Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Another Perspective on Foul Weather...

We just received this post from Kyle Roethle about the latest Foul Weather Race and thought we would pass it along...

Racing conditions meant most boats would work their heaters as hard or harder than their spinnakers as frozen dock lines were thawed/cast and frozen boats wandered to the Guemes channel starting area in a building S-SE breeze and light snowflakes grazing topsides. With 6 yachts from the great white north and 15 from the greater inland Washington waters, all clear was hailed and the 2011 AYC Foul Weather race was underway. A new twist was competing for the Stanley Cup, aka Stephanie Schwenk’s long lost thermos - replenished with adult lubrication courtesy of our pals across boundary pass.

Kites up and drawing, Grafix was the first of many boats to round up early and often. Excitement developed once boats entered Rosario Strait; the breeze picked up from the south, kite reaching saw fun meters rising and boats beginning to distance themselves and/or threaten any inadequately secured hot beverage with a wipeout. Come Thatcher pass the breeze had built to 15kn and gusting beyond. Emoyeni built a decent lead on her competition and squandered it away with multiple round ups between Frost and Willow Islands. Our wild gybes kept the crew on their frozen toes and surrounding boats entertained/distracted. Apparently it’s hard to trim a kite in blustery weather when your fingers have the same dexterity as a fistful of lil’ smokies.

Our gybe to the Upright Head rounding didn’t go as smoothly as we’d hoped and the starboard spin sheet shackle let go prompting an early weather douse. No word on whether Brian provoked the shackle failure by talking about its mother or some other absurdity. Syndicat had stayed left on rhumbline to pass us and Kymodoce was coming up very hot under kite but both were headed for the “dead zone” – Emoyeni sailed wide right, kept pressure in her sails and regained a small lead for the close reach down Upright Channel.

We navigated through the kelp at the SE tip of Shaw Island and turned down with Syndicat, Kymodoce, Waioli, and the Beneteau’s in tow. Spinnakers on the horizon prompted a hoist met with an immediate round up. Boats behind not skippered by Dean Vandament got their money’s worth watching us crash a few more times and opted to stick with white sails for the reach to the finish. Becker called the line for a 2:34:11 elapsed run from Anacortes to Friday Harbor, which is pretty smoking by our standards.

On correction we placed 8th in the Yankee boat fleet and 9th out of 21 boats overall. Brian and Becker put the sails up quick and untwisted and amazingly only lost one tweaker. Nicole was all over the boat grinding, furling, reefing, squirreling while spin trim kept Fisch so busy he never had a chance to spill any beer on deck. Chris and Kyle worked together and neither lost any self esteem. A great ride with a wonderful crew sailing an awesome boat.

In related observations, I’d like to thank Passépartout for not trying to steamroll over the top of us after the start – karma rewarded them this year. Rumor has it that Wild Rumpus tied up in Friday Harbor with the same masthead fly they started with and all rubber chickens were accounted for. Given the execution of the event, would anyone have guessed this was Chris Roethle’s first time ever chairing a race? Very proud of my Dad! Overall winner Crazy Ivan blew up her kite on the delivery back to Orcas, potentially making Ballard Sails owner Alex Simanis, and 2nd place finisher, the time-on-money winner over the course of the weekend. For the second weekend in a row the delivery sea state was more epic than the racing sea state. If the F31 Son of Raven had a MacGregor outboard hung, could they have made it into Cap Santé on Sunday?

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