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2007 Race Reports

Fall race #5
Don Armeni Park, West Seattle
November 3rd 2007
A tough day at the races.
By Stephen Jensen aboard Charmed Juan


Fleet 1’s Fall Series #5 race at the Don Armeni park in West Seattle had Winds were 15 to 20 with gusts over 25, not too bad except that the gusts were coming from different directions.  Several boats had their keels come out of the water and lots of water flooding into the cockpit.

We had 7 boats listed as starters with a new boat attending.  OK, not a new skipper but a new boat.  Mike Dukes showed up with Revival, Dave Posts old boat, A MK 1 Hull number 17, He had problems with set-up and missed the first two races and did the smart thing by not pushing his luck while single-handing for the 3rd and 4th race.   Great Excuse may be for sale soon. 

We were using the Duwamish head dolphin as our leeward mark and as the day wore on, conditions were getting worse. There was a current building running into the dolphin and the gusts were building. Several boats had to jibe 180’s as they were tacking too early and the current was taking them into the dolphin. 

Now I have a little experience with hard marks as on the J-30 I crew on tacked too close to a dolphin once and we ended up tearing the mainsail and almost snapping the backstay.  It put me out of a job as I was the mainsail trimmer.

The first race wasn’t too bad.   Charmed Juan lead all the way with Limpet taking second and Habagat making third.

The second race had Habagat taking first with Charmed Juan second Limpet third.

 In the third race, my boat had a double knock down as a gust hit us and we heeled over enough to get 20 or so gallons flooding into the cockpit, rounded up past the wind and went over the other way and got another 20 or so gallons in the cockpit. By this time I am sitting in the bottom of the cockpit getting a bath while trying to get the Jib and Main un-cleated.  In the mean time my son twists his ankle and is trying not to scream in pain while I am trying to gain control of the boat.After recovering, we continued on and finished the race in 4th place.  Habagat got first, Limpet second and PGS Juan third. 

Although my son was in a considerable amount of pain, he said he was OK to go for another race, what a trooper.

In that race, we were not doing well and were in second to last place with PGS Juan behind us.   We saw Gene Adams round the dolphin, tack too early and saw he wasn’t going to make it, we thought he would do a 180 like the others but then we saw the mast go down. We assumed he got knocked down and waited for it to come back up.  When nothing happened we thought the worse.   We were the closest so we abandoned the race and headed back down to the scene expecting to pick up a couple of people from the water.  As we got closer we saw the hull  was upright and a couple of heads in the cockpit.  OK, it looked like no one was hurt. When we arrived, we saw the mast was over the side.  No one was hurt and we were able to tow him back to the docks.  What happened was when he tacked, his jib sheet stuck in the cleat and he was unable to make the rounding and he ran into the dolphin.  This broke the starboard shrouds and his mast came down. Moral of story, give hard marks a wide birth.


Limpet took first, Habagat second, Scout third.


For the day, Habagat and Limpet tied for first with 5.5 points with the win going to Limpet as they won the last race.In the Spinnaker class, Charmed Juan took first with 6.5 points to PGS Juan’s 7.75 points, and Mike Dukes aboard his new boat had 14 points.

By Andy Capples aboard Limpet

This weekends San Juan 21 Race in Elliot Bay ended up being more of an obstacle course than a sailboat race, and not all the boats came out unscathed. The course featured a starting line with a heavily favored starboard pin just off the rocks, a weather mark protected by a giant bull Sea Lion, a dead zone ¾ of the way down the down wind run, and an imposing leeward mark surrounded by 3 foot seas and a crazy wind shift. The only thing missing to make the vision a visit Camp Pendleton complete was Clint Eastwood firing an AK47 over our heads. If you think I am succumbing to my tendencies for over-embellishment, just look at the photos of PGS Juan de-masted while attempting to round the leeward mark on the final race of the day. It was so treacherous that Scout’s crew didn’t even take out their banjos.

I was excited to have another race out of the Don Armini ramp in West Seattle, as I feel like it is my home water. I also love the beautiful views of down town as a backdrop. Add to that an unseasonably warm and dry day, and I think everyone was excited for a great day of sailing. When we arrived at the ramp the water was flat and the wind was blowing 5-10kts. However, throughout the morning the wind continued to build, and by race time it was 16kts with gusts to 22.

The racing was fast and competitive with three different boats crossing the line first in four races. Spinnakers were out of the question as after passing through a dead zone of insane fluky shifty wind just off of Duwamish point boats were required to sheet in sail and beat to the “leeward” mark (the Duwamish Head navigational marker). However spinnakers were not necessary to get cruising down wind and the whole fleet was throwing big foamy wakes down the length on Elliot bay.

