Dick Wagner, Founder of the Center for Wooden Boats

Dick Wagner, Founder of the Center for Wooden Boats

I had the honor of meeting Dick Wagner a couple years ago. He died last Thursday, but The Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) which he founded will carry on indefinitely into the future doing exactly what he valued, getting people out on the water.

I never availed myself of the opportunity to interview him. Fortunately many others have. Here is the obit in The Seattle Times.

His priority was getting people onto the water. His approach was simplify the process. And he broke down the usual barriers. There were no intimidating “Members Only” signs, no big hoops to jump through to just take out a boat for a sail. Or row. The CWB still gives people free rides!

Moreover, he built a community. It became a hub of life for many people. They’d volunteer their time, learn to work the wood in their hands and breathe life back into beautiful old boats that someone – or sometimes everyone – had given up on.

Apparently he could be “brusque” on the docks and not always warm and fuzzy, but he did a great thing for boating in the Northwest.

And while CWB’s scope expanded more than Wagner could have possibly imagined when he started it all, the sense is that they will continue seeing their role on the waterfront as Wagner envisioned, to simply get people on the water. The boats and facilities needn’t be perfect. And needn’t maximize the bottom line. What is needed, I think he would argue, is to get people on the water.

I sure hope his vision continues.

The naval architect Bob Perry wrote of his contact with Wagner on Sailing Anarchy, which provides great insight, and he allowed me to share it here along with a drawing he did for Wagner in 1969:

My old friend and giant in the PNW world of wooden boats, Dick Wagner, died on Thursday at his houseboat on Lake Union.

I met Dick in about 1970 when I was playing in the band and I ran across his boat rental business on Lake Union. I was a very frequent renter and one day Dick said, ‘This is very expensive for you. How would you like to exchange working on the boats for use of the boats?” I jumped at it and we became friends. In time I rented the houseboat next to Dick’s and from time to time I’d watch the rental business when Dick went out of town. I cruised Dick’s 42’ schooner SINBAD.

I won’t even try to document what Dick did for the wooden boat scene in Seattle.  Safe to say he singlehandedly established The Center For Wooden Boats on Lake Union. If not single handed, damn near.

He was really a nice guy, intense with a fiery temper and no time at all for idiots. Dick encouraged my youthful yacht design efforts when others were laughing at me. He gave me little design jobs that looking back I think he gave me to help my confidence along.

Dick was the only person I ever knew who pronounced “block and tackle” as “block and taykle” the way the old timers reportedly said it.

Dick was a very skilled architect but his heart was in the wooden boat scene.

A funny image I have of Dick is when some non sailor would rent a boat. They would have to sail it out of the narrow area between the houseboats off Westlake. Typically this would not go well and Dick would chase them down the dock screaming at them until they were out of ear shot. I think Dick may have gotten more rental money when the renters were too afraid to sail back to the dock.

R.I.P. Dick in a nice old wooden boat that never needs upkeep.


Here’s a video piece with Wagner explaining the thinking behind the CWB and its beginnings.

Here’s the message from The Center for Wooden Boats’ web site.


The Center for Wooden Boats’ navigator and true north, Founding Director Dick Wagner, passed away at home with his family on Thursday, April 20th.  His was a life well lived.

Dick was one of a kind.  A man of uncommon perseverance, he believed profoundly in the power of people.  He helped us imagine the unimaginable, inspiring us to whole-heartedly join the effort to create something brand new.  A graduate of Columbia and Yale, he was trained as an architect and thought like an urban planner.  Some people change skylines. Dick changed Seattle’s waterline.  He showed us how to bring to life a stark shoreline by providing public access to the water.  He showed us that a living museum could have mostly moving parts, and that everyone could be engaged in learning by doing.  The goal was always to get a tool, an oar, a tiller, or a mainsheet in someone’s hand, so they could feel the wood, the water, or the wind as they discovered with amazement what they could do.  That was learning, that was growing, that was living.

Passing skills from one generation to the next, we were preserving the maritime heritage that is integral to human history in the Pacific Northwest.  Dick believed in boats without barriers, serving our community across cultural and economic boundaries.

