Want More Bruce?

One of the great pleasures in creating sailish.com is working with Bruce Hedrick on the weather briefs. Obviously, there’s a wealth of knowledge there. Moreover, he genuinely loves sailing and racing and wants to share that with everyone.

But some of us want more Bruce. Maybe we’re thinking about that Vancouver Island circumnavigation or the big trek north to Glacier Bay or is it a good window to do a delivery down the coast to California? 

Bruce Hedrick

Fortunately, there’s a way to do it. Bruce’s advanced weather analysis and routing can be tailored to your timing and to your specific vessel. And while Bruce’s blood has a high percentage of baggywrinkle, much if not most of his routing is for motor yachts heading off on long voyages. Especially when it comes to going north of Puget Sound, using both weather and tidal analysis can extend the range of those precious tanks of diesel. Since most routing involves speaking with the skipper or navigator twice a day by sat phone, go, no-go decisions when it comes to open water crossings can be made with a very high degree of confidence. There’s no easier way to ruin a summer cruise than to get caught out in nasty weather.   

If you’re not familiar with Bruce’s qualifications, they’re a great mix of academic and practical. He and his brother Gregg raced on the family’s Columbia 50 in the 1960s. In the oh-so-active 1970s, his family campaigned the Chance 50 Warrior with great success. Along the way, he earned a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Washington in Biological Oceanography and learned meteorology “to keep from getting kicked around on the race course.” 

Bruce spent nearly two decades as Managing Editor for Northwest Yachting Magazine, retiring in mid-2015, was the chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Northwest Marine Trade Association from 2013 until 2015 and currently serves on the Board.   

Over the years Bruce has navigated everything from The Perry 68 Icon to the Ranger 29 Ed. In 2015 he won class in TransPac as navigator aboard the Santa Cruz 50 Allure

Want more Bruce? Email him here.

 

The Car puts her Stamp on the Islands Race, Three Tree Team Wins South Sound Series

The Car puts her Stamp on the Islands Race, Three Tree Team Wins South Sound Series

The South Sound Series came to warm, happy end over the weekend as the fleet sailed in good breeze the whole day and finished the race on a sunny note. Champion for the day was Paul LeMarche’s mighty SC70 Neptune’s Car, elapsed time, class and overall winner. Results here.

A rainy start to the day sent the fleet on its way along Colvos Passage on a fairly square run. After rounding the mark on the north side of Blake Island, it was back the way they came, but time fighting the permanent current. As the sun came out the wind clocked, giving the fleet a long starboard tack on the way home. Jan Anderson, whose photographs are presented here, reported

“Most of the spinnakers were fairly well organized (not a lot of calamity but a whole lotta color!), yet wet – wet – wet, making it tough to get a reasonable shot without rain on Jan’s lens.  Shoot – wipe – shoot – wipe – repeat – ad infinitum.  Passing the turning mark, though, where only momentarily the wind shut down in the lee of Blake Island, someone somewhere flipped a switch … the sky slowly cleared, the breeze kicked it up several notches, and for most of the fleet, the beat back to the finish off Gig Harbor was exactly that, a BEAT.”

See the rest of Jan’s photos here.

Onboard “The Car” 10 very busy bodies kept the sails going up and down in fine fashion and, according to Ballard Sails‘ Alex Simanis, they were clicking on pretty much all the oscillating shifts including about 10 gybes down Colvos. Upwind without much rail weight they opted for the #4 headsail instead of the #3. The Car isn’t your average SC70. She has about six more feet of rig plus a bigger J (foretriangle) and E (main foot) that other SCs, plus a lot more interior.

A look at the Car’s #4.

Simanis reports that Ballard Sails is selling a lot of sails these days. Some sails are built right here in Ballard while they also have a Sri Lanka loft build a lot of other sails to their own design. The tragic passing of sail designer Doug Christie a year and half ago left a void, which has since been filled by John Fries, who works with lot of high-powered East Coast racing programs. “We’re really happy with his designs,” Simanis reports.