Heading to windward was also an adventure as the gusts had a tendency to shift 20-30 degrees, and I for one was having trouble guessing which direction it would be. The headers weren’t so bad, because they would just luff your sails. But if you missed a big lift coming your way it put you on your ear in a hurry. Stephen Jensen and his son told me that they even managed to perform a maneuver I have officially copyrighted the “Limpet Flip.” This is a heavy wind maneuver I first perfected during the first day of the 2007 Norm Blanchard Regatta. It consists of getting knocked down by a major gust so that water is pouring over the leeward rail while the crew on the high side of the boat hangs on for dear life. The rudder becomes useless at 60 degrees of heel so the boat heads to wind. Then the truly fun part is to leave the jib sheet cleated such that the sail backwinds and the boat is promptly knocked over on the opposite tack. This allows water to pour in over the bodies of the hapless crew who are now on the low side of the boat and wondering why San Juan 21’s weren’t designed with life lines.

The first race of the day was a tight battle with Charmed Juan winning the start and leading to the windward mark closely followed by Habagat & Limpet. On the downwind run Limpet took a gamble and sailed a course much farther out into the bay. The extra distance sailed was offset by less time in the Dead Zone, and Limpet was just ahead of Charmed Juan at the leeward mark. However, a gutsy rounding by Charmed Juan leaving just feet between the boat and the pilings gave the advantage back to Charmed Juan who ran back to the finish on a Starboard tack without tacking. Limpet was second, followed by Habagat, Rascal, PGS Juan, and Scout.

The second race was another great showing by Charmed Juan who lead start to finish. Limpet crossed the line early by a good 5 seconds and was caught up in traffic waiting for the fleet to pass. I luffed the sail until I could turn back and cross the line again. After an eternity we got back on course in with significant ground to make back up to get into competition. We set our sights on running down as many boats as we possibly could. First was PGS Juan who tacked away from the fleet and lost ground on the starboard side of the course. Near the Windward mark we passed Scout who had gotten knocked down several times. At the leeward mark we caught & passed Rascal. We were closing on Charmed Juan & Habagat when they crossed the line. The moral of this race is “never stop racing.” Final order was Charmed Juan, Habagat, Limpet, Rascal, Scout, PGS Juan.

In the third race the fleet was joined by Mike Dukes sailing a boat which was not Great Excuse. He has purchased a MKI and was testing out it’s capabilities. At the start I didn’t want to make the mistake of crossing early again, so I waited too long and again found myself chasing the pack by 5-10 boat lengths’…(not a quarter mile like race 2). This was the race where the wind really got interesting with big wind shifts and some spectacular knock downs. The course I steered this race took us a little to close to a large barge mooring float which was home to a family of Sea Lions. The big male was easily twice the weight of my boat and he was not happy with us getting to close. Habagat sailed a clean race and never gave anyone a chance to pass. Limpet followed close on her heals. Scout beat out Rascal and PGS Juan beat out Charmed Juan. I think this was the race where Charmed Juan executed their “Limpet Flip.” Mike Dukes was having a tough time of it single handing and took a DNF.

The final race was a great Limpet showing. Again a little early Limpet executed a nice little tack & jibe to jump in just after Scout and right at the favored pin. From there Limpet sailed a very clean race and quickly took the lead never to let it go. Habagat, Scout, & Rascal then followed across the line. Charmed Juan was a boat lengths from the finish when Stephen noticed that PGS Juan had been de-masted at the leeward mark. Stephen immediately abandoned the race and turned to help our good friend Gene. Limpet and Habagat also fired up their outboards to be of assistance.

Apparently as PGS Juan rounded the mark their jib sheet became entangled in a cleat. Unable to be released the jib back winded and pushed the boat up against the pilings. A shroud gave way and the mast soon followed. Bent neatly in two like you might fold a beer can straight over the side. Charmed Juan took a bow rope and began the long process of towing the injured vessel back to the dock. Unfortunately with the wind and waves there wasn’t enough horsepower to get PGS Juan turned. Limpet came in and took a bow line from Charmed Juan and we were now in a 3 boat tow line. Eventually the crew of PGS Juan managed to haul the twisted mast & sail up onto the deck of the boat and the rescue process was significantly speeded.

Back on the hard, several members chipped in to help Gene detach the remaining hardware from his broken mast. And if I know Gene it won’t be long before we see him back on the water. I was sad that Gene had a bummer day, but I was reminded yet again that when you sail a San Juan 21 you are part of a great fraternity which will help you when your down.