With a track record of public benefit and creative vision, Dick positioned CWB as a leader in the maritime heritage community.  He profoundly influenced the evolution of Lake Union Park and the urban neighborhood at South Lake Union.  Turn the clock back more than 30 years to CWB’s first days in South Lake Union.  Scan the shoreline from Kenmore Air to Foss Maritime, and it would be unrecognizable but for the cedar-shingled boatshop ably performing every function a fledgling hands-on museum might need.  Today, that boatshop is joined by another floating building and a new one on shore, all monuments to the enduring value of Dick’s vision.  What Dick and his wife, Colleen, started in their home so many years ago has grown into a Seattle treasure and national destination, and the new building is fittingly named the Dick and Colleen Wagner Education Center.  Years later, the State of Washington approached Dick to extend his vision and create The Center for Wooden Boats at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island.  Still later, King County Metro partnered with CWB to activate a new site near Gas Works Park in North Lake Union.

As an unconventional community organizer and eloquent advocate for youth, Dick inspired a generation of community leaders.  He was committed to democratizing the world of sailing and using wooden boats as a force for good.  He believed CWB should serve all members of the community, especially the young and those with special needs.  He was most proud of our programs that serve homeless youth and people with physical challenges.  He considered our free Sunday Public Sails a critical community service.  There were so many important stories to tell, and a diverse collection of boats helped us tell those stories.

Dick was famously serious about the most efficient way to sail boats with traditional rigs, and if you were smart, you would heed his advice.  His intensity was matched by his impish sense of humor.  A gifted writer, he delighted in unusual metaphors, sometimes nautical, sometimes celestial, sometimes structural in nature.  As an architect and planner, he effortlessly produced surprising and inventive – even fanciful – solutions to old problems and answers to questions that no one else was asking.  Upon hearing a well-told tale or witty remark, Dick’s eyes would sparkle, his whole face would crinkle with a wide grin, and a staccato giggle would burst forth.  He was never without a pen and paper, or a napkin in a pinch, because the ideas were constantly flowing, the to-do lists were without end, and the boat sketches practically drew themselves.   A man of refined tastes, he used to keep a bottle of good scotch in his desk drawer and occasionally raise a glass at day’s end with treasured friends, who were invariably devoted CWB donors and volunteers.

Dick dreamed on a grand scale but delivered results on a human scale.  He favored small boats that could be single-handed over large vessels.  He favored deep, rich educational experiences that change lives over hosting crowds for brief visits with little lasting impact.  He favored handwritten letters packed with personality and inspiration – and a Wagnerian doodle if you were lucky – over mass mailings generated by the miracles of technology.

Ever the expansive thinker, even in the early days, Dick could be heard to say, “Today Lake Union, tomorrow the world!”  He wanted CWB to have the widest impact possible and do the most good for the most people.  The community efforts that Dick helped bring to life from Oregon to Virginia to the Caribbean to St. Petersburg, Russia, seem to signal that tomorrow has arrived.  Dick has left Seattle and the world a better place.

At Dick’s request, there will be no services. CWB is planning several events to celebrate his life. Check our website and social media channels for upcoming details.

Bruce’s Brief for April 22-23 and CYC’s PSSR

Bruce’s Brief for April 22-23 and CYC’s PSSR
Wind Speed/Air Pressure at West Point

If only we were racing today…..but we are not, so we might as well deal with it. It’s just difficult to look out at the Sound and see 8-knots from the north with a temperature of 55⁰F and not dream about racing or cruising in those conditions. OK, the wind chill is still around 46⁰F so it’s not exactly summer-like yet. It does, however, give us some hope for July 5th…….

The surface chart for today, 21 April, shows us the inevitable for this upcoming weekend. We’ve got both rain and wind headed towards us for both days and well into next week. As we said last week, the long range weather has us as being wetter and cooler than normal and with the jet stream staying well south of us, it is going to stay that way. Don’t kill the messenger.

The surface chart for tomorrow, 22 April, shows a moderately healthy front aimed right at us. The timing of frontal passage is still very unclear. The coastal buffer zone (CBZ) will once again have an impact on timing however it won’t be as dramatic as last weekend where it totally blocked the front and sent it off to the northwest and away from here. The key will be for you to check barometric pressure trends along the coast and inland reporting stations. It’s already starting to drop today so it will happen. After that, check the wind directions and wind velocities around the Sound, including the Washington State ferries on the Bainbridge and Edmonds-Kingston runs. The pre-frontal breeze will be southeasterly, while if the pressure is rising and the wind is out of the southwest, that would be post-frontal. It could, however, be a mixed bag as the front interacts with the CBZ. As per usual, expect stronger breeze along the coast and in the eastern Straits and the San Juan Islands.