Simanis has great plans for next year. He’s going to sail his own boat Poke ‘n Destroy to Hawaii in the Pacific Cup.

The South Sound Final Tally

As the Southern Sound Series comes to a conclusion, here are the winners:

Winning Team: Three Tree Point Yacht Club Nimbus, EQUUS, Les Chevaux Blancs

First Overall (on lowest cumulative class finishes): Bodacious

Best in Fleet (lowest fleet position scores: Kahuna

Congratulations all, and congrats to South Sound Sailing Society and all the host clubs, for once again putting on a fine series.

 

Don’t forget, Bruce Hedrick will be looking into his crystal weather ball on Friday before CYC’s Three Tree Point Race. To receive the sailish.com newsletter sign up here. You can also get notifications when the weather reports are online by checking the Weather Notifications box when you sign up. 

 

Seattle Yacht Club Awarded for Excellence in Sailing Instruction from US Sailing

Seattle Yacht Club Awarded for Excellence in Sailing Instruction from US Sailing
The 2016 SYC Instructors

As we cover kids sailing programs around the region, lest we not forget SYC’s longstanding, outstanding program. Operating from SYC on Portage Bay, its Optis, Lasers, Vanguard 15s and 420s are a common sight as one drives on the 520. For more information, check out the brochure.

Sailing Director Brian Ledbetter was eager to share the news that his team earned some well deserved recognition from US Sailing. Here’s the scoop:

On behalf of the Seattle Yacht Club, Angela Frost and Cameron Hoard accepted the Captain Joe Prosser Award for Excellence in Sailing Instruction at the 2017 U.S. Sailing National Symposium. Angela is the Sailing Programs Coordinator at Seattle Yacht Club, and Cameron is the Junior Race Team coach.

Cameron and his Optis

This award is given to an organization that has demonstrated Excellence in Sailing Instruction, and has made an exemplary contribution toward improving the quality and safety in the training or instruction of sailors.

Cameron Hoard and Angela Frost accepting the award.

In addition to the trophy, a $500 credit, also funded by U.S. Sailing’s Training Committee, will be awarded annually to the selected program for Instructor Training. The Captain Joe Prosser Award was created to recognize the life achievement of the Merchant Marine Academy’s first sailing master. Nominees for the award may be organizations which are either “for-profit” or “not-for-profit”; and may be engaged in sailing instruction on a part-time or full-time basis. Nominees shall embody the characteristics of honor, integrity, and a selfless dedication to the sport.

Congratulations to the Seattle Yacht Club and the Junior Sailing and Racing programs for winning this prestigious award.

Congratulations, gang. One of the encouraging things that I’m seeing is that not only are there several different programs to suit different sailing communities, these organizations often pitch in on regattas together to give the kids the best experience possible.

If your junior program has a story to tell, please send it my way.

Bruce’s St. Patrick’s Day Brief March 18-19 and a look at Gig Harbor Islands race

Bruce’s St. Patrick’s Day Brief March 18-19 and a look at Gig Harbor Islands race

For a while this week it looked like we would get two consecutive weekends of great sailing. Then again it is the Pacific Northwest. The models were converging for a while however by this morning the topography of the Northwest was wreaking havoc on consistency. But the weekend is here, as is the Gig Harbor YC Islands Race, so let’s take a look.

Tidal Current taken from the North end of the Narrows, Center Stream.

0948      Slack

1330      Max Ebb                 3.01 knots

1700      Slack

1924      Max Flood            2.61 knots

Since the current always flows north in Colvos Passage, the real key is to watch your COG and SOG and when you’re going north, find the axis of the current. When going south, avoid the axis when you can.

