The day began gray w/ light westerly breeze, perhaps 5-7kn, and another strong ebb push in Guemes channel that boats struggled against. Knowing it would be blowing harder in the straits, (Pangaea starting with a reef & a blade?), we switched out to the #2 headsail prior to the start (thoughts of upshifting to the #2 off the Davidson rock washing machine didn't excite anyone). The uncharacteristically small C fleet was us, Syndicat powered up w/ a full main and genoa, and Hasenpfeffer with her crispy new Ballard Sails storm jib. Variety is the spice of life I guess... Nightrunner was called OCS about 50 times over the VHF, but no hail, phone call, e-mail, smoke signal, or singing telegram could get their attention. Long race to sail for an OCS finish...
Leading C fleet across the start we kept pace to weather of Syndicat, and had Hasenpfeffer sniffing our transom (though grossly underpowered and falling back)... In Rosario Strait you could see the white capped rollers on the horizon; felt pretty good about our decision to go early w/ the #2. Syndicat eventually gained to leeward of us but the waves built from 1-3' chop to 6'-8’ swells... Emoyeni was in the groove while Syndicat appeared overpowered. The Catalina slowed, we assumed they were changing sails but they ended up turning back for A-town; maybe a bottle of rum was mishandled and deposited to Neptune. Hasenpfeffer stuck it out till nearly Smith Isl before bailing due to motion sickness and leaving us the lone C boat still racing.
While the waves were big, the breeze wasn't and the boat was tremendously manageable. Sun broke through on Iceberg Pt as we were beating on port towards Lopez. The sea state had died down to 4' chop, west breeze around 12-15, and the boat was just gliding. Staying north in the strait Deano game-planned to round the Salmon Bank buoy cause it'd make a great layline to G1 and there’s cooler stuff to look at. He was pretty dead on, though we ended up knocked a bit below as a squall came through and the current strengthened. We were only 25min behind a Hobie 33 at the mark rounding. I’m gonna repeat that, we were only 25min behind a Hobie 33 at the mark rounding!
The pressure really came on, literally at the G1 rounding, and swells were back to 6’. We were the only C boat left; Tom and Ryan both battling motion sickness, so we opted to delay our hoist and sail conservatively under whites till the lumps and breeze eased off a bit. Surfing big waves saw us pushing near 10kn at times, averaging a steady 7.5. By Rosario the seas had calmed a bit, the wind had gone SW; felt reasonably comfortable putting up the kite nearby Telegraph Bay. It was a wild hoist as we were greeted w/ nearly 20kn due west out of Lopez pass, putting 10.5kn on the fun meter but blowing us to Allen Isl. After few minutes of trying to tame the kite and we decided to douse and actually sail towards the finish. Went wing-on-wing at Shannon Pt in a dying breeze, crossed the line just after 5pm.
It was a fantastic day of sailing for the crew of Kyle, Becker, Rich, Dean-o, and Tom. Not an epically splashy wet kinda day but we did pull a bucket of green water from the bilge. On the beat out the only time our attention broke from the sea state was when Tom gracefully plummeted through companion way while descending a swell and the boat kind of eased down to catch him gently on the sole, or as gentle as teak can be. He didn't complain. Everyone got helm time, Tom and Rich doing their best Kelly Slater impersonations; their surfing might be described as a bit undisciplined... Officially a 36.94nm race, we likely put over 50nm’s under our keel from start to finish. Nothing broke, and we didn’t do anything terribly boneheaded… might be losing our touch?
Here’s the link to our beat out of Rosario taken by Becker: