Monday, March 31, 2008

Web Site Guest Book...

Since launching the updated club web site and as of March 30, 2008 you might be interested to know that we have had 536 different people visit the site with a total of 1,220 visits and 11,104 page views! On a typical day 100 different people visit the site from 12 different countries.

Next to the home page, the most visited page is the member vessel section, followed by the news and racing results pages. In case you are wondering ~52% of our visitors use a cable modem and ~17% use Firefox as their browser. A typical visitor views ~9 pages and stays on the site for ~5 minutes.

So now you know!

AYC Web Site Visitor Locations

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another Day at the Office?

If you haven't noticed - the Anacortes based BMW Oracle crew is working overtime to make sure their boat is ready for the upcoming Americas Cup race that is supposed be held sometime this year.

Team Alinghi is also working extra hard to catch up - however, unless the judge gives them more time it is really doubtful that they will be ready to race in July or October. As an additional twist, the Americas Cup Deed of Gift specifies that the vessel must be built in the country of origin - this means Alinghi must build their monster boat in Switzerland!

Team Alinghi has also been practicing in multi-hull boats. Judging by the pictures below you can see that going fast in a multi-hull has many inherent risks!

Team Alinghi Going!

Team Alinghi Nearly Gone!

Team Alinghi Gone!

Google meets NOAA...

For those of you propeller heads out there - check out the latest NOAA Raster Chart / Google Maps mashup with the following link. Make sure you adjust the sliders in the upper right-hand corner of the window in order to find the right balance between the charts and maps.

Look for information like this soon on your local chartplotter or cellphone (really). Regular NOAA charts will never be the same again!

Post Point, Still Not My Favorite Race

I don't know what it is about Post Point, but I'm starting to think it's personal.

Nice air, seeing about 12 - 15 kts SE at the start. Found our spot coming in at the red can, set the kite and bang. Topping lift bridle on pole died, pole crashes to deck, you get the picture. Lowly Worm decides to delay their start while we go careening by sorting things out.

OK, finally get the pole flipped over using other bridle for topping, no downhaul, just twings. Guarantees it will build, right ? Make up a bunch of ground and dual w/ Celebration downwind to the mark, occasionally briefly planing. Lowly worm stays mid course. We all stay in lock step the whole run pretty much. Lost track of the rest of the fleet, somewhere behind. Seeing good pressure, high teens maybe some twenties in puffs.

Nice mark rounding for Celebration and Thumper pretty much together and start going to weather. Overpowered with blade up trying to get settled down, fairly lumpy with some big holes. Decide to tack for smoother water, last thing we see is Lowly Worm going by and then the snowstorm hits. Total white out. Can't see anything. Arguing aboard about whether the compass is working (crazy talk). Can't get the GPS to display a map. Now, we're really lost, in our own back yard.

Wait there's a faint outline of land in the distance, is it:

a) Samish
b) Guemes
c) The mainland
d) Tierra Del Fuego

Our most convincing and cocksure (his term, I now agree with half) member convinces us it is Samish, although I express serious doubts, positively convinced it is the north end of Guemes. Finally get the GPS on track and it is actually Eliza Island.

Can't see any other boats now, only our own and barely at that. Ice forms on my wool hat. I hate sailing and wish to sell my boat for $20.00. No takers.

Off we go at least heading somewhat south which has to be right ? Finally clears up and there's the rest of the fleet down by Samish on a winder. Turns out Andy got lost too, but had the good sense to follow Celebration and got on a huge winding lift down by Samish.

Wind goes lighter, but no point in a change as we are out of this one. We limp home under #3 finishing 20 minutes out and freezing. Lots of talk about San Diego, only I'm serious...

Head directly to El Jinete, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Cadillac Margaritas help, as well as the good company. Stephanie, Andy, Kevin, and Marlene are very gracious in victory. We all have a great time, so much in fact, that we promise to let them win every race if they will continue buying... Don't remember the outcome of that conversation. Learn that Marlene likes flautas (a lot) and Norm. We were all supposed to go back to the yacht club, but I got lost on the way and ended up in LaConner.

Crew determines they are all busy with other commitments until August.

Merry Christmas in March!

In the first race in AYC history to feature snowball fights 8 boats slugged it out in the Post Point race on Saturday, March 29, 2008.

Handyman won the start and led out across Padilla Bay. Kinetic Ki soon overtook them and worked out to the West. Celebration and Thumper battled under spinnaker in a building Southerly all the way to the mark with the Worm in hot pursuit. Handyman was first to douse her kite and Syndicat soon roared past. Kymodoce also kept her very beautiful kite up to keep the race close. Most boats chose to start home with #3 jibs, and then the fun started.