The reason why this weekend will be so challenging for forecasters is that once again a few miles difference in how the low interacts with the coast will make a big difference in the wind over the Sound. As you can see from the charts for today there are two lows off our coast, both with attached frontal systems and both moving to the northeast. The low currently off of northern California will have it’s front over us early tomorrow morning. If it tracks further offshore because of our coastal buffer zone then the post frontal onshore flow will travel further down the Sound creating a northerly scenario in Colvos. If it holds its current path the northerly will be delayed and Colvos will end up being a dead zone between the post frontal southwesterly breeze coming through the Chehalis Gap and the northerly filling down the Straits and then down Admiralty Inlet. If it passes closer to the coast and is slowed we could have a stronger onshore flow through the Chehalis Gap that would keep a southwesterly flow over the race course until late afternoon.

Regardless of which hand we are dealt it’s going to be an interesting race and because the GHYC always puts on a great event, especially before and after the race, it’s bound to be a lot of fun.

Almost regardless, the start will be downwind in a southwesterly of 5-12 knots. As you work your way up Colvos, the breeze will tend to back and probably back off to the 3-5 knot range. It’s as you get closer to the north end of Colvos that it could get very interesting as a convergent zone develops from Blake Island south to somewhere between View Park and Anderson Point. The transition may even have the breeze backing around to the east before becoming northeasterly and then northerly. Foredeck crews, navigators and trimmers are going to be busy but at least it will be raining.

When dealing with these transition zones it will be important for the foredeck crews to remember to keep putting the headsail up in the port groove because once you get back into the southwesterly in Colvos, it will start out light and then slowly build. You’ll have long starboard tacks and short port tacks as you keep working to the west side of Colvos to stay out of the ebb tide. That way if you have to do a change you’ll have more time to set it up on the starboard tack. In Colvos the puffs will be lifts on starboard tack so main trimmers and drivers will be working especially hard.

I had some fun last week with predicting elapsed times  (and the final tally here) for some of the boats so I’ll roll the dice again, however, I have a much lower confidence level for this forecast because of the changing parameters. This week I’ll use one of my favorite boats, the J-160 Jam which is currently predicted to go around the course in 4 hrs and 2 min. So we’ll see….. Have a great race.

Midwinter Kids

Midwinter Kids

There may be some things that are more fun than packing up and heading across the country to race against a bunch of really skilled strangers, but not many. And if you get to do this when you’re young, it’s even better.

That’s what a bunch of Seattle area Laser sailors did this past month when they travelled to Clearwater, Florida for the Laser Midwinters East. The story is best told in pictures. What you don’t see is the moms who made it happen. As Erin Timms explains, “I will tell you that the kids had a ball! And Kara (Carlson) and I are exhausted after feeding 5 teenagers for 6 days!!!!!”

I’m hoping to follow the exploits of all our young sailors (and get their reports too) as they pursue championships, new friendships and fun. Not pictured here, but definitely representing Seattle, were Talia Toland and Hanne Weaver who both finished in the top ten in the Radial class. Results here.

Moms are great.

Scatchet Head Race – A Place for Cold Men

Scatchet Head Race – A Place for Cold Men

With the results now final, we get to talk about last Saturday’s Scatchet Head race, middle race of CYC’s Center Sound Series.

I don’t know about anybody else who was on the rail on Saturday’s beat back from Scatchet Head, but I was COLD. And WET. And HAPPY. Hey, it’s March and the East Coast is having a blizzard. I know the boys and girls in the Midwest are still many weeks away from launching.

Scatchet Head has tossed up some gnarly races the last few years, but this year things were a lot tamer. There was plenty of wind for a quick race.

A lot of theatrics occurred before the race. A J/105 split its chute while practicing before the start. Tahlequah was sorting out some new crew positions and was late to the start. On Grace we shrimped a chute while practicing, then started in the wrong start when there seemed to be a hiccup by the race committee, and barely made it back for our start when our jib stuck in the track. And, wouldn’t you know it, we ended up nailing our start just about perfectly. Yeah, we meant to do that.

The Race Committee also had some issues causing a fair amount of consternation in the fleet. Eventually, everyone got off, spinnakers flying, toward Whidbey Island. It’s not clear what happened in the starting sequence, but it had a lot of tacticians scratching their fuzzy hats. CYC race fleet captain Matt Wood reports the unspecified results issues have all been resolved.