That doesn’t necessarily mean light air in the race area off of Shilshole. It could mean 15-20 knots from the SSW in the morning backing off around midday to 5-15-knots from the south and then filling back in from the SW at 15-20-knots around mid-afternoon before slowly backing off towards sunset.

Sunday looks lighter however as the front has passed expect a more consistent onshore flow to develop over the course of the day which could have the breeze build slowly into the 15-20-knot range from the SW over the central and south Sound. The convergence zone will start in the north Sound around Port Townsend as strong westerly fills from Race Rocks to the East. The CZ will slowly work its way south to Edmonds and north Seattle by the early evening on Sunday.

Tidal Current at West Point
0754 Slack
1124 Max Flood .82
1418 Slack
1600 Max Ebb .3
1936 Slack

0842 Slack
1212 Max Flood .96
1506 Slack
1648 Max Ebb .38
2106 Slack

I have also included the graph of current velocity over time as it shows a distinctly non-sinusoidal curve so be aware especially with the flood being stronger than the ebb in a predominately southerly breeze situation. A little unusual so watch the COG and SOG.

Have a great weekend but be prepared for just about anything!

Women at the “Sharp End” of Racing, and in the Pacific Northwest

Women at the “Sharp End” of Racing, and in the Pacific Northwest

CNN’s Shirley Robertson takes a look at women “at the sharp end of the sport.” (Don’t you love how the Brits use their language?) She’s a double Olympic medalist, so well qualified. In this 22 minute video that’s getting a lot of play interenationally, she interviews Ellen MacArthur, Sam Davies, Dawn Riley and others. I love it when she talks to Ken Read about why he hadn’t recruited more women, and he admits “shame on me.”

It’s pretty clear that there isn’t gender equality at that sharp end, especially when it comes to the America’s Cup. The argument that it’s difficult for women revolves around size and strength.

I’ve always thought that the Northwest had a relatively (to other areas) high percentage of women skippers and crews. Almost all the crews I’ve been a part of have had a mix. And Ellen MacArthur and Sam Davies reinforce what I’ve always felt, that the best way into the sport for women is to just ignore the few bone-heads out there that think that women don’t belong, and just sail the boat. I can’t speak for the sharp end of the sport.

Check out the video below. I’d love to open up the conversation about Northwest women racers. Are there more bone-heads out there than I think? Is the racing climate conducive or prohibitive to women? Start it up in the comments below and if there’s interest I can open up a forum.


Southern Straits Race Wrap

Southern Straits Race Wrap

Southern Straits is often a great race, and by the sounds of it it was this year. We’re lucky to have Peter Salusbury report on the race soon after finishing a strong second with his amazing Longboard. Enjoy the photos Peter and crew supplied, plus more photos courtesy of race chair Sonia Telford. If anyone has tales/pix/video to add, send them along and I’ll incorporate them into this post. Here’s Peter: 

Southern Straits Race 2017 started with a packed clubhouse at the race host, West Vancouver Yacht Club, for a pre-race dinner and weather briefing. Bruce Hedrick had been watching the weather models all week and while he couldn’t make it the evening to present it himself, you could have heard a pin drop in the room as his detailed weather forecast was shared with the 200+ people in the room.

Thankfully, the overnight rain let up first thing in the morning and start off Dundarave Pier featured a slowly oscillating NE to SE wind of around 5 knots.  The long course boats started first with the NE wind prevailing initially with Longboard leading the pack on the rhumb line while the the two TP52’s, Smoke and Kinetic, gybed south to take advantage of better ebb current looking for the SE which eventually would settle in.  As the morning went on, the southeasterly built to 10 to 15 knots as the fleet took the long port tack gybe to Sister’s Islet.  The wind eventually built to a steady 20 knots with the big division 1 boats rounding Sister’s in the middle of the afternoon. 

Leg two back south to the TA mark started in the 15 knot SE which slowly lifted to an easterly so you could parallel the Vancouver Island shore until about the Wincheslea Islands.  From there to Entrance Island was a slow transitional zone with light airs, shifting breeze from NE to SW to no breeze at all.  As always, there were winners and losers through this stretch but the boats that stayed offshore a little seemed to benefit from the post frontal southwesterly that eventually asserted itself south of Entrance Island.

Entrance Island to the TA was a starboard tack fetch in 15 knots of breeze – very fast sailing conditions.  After rounding TA, the next leg to Halibut bank was too tight for many boats to carry a kite in the 15 to 20 knots of breeze but if you could carry one, it paid big time to sail low with a reaching kite and benefit from a slow lift and lightening breeze on the approach to Halibut Bank.  From Halibut Bank to the finish line was a one tack fetch again in the 15 know southwesterly which lasted all the way to Bowen Island where there was one final massive transition zone. The boats that did the best led their fleets south on a port tack to stay in the dying SW and eventually were rewarded with a solid easterly coming out of English Bay. 

So overall, a very fast and mostly dry race – much drier than anticipated interrupted by two to three significant transition zones that if you were good and a little lucky, really paid off in the results.  (Race results here.) It was a classic Pacific NW race where the faster the boat, the better you did on the Long course for sure, and the standings suggest that applied to the Medium and Short courses as well.  Kinetic and Smoke had a good battle going on all race with Kinetic eventually prevailing to take line honors just before 3 am on Saturday and the overall course win in both PHRF and ORC.  It was David Sutcliffe’s first win in Straits race either as crew or skipper and good primer as he gets ready to take Kinetic south this summer to take on the Transpac Race.  Stu Dahlgren’s Westerly from Royal Vic Yacht Club did a nice job staying ahead of Paul Lamarche’s always well sailed Neptune’s Car from the first leg onwards to finish third.  Another well sailed Vancouver Island boat, Colin Jackson’s Jackrabbit, had a great battle with our very own Longboard, eventually correcting out 3 minutes to win Division 2 on the Long course in PHRF. 

The Medium course was from the start to Sister’s and back to the finish line with the perennial favourite, Jim Prentice’s Diva taking line honors and another Vancouver Island boat, Beats per Minute skippered by Eldin Miller-Stead winning overall. The short course boats had a very quick race to Ballenas Island and return with the almost unbeatable Incisor skippered by William Phelps once again taking the overall win finishing just after midnight right behind the line honors winner Hurricane sailed by Matt Lane.

As always, a big shout out to the Race Chair, Sonia Telford, and her 90 volunteers who made this race a huge success. It was great to see so many boats from Seattle and Vancouver Island making the trek north and the race did create some great sailing memories. Hope to see everyone back for next year which is the 50th anniversary of Southern Straits Race. And finally, a huge thank-you to Bruce Hedrick for the pre-race weather forecast posted on sailish.com.  

–Peter Salusbury

Bruce’s Weather Brief for April 15-16

Yet another interesting week of weather in the Pacific Northwest will wrap up with what could be the nicest weekend so far this year, especially on Easter Sunday.

The race tracker shows the fleet making its way west at about 1315 to Ballenas Islands, with Kinetic in the lead doing 12.8 knots.

The racers up in Vancouver for the South Straits got started this morning in what will probably turn out to be a bit of a slow race as the pressure gradient is widening over the area. Tracker Link.

After all the rain yesterday, punctuated with squalls that brought some rain, hail, and wind, a high-pressure ridge is starting to build over the area. Having said that, when you look at the Langley Doppler Radar you will see some significant rain still headed our way this afternoon. However, once that blows through, there won’t be much more for the rest of the weekend.

The strange part, but then again it is spring in the Pacific Northwest so expect anything, will be that while it will be generally light wind over most of the area, expect some breeze in the Straits on Saturday which will come down the Sound later on Saturday. The strange part is that the central sound will have breeze while it remains light in the North, South, and Eastern Straits. By breeze, we could see 15-20 knots from the north pretty much all day on Sunday.

Langley Doppler April 14

As you can see from the 500MB charts, the jet stream is still well south of us which will keep temperatures lower than normal over the area and keep the door open for more rain to wander in over the course of the coming week.

Enjoy the weekend!

Ed. Note: Bruce pulled double duty this week, doing a special Brief for the South Straits racers and today’s look at the weather for the rest of us. We’ll have a wrap on South Straits as soon as we can pull it together and get some reports from our Canadian friends. 




Bruce’s Weather Brief for Southern Straits Race. Pleasant and Cold, but Finish before 1700.

Bruce’s Weather Brief for Southern Straits Race. Pleasant and Cold, but Finish before 1700.

The good news is that the forecast models are actually starting to converge and looks like this could be a relatively pleasant race. What a difference a week or a day can make! If we had started last Friday by Friday night some boats might have been seeking shelter from 40+ knots. If we had started this morning we would now be in 30+ knots at Sisters.

As you can see from the surface charts we do have another front that will be passing over us tomorrow probably sometime between 1200 and 1400 hrs. This is a cold front so make sure you are going to be prepared for some wet and cold especially tomorrow night. Not below freezing but with the wind chill you might be just above freezing, 5⁰-8⁰ C.

For the start, expect 5-15 knots from the SSE. As you work your way west out of English Bay and towards Halibut Bank the wind will begin to back very slightly and there will be some topographical compression resulting in higher wind speeds, not excessive but in the 12-18 knot range as you approach Sangster and Lasqueti Island. This will not last long as the gradient will begin to ease with frontal passage. Since the low-pressure system will be slowly curving away from the coast, the wind won’t completely evaporate but it will ease.

As the post-frontal wind comes down the Straits of Juan de Fuca it will curve up into the race course bringing slightly more wind to the west side of the course from Entrance Island south. North of Entrance, the mountains on Vancouver Island will begin to act a block keeping the breeze lighter near the Island. As the sun goes down know where your competitors and mark them with the handbearing compass to see who goes light where.

By 2200 to 0400 the breeze will tend to be from the SSW to SW in the 8-12 knot range. After around 0400 the breeze will drop consistently over the course down to the 5-10 knot range. After 0900 on Saturday, the breeze may drop even more, just in time to coincide with the building ebb near the finish line. YUK! By late the morning, we will start to see the breeze back to the SE and become a little spotty, especially from Halibut back to the finish. From about 1300 until about 1500 there will be a slight increase in the breeze but dropping again and then severely glassing off around 1700. Watch for the drainage breeze as you get closer to the finish.

Above all else try to finish before 1700 hrs on Saturday.

Editor’s Note: I’ll do a wrapup after the race, and would love to include some first-hand tales as I won’t be making the trip. Please send stories (long or short), snapshots and video links to kurt@meadowpointpub.com. Thanks! Good luck to all.

Squall Punctuates PSSR Small Boats

Squall Punctuates PSSR Small Boats

CYC’s Puget Sound Sailing Regatta (PSSR) last weekend was of the small boat and dinghy fleets, and there were plenty of options from which to choose, including both Hobie 16s and 18s! Saturday it blew in the teens (except for the last-race-of-the-day squall) and Sunday it was light. Life on the committee boat on lumpy Saturday wasn’t the most comfortable and rumor has it there was some mal de mer going around.

The largest fleet in both size boats and numbers was the J/24 class. In 2015 only six J/24’s sailed and last year it was eight. This year it was 14, which is a good sign the fleet has embraced the idea of coming out of Lake Washington for this event. Wayne Pignolet’s Joy Ride won the class with an extremely consistent performance, followed by perennial top boats Self Abuse and Tremendous Slouch.

All photos by Jan Anderson:

Mats Elf won the six-boat 505 fleet in a tight battle over Cody Kowalski while Paul Evenden, Eric Ledbetter and Jay/Lisa Renehan won the Hobie 18, Star and Tasar classes. Results here.

Only two Lasers showed up for the regatta, and were basically absorbed into the RS Aero fleet. Many new faces dotted the Aero fleet, which is great to see. It was Todd Willsie hanging on for a narrow win, especially after a satisfying last race on Saturday when a squall packing around 30 knots rolled through race course. After three firsts and a second on Saturday, Willsie watched his lead start to disappear as Eric Becker, Randy Shuman and David Rogers all showed light air speed.

It was interesting for me to watch the fleets assemble on Sunday from Golden Gardens Park. About 300 yards away from the CYC committee boat the SYC team, with a healthy number of kids Optis and Laser Radials, where happily doing drills with a coach leading the way in a RIB. While Willsie and the others were waiting between starts, the kids were drilling, practicing, MOVING. I understand the Tasar fleet decided to peel away on Sunday and have their own rabbit starts to get more sailing in.

Personally, have a hard time waiting between races, even when a RC is on top of it. I get impatient and cold. And today’s kids are used to pretty much constant engagement of one sort or another. I can’t imagine my 10-year old sitting for 20 minutes between races unless he had an iPad, and then he’d miss the next start for sure.

As we contemplate moving  kids moving into adult dinghy sailing, one of the things we should perhaps look at is how we can reduce the wait time between races or find another way to keep everyone engaged, even when there are multiple classes and challenging logistics. Nowadays I’m usually happy for a bit of a rest, but I didn’t need or want that 40 years ago and I’ll bet neither do kids today.

Bruce’s Brief: Storm Arcing away from the Coast, Small Boat PSSR and early South Straits Preview

Bruce’s Brief: Storm Arcing away from the Coast, Small Boat PSSR and early South Straits Preview

Certainly another interesting day out there and real fun for the weather geeks. As we said yesterday, this looked like just another winter weather storm, slightly elevated wind speeds but not as strong as the TV and radio folks would like to have us believe. As I write, the barometer here as well as in the Straits, and along the coast has started to go up which should indicate that this low-pressure system has started to arc away from the coast. In some cases rising rapidly which can be as bad as falling rapidly so we’ll watch those stations. The coastal buffer zone once again is helping to diminish wind speeds over the interior of Western Washington. Note the chart for Cape Elizabeth, which I will try to update before sending this out. I’ve also included the Langley Hill Doppler radar image because you can really see where the low-pressure is centered off our coast, especially if you run the “Reflectivity Loop.” It is clearly moving away from the coast.

As you can see from the surface charts everything is pointing towards a post frontal kind of weekend. I think given the option I probably wouldn’t head out this afternoon and instead just get the boat ready to go tomorrow, late morning. For the north, central, and south Sound expect 15-25 knots for south-southwesterly until mid to late afternoon. Before going anywhere, check the station reports on your VHF. Remember that the definition of heavy weather is the point at which you don’t feel comfortable with you, your crew or your vessel being able to handle the conditions. No harm in just spending a comfortable weekend at the dock getting caught up on boat chores or reading those owner’s manuals.

By Sunday things will ease off in the Sound however along the coast we’ll start to feel the effects of yet another low-pressure system headed our way. Check the 48 hour surface chart. More lows are out there however they are starting to weaken and as we saw this week, the closer they get to our coastal buffer zone, the weaker they become. There is some hope for better weather after all. The downside is in the 500MB charts which have the jet stream well to the south of us which is actually going to allow more moisture into California and keep us cooler and wetter than normal.

For PSSR at Shilshole, the boats and crews that like breezy conditions are going to love Saturday. The challenge will be where CYC sets the start-finish line. That’s because even though the conditions are post-frontal, in other words, a southwesterly flow over the Sound, you will still have a very localized southeasterly coming out of the Ship Canal. This challenge will be compounded by stronger shifts to the southwest as the day goes on and the breeze starts to ease. Very tactical and challenging racing for sure.

I had a request from my friend Peter Salusbury up in Vancouver to gaze deeply into the crystal ball to see what conditions we may have for the best long distance race in the Pacific Northwest, South Straits of Georgia which will be starting on Friday, the 14th of April. Needless to say, if it had started today it would have been quite a thrash but then again we’ve come to expect this of that race. While the 11 April chart continues to show what appears to be an unrelenting string of low-pressure systems out there, they are really starting to weaken, except for that monster 972MB low on the International Dateline. It, however, is not moving our way so at this point conditions are looking relatively benign. Doesn’t mean you can slack off in your safety preparation, however. I’ve included the Navy charts for Friday and Saturday next weekend. I’ll have a special South Straits forecast on Thursday with a weekend post on Friday.

Have a safe and fun weekend!

Winter is not Quite Done with Us Yet….

Winter is not Quite Done with Us Yet….

While the sales folks at the radio and TV stations want to scare us with dire forecasts, this looks to be just another strong winter storm that will thrash the coastal waters. As you can see from the surface charts our Coastal Buffer Zone will once again do a pretty good job of keeping the strongest breezes offshore and along the coast by driving that 973MB low-pressure system to the NNW when it starts to interact with the coast.

