Sunday, August 14, 2011

2011 Shaw Island Classic

San Juan Island Yacht Club sponsored the 41st Shaw Island Classic, the annual mid-summer pilgrimage that requires sailboats to determine which way is quicker around the island, then prove it! Many tacticians were faced with advice to not to go counter clockwise and you would be foolish to go clockwise. Roughly 60 boats were entered in the official race and a surprising number in the "Hippie Shaw" which saves on entry fees but you're not as welcome at the awards presentation; if that is important to you.... Basically anything faster than a somewhat modified Sc-27 or a Freedom 36 that both rate 150 are in the second start, 10 minutes after the slow boats. 

Fast and slow were well represented with Joss @ PHRF -33 a Macgregor 65/70 and Ichiban a Mariner H-28 @ PHRF 348 as the bookends. This year it was good to be slow and also comfortable being in shallow water as the first start boats turned left and began working West along the rocky shore of San Juan Island fighting a fading outgoing tide.Generally the slow boats jammed all the lanes and the fast boats battled for clear air or were faced with sailing in deeper water against stronger current. Wild Rumpus and Lynn Adkin's new J-111 led the charge across San Juan Channel and entered Wasp Passage about the same time as the Hobie 18. 

Meanwhile for those choosing the counter clockwise option Norn led the way only to be slowly ground down by perennial favorites Grafix and Crazy Ivan this year also joined by local sailing Olympic medalist Carl Buchan in Madrona. In the great reckoning in Harney Channel the competitors met and you could have thrown a blanket over 75% of the fleet as chutes were hoisted and dropped, and boats jibed and tacked to avoid one another, dodge ferries, slog through power boat wakes and  will their vessel from one zephyr to another.The wind filled in Upright Channel and the clockwise boats reached home less than an hour later, Wasp Passage went completely greasy calm and it was game over for the CCW crowd. The SJIYC went all out with a delecious meal, great service, and awards for several classes. 

When the cheering died down it was Lloydd Bacon with a beautiful set of Ulman Sails powering his Laser 28 to the podium  standing with the biggest smile and a nice shout out for his crew. As the sun set and the stories grew there were many recollections of previous feats and plans to get it right next year Go to for complete results.

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