Photos by Jan Anderson. Check them all out (yes, and buy some) at Jan’s Smugmug site.

Right off the start there were great puffs coming off Crown Hill all the way up to Edmonds. Those who braved going out of that great breeze on the east were rewarded late in the leg. Bill Buchan and Sachem seemed to be furthest west on the approach to the Scatchet Head Buoy. By the time the bulk of the fleet arrived at the mark, the flood was in full swing keeping helmsmen (and women!) on their toes during the rounding.

The beat home was a bit surreal. The misty rain was so thick at times land was virtually invisible. Those aft (or down below) with a chartplotter to play with could dial in, but on the rail it seemed we could have well been headed for the Arctic Circle. There were a couple big windshifts, and as long as you took advantage it was tactically a fairly straightforward leg. Perhaps the most surreal thing was the dead aircraft carrier USS Independence being eerily towed out of the Sound to her ultimate breakup, somewhere, sometime.

In the ORC class, Crossfire, Glory, Neptune’s Car and Smoke were all powered up downwind and just walked away upwind. Their elapsed times were just three hours and a bit, and it would be difficult to figure out how Crossfire could have sailed any better for the win. The J/160 Jam squeaked in on corrected time for a third behind Crossfire and Glory.

In the PHRF division, the small/slower boats had their day. John Cahill’s Gaucho was lights-out with the overall win. More Jubilee was second overall, leading the fleet of eight J/105s in the only one-design class. Here & Now was third. Elusive put in a strong performance in fourth overall and first in class, but the old IOR designs Sachem and Finale sure turned heads powering on the beat home.

In Bruce’s Brief before the race, he and his Expedition software dared predict elapsed times for several boats. Here’s how he did. Never quite satisfied, he went back to his computer and did some more number crunching to further confuse us frozen rail-sitters:

“If I take the recorded elapsed times and figure the speed around the course at 26.1 miles  which I figured at 25.5 miles and then if add the time it would take to sail  the extra .6 miles, my error for predicting elapsed time comes out pretty close. My error for Crossfire was 12.6 seconds or .1128% which would win just about every predicted log race in the universe.”

Bruce, you and Expedition should just go get a room. 

Crossfire‘s Race

Lou Bianco’s Reichel/Pugh 55 may not quite be the biggest, but it’s certainly the “baddest,” racer in town. Step onboard, and you know it takes a lot of skill to point it in the right direction and keep it from hurting itself. Guys like Fritz Lanzinger, Nigel Barron and Brad Baker lead that effort.

Brad Baker, Crossfire‘s navigator these days, offers some insight into the race. And Rick Donahue passed along the winning GPS track. Here’s Brad:

“It was an interesting race from the perspective that it was very direct.  For Crossfire the tides worked out very well.  We were able to get down to the mark just after the tide changed to the flood, but other than that we had reasonably favorable currents for most the race up and back.  The “direct” part has to do with shifts and timing of the shifts.  Going down there was a large easterly component.  We spent the majority off the time on starboard going at or very close to the mark, with maybe 15 minutes max on port. Coming back there ended up being a big shift to the west, so after maybe 10 or 15 minutes on port after rounding we tacked and did one big long starboard tack up the Sound.

Click to enlarge

You can see on the graphic what the boat speed was over the course. Pretty cool.  Wind speed was about 10 knots at the start.  The range in wind was 6 knots to 16 knots.  We saw the max wind on the run near Edmonds and the least amount of wind right at the end of the race. 

 Yes, Crossfire is a scary fast boat and the crew does a very nice job of keeping her going.  Lou Bianco and John Stanley did a nice job on the driving and Fritz deserves a lot of credit for his guru-like work.”

 

 

 

Grace

It was my first chance to sail with Andy and Jaimie Mack onboard their J/122 Grace, and it was a great experience. Despite our trials before the start, everyone on board kept their poise and we came away with a well earned class win. But it is the non-racing aspects of the program that are special to me.what was special to me.

