Another Scatchet Head Scorcher

Got Seamanship?

There’s nothing like a man overboard incident in a racing situation to see who’s got seamanship and who doesn’t.

Yep, if you haven’t heard, there was at least one overboard incident in last Saturday’s Scatchet Head Race. It was handled so well there really was no reason to hear about it. Unless you want to learn something from it.58919

It all started when Gina Layton was deposited in the drink during a tack. Skipper Stuart Burnell and the Tantivy crew handled Gina’s swimming sojourn with consummate skill, getting her back onboard within a minute and a half and then getting themselves out of a grounding as swimmer and boat had drifted onto the shallow shelf off Edmonds before getting stuck there.

Nope, no issues there. Another boat even stood by just in case.

Burnell has written up the rescue and lessons learned.

The issue and some questions apply to everyone else who was out there. How many of us would react as well? How many of us have even deployed a Lifesling in rehearsal? (a fair number, I’m sure, but not nearly all.)

And how many of us take this as a sign that we need to practice, prepare and talk about man overboard and other situations more often? Seamanship, in my view, is mostly about preparing the crew for such a situation.

The first step in preparation may be listening to Neptune’s warnings. I’m thinking Gina’s plunge was one of those.

The Race

There was a race, and what a race it was. The run to Scatchet Head was fast, and the mid 20-kt gusts rewarded the planing hulls and punished heavier boats that stayed in displacement mode too much of the time. And made for some great Jan Anderson photos.

The beat back was very puffy, and sharp driving and main trim in the puffs could make a big difference one way or another.

There were a few surprises, the first being that the wind died, not built as we got further north. Another surprise was a slight right hand shift after rounding the mark that helped some of the boats coming from behind.

The stories will be trickling out over the next couple of weeks, and I plan on collecting a few then inciting a few rivalries before Three Tree Point.

In the meantime, there were a few great performances that deserve mention.

On Double Take we had to take a couple transoms to get back to the left side of the course. Jan Anderson photos.
On Double Take we had to take a couple transoms to get back to the left side of the course. Jan Anderson photos.

After I reminded Charlie and his great Absolutely great crew one too many times about last year’s dismasting, they sailed an amazing race (on the former Voodoo Child) and handily won the very tough class 7. Congrats Charlie! Here and Now must have had things rolling along downwind and certainly looked good coming back to weather. On Double Take it took us a frightfully long time to catch up to her again. And don’t you just love it when a Thunderbird (Selchie) wins her class in those conditions?

Those two TP 52s, Glory and Smoke, are ridiculously fast both downwind and upwind in those conditions. Crossfire, the Reichel/Pugh 55 hit 26 knots. We may hear more from Crossfire‘s navigator Bruce Hedrick on that score if we can pry him away from the navigation hardware and software he’s working on for Vic-Maui.

Results here. Jan Anderson’s photos here.

Stay tuned, I’ll be back before Three Tree Point.





Kurt grew up racing and cruising in the Midwest, and has raced Lasers since the late 1970s. He has been Assistant Editor at Sailing Magazine and a short stint as Editor of Northwest Yachting. Through Meadow Point Publishing he handles various marketing duties for smaller local companies. He currently is partners on a C&C 36 which he cruises throughout the Northwest. He's married to the amazing Abby and is father to Ian and Gabe.

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