Sunday, April 03, 2011

Tri-Straits II Smith Island Recap - Team Emoyeni

Here is the log from team Emoyeni about Tri-Straits II - Smith Island...

Single digit breeze from the SE with a significant ebb push extended the starting box to nearly the Guemes island ferry landing, racers knowing once they turned down the acceleration would be tremendous and an OCS start would be an easy way to ruin a chance at placing. Wild Rumpus provided the start for 12 sun seeking boats, remarking after the prep flag went down that you’d usually see boats a little closer than a mile away from the line at this time, think there might be some current out here?

All late, but clear, Emoyeni was hanging at the rear of the fleet looking to put a kite up and make up lost ground. We must have forgotten to say our pledge of allegiance that morning given we hoisted a flagging spinnaker; the shackle on the spin sheet still hanging on the upper lifeline. Felt like our best impression of a Cougar football running play, “NO GAIN.”

I’d venture a guess that most boats were taken a bit by surprise when the winds came on above 15kn to a pretty steady 20. Washing machine chaos, flogging mains, bareheaded boats, salty beer, and a retirement by Kinetic Ki ensued. Boats who didn’t hitch south early (Emoyeni & Kymodoce) got a big time west flush, compliments of Deception Pass, another reason it pays to not sleep through geography class. 2 of our crew on the rail had fun punching through the confused seas for about 30 minutes and then realized why cotton is a poor choice for sea fairing attire. Walt Meagher, channeling his inner Dos Equis’ guy from the commercials, conned Jerry into cheerfully driving Syndicat upwind as the lumps got bigger.

Approaching Smith Island we managed to pass Kymodoce, couldn’t find the rest of our fleet or figure out who was doing what… At the rounding we realized were quite a distance behind the Beneteau’s, Syndicat was running down B fleeters, and Kymodoce just off our stern. We cracked off, shook out the reefs, and took a moment or two to collect ourselves. Our strategy, sort-of, was reel in bene’s, sail faster than Kymodoce, and hope that Syndicat had forgotten her chute in the back of someone’s car. Pressure was still pretty strong, flood was kicking in, and with no other C fleet boats under kites it was time for a bold move. Clean hoist, holding steady, grins all around, screaming along at 9kn, yeah baby! The Beneteau’s turned up to avoid being weather rolled while Syndicat and Kymodoce scrambled to hoist their own downwind laundry. By Lawson Reef we were passing Lil’ Annie & Hasenpfeffer and it was clear we had boat speed on the Catalina. At R2 off Green Pt, Syndicat caught a wild shift and had to turn towards Cypress. We decided to douse early and stay closer to fidalgo, sailing a close reach to the finish. Syndicat appeared to be struggling mightily to get to weather of G3 while we were easily on course to the middle of the line. It got really close but we couldn’t catch them, giving us a second 2nd for the series.

What a gorgeous and surprisingly physical day on the water where lots of boats seemed short handed. Fisch, Rich, and Chris managed the headsail trim and reef work, Fisch also moonlighting as the pointy end guru, Kyle kept dry trimming main and kite, while Deano spun the wheel a bunch and pointed us mostly in the right directions. Lots learned, like Fisch and Rich both need better foul weather gear, and Fisch in particular needs a sippy cup.

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