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...

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