That’s not saying the winds will be light over the Sound. By tomorrow afternoon expect winds 25-30 knots with gusts to 40 over the central and south Sound. The San Juans and coastal waters could see 30-35 knots with gusts near 50. For the central and south Sound expect the breeze to start dropping by 1700 to 1800 hrs tomorrow afternoon. The breeze will last into the early morning hours of Saturday in the San Juans, Gulf Islands, and Coastal areas.

The real problem will be that with all the rain we’ve had this will be enough wind to bring down some more trees and cause some landslides as well as power outages.

If you’ve had the boat out recently it is probably a good idea to add the extra winter mooring lines and additional fenders sometime tomorrow morning.

We’ll have another update for you tomorrow around noon. (Ed. note, we’re all lucky Bruce is keeping tabs on this for us and keeping his head while many of those in the media may be losing theirs….)

Blakely Rock Benefit Regatta

Blakely Rock Benefit Regatta

It’s been a long time since 116 boats have been on Puget Sound for a race on the same day, but that’s exactly what happened for Saturday’s Blakely Rock Benefit Regatta (BRBR). And with a gentle southerly, sailors and non-sailors alike looking out at Sound got to see a gorgeous parade of boats headed back to Shilshole after rounding the Rock.

Why so many boats? Maybe it had to do with the beneficiary of the regatta, The Sailing Foundation (TSF) and its efforts at promoting youth sailing. While all the beneficiaries of this race are worthy, there’s a natural connection with TSF. Maybe the participation had to do with the promotional efforts by the Sloop Tavern YC  and Andrew Nelson of TSF. There was lots of outreach. Maybe the Sloop offering a provisional PHRF racing for a race helped spur attendance. It did in my case.

Regardless, why were there so many boats in BRBR is probably worth some study. In the meantime here are some great Jan Anderson photos and a race to talk about. The sun mixed with clouds and a bit of warmth made for some very happy faces, and Jan caught a lot of them. Maybe a shot or two of your boat?

There were three, count’em three, non flying sails classes comprising 15 boats. Starting first, they could stay in more of the dying breeze longer, though that couldn’t help some of the boats when it got super light off Shilshole. Despite that, every non-flying sails boat that started, finish. In fact, only two boats that started DNFed. Hey, it’s a benefit regatta and a beautiful day and, really, so what if some boats are a mile ahead. It’s great to be on the water, and that racing climate is what makes this race special.

There was something really special about watching Crossfire and Smoke smoke through the fleet on the long leg to the Meadow Point buoy. With their tall rigs and generating their own apparent wind, it didn’t seem like a light air race to them. They finished first and second overall, respectively. There were lots of other impressive performances you can find in the results. The two Bob Perry-designed Flying Tigers had a great day, finishing first and second in class. An Aussie 18 skiff, brought here temporarily from the sailing skiff Foundation in San Francisco and skippered by Evan Sjostedt, flew around the leadmines with the greatest of ease.

But this race was primarily about a relaxed race and gathering some funds for TSF. Youth Sailing Director Andrew Nelson doesn’t have the final numbers yet, but it was surely a significant fundraiser for the organization. And he reported that Ben Glass on Ocelot (The Mighty Ocelot for this race, anyway) invited four high school kids, who must have had a blast. Video below and on the sailish.com Facebook page.

And we’ll throw in another photo, this one of the Swan 391 Oxomoro crossing the trimaran Escape. Photo courtesy of Oxomoro skipper Doug Frazer, and if you want to see a relationship between a happy owner and boat unfold, check this slideshow out.

Oxomoro and Escape (click to enlarge)

Onboard Slipstream

The race was SO appealing, my boat partners Joe and Becky Burcar and I raced our C&C 36 Slipstream with their 6 year old daughter Charlotte and my 10 year old son Ian.  We would have won (not) for sure if not for a major crisis rounding Blakely Rock. Charlotte needed help getting her socks on, and was really quite insistent about it. Mommy was on the helm, and Joe and I were rather busy at the time and Ian’s help was unacceptable. So, after gybing the headsail and pointing back toward Shilshole, the first order of business was Joe getting Charlotte’s socks on. And you know, that was perfect. As it turned out, Charlotte’s socks were much less of a problem than our spinnaker sock. Following are a couple little videos I posted live to Facebook.

It’s obvious that with smartphone cameras and their ubiquitous use , we’re going to see more and more onboard footage. If you want to share yours on sailish.com or our FB page, let me know.