• Bundled Up For The Blakely Rocks Regatta

    Kurt Hoehne write a nice piece
    on this past weekend' Blakely Rocks Regatta

    The Blakely Rock Race is almost always something. It’s seems to be either a wake-up gear-buster or a very chilly reminder that we get to race when a lot of the continent doesn’t, as long as we can bear the cold. And it usually points out pretty clearly who has a jump on the fleet – the perpetual winners or someone new on the scene. While the results on Saturday indicated that Firefly had won overall, it turns it was sailing with the wrong rating, and it has retired from the race. See below. This makes Ballistic the overall winner and Sachem the class 7 winner. And Crossfire, which led on the water the whole way around the course, also retired. Again, see below.

    And this year, it was something really nice. Bright sunshine, plenty (but not too much) wind and an excellent gauge on boatspeed and crew work. Non sailors texted me, “There were a lot of boats out there. Looked great. What was going on? Was it a race?” I love it when non-sailors feel they’re missing out.

    The perpetuals were still atop their classes. Glory won the ORC fleet. Cherokee, Here & Now, Last Tango, Dos, Sachem, Selchie and Freda Mae won their respective classes. Brad Cole’s Ballistic had an impressive showing winning Class 7 and overall. The growing (now 4-boat) casual class was won by the Beneteau Oceanis 45 Le Reve. Results.

    Following are four tales from nearly every part of the fleet, from the very front to the very back. It’s a little different than the “usual” race report, and I think a much fuller look at the race. Thanks to all who contributed. If anyone wants to chime in for other CS or other races, please do!

    First a word from photographer Jan Anderson, who pays tribute to Kelly O’Neil, friend to many of us and one who captured many a Blakely Rock Race before digital cameras! Tossing daffodils while rounding the Rock is a ritual that should never end. Gallery

    Jan Anderson – Celebrating Kelly
    At long last, it was a GORGEOUS day for sailing, and the action on the water reflected that. But great weather alone doesn’t come close to describing what this sport is really about … it’s more about the people with whom we share our experiences, and the relationships we’ll cherish for all time. Each year, this day, this race, this moment rounding Blakely Rock, is about celebrating the life of Kelly O’Neil, the photographer that impacted all of PNW sailing, forever. Neither I nor my Boat Boy Skip had ever met Kelly, but fate would have it that Skip and I met the same year she passed. To this day, literally this day, Skip and I are both deeply moved with the fleet’s expression of love for Kelly, by casting daffodils into the water. Above all others, this is a day where everyone wins. From the bottoms of our hearts, we thank you, Kelly.

    Kelly is missed and never forgotten.

    Melissa Davies, Miss Mayhem – Third to the Bar

    Miss Mayhem
    This is the viewpoint from the smallest/slowest/least experienced skipper in the fleet. Miss Mayhem is a San Juan 24 and is starting her sophomore year in racing. I have been sailing/racing for a little over 18 months – having jumped in with both feet. (Ed. Note – she’s also the event coordinator for CYC)

    I was relieved to arrive at the club to find the weatherI ordered had arrived as requested. (Sometimes being the weather witch doesn’t always get you great sailing weather). Sunny skies and 6-12 knots of wind from the north, forecasting to increase throughout the day.

    We started the race with our #1 and after watching all the other boats (we had the very last start) we decided not to fly our spinnaker due to being short crew. There were 4 boats in our class (casual) ranging from a Beneteau 45 to us. The start was favored at the pin and we were in the right place at the perfect time to cross the line first and get away from the class into good wind. Headed west to keep the wind and utilize the current (70% of the fleet did the same thing). We had a couple of tacks to get better air but mostly were able to point right at the mark. As we rounded the N mark we headed back west (again about 60% of the fleet did the same thing) in 2nd place in our class. We hit 8.1 knots on the way back to West Point with just our #1 and main, unfortunately, that didn’t work as well for us as we hoped the other two boats in our class took a more inside track and caught up to us (might have also been they had 12 feet of water line on us). We rounded the mark just as the BIG BIG Boats were coming in from Blakely rock (Glory, Crossfire, etc) – it was a straight beat back to the finish line. although we did have some wind shadow challenges, that caused us to take the boat end of the finish line (good news is they were able to get to great picture of us). Miss Mayhem corrected out in 2nd place in our class and was the 3rd boat back at the bar.

    The highlight of the race was being in the back seeing all spinnakers flying and heading to Blakely Rock. Sometimes its good to be the smallest/slowest boat. The second best part was getting to cross the finish line with/before boats like Ballistic, Bravo Zulu, the other Top 25 race boats.

    Doug Frazer, Oxomoxo – Man Down

    I can report from the DFL position. We had a blast with a short handed crew, four souls on board and my son Bob sleeping down below in the master’s cabin under a down comforter. After a slow start in about 11 kts, just rounding the committee boat we had a great ride up to the windward mark using our 135 and full main, at this pace we were able to maintain our position in the fleet. After a successful rounding somewhere in the middle of our fleet we started to successfully take up our usual position at the back of the fleet with our trademark pink and gray spinnaker full and proud. What a great spinnaker run to Blakely Rock with three perfectly timed gybes and only one spin sheet temporarily stuck under the boat. Bob woke up in time to be the squirrel down below for the douse which we orchestrated using our newbie (Amy, former professional water polo player from Spain). By the time we turned at Blakely Rock the wind had piped up to the low teens and we realized we were doomed to be overpowered and unable to make much forward motion upwind. Making our way to West Point we were on our ear the whole time. By this time Bob had moved from the down comforter in the master’s cabin to the warm cozy folds of the pink and gray spin in the main cabin. To keep from sliding off the bunk when we were tacking, he moved to the floor and wedged himself between the dinette and the base of the settee. It was difficult to make it across the finish line as the wind direction required us to finish right at the committee boat and the resulting lay line was nearly parallel to the direction of the port tack. When we tied up at the slip, Bob woke up and we made a cameo at the yacht club and then headed home where an exhausted Bob had a big dinner and headed off to bed early.