Fall race #4
Magnuson Park,
By Andy Caples aboard Limpet

If we could understand seagull speak we would quickly be amazed that they have 78 words for wind. Saturdays San Juan 21 race at Magnuson Park would likely have covered at least 42 of those 78.

When the boats arrived it was howling. 20-25Knots reported on the 520 bridge, with higher gusts. By the end of the day we were gently breezing along in 5-10Knots. Regardless of conditions the day belonged to Habagat who seemed to be in the lead or chasing the lead in most of the races. Charmed Juan had a perfect day in the spinnaker class as well (of course he was racing by him self much of the day). 5 more First place finishes will make it hard for anyone to catch him in the Fall Series Standings

The race had a good showing with 7 boats braving the biting winds to get down to the water. Habagat, Scout, Rascal, Limpet, Compass Rose, Charmed Juan, and PSG Juan were represented. Compass Rose decided this might not be the best day to start racing and instead jumped a ride with another boat. Everybody but Scout had at least one reef in the main, and everyone had their lifejackets on and companionway boards in. I particularly enjoyed watching Charmed Juan bury her bow into every third wave as she set the marks. Buckle your seatbelts everyone it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The first race started with Limpet and PSG Juan electing to sail under a reefed main only. This was not a bad choice on the beat to weather. Boats with jibs were going faster but seemed to spend lots of time on their ear getting blown down wind. The difference in speed with a jib or pointing without a jib seemed to be a toss-up. However on the downwind run the jib boats quickly ran away from Limpet & PSG Juan. Forced to run up sail or be completely uncompetitive Limpet & PSG Juan threw up the canvas and hung on tight. After a couple races getting knocked around PSG Juan decided to call it a Day, which left Charmed Juan to dominate the Spinnaker boats.

As if 20+ kts is not enough to keep things interesting the starting line and first beat to weather were made more hectic by the sailboards and kite boarders flying back and forth on a beam reach through the fleet.

Scout seemed to be completely unfazed by the wind and headed out with 3 crew members and a full main (no reef). They absolutely flew on the down wind legs, and seemed oblivious to the sheets of lake water which sprayed over the deck while pounding into the waves. At one point I actually saw one of the crew had a banjo out and was picking a song to race by. Now that is confidence in your skipper. And the confidence paid off. Scout had a great showing with four seconds and one first in the working sales category.

By the third race the wind had begun to subside and boats began to shake out their reefs. The starts got more competitive, and the tactics got more cut throat. I found myself over early and/or doing penalty turns several times. I tacked onto a lee bow position against Charmed Juan, and got myself run well past the lay line and sailed away from for my efforts. Habagat continued her winning ways regardless of the conditions, hitting her starts and making lots of smart choices.

By the final race all the boats had full sail up and were hunting for puffs and wind shifts. Scout ran a flawless race and claimed a first place preventing Habagat from running the table. In the end there were no mechanical failures and all the boats survived to make the next race.

Fall Race #3
October 6, 2007

Only 3 boats went to Port Orchard for the third race in our fall series. Rascal, Habagat, and Charmed Juan braved the weather reports of rain and wind.

Winds were gusty and swung 30 degrees with each gust. I was single handing and it's a good thing I had the half hatch in as I took on about 50 gallons of water during one little puff in the first race. I was just trying to keep from being knocked down and I noticed that I was sailing higher than the other boats and rounded first at the weather mark. it was sort of a reach on the down wind leg and then another struggle back to the finish.

On the second race, I put in a reef and still was able to point higher and get to the windward mark first. Having to take Habagat up as she tried to pass me on the down wind leg pushed her toward Rascal. She decided to give more than she was getting and they were now playing bumper boats and that allowed me to get to the weather mark first. The results were the same as the first race. Charmed Juan, Habagat, then Rascal.

The third race had Habagat failing to get to the start with a problem with her main sheet system so Rascal got second.

In the 4th race the winds were dieing down a little so I shook the reef out on the downwind leg after Habagat passed me. As I pulled up to her she started to take me up and that allowed Rascal to take the lead, a conspiracy? Somewhere down there was the weather mark, but I couldn't see it. After passing the start line, we still couldn't see the weather mark, but there was a Naval patrol boat near where the mark was. When we got closer I could see the mark on the back of the patrol boat. I was all for using patrol boat who was stationary as the mark but Rascal realizing the situation suddenly turned around and ran back to the start line. I looked over to Habagat just as they turned tail and left me to talk to the nice police man. When I got to the patrol boat, the nice policeman told me that I had placed the mark too close to their naval base. They offered to move it out to the middle of the channel and we got another race in.