Grace rounding the Scatchet Head buoy

Jaimie explained that a big part of buying Grace was that it was a great way to connect with all their Seattle area friends. They live on the Columbia River Gorge, but recognize the value of our sailing community. The second aspect is how they used the boat after the race. The dodger came back on the boat, the wet racing sails went off the boat, and they cruised the boat with their eight year old daughter to Port Madison to rendezvous with other boats. Race AND cruise, that’s cool.

Ace

Ace’s Scatchet Head track.

Fellow Laser sailor Mike Johnson was onboard the Farr 395 Ace in our class, a boat we kept a very close eye on. He was kind enough to send his track along and share it with all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Coach, FJs for Mount Baker

New Coach, FJs for Mount Baker

Seattle’s Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center is one of Seattle’s many options for sailing lessons and a sailing team. And clearly the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, sponsored by Mount Baker Boating Advisory Council, is intent on furthering the mission. With the recent hire of Kaitlyn van Nostrand as coach, the racing team will get a big boost. And another boost comes in the form of four new FJ dinghies, which are arriving today.

Here’s Kaitlyn’s basic bio from the Mount Baker website:

Kaitlyn Van Nostrand has been selected for the Youth Sailing Coach position at MBRSC. Kaitlyn has been a US Sailing Level 1 certified coach since 2004, and has coached juniors in Optimists, Lasers and 420’s.

At Hobart and William Smith Colleges, she was twice elected captain of the sailing team and MVP. She competed at five college sailing nationals and finished second place in the 2007 College Sailing Team Race Championships. She also raced Snipes, V15’s and E-Scows.

Kaitlyn moved to New Zealand in 2011 and coached Opti’s part time whilst obtaining her Master’s degree in International Business at the University of Auckland. She relocated to Seattle in 2016, coaching camps and the youth racing team at Sail Sand Point.

Hedrick’s Predictions

Hedrick’s Predictions

While CYC tends to some Scatchet Head results discrepancies, let’s take a look at how Bruce did with his weather outlook for the race. For those of us out there it was darn accurate. And check this out, through the magic of a VPP (not sure which one) and his knowledge of weather and the Sound, (assuming the elapsed times are accurate) he came up with a predicted elapsed time of 3:01 for Crossfire (their elapsed time was actually 3:06) and 4:50 (elapsed time actually 4:58 for Madrugador). Pretty good, but room for improvement……

Here are some of Jan Anderson’s photos. More coming, including a report from onboard Crossfire, when we do the full race report.

 

 

 

Bruce’s Briefs for March 11-12 and Scatchet Head Race

Bruce’s Briefs for March 11-12 and Scatchet Head Race

Overall it appears that our cold winter is finally coming to an end. That’s the good news. It doesn’t, however, mean our wet winter is coming to an end. We are still just under five inches of rain ahead for the year and the way the 500MB picture is setting up, it doesn’t appear that this will be slowing down anytime soon.

Wind Speed/Air Pressure at West Point

The models for this weekend are coming together so nicely it’s almost scary. They almost never converge this closely at 24 hours out. Plus last night we had yet another example of how much fronts can shift as they approach the coast and how this can have a dramatic effect on the isobar orientation and the actual wind we get. The TV weather guys were warning of breeze to come in about 0100 hrs this morning with gusts to 50 mph. It actually showed up, at least in West Seattle, at around 2300 hours and the peak gusts were closer to 35 mph. In the overall scheme of forecasting, I would say that’s still fairly close. The front appeared to hit our coastal buffer zone and deflect up into Vancouver Island which had the effect of lessening the compression in the isobars and slightly reducing wind speed. We are now very much in a post-frontal situation which has the barometer rising rapidly, the wind coming around to the SW in the Sound staying at 20-25 knots and a very strong westerly coming down the Straits. This will ease as the day progresses.

