Tuesday, March 12, 2013

J/160 JAM & J/29 SLICK Win Blakely Rock Race

J/145 Double Take - racer cruiser sailboat- sailing Seattle series (Seattle, WA)-  Generally described as the most unique of all the light-air Blakely Rock Center Sound Series races,  the Northwest offshore sailing season is off to a great start.  Over the course of the day, the wind waxed and waned and flopped and held, but just as the fleet began to wonder whether the race would be shortened, the sailors could see the forecasted northerly coming down the Sound.

Saturday morning there were clouds all around but for a hole above Shilshole,  so the sixty-nine racing yachts gathered for the start enjoyed some spring sunshine.   It was a classic convergence zone day, but as usual, the details vary, and it is in the details that the race is won.

J/29 SLICK sailing Seattle Blakely rock raceThe fleet started with a 5-7 knot southerly, and in the vicinity of West Point, the wind got as high as 8-10 knots but from there on south, it decreased.  As the fleet neared and rounded Blakely Rock, it had fallen to 1-2 knots, and soon after rounding, at about noon, the tide switched to a flood.  Continuing north, the wind swung around to the east and many but not all boats were flying a chute—or trying to.  The wind increased and decreased a few knots several times, and various boats went west or east, looking for more wind and maybe less of a flood or a kick out of the locks.

But by about 2 pm, holding out in the middle paid off as the approaching northerly arrived, working its way down the center of the Sound first and putting smiles on our faces with 8-9 knots. This breeze took us to Point Wells, where the committee boat finished us on a shortened course of 16.8 nm.

Said one sailor, “Today was anyone’s race. All the races we’ve done here, and all the times we’ve done this race, we’ve never seen the middle pay off. The boats that stayed in the middle did much better than the boats that went to the beach.”

PO1 Division saw the two "big J's" sweep the top two spots, with the J/160 JAM sailed by John Mcphail of Gig Harbor YC taking 1st in class and 8th overall and Tom Huseby's J/145 DOUBLE TAKE from Seattle YC taking 2nd in class!

PO3 Division had three J's in top ten including the J/35 TALEQUAH sailed by Don Leighton of CYC Seattle in 7th, the J/109 TANTIVY skippered by Stu Brunell of CYC Seattle  in 8th and the J/109 SHADA sailed by Jerry Woodfield of CYC Seattle in 10th.

J/105 one-design sailboats sailing off SeattleIn the PO4 Division was the one-design J/105 fleet.  The top three included Jerry Diercks sailing DELIRIUM to first in class.  Not far behind was Jim Geros' LAST TANGO in second and taking the last spot on the podium was Erik Kristen sailing JUBILEE; all three teams from CYC Seattle.

Tom Kerr's J/33 CORVO from CYC Seattle sailed fast in the PO5 Division to take not only 2nd in class, but 10th overall in fleet.  Not far behind was Tom Mitchell's J/35c WILDFLOWER sailing for CYC Seattle taking 4th in class.

The PO6 Division that included one of the top J's in the fleet saw two J/29s sweep the top two positions in class.  Fourth overall and 1st in class was the J/29 SLICK sailed by the Mayfield/ Nelson team from CYCT.  Giving them a run for the money and taking 2nd in class was Pat Denneys' J/29 HERE & NOW.  Thanks for the contribution from Peggy Johnson.    Sailing photo credits- Jan Pix   For more Corinthian YC of Seattle Blakely Rocks race sailing information