Zephyrs and Raindrops for Winter Vashon

The Winter Vashon Race is one of those events that can be best or worst of everything. And it seems every year that I miss it, it’s one of those idyllic days. Nigel Barron of CSR and Crossfire reports this might have been an OK year to miss, even if you’re sailing on the biggest, baddest boat out there.

Smarter people than I have said many things about South Sound Sailing: “There’s no racing South of Alki.” “Don’t do a race with Winter OR Vashon in the title.”  Yet there we all were at 630am on Saturday leaving Shilshole to motor down to Tacoma. Truth be told, it wasn’t a bad start to the day because it didn’t start raining until about 830, but once it started, it never really stopped…  Light and fickle winds greeted the fleet. Did I mention it rained? It was really just a matter of trying to connect the small fingers of wind, that as predicted came from the east. On Crossfire, we did a pretty good job keeping the boat moving, jumping between the light jibs, and the A1 as the small puffs came through. Mercifully, as we approached the North end of the island, the RC announced they were shortening the course. True to form, a mile or so from the finish, we could see the boats behind us keeping kites full so it was pretty obvious the fill was coming from behind. After we crossed the finish, we put the kite back up and had the best sailing of the day from the finish back to West Point.

As one would expect the results showed final results in some classes as pretty much the inverse of ratings, as the fleet compressed and handicaps were applied. The overall winner of the day was McSwoosh, a fine reward for being out there regularly on the South Sound Races! Other class winners included Kahuna, Grace E. Blueflash, Sidewinder, Chinoook, Nimbus, Emma Lee, Second Wind and the Cal 20 Willie Tipit (now there’s a name).

The intrepid team of Jan and Skip Anderson were out there photographing, and Jan had her own take on the day:

Holy Schamoley, what a perfect day on the water, and a typical barn-burner of a Winter Vashon! GREAT breeze (often a bit too much to handle, actually), warm temps, record speeds, fantastic chute sets, tacking duels to write home about, playing the shifts perfectly, BIG old sun in the sky, and you could practically hear Mount Rainier shouting “Go! Go!” from astern … oh, wait, that wasn’t this weekend, was it? Dang. Don’t even try to print these photos off at home – it’ll soak your printer. Blah.

I guess didn’t miss much – this year. Here are Jan’s photos, and if you want to remember the day, visit her web site!


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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