Let’s look at the tidal currents for the race course first before we delve into the wind on the course. I use the currents at Foulweather Bluff from the Station ID PCT 1566 rather than 1611 as they are closer to time and direction at the Scatchet Head Buoy. The velocity of the current can vary quite a bit depending on how much water is coming down the Snohomish River and then flowing out of Possession Sound on the ebb. Not much rain, the current on the ebb will be about .5 to .75 the value at Foulweather Bluff. Lots of rain, like yesterday it will be closer to .75 to 1.0 the value.

Foulweather Bluff

0729      Max Ebb                 1.12 knots

1130      Slack

1324      Max Flood            .61 knots

1557      Slack

1929      Max Ebb                 1.3 knots

West Point

0848      Max Ebb                 .21 knots

1012      Slack

1254      Max Flood            .79 knots

1518      Slack

1724      Max Ebb                 .46 knots

With the amount of freshwater coming into the Sound you can expect the wind generated surface current to make the ebb start sooner, last longer and run at a slightly higher velocity.

As I mentioned above, when the models are this close this early, there is a tendency to develop a plan for how to sail the race and then not change the plan as actual conditions develop. This can get you into a lot of trouble especially in this race. It’s fine to develop the plan, just use all available data tomorrow morning before you go head out and then keep your head out of the boat to watch was actually happening with the weather.

Right now it very much looks like you’ll probably start on starboard and then immediately gybe to port to get west of the rhumb line and ride the slightly stronger ebb with slightly more wind to get north and then gybe to make a starboard approach to the mark. Remember that if you get up there in the ebb and the ebb is running at the mark, the current velocity at the mark can be much higher in the last ¼ mile setting you to the west, so put a bit in the bank to allow for the set. Also remember that if the barometer has started to fall and the wind is east of due south, hoist the jib in the starboard groove because you’ll be on a long port tack to get over to the west side of the Sound where the flood starts sooner and runs stronger all the way to Jefferson Head. Ideally, you won’t tack for the finish until you are confident you are laying the finish line. The reality is that as you come across the Sound on starboard tack, you’ll probably be headed as you get closer to Shilshole. If you end up below the finish line, hold starboard tack until you can lay the finish on port. Again, remember, that as you get closer to the Shilshole and the finish, the outfall from the Ship Canal will be stronger.

For a little fun this week, I ran projected times around the course based upon two different models (an idle mind is the devil’s playground) for Crossfire, a J-125, a J-109, a J-30 and a Cal 40 just because I have those polars. Remember, this is 24 hours out, I probably don’t have the correct sail inventories and these polars are probably not current.

 

Vessel                     Elapsed Time                        Miles Sailed       

Crossfire                 3h 01m 16s                           29.00

J-125                        3h 41m  38s                          29.51

J-109                        4h 25m 06s                          29.27

J-30                           4h 50m 49s                         29.42

Cal 40                      4h 50m  29s                          30.63

 

It will still be fun to see what happens.

For Sunday it looks like a light southerly in the south Sound, a 15-20 southerly in the central Sound and later in the day 20+ of south easterly in the north Sound and in the east end of the Straits.

Be safe and have a great time.

Ed. Note: We’re going to start up an e-newsletter, so sign up, for just weather or the whole enchilada. Yeah, it’s free. 

 

Trump Dumps on Puget Sound, Let’s Work Together to Save it

Trump Dumps on Puget Sound, Let’s Work Together to Save it

The word is out. The Trump administration wants to cut 93%, that’s right, 93% of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA budget) for restoration and monitoring of Puget Sound. (Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes also face such draconian measures). The details of this proposed budget, and the likelihood of it being enacted, are murky at best.

There’s a big “however” here. However, murkiness notwithstanding we sailors can take steps to save our Sound. We have to be ready to fight for our beautiful Salish Sea. It doesn’t take long to pollute. It does take a long time to clean it up. And sailors do know how to make noise. What we can do now is give our elected officials, particular those in support of the new administration, an earful.