    Ed. Note: Hopefully Bob’s on deck for Scatchet Head!

    Nigel Barron, Crossfire – Hatch Down, Retired

    First, kudos to Bruce Hedrick. Nailed the forecast. What a lovely day of sailing! On Crossfire, we started on a J2, and a had a great sail to the weather mark. We favored the middle/left side of the course, and that seemed to work for us. Smoke and Mist went inside, while Glory mostly stayed outside with us. The fun part of the reverse start is seeing your friends as you sail through the fleet on the fast boats. The timing worked out nicely for us, as we had a relatively clean weather mark rounding with not a lot of traffic. It was a fantastic sail down to Blakely Rock. Glory and Smoke were right behind most of the way down. We, along with Glory favored the middle most of the way, while Smoke went across to the west shore. We had changed headsails to the J3 on the sail down, as it looked like more pressure for the trip to the finish. Unfortunately, while sailing back towards 4 mile rock, the jib inhauler got under the sliding companionway. As we went to point mode, with the clew being cut higher on the J3, it popped the hatch off. We of course had to go back and get it; it made a nice MOB drill. Hatch was retrieved and we set off to the finish and continued racing.

    As we were approaching the finish it became apparent that the Race Committee hadn’t reconciled the Notice of Race and the Sailing Instructions, as finish pin was on the wrong side of the boat according to the NOR!

    Regardless, a beautiful day on the water.

    Ed. Note: The race committee queried Crossfire by phone if they were going to retire – it seems that in the process of retrieving the hatchcover the engine was started – in reverse – and ran for a few seconds that way. It didn’t occur to anybody onboard that it would indicate retirement, as it represented no forward progress on the course. But skipper Lou Bianco decided it best to withdraw regardless, hence a RET (retired) in the results. As Paul Evlstrom said, “You haven’t won the race, if in winning the race you have lost the respect of your competitors.”

    Nigel Barron is the Sales and Marketing Manager at CSR Marine.

    Brad Baker: Firefly – Wolf in a Sheep’s Rating

    (Note: Firefly has retired from the race when Baker realized a completely unintentional gross error in the PHRF rating. The proper rating would have put them in another class entirely. It does not, however, take away from the story of a well-sailed race.)

    Firefly is a Chuck Paine designed Morris 45 performance cruiser. It is lighter than your typical Morris and has a carbon rig.

    I signed on with owner Bob Strong to do this year’s Vic-Maui Race. The boat is currently definitely in full preparation mode with that final goal in mind. Bob has done quite a lot already including a new inventory of North 3DI upwind sails and a suite of downwind sails in preparation for the race. We have been out on three practices with Andrew Kerr who is a world class sailor and sailing coach. The practice sessions definitely showed in our performance.

    Saturday exceeded my wildest expectations. That said, the conditions were perfect for that boat. The wind speed was just in to the #3, and we were able to use waterline. How we managed such a good finish really had to do with, as it often does, luck. We had a front row start and stayed in clear air, we duked it out with the J-120 with Grace and Beneteau 40.7 Bravo Zulu, managed to round just in first place with Bravo Zulu not far behind, we bore away and set the spinnaker on starboard. BZ did a jibe relatively soon after the mark rounding. We waited a bit, but were getting ready for a covering jibe as well when we noticed significant pressure making its way toward us more out in the middle so, instead of jibing, we held. Bottom line is we sailed in more pressure and a header while the majority if not all, of our fleet made a jibe to the east side initially. This turned out to be the reason we did so well. We sailed low and fast pretty much at the mark, caught a lift at about ˝ through the run, jibed and again pointed more or less at the mark in very good pressure. Wind speeds stayed in the mid to high teens. It looked to me that the rest of our fleet and many of the entire fleet as a whole, sailed in lighter wind with some extra distance. I’m the first to point out that this was a bit of a flyer, not covering the fleet well, and more often than not flyers don’t work out. Like I said we got a bit lucky, both tactically and having conditions that were very well suited for the boat. The beat home was straightforward. We had clear air and, sailing on port, one tacked it all the way to the bluff. Went to starboard up under West Point then a long port tack to the layline for the finish. We sailed the entire race in clear air. The crew did a great job getting the sails up and down and side to side, the drivers (we changed between 4 of us) did a good job. I’m sure the next race we will have to eat humble pie, but it was nice to get this win, and on such a beautiful/comfortable boat!

    Ed. Note: Thanks, Brad. I’d like to point out that Brad’s idea of playing the PHRF game is not to gain an unfair advantage, but have a fair rating. If everyone did that, PHRF would be a different game altogether. Bringing a wolf in sheep’s clothing is fine, as long as you call it a wolf. And sorry, but it’s not luck when you put that kind of effort and practices in, no matter what the rating. Brad is an owner at Swiftsure Yachts.

    This image and images below © Dennis S Pearce who was sailing aboard Wauquiez C45s Red Sky with Will Blakemore
    Contact Dennis at: dennis@raincitydigs.com and he will send you 2018 SARC fridge magnet to assist in your summer sailing schedule.
    More images from Dennis HERE!


    Kurt grew up racing and cruising in the Midwest, and has raced Lasers since the late 1970s. He has been Assistant Editor at Sailing Magazine and a short stint as Editor of Northwest Yachting. Through Meadow Point Publishing he handles various marketing duties for smaller local companies. He currently is partners on a C&C 36 which he cruises throughout the Northwest. He's married to the amazing Abby and is father to Ian and Gabe.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Bundled Up For The Blakely Rocks Regatta started by Photoboy View original post