Every type of snowflake, hail, freezing rain, sleet and at one point a plague of frogs resulted in whiteout conditions. We figured the whiteout wouldn't last and just held our compass course, well it did last and we almost found a new route into Bayview! Kinietic Ki materialized along the Guemes shore and swapped tacks through the saddlebag gap with Celebration. The sun broke through and most boats swapped up to genoas. It was a drag race to the finish and then to the club.

Don't miss the fun race @ 1830 off the tanker docks this Wednesday night. No certs or packets needed just fun! listen to VHF 72 for details....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tulip Regatta - April 12/13, 2008

The 2008 Anacortes Yacht Club Tulip Regatta is being held April 12 & 13. The Tulip Regatta is open to all yachts that submit a completed registration form and wavier, plus have a valid PHRF rating certificate and meet PIYA category III requirements.

The regatta consists of a series of windward-leeward buoy races on Saturday and Sunday. This event is a great way to start out the racing season. For additional information you can download the official entry form here, or call Walt Meagher at 360-941-0854 or contant Walt by e-mail at

Tulip Festival Starts This Weekend

Despite the snow, the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival starts this weekend - when the snow melts the fields hopefully will become a riot of color and hundreds of thousands of tourists will drive or ride the country roads - leaving millions of dollars in their wake!

While the fields now are less than a third of what they once were and many growers have dropped out of the tulip business, it is still a wonderful local event! As part of this event AYC will be hosting our very own Tulip Regatta on April 12 & 13. Sign-up sheets are in the club forum available now!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Passepartout thunders on to the podium!

Passepartout, a Stevens 47, with AYC members Pete Shainin, Steve Kleinbart, Jerry Vanderveen, Clay Adams, Andy Schwenk, and with aspiring member Jack Spriggs, also 3 talented Seattlelites and one UW co-ed ripped around the WVYC Southern Straits medium course to secure a third place in class and 11th overall. We left Anacortes @6am Thursday, cleared customs in White Rock and arrived at West Van at 1700.

West Vancouver Yacht Club

The club is literally carved out of a rocky cove and is a very special place. There are junior sailing dinghys everywhere and the club truly makes you feel welcome fine food and hospitality, ie free beer, my favorite. We renewed friendships with sailors some I've known since I sailed aboard Pangaea in 1980. Of course stories were swapped with the ever popular yarn about Jeff Skodje, Girts Rekevics, Bill Vaux and Mark Pearson being downtown with my father's credit card with the famous quote to the Mountie(or equivalent) law enforcement officer,"What would we have to say to let us go back to the boat and not the jail?"

After a hearty breakfast at the club we arrived at the starting line with a 10kt Easterly did a spinnaker set and a few jibes to work the kinks out then put up the #1 and figured out a starting strategy. We started then restarted (long story) under spinnaker and were off to Ballenas. PPT likes a bit of breeze and we struggled to keep pace the first several miles.

Ballenas Island Light

We rounded Ballenas set the #2 and started to grind down the competition, we soon tack set the #1 and chased a fickle breeze down to Flat Top mark. Just as we rounded and got the big kite up the wind built to nearly 20kts and we were on a booming 8 mile reach to Halibut Bank as the clock turned midnight and the full moon broke through the clouds. When I say "booming" I mean just that imagine 47 feet of waterline a fully loaded boat with among other things: 2 radar reflectors, dodger, cockpit heat, dinghy davits, storm staysail, china and cutlery, all the wine customs will allow for ten sailors, two liferafts, emergency rudder, loud hailer, two heads, anchors bow and stern, heart defribrllator, every tool known to man, freezer, cockpit cushions, allegedly a Civil war cannon ball collection, and two solar panels...The roar of the bow wave at over 9 kts required a relay at the mast for communication!

We rounded HB and set the #2 for the beat to the finish, at 4am with only a few miles left to the finish we rallyed the troops set the #1 and threw several tacks chasing a shifty breeze. Grinders for the primaries were getting hard to find...All of a sudden we caught an 18kt blast from a Northerly flowing out of Howe sound and we were on a headsail reach at 9kts rhumblining to the finish. The lead long course boat, "Neptunes Car" an SC70, blew through our lee at about 11kts+. as we closed on the finish off Pt Atkinson we could see glassy water and boats being swept East outside the line the wind dropped to nothing and we coatsed and rode the current across the line at 0600 3rd to finish in our division ahead of several boats with PHRF ratings less than 1/2 ours! We cleared inspection, ("We need to see your anchor rode.", answer"Which one?") He said our med kit was better equipped than the local hospital.

We put the hammer down and cleared customs in Anacortes just before 5. By the way on the way home we spotted a certain boat that's name starts with Schuss, scouting next weeks Post Point course, is that legal? Many thanks to Captain Pete for providing us a terrific Easter weekend, beats huntin for eggs...

Sidney Ferry Resumes Service March 30

The Anacortes-Sidney, B.C., ferry route will resume service on March 30, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced. The first trip, which will leave Anacortes at 7:45 a.m. and arrive in Sidney at 10:50 a.m. on the 30th, will include celebratory marching bands, town criers and a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In other marine transportation news, the spring ferry schedule will also resume inter-island service between the San Juan Islands and restore eight hours of Monday through Thursday midday service between Anacortes and the San Juans.

The spring ferry schedule will remain in effect through June 21.For more information, go to

Photo by Maggie Oglesby

Friday, March 21, 2008

Passepartout in Southern Straits...

If you haven't heard about it - the 40th Annual Southern Straits Classic is being held this weekend. This race is held every year on Easter Weekend and is a west coast racing traddition. The race consists of three separate courses - The Long Course (130 NM) is open to boats rated at 110 and lower. The Medium Course (91 NM) is open to boats with a rating from 25 to 150. The Short Course (65 NM) is open to boats rated at 111 and higher.

Our very own Passepartout is participating in this years race on the medium course. She has an all-star crew so we are expecting great results! You can track her progress with the following link. All races started on time with only 2 boats over early from the medium course. At the time of this blog entry Passepartout was nearing the Ballenas Islands in southerly winds from 5 to 15 knots becoming southeast 15 this evening.

Best of luck and safe passage!

Passepartout at the start of the 2008 Southern Straits

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tide Pool Trails at Rosario

Washington State Parks is installing a marked "trail" in around the various tide pools at Rosario Beach using stainless steel markers drilled into the rock. The term trail is probably a misnomer as it really is only outlined by the markers. The 550-foot long trail is designed to allow visitors to explore several tidal zones while protecting the marine life.

The trail is needed because visitors to the park were destroying the marine life by trampling the tidepools. I personally observed the destruction when in 1995 1,200 school children descended unannounced on the Rosario tide pools and turned it into a moonscape.

For the complete story see the Skagit Valley Herald article here. We hope this works!

Photos by Frank Varga - Skagit Valley Herald

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Monster Catamaran in Anacortes?

As many of you know BMW Oracle is working day and night to build a new monster cat here in our little town of Anacortes - here is why!

Yesterday the New York Supreme Court Justice Cahn issued a long awaited decision on the validity of BMW Oracle's challenge - the end result is that Justice Cahn ruled that BMW Oracle's challenge is valid and if the parties don't negotiate something different we are going to see one big multihull racing on Independence Day 2008 in a Deed of Gift match that will decide the future of the America's Cup.

Team Alinghi is hoping to wait until July 2009, but don't expect things to change. Alinghi seems to be somewhat behind on this one. To illustrate the point, the BMW Oracle press machine released this picture today of their team training in Valencia...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Journey of the Ditty-Bag

An interesting story of stuff floating around the ocean - recently a couple found a bag washed ashore near their remote island home on the coast of British Columbia. After mailing off the only items of value left in the bag -- a couple of Starbucks coffee cards -- she got letters back from an Everett fisherman, his dentist and others eager to hear the story.

As it turns out this bag was from a commercial fishing boat Esperanza which sank off San Juan Island in August of 2007. The bag apparently drifted out to sea and up the coast for over 1000 miles before being recovered on a remote beach.

See the Everett Hearald for the full story.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Vendovi Island Race

A challenging light air day. Pangaea and crew did a good job to start the race on time in very light and shifty conditions. Downwind start, 2- 3 knots SE breeze. Just enough to work across the bay to the slot where slightly more breeze built (maybe 5 - 6 kts). There we had a fleet split Hesitation Zero and Tosca hugged Guemes Island shore, Thumper and Celebration up the middle, Syndicat stayed in towards Samish. Breeze dyed and re-started multiple times with Kinetic Ki being first to round Jack Island, Syndicat second (did I mention they sailed a great race ?), and the rest of the pack.

From there we head back south to round the buoy SE of jack, so it was kites down, headsails up, and got the best breeze of the day for a brief period. Actually had to move people to the high side.

Round the buoy to port, kites back up. Breeze lightened and everyone had to reach to keep moving and to get a sharp jibe angle. Thumper pulled away from the pack on this leg. Took a nice jibe angle to the Vendovi buoy, actually sailing upwind with the spinnaker on a close reach. For some reason, that one spinnaker acts almost like a code 0 cut. We were amazed, but carried the spinnaker upwind on about 50 degrees apparent, rounded the bouy, back to white sails. Conditions went very light.