The fifth race was interesting again as I was last crossing the start line but passed both Rascal and Habagat on the upwind leg. Things were static on the downwind leg. Rascal barely held off Habagat for second place. They ended up approaching the finish line when Jack realized they had to tack to fend off Habagat. It was pandemonium on board but they ended up crossing about 10 feet ahead.

Norm Blanchard Regatta
For a report on the Norm Blanchard regatta, look to this link by Andy Caples on Limpet


Fleet 1
Road Warrior Race #1
Three Tree Point Yacht Club
Spring Regatta

Our first Road Warrior race this season was a huge success this year with the largest number of boats ever for this event and the best racing we have had all year. I don’t think I have ever worked so hard. We had 7 boats for our class, more than the TTPYC put on the water. Habagat, Scout, and Rascal sailed in the Working class with Great Excuse, Wooglin, PGS Juan, and Charmed Juan in the Spinnaker class. For the Regatta scoring, we used the 252 PHRF rating for the spinnaker class and 265 for the working sails, one more second than last year.

There was a lot of confusion with the starting sequence (again) on the Saturday races. The first class was the performance boats, there were three, second was the cruising boats, there were 2, and finally the San Juan’s.

The flag system was used with horns, but most of us didn’t read the hand out that explained the flag system so we didn’t know where in the sequence we were. This is a common problem with us (me) as we just use horns. The racing rules use the flags, and we need to know what flags mean what. Not all hosting regatta’s have all the same flags so they can be different in each regatta.

The first two races were windward leeward short courses. In the first race on the down wind run, the winds were at the limit of comfort. Charmed Juan did a jibe and almost broached. The Helmsman going down wind is my 15 year old son Jorgen; He’s use to gibing from one course to the other right through dead down wind. In this case the winds were up enough for that to be a disaster. He pulled mightily on the tiller and the boat headed back down wind and righted. The trick we decided is to head dead down wind, transfer the pole over, and then move the main over, and once the sheets and guy are under control you can head back up. Charmed Juan won the first race going away with Wooglin second, Habagat showing well in third, Scout fourth, PGS Juan fifth and Rascal sixth. Great Excuse had some prior commitments and didn’t show up until race #4.

The winds picked up in the second race and Charmed Juan tried a reefed main. I thought I was getting a great start when the horn sounded and I took off, no one else did. I guess I had the sequence wrong so we headed back and tried the next horn. The Reef didn’t work. Wooglin was first to round with Habagat, Scout, PGS Juan, rounding ahead. On the down wind leg, Wooglin was the only one brave enough to bring out the chute. The winds were slowing down and the field was bunching up, Charmed Juan passed PGS Juan and Scout and was third over the line behind Wooglin and Habagat but with the corrections it was Wooglin first, Habagat second, Scout third, PGS Juan fourth, Rascal fifth, and Charmed Juan sixth. All six boats cross the line with in 5 minutes.

For race #3, they sent us out to the J mark which was going to be a reach. The up wind battles from the start to the L mark were some of the most intense I have ever been in. Going in towards shore got you out of the current but put you close to the beach and shallow waters. Several boats grounded there. It was common to have to duck a boat when on port tack going into shore, and have the lead over the same boat as you headed away on starboard. Charmed Juan rounded first and then it was a long reach to the J mark. All of us were going very close to the same speed. Things got interesting nearing the J mark. It was at the south end of Maury point on Vashon Island. With the winds coming out of the north, there was going to be a wind shadow there. The winds blanked at times, went on close hauled and then a run. Once rounded, you had to head back through all of that again. Once clear of the island, the winds were steady from the north and we were reaching again. Charmed Juan extended her lead and took first with Habagat second (Habagat cleaned up on Saturday), Wooglin third, Scout fourth, Rascal fifth, and PGS Juan sixth.

The next race was the same as the third with an upwind/reach/reach. Wooglin got to the mark first with Charmed Juan second, and Habagat a close third. On the long reach, Charmed Juan was catching Wooglin at about a rate of 10” a minute. There were not enough minutes and Charmed Juan was less than one boat length behind at the finish, but it was fun to see Wooglin sweating.

Wooglin first, Charmed Juan second, Habagat third, Scout fourth, PGS Juan fifth, Rascal sixth and Great Excuse seventh.

Habagat had a very good day with two thirds and two seconds and was in second place overall for the day.

After a hard day racing, The Three Tree Point Yacht Club sponsored a BBQ where Sunday saw blue sky’s and lighter winds; Gene was crewing with Great Excuse so PGS Juan stayed at the dock.