Here’s the essence of it, assuming that the 93% cut regionally and 24% nationally is seriously proposed. It has nothing to do with a Washington immigrant feud with Trump, as has been suggested. It has everything to do with Trump and the Republicans trying to blow up the EPA. From their standpoint, why not? They deny global warming and have willfully forgotten what our waterways were like in 1970 and why the EPA was created in the first place. Furthermore, they believe that regulations have stifled our economy. So, why not get rid of the EPA?

And here’s a really fitting nugget: Environmental Education would be cut 94%. To my mind, those were some of the most effective dollars spent. Change people’s minds, and you change their behavior. My behavior has certainly changed as I’ve learned more about the environment.

They believe that protecting the environment is bad for business, though businesses seem to have managed. A model might be our boatyards. They’ve made changes to their business model, and many (though not all) have withstood the onslaught of dubious lawsuits. They’ve utilized new technologies and charged their customers a bit more with an explanation. And while there’s plenty of room for discussion about lawsuits, boatyards and bottom paints, there’s one undeniable fact. Boatyards have become cleaner.

This move is not about budget savings.  All of Donald Trump’s proposals regarding infrastructure, walls, and military show that he’s not cutting “here” to make more money available “there.” It’s comically out of whack. If this were about trimming the budget, there’d be a serious proposal to cut a percentage and a mandate for each department to come up with well reasoned cuts.

No, this is about diminishing our country’s dedication to the environment. It’s about declaring that global warming doesn’t exist. It’s about putting business profits ahead of all else. It’s about a philosophy that regulation is bad and that the free market can and will take care of everything. The administration is willing to sacrifice the condition of Puget Sound and kick the cleanup can to our kids’ corners. I can’t even get my kids to pick up their own socks.

It’s about putting a guy like Scott Pruitt in charge who has been in the pocket of big business his entire career and fought the EPA tooth and nail. The Republicans have even introduced a bill to eliminate the EPA.

Apparently, the idea is that by gutting the EPA, businesses will become more profitable and somehow our lives will be enhanced. Since the economic recovery from the great recession began, businesses have been hoarding their profits, making the rich richer. There’s NO reason to think that “unburdening” them will make them more civically or environmentally minded.

And here’s the clincher, and it’s an economic one. A clean Sound makes money. A dirty Sound costs money. There are shellfish beds, salmon fisheries, sport fishing, and yes, recreational boating.

Trump and the current Republicans don’t see the dollar value of a clean environment or the expense of cleaning it up when it does get polluted. Excuse me, but they’re pooping on the hard work (sometimes not efficient or even misguided, but mostly highly valuable work) of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and ordinary citizens, since the early 1970s.

I’ve always thought that the greatest environmental gains were made through cooperative efforts. Sure, industry lobbying for its interests, and environmentalists lobbying for theirs, but the workable solution always seemed to lie somewhere between the two. And the EPA was an effective arbiter. Both sides have screamed and yelled that the EPA hasn’t been doing its job. I was splashing around southern Lake Michigan in 1970. I can say first hand that it has done its job.

The Trump administration has decided Puget Sound (and Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes) is not worth cleaning up and protecting. It’s up to all of us in Washington State to join together and fight for Puget Sound. And make no mistake, if the EPA is eviscerated, we will have to.  Shellfish harvesters, sportfishermen, commercial, recreational, business organizations, private citizens, all of us, need to work together. Who knows, in this adversarial climate we might find some surprising alliances.

Oh, yeah, and about those salmon. Guess what eat salmon? Our Southern Resident orcas. They’re already on a dangerously thin diet.

While we have a profound history in Washington of dumping unspeakables in places like Commencement Bay and Lake Union, and damming up some of the most productive salmon runs in the world, we also have a history of learning from our mistakes and becoming champions for our environment. I hope and expect that as Trump’s government abdicates its responsibilities, we sailors can join other Washingtonians to stop the madness. At least here.

Stay tuned, because I’m going to weigh in on the No Discharge Zone (yes, it may be happening) and a proposed no-go zone around San Juan Island to protect those orcas.

 

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