Syndicat and Thumper stayed mid channel, Celebration and Hesitation Zero went back to Guemes looking to pick up the shore breeze. Very light and shifty for everyone. Kites up, headsails down, repeat, repeat, repeat...

Finally round Jack Island and try to link spots and puffs to get back home.

Once we got through the slot there was no air whatsoever, lots of ebb, and we sat in Fidalgo Bay for 45 minutes being swept towards Lopez on current. During this time a small squall filled and brought the trailing boats through under full kites. Maddening. What had been a horizon job lead turned into us watching the fleet start sailing around us (for the second week in a row).

Finally, we got the westerly we were hoping for and had just enough to finish and maintain our lead.

Tosca and Kymodoce never overcame the light winds and currents, so DNF.

Syndicat showed everyone how it's done, Celebration and Hesitation Zero hung in there, never gave up, and always a threat, made a run at the end.

And Thumper, well a great boat with a crap motor. Thanks for the tow out (Hesitation Zero) and the tow in (Celebration).

Kinetic Ki sailed there own race so didn't see much of them. Won't some more multis come out and play with Bill ?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Are we in Puget Sound?

This is a good question – Perhaps yes, but probably no. The name "Puget Sound" (earlier "Puget's Sound") was given by George Vancouver for Lieutenant Peter Puget, who explored its southern end in May 1792. Vancouver claimed it for Great Britain on 4 June 1792. It became part of the Oregon Country, and became a USA territory when the 1846 Oregon Treaty was signed.

Originally, the name Puget Sound referred only to the southern reaches beyond Poverty Bay explored by Peter Puget, and the central and northern reaches familiar to
Washington State Ferry riders was called Admiralty Inlet. Today Admiralty Inlet refers only to the strait between Whidbey Island and Point No Point on the Kitsap Peninsula. But on a modern nautical chart, Admiralty Inlet is a distinct body of water from the Puget Sound. The northern border of the Puget Sound on the East is formed by Possession Sound, which separates Whidbey Island from Everett.

Based on this commonly accepted definition Fidalgo Island is clearly not part of Puget Sound – So like any good navigator you are probably asking, where are we?

Perhaps the best and most technically accurate explanation is that we are part of the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea or Whulge are neologistic names coined in recent years for the great inland
waterway stretching from Tumwater, Washington to before the Johnstone Strait, British Columbia that was the central resource of the First Nations Coast Salish peoples who historically and presently inhabit the area.

So now you know – For more information click

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Intrigue in the racing program

Go to "about us" tab, click on "member vessels" check out Schussboomer. Her bio lists crew"new to racing"

Big Ed isn't new to anything and Ian Sloan could sail a milk carton through Niagra Falls. Inquiring minds want to know, why all this deception?

Perhaps these stripes they placed on the bottom are part of this conspiracy and four women, three with names starting with the letter J?

Surely Kevin could give us the mathematical probability of that occurence in a leap year...

Editors Note - Here are some top-secret pictures of the racing stripes, plus we have never heard of anyone objecting to having four bow chicks regardless of what letter of the alphabet their first name starts with!

Year-Round Rescue Tug at Neah Bay

Puget Sound's Strait of Juan de Fuca will for the first time be protected year-round by a standby rescue tug stationed at Neah Bay, thanks to action by the legislature which budgeted $3.65 million for contract services.

The 2008 supplemental operating budget was adopted this week before the session's adjournment and funds a rescue tug through June 2009. "This is great news," said Kathy Fletcher, executive director of People For Puget Sound. "The rescue tug has repeatedly saved our marine environment from oil spills. We have a few nervous months head, but starting in July, we'll be good for a whole year."

The rescue tug's current part-time contract ended March 7, after which time it went off duty.
A standby rescue tug has been in part-time service during the winter months since 1999 and has made 40 assists of vessels in distress. This past winter season alone, the rescue tug was called out to assist six vessels. Federal legislation requiring the shipping industry to pay for year-round, standby rescue tug service at Neah Bay has been introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell.

The issue of permanent, year-round funding for rescue tugs and oil spill prevention measures is to be considered by he Puget Sound Partnership in developing its Action Agenda by September 2008.

Washington State DOE Rescue Tug page is

Rescue Tug Gladiator

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sailing by the rules

Check out, read the story regarding Reinrag on the front page, then check out the "propellor fell off" thread on the forum. These people are my friends and I've delivered boats home from Hawaii for them in the past. Absolutely the finest most well prepared boats I've sailed on and wonderful family people as well. Very sticky waters they've sailed into here...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bad News for Sailing...