I had told everyjuan that if you stay close to the committee boat, you can get a better idea of what is happening in the starting sequence. It was fun to see a swarm of Juan’s around the committee boat.

In the first race, another battle up wind to the L mark and Charmed Juan was in the lead; however a Catalina 34 was “in the way”. Charmed Juan tried to duck between it and the mark while Scout and Wooglin wend around it. The currents were pushing the Catalina backwards and the door shut on Charmed Juan and she hit the mark and had to round again. The Catalina was gone on the second attempt, but Charmed Juan miscalculated the currents again and hit the mark a second time. This moving water stuff takes some getting use to. By now, PGS Juan, Habagat, and Rascal had rounded and were heading down wind. Wooglin had her chute out and took the lead. Charmed Juan caught up to the fleet but with the PHRF ratings, it wasn’t enough. Scout was first being close enough to Wooglin who cross the line first but took second. Charmed Juan third, Great Excuse fourth, Rascal fifth, and Habagat sixth.

Race #6 also saw some great battles going up to the L Mark. Scout again kept close enough to take first with Wooglin second followed by Charmed Juan, Great Excuse Rascal and Habagat..

The last race was changed to the upwind, reach over to J, reach back to A, then upwind to finish.

Scout got to the windward mark first, followed by Wooglin, Charmed Juan, and Habagat. On the previous reaches, Charmed Juan had been gaining on Wooglin ever so slowly, but never able to catch her. This time it was going to happen. As we approached, Wooglin started to take us up and we matched her move for move. After a long battle we finally sailed over the top of her and headed back down to the mark. By this time, Scout had extended her lead, and Habagat had passed both of us. Wooglin brought out the chute so Charmed Juan did the same. It was working for a while for Charmed Juan and she caught up to Habagat. But wasn’t able to pass her. Somehow, Wooglin was able to keep her chute up all the way to the J mark and Jibed around it in second place behind Scout. The winds were shifty here and suddenly the chute was back winding. She got the chute down and continued. Habagat was third around the mark and Charmed Juan fourth.

Charmed Juan headed a bit south to try to avoid the wind shadow from the island and that worked a little as we passed Habagat and we were again all off on a reach. Scout in the lead followed by Wooglin, Charmed Juan, and Habagat.

Wooglin was catching Scout, and Charmed Juan was catching Wooglin. At the A mark, there was about 2 boat lengths separating each of the three boats. Scout and Wooglin headed toward the beach while Charmed Juan went straight up wind. Scout and Wooglin tacked over and kept going maybe a little too far. Charmed Juan tacked almost right on the Jetty and headed out and tacked right as she approached Wooglin. A very close finish with Wooglin only 4 seconds ahead, but Scout was close enough to take first again. Wooglin second, Charmed Juan third, followed by Habagat, Rascal, and Great Excuse.

I have never been so wrung out in a two day racing event. It seamed that every crossing of another boat was going to be a duck or tack when on port or hailing starboard. I did hail starboard to the Catalina 43 once. That felt nice to have a 15,000 lb boat have to duck my little boat.

After the races, we had the traditional gathering at Anthony’s home port restaurant. This year as well as the food and important 1$ beers, they had prizes donated by several company’s. Every one of the San Juan’s got something. The Catalina that hosed me at the windward mark got a garden hose. So did Charmed Juan. Wooglin got a very nice mast head/deck light that she can put on her mast. Charmed Juan ended up with the grand prize. A free haul out and pressure wash! Oh Joy, just what I need!

Then it was time for the trophy’s; Wooglin took top honors with 10 points, Charmed Juan second 13 points Scout third 14 points, Habagat fourth 20 points, Rascal fifth 31 points.

Spring Series #4
Lake Union
April 14, 2007

Things keep getting better for Fleet 1, another race with 9 boats showing up on Lake Union. We got in 3 races and the rain held off until the third race, then a rather heavy downpour that lasted only 10 or 15 minutes and then the sun came out to dry off the sails before we got back to the docks.

I heard that the Weather Chanel and King 5 TV had a series of still shots of lake union for their weather report that showed our boats sailing around the lake.

I tried to make our races more interesting, or at least different. The winds made it so we could use the Red and Green Nuns on the lake as the windward and leeward marks. I set a gibe mark close to some house boats on the east side of the lake. I let everyone know to get close to me to ask what course we would use, and some did. We have a problem with communication as to what course we will be sailing. We either come up with a better communication method or stick with the standard windward leeward port rounding one lap course. I would like to hear from members about this.

