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Thread: The Port Townsend Dash

  1. #1
    PNW Editor Ballard Sailor's Avatar
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    The Port Townsend Dash

    The Port Townsend Dash (or PT Dash) is an old time story of drunken (or otherwise) IOR sailors that wanted to "borrow" someones fast lookin' boat and rip it downwind in a blow from Shilshole Bay, Washington to Port Townsend, Washington. Regular comments on the boats included "Drive it like it's rented." They just wanted to see how fast these things could go - and of course race from one bar to another bar!

    So the story goes - these sailors would pick a day, usually in the early spring, that the wind and tides would match up to make an epic and quick run to Port Townsend. They would start off the balcony at Ray's Boathouse (stories of the Bartender starting them off) and then try to hold it together as fast as they could for approximately 30 miles to finish off a bar's Balcony in Port Townsend, now known as Sirens.

    You hear stories (and they are just stories, there seem to be no records) of Climax losing their mast in a windy attempt, of a small multi hull rigged with a kite, of the Perry designed Miller Marine 70 'Meridian' holding the record and then getting beat by a little Santa Cruz 27, 'Norn,' sailed by a Ballard Icon, Arne Hammer.


    Norn, SC27

    Now this is no easy little run down a lake in warm water and sunny skies. This is the Pacific Northwest - with 17 foot tides, 52 degree water and 52 degree air. Marine traffic is abundant with freighters trundling up and down the sound and at times really messing with your course choices.


    Meridian, Perry 70

    Yet in today's world of Let's make it fun and people will come out sailing, the PT Dash is gaining popularity and it's time to get it going again! So here is how it's gonna be done:


    All times are to be taken with GPS time - a photo of the GPS with the starting area or finish area in the back ground would be great, but times are fine too, be honest.

    The race can be run at any time of the year!

    The starting line is between the North Hamburger Buoy (tug boat Buoy) at Shilshole and a white painted rock you will see directly east on the Shilshole Breakwater - record your start time as you cross this line.

    Marrowstone Island must be left to Port. There are no other marks in the course area.

    The finish line is between the Red Nun Buoy North of Pt. Hudson Marina and the entrance to Pt. Hudson Marina - record your finish time as you cross this line.

    Report your finish time here and/or email to pnwpressuredrop@gmail.com

    As times develop we will fragment them into classes (for example - 30' & under, over 30', Sprit boat, Skiff, Multi-hull, etc...)


    Little Blue Dune Buggy, SC27

    The first attempt at the "Modern" PT Dash is happening this coming Saturday. In a forecast 10 to 20 knot southerly, with a 10' ebb. Sponsors Pressure-drop.us and Ballard Sails are excited that the Santa Cruz 27 'Little Blue Dune Buggy' is getting this fun challenge race going again! Fast is Fun!


    Last edited by Ballard Sailor; 02-09-2011 at 11:41 AM.
    A little disorganization goes a long way toward fun sailing.

  2. #2
    OK. So what is the elapsed time record? I'm thinking an F18 could do it in about 1.5 hours or less in the right conditions... Wish I wasn't sick or I'd give Alex a run for his money this weekend!

  3. #3
    PNW Editor Ballard Sailor's Avatar
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    If my memory is correct, it's something like 3:27:??? on Norn. I'm sure that's not accurate but close. I'm sure an F18 could do it faster if it doesn't capsize...
    A little disorganization goes a long way toward fun sailing.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Ballard Sailor View Post
    If my memory is correct, it's something like 3:27:??? on Norn. I'm sure that's not accurate but close. I'm sure an F18 could do it faster if it doesn't capsize...
    Oh if we were pushing it we would capsize! At least twice! But you could still do it in 1.5h!

  5. #5
    Thinking about going for it the 26th on Lunch Box if the breeze is right

  6. #6
    PNW Editor Ballard Sailor's Avatar
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    Nice!
    A little disorganization goes a long way toward fun sailing.

  7. #7
    Conditions are looking good today. Will we get an update on LBDB success?

  8. #8
    PNW Editor Ballard Sailor's Avatar
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    The re-birth of the Port Townsend Dash has begun. With a Gale warning in effect Alex and his crew of Gary, Nick and Jeff dropped the Santa Cruz 27, 'Little Blue Dune Buggy' in the water for this epic run.



    Apparently it takes an old boat to reinvigorate an old race and since Fast is Fun why not a Santa Cruz 27. Once in the water they rigged the boat took a deep breath and thought about what they where doing. One race for the day had already been canceled due to the forecast winds and another had just started with a diminished fleet.



    Time to think and wonder....





    Reflection time over the lines where cast off and smiles of expectation radiated from the crew.



    They motored South up the inside of the break water, got the main sail up and charged North towards the starting line, pole ready for the hoist. They approached on Starboard and had to jibe over to Port before the line and then hoist the chute. With the strong breeze it took them two tries to get the mainsail across, but once they did the chute popped up and it was off to Port Townsend.



    They crossed the start line at about 11:40 with 30 knots of breeze and it was building...2 round ups, 1 round down when the bow dug into a wave while doing 18 knots and the boat simply spun out. They broke the Boom near Useless bay and finished from there, about 2/3 of the way to Port Townsend, under #3 alone. They made it though! Elapsed time of 2 hours 55 minutes.

    West point showed gusts to 42 knots - ferry in PT showed 35 knots....
    A little disorganization goes a long way toward fun sailing.

  9. #9
    Awesome Job Alex!

  10. #10
    Sweet! Broken boom, ouch... Guess those "lightening" holes are a tad too big! Well, I guess the record is worth it though.

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