Unfortunately US sailboat production is down again, now for the seventh straight year. Some 800 less boats were made in 2007 compared to 2006. Quite surprising however is the fact that small-volume boats over 46 feet are being produced and sold at record rates.

Check on the facts directly - Read it. Thanks to IBI news for the story.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fun Race Planned

Dust off those winch handles and shake those reefs! Come sail Wednesday Mar.19th, no certs., no packets, just fun! Meet off tanker docks, start @1830.

Spread the word - even 50yr olds like Birthday boy Steve K are invited!!!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

White Orca Spotted...

Ian Byington of the San Juan Update reports:

Scientists aboard the NOAA research vessel Oscar Dyson in the North Pacific have sighted a creature of great rarity and even myth: a white whale. The white killer whale was spotted with its pod about two miles off Kanaga Volcano, part of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, on Feb. 23.

At the time, Kodiak-based Oscar Dyson was on a research expedition for NOAA's Alaska Fisheries Science Center, assessing pollock fish stocks near Steller sea lion haulout sites. The white whale is a fish-eating type of killer whale, as were all the killer whales photographed on the expedition. Fish-eating killer whales are the most frequently seen whales around the Aleutian Islands during the summer. The winter sightings represent important evidence that they may be common year-round.

Holly Fearnbach, a research biologist at NOAA's National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, was able to photograph the whale's white fin and back. "With hundreds of killer whales documented around the Aleutian Islands, this was equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack," she said. Few white killer whales have ever been seen, according to Fearnbach, much less scientifically documented.

This whale is likely not a true albino because it still has signs of darker pigmented areas on its body. However, because of its prominent coloring, the white whale serves as an indicator for movements of killer whales in the North Pacific.

Other sightings of a white killer whale have been reported previously in the Aleutian Islands as well as in the Bering Sea and off the Russian coast. Scientists are working to confirm whether or not the individual whale sighted Feb. 23 has been reported earlier.

Here's the full article, for our whale-nut friends.

Pimping the Bottom...

TOP SECRET - at various boatyards around Anacortes rumor has it that intensive bottom preparations are being done to several club boats in order to get them ready for the 2008 racing season. While the owners are careful not to let their secrets out - it seems like a lot of bottom fairing is being done with the hopes of gaining a few more seconds on the competition.

The Lowly Wormers seem to be getting worried (especially given their soft rating), but alas their class rules are very strict - no pimping of bottoms to gain Moore speed... Whatever happened to the good old days when you could have lawns both in front of your house and under your boat!
If you see one of these "cheater" pimped boats on the race course, let them by as you wouldn't want all their hard work to go to waste!

New Club Graphics...

In conjunction with creating the new club website we have created an updated representation of the club burgee, plus come up with a new graphic that we can use to represent the club on the website. The intent behind these (as yet unofficial) designs is to:
  1. Create an updated look for the club
  2. Create some digital assets which club members can easily use in various club-related projects

Take a look and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Lazy Trip Home....

After leaving Friday Harbor for the delivery trip home we decided to head south through Cattle Pass and catch the winds in the Strait. There was a nice ebb current which quickly flushed us through the pass.

When in the Strait the winds were westerly at 10-15 knots. We were on a nice reach from Iceberg Point to Davidson Rocks, hitting 8 knots at times.

At Davidson Rocks we put up the 2S kite and had a nice run across Rosario Strait until we hit Green Point. At Green Point we doused the kite and reached up Guemes Channel against the ebb while putting everything away. On the way up the channel we caught some other boats sailing home from Friday Harbor...

A nice trip home...

Life of ease sailing on Schussboomer

Girts Rekevics Memorial Foul Weather Race

Our crew had a great time. The weather didn't look so good at the start, but cleared up as the day progressed. We had trouble getting into the groove being the first time for our crew to sail together - but it eventually came together. The winds were surprisingly brisk beating up Upright Passage - we had to downshift our headsail then upshift again during the final reach.

All things considered we had a good first race of the season, but unfortunately we had to tack away to make room for the ferry both in Thatcher Pass and at Flat Point (bad coincidence) which cost us some time and probably cost us the bullet.

Dinner Saturday night was great and we were assigned premier dock space right in front of the resturant. On the return trip we headed south from Friday Harbor and out into the Strait through Cattle Pass. Winds were westerly about 10-12 knots with a little chop in the Strait. At Davidson Rock we were able to put up the kite and had a fast passage to Green Point where we resumed beating up the channel against a strong ebb.

Nice weekend - many thanks to the committee for putting this event on!

The Lowly Worm crossing the finish line