Race 1

I got a good start and headed on starboard tack to the east side of the lake. Wooglin got a better start and was ahead but to weather with Scout a little behind. Wooglin got there first with Scout second and Charmed Juan third. The chutes came out and we headed for the gibe mark. Scout was not giving up any distance during the run to the gibe mark. I guess Wooglin didn’t know that we were going to the gibe mark and when I realized that I hailed them. They had trouble with the chute as they had to go a little up wind to get to the gibe mark and fell way back in the field. Charmed Juan finished first with BoB second, Scout Third and Wooglin fourth.

Race 2,

About the same start as the first race, Wooglin ahead but to weather with some other boats going up the east side of the lake. On the way to the weather mark, winds were lightening and I saw a wind line at the center of the lake, we tacked over and picked up the puff and squirted to the weather mark ahead of the fleet. It was a broad reach after the mark rounding and we kept the spinnaker in the bag until the winds clocked a little behind us. Charmed Juan kept her lead to the finish but Wooglin caught up and made us work to keep in first place. Scout took third and BoB fourth.

Race 3 It started to rain and the wind picked up a little, right into Wooglin’s range. At the start, there were 4 boats all early and going over the line, of course the leeward most boat was pushing them over and I was pushing him over. 4 boats ended up over at the start horn. Not sure of all but Rascal, PGS Juan and I think Bob and Great Excuse were involved. With 9 boats on the line it was interesting to see these 4 try to turn around and get back to restart. Wooglin rounded the windward mark in first place and took off, I mean really took off. PGS Juan was second rounding the mark and Charmed Juan third. It was a another broad reach to the gibe mark but we brought out the chute and headed to the gibe mark. PGS Juan got there ahead of Charmed Juan and on the way to the leeward mark, the winds were now on our nose. Charmed Juan brought in the chute and to my surprise, PGS Juan extended her lead over us. However at nearing the mark, PGS Juan had to head away from the mark to douse her chute and that allowed Charmed Juan to round ahead of her. On the way to the finish, Charmed Juan cut Wooglins lead way down. I can tell when Chris is worried by how often he looks back but he still had enough to make it to the finish in first place. Charmed Juan was second, PGS Juan third, and Scout fourth.

So Scout takes top honors with a perfect day and 2.25 points

Here are the standings

Scout 1,1,1 2.25 points
Charmed Juan 1,1,2 3.50 points
Wooglin 3,2,1 5.75 points
Rascal 2,3,2 7.00 points
Limpet 3,2,3 8.00 points
BoB 2,3,4 9.00 points
Habagat 4,4,4 12.0 points
PGS Juan 5,5,3 13.0 points
Great Excuse 4,4,5 13.0 points

For the Spring series, here are the current standings

Working sails
Scout 11.25 points
Rascal 14.50 points
Habagat 26.75 points
Limpet 33.00 points

Spinnaker class
Wooglin 7.50 points
Charmed Juan 16.25 points
Great Excuse 32.00 points
BoB 34.00 points
Serendipity 43.00 points
PGS Juan 49.00 points

Spring Series #3
Don Armeni Launch Ramp, West Seattle
March 31, 2007

Our third race of the Spring series was held at a new venue for us. The Don Armeni Launch ramp is on the Elliot Bay side of West Seattle with a great view of downtown Seattle, indeed several limos stopped by with wedding parties and had their pictures taken with the Seattle skyline in the background. Maybe a San Juan or two also got into their pictures. Good advertising!

The Weather forecast was for scattered showers and winds in the 5 to 15 mph range coming from the north northwest. The rains held off for the most part, and the winds were steady.

A standard .8 mile course was set up using the Duwamish head dolphin as the windward mark with the leeward mark just off Saltie’s Restaurant. Another wide starting line to accommodate the nine boats attending for the second race in a row, four in the working sails and five in the Spinnaker class. If this keeps up, we could really have something here!

Scout, Rascal, Habagat, and new member Andy Caples with “Limpet” were in the Working sails. In the Spinnaker class, the usual suspects were present, Great Excuse, BoB, Serendipity, Wooglin, and Charmed Juan. PGS Juan was absent with tow vehicle troubles. Limpet had trouble at her launch as she broke her keel cable. Andy was able to grab a bit of the cable to hold the keel up so he could get the boat in the water and I had a spare cable and was able to install it after the races, a good reminder for everyjuan to carry a spare keel cable. Also check the sheaves as the original can seize up and cause cable breakage.

With 9 boats again, the starts and mark roundings are becoming very much more fun and interesting. On the large boats I crew on, it’s rare to have any other boat within a boat length of you. At our races, I saw several boats bracketed on all sides with only feet to spare. Also, with this many boats, everyjuan has somejuan to race with.

We got in 5 races, all being about 30 to 45 minutes except race #2 where we had to wait for a laggard, Me. On rounding the weather mark (in the lead) we started to get the spinnaker up when the wind shifted so the pole was on the wrong side. I tried to do a windward launch and then a gibe but something went horribly wrong. The chute ended up underneath the boat and snagged on the keel. We couldn’t get it pulled back into the boat. We ended up loosing the sheets and hoping it would flow underneath the boat and out the back. This it did very well. We forgot to keep hold on one of the sheets and the spinnaker flowed out the back, and then up in the air 30 or so feet behind the boat. We had to turn the boat around again to get it behind the main so it would it would get close enough to be hauled in. It must have been 5 to 10 minutes before we finally headed to the leeward mark. While we were headed there, we re-rigged the chute and got it flying again. A good thing since we would need it for the next race. Even with that, We didn’t have to wait long for the fleet to finish and get the next race started. True one design racing.

Wooglin took 5 firsts, but at least this time he didn’t lead every race from start to finish. Charmed Juan took 4 seconds, and a dead last. Rascal was up with the leaders at the weather mark in several races and Great Excuse also was up there at the weather mark. Great Excuse and BoB didn’t bring out the chutes so they faded back on the down wind legs

On the start of the third race, Scout and Rascal were way out the area and missed the start sequence horns and ended up 8th and 9th. Not a good idea to get too far away from the committee boat during our races.

Wooglin pulls another perfect day with 5 first places (3.75 points) Rascal came in second (8.25 points), Scout was third (9.75 points) Charmed Juan fourth (13 points) Great Excuse fifth (14 points) Habagat was sixth (14.75 points) Limpet came in seventh (15 points) Bob was eighth (20 points) and Senedipity ninth (22 points.

Fleet 1, Spring Series #2
Magnuson Park, March 17, 2006

The second Spring Series race was held at Magnuson Park on cloudy skies with a forecast of rain. There was some rain here and there and heavy at times but it wasn’t long lasting. Winds were steadily out of the North Northwest.

A new Fleet 1 member, Andy Caples who owns Limpet, a MK I #759 was crewing with me, and Jim Miller, an experienced sailor on San Juan 24’s and J-24’s was helping Habagat get up to speed.

Six boats in the Spinnaker Class and three in Working Sails Class was one better than the first race of the year.

Race 1

I got another bad start, second to last across the starting line, only Rascal was behind me but that was because he was 5 minutes late getting to the start line. I was encouraged as we caught up to most of the boats. Scout and Habagat stayed on starboard tack to the layline while the other boats went to port tack. I was really encouraged as we were the first to get to the port layline and tack over and lead the fleet. Scout and Habagat who had stayed out on starboard were now approaching the mark on port tack, a risky maneuver if you meet another boat on starboard at the mark. It is better to tack short of the layline and approach the pin so you will tack to starboard out side of the two boat length circle. They got away with it as they rounded first and second. After we rounded, Wooglin rounded with the rest of the fleet well behind. The Spinnaker was hanging limply on the down wind leg and the wind stayed very light for those that headed for the mark. Wooglin, Scout, and Rascal went to the east side of the course and found a good puff (the only puff) of wind that put them well into the lead. Wooglin rounded the weather mark in first, followed by Rascal, Scout, then Charmed Juan and Great Excuse. Wooglin took first followed by Rascal and Charmed Juan.

Race 2

Another bad start for me, I must remember to stay very close to the line in light winds. The wind had shifted so a port tack was favored.

Wooglin had to do a penalty turn as she got stuck in-between two boats and couldn’t come up enough to ward off the leeward boat. I was behind everybody and in bad wind but I was able to tack right behind Scout and get into clear air away from everybody. As we headed up course, Rascal was windward of us and gaining. I did not want her passing us and taking our wind. I called out “coming up” as she developed an overlap and we were about 1 ½ boat lengths away. I continued to call and came almost head to wind but rascal did not give way. What I was trying to do was to force her to tack away so I would not be stuck in her bad air. We got close enough that she could not maneuver, but I figured we had given her plenty of room and opportunity and after we touched sides, Rascal had to do a 360 penalty turn.

Rounding the leeward mark in second, I looked back to see 5 boats rounding all at once and another wondering if they could squeeze in on the inside. I was glad I wasn’t part of that

Race 3

Finally I got a good start. Charmed Juan was as at full speed on starboard tack right at the line when the horn blew. Wooglin was behind. I had to luff up to miss the start pin. Everyone tacked to port. We stayed on starboard heading out to the middle of the lake. It seemed to work before in the light winds and I figured everyone was hoping to get a lift as they got nearer the shore. They did but never got the header to tack. If you keep getting lifted to the mark, and never get a header, you are basically sailing in a big spiral circle to the mark.

