced around 1.5 - 3 knots for a while, reeling in Icon, and here Dark Star ultimately called it quits as Flash coasted in along the beach. Commence drifting.

Some time later, the Westerly filled from beyond Protection Island. Icon got if first, then Flash, then us. Flash now a mile ahead. Pretty epic going from gooseeggs to being overpowered in the span of 5 minutes. The breeze was quite solid, 15 knots with a fill all the way to Port Townsend and a really beatiful sunset coming. Cue the A2 and off we went! Running down Flash was going to be a tall order but we worked away at it, chipping away at them all the while, while Neptune, who had finally rounded the mark, was like this oncoming freight train you knew was coming, you could SEE was coming, but just handnt gotten there yet. We didnt think anyone else was going to catch us downwind though, but our goal was Flash, so we focused on them, playing shifts and current past Marrowstone. The best breeze of the day was between Wilson and Marrowstone, where we were sailing consistent 12s in 18 knts true. Fantastic steady breeze with puffs. Flash was left of us, Icon left of them, and Neptune directly behind us, as it got dark.

The breeze held, thankfully. It would have been teh suck to have to transition back to a Southerly. At Bush Point we came in and gybed directly in front of Flash: we had made enough gains to reel them back in. Flash sailed deeper and off to the right, towards No Point. At No Point Flash had made up some boatlengths and was directly abeam, by 5 boatlenghts, and with the wind dimishing to 11 knots we had to start sailing hotter angles to keep going. Half a mile before Meadow Point the breeze evaporated completely and went to 4 knots true, and we threw in a gybe trying to figure out where Flash had gone. Turns out we (both) had read the finish line a bit wrong: we ended up finishing 2 boatlengths behind them, in vanishing wind, them with jib up (as they had overstood) and us barely keeping the A2 alive over the line without hitting the committee boat. Great racing!


Ballard Sailor
05-02-2011, 05:04 PM
Ok, I havn't heard or read your write ups yet, but people will always argue ratings, it's inherent to PHRF, right Ian?

05-03-2011, 07:30 AM
Ok, I havn't heard or read your write ups yet, but people will always argue ratings, it's inherent to PHRF, right Ian?

Yup. LOL.

However the big boat fleet is turning out pretty damn good close racing. With Wasabi and Flash rated even and finishing within boatlengths of one another, you have to admit the ratings can't be THAT far off.

Its a good thing for us Wasabi got that light air at the finish... Could have turned things around in the top 3 very easily if they had the pressure we did.

Great video of the start. That was a lot of fun. Thanks for keeping the pole in!

Ballard Sailor
05-04-2011, 01:00 PM
Ok, finally, here (http://www.pressure-drop.us/forums/content.php?1389-Protection-Island) is a write up....

05-04-2011, 11:10 PM
nice. Do you do all the writing Ben? Good on ya for putting so much time in for PD.

Ballard Sailor
05-05-2011, 08:25 AM
Just the PNW stuff is me - I think the promotion helps boats come out, increasing participation hopefully...Nothing I make money at, just fun.

05-15-2011, 08:03 AM
Islands Race #2, Vashon, any idea of where Jan might be posting some pics?

Ballard Sailor
05-15-2011, 11:23 AM
Generally Here. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/75869001@N00/sets/)