We headed out and tacked over to port figuring to hit the opposite layline out side of the two boat length circle. We got to the weather mark ahead of the fleet and stayed ahead on the down wind leg.

Charmed Juan finished first, followed by Wooglin, Serendipity, then BoB.

Race 4

At the start of this one, the winds had shifted enough that starboard starts were almost paralleling the start line. I saw Serendipity, and Wooglin heading for the port pin and Wooglin was going to miss the pin but couldn’t tack without fouling Senendipity. She had to gibe a 270 degree turn to make the start. I owe Serendipity a beer.

While I was watching Wooglin’s misfortunes, I didn’t see PGS Juan on port tack in front of me. I called “Starboard” but PGS Juan had no leeway so I was forced to tacked over and PGS Juan had to do a penalty turn. I wanted to go to port tack anyway so this was a good excuse. Wooglin lead from start to finish followed by Charmed Juan, Great Excuse and then Rascal.

For the day, Wooglin tied with Rascal (4.25 points) for first, Charmed Juan was third (6.75 points), then Scout (8.75) followed by Habagat (10 points) then BoB (16 points) with Serendipity and Great Excuse tied for 7th (17 points) then PGS Juan (22 points)

Spring Series Race #1
Coulon Park, Renton

Wow, What a great turn out for the start of our 2007 racing season with 8 boats showing up at Coulon Park for race #1. I assume everyjuan has paid their 2007 dues.

Wooglin, Serendipity, Charmed Juan, Great Excuse and PGS Juan sailed in the Spinnaker class and Scout, Rascal, and Habagat were in the Working Sails. I hope this trend continues.

Only three boats were in the water at the marina by the 11:00 skippers meeting and only two were on the starting line at 11:30, the start was delayed to 12:00 and even then, one boat missed the start. Ya gotta be on time if you want to get in the race.

At the start of the first race, most of the fleet was on Starboard tack heading toward shore. Rascal and Charmed Juan were behind and tacked to port to get into clean air. This turned out to be a bad move as there was much more wind toward shore than out in the middle of the lake. Winds approaching the first mark were light and shifty which was making more than one skipper use words I can’t print here. Wooglin rounded first followed by Scout, Rascal, and Charmed Juan. On the down wind run, Wooglin kept toward shore and kept her lead. Scout was still second, Rascal third and Charmed Juan fourth. On the run up to the finish, Wooglin was never challenged, Scout took second and Rascal, Charmed Juan and PGS Juan all finished with in 1 second of each other. Serendipity, Habagat and Great Excuse rounded out the field.

In the second race, Winds started to die out and once the top 4 boats rounded the weather mark, it all but stopped. Wooglin was way ahead with Great Excuse, Scout, Rascal and Charmed Juan rounding before the wind died. Wooglin and Charmed Juan brought out the Chutes but they were hanging limply and the tell tales were hinting that the wind was now coming from ahead. The chutes came down and we tried to coax whatever propulsion could be had. Charmed Juan passed Rascal, Scout, and Great Excuse for second The wind shifted to behind for a short time and the Chutes came out again but another wind shift had them back in the bags again. Approaching the Leeward mark, Wooglin lead, with Charmed Juan having just a slight overlap and Great excuse overlapping Charmed Juan, It looked to be an interesting rounding but before the 2 boat length circle, the overlaps were broken and the three boats followed each other around the mark. On the run up to the finish, Wooglin kept her lead and Charmed Juan fended off Great excuse, which had to fend off Scout. Rascal was not too far behind but Habagat and Serendipity were stuck near the leeward mark with absolutely no wind and conceded by dropped their sails and motoring back. With no wind left, we called it a day.

So Wooglin takes top honors (again) with Scout and Charmed Juan tying for second place, Rascal took 4th, Great Excuse and PGS Juan tied for 5th, Senendipity took 7th, and Habagat took 8th.

After getting the boats out of the water, Jack fired up a sort of barbeque and brought out thin cuts of steak and some fondue sticks. I said sort of barbeque because this system used wood and after the wood burned enough to have coals drop out the bottom of the burner, you shoveled them to where the grill was. Kind of a neat system but it required a couple of hours to cook the meat. Most of us ended up fast cooking the meat by holding it over the flame from the wood fire trying not to burn the stick and dropping the whole thing into the coals. Took some skill but it was tasty.

Our next race is March 17 at Magnason park.