Bruce is back! With forecasts! Now let’s get out there and cruise.
TransPac was great but nothing beats the Pacific Northwest in the summer when the weather is perfect here while the rest of the country is baking and getting overly soaked. Not much on tap around here in terms of weather to watch except the usual summertime suspects: the wind against the ebb tide going over the bars along the coast and the afternoons in the Strait of Juan de Fuca as the westerly fills down especially in the central to eastern part of the Strait.
What is strange is that weak group of low-pressure systems centered off of the Queen Charlottes. These are supported by a cut-off upper-level low that you see on today’s 500MB chart. This combination has the overall effect of keeping the Pacific High weak and unstable. This is actually good news as this will have the effect of keeping our temperatures from getting too warm. The other good news is that not much is going to change going forward. Overall, that means do more boating, get out and enjoy our incredible area.
Pretty much only good, no, great news for this weekend. Just in time for the official start of summer, we’re going to have 75+⁰F for today, 80+⁰F for Saturday and 90+⁰F for Sunday. No reason not to get out and enjoy our beautiful waters this weekend.
Plus there is plenty going on especially if you DON’T have a boat. You can go for free boat rides at Seas the Day at South Lake Union at 901 Fairview Ave N. If you do have a boat and just want to brush up on some boating skills, like docking, anchoring, technology, sail rigging, or knot tying there will be clinics on all this and more. Add in seminars on salmon fishing, crabbing, or chartering then add in perfect weather and you’ve got a great way to spend Saturday from 1100 to 1500. I know, too much to do and not nearly enough time. If you have any questions feel free to give them a call at 206-748-0012.
On all the inland waters expect perfect conditions just beware that while the air temperature may be warm, the water temp is still COLD and hypothermia is not out of the question. There won’t be a lot of wind, see the surface charts to see why.
What is really interesting is the 500MB charts and the Tropical Surface Charts. The jet stream is way north and undulating in a manner to suggest that when it straightens out, we’ll have another cutoff low over northern BC and SE Alaska. There is also a weak upper-level low off of southern California which is preventing the Pacific High from setting up where we’d like it for TransPac. A new feature this week showed up on the tropical surface charts and that would be the first of the tropical waves which usually precedes the formation of tropical cyclone development. By this time last year, we were already well into alphabet when it came to named storms. For those of you headed across the pond, this will bear watching.
The TransPac folks are also watching the late development of the Pacific High and not only is it out of place, it’s also weak and therefore easily pushed around by the low-pressure systems still coming across the Pacific. The result, if you were to start today, would be a very slow beat/reach away from the coast followed by a slow drag race to the Islands with very interesting squall activity if you’re taking the more northerly route. The trouble with this type of pattern is that you could get caught behind one of these squalls and lose six hours to a competitor just a couple of miles away. Scary stuff.
While it did get breezy in the Strait of Georgia, it certainly didn’t get as light as we thought it would from Nanaimo to Campbell River. This allowed some well sailed multi-hulls to get a lead and make it through the tide gate at Seymour Narrows. There are a whole mess of boats waiting for the favorable tide at Seymour Narrows and they should get shot through this evening. As of 2230 hours, five boats have made it through and are well on their way to round Cape Caution tonight and three of them are setting up for what should be a great race to the finish in Ketchikan.
The reason is that early Wednesday morning the next front will be getting to the Hecate Strait with another one right behind it on Thursday morning. This will mean breezy conditions (25-35 knots from the SSE)for the next 24 to 36 hours. This could mean 200 to 250 mile days for the tri’s and if they can hold together, avoid logs, and stay upright they could finish late Thursday or early Friday. This southerly will extend over the entire race course from Nanaimo to Bella Bella, it won’t be as breezy but it will certainly help the middle part of the fleet to get through Johnstone Strait and around Cape Caution.
After that, it’s going to go light again.
Ed. Note: The race within a race, for the $10K boat buy back offer, has got me really intrigued. There’s no way any of the Farrier trimaran types, but according to the race’s first podcast, the Ketch Me if U Can team with the Nacra 20 have their eyes on that prize and they’re in a comfy (for now) 5th place on the water. Who will take the $10K and fly home? –Kurt
The Proving Grounds section of the R2AK was certainly that yesterday as the front passed over the course from Pt. Townsend to Victoria. If you were still out in the Straits when the post-frontal westerly filled in, you got hammered as the breeze built to 40+knots with gusts to near 50 knots. The front slowed as it hit the coast and was about 45 minutes to an hour later than we had expected however we tend to err on the side of caution especially when there are small vessels like paddleboards involved in an open water crossing where there will be nowhere to hide or duck into.
As you look at the surface charts for the weekend you see an evolving and complex weather picture, especially for the folks going to Ketchikan.The bad news for Leukemia Cup is that unless you’re willing to stay on the water until late Saturday afternoon, there isn’t going to be much wind. However, since it’s part of the Downtown Sailing Series and for a really important cause, who cares, plus you can use your engine to complete the course.
For the rest of Puget Sound, it’s not going to be much different. Light air, partly cloudy conditions, an occasional light rain squall, really more like the spring we never had. The only place where there will be wind will be the central and eastern Straits of Juan de Fuca and it will be cranking up there especially in the late afternoon.
As I mentioned, this is a complex weather picture that will provide the racers going to Alaska with some unique challenges and not of the high wind variety. The key to this is yet another pesky upper-level low-pressure system just off our coast and north of the jet stream which is keeping the Pacific High from setting up in its usual position. This could be the year that rowers and paddleboarders give the sailing crowd fits. There simply isn’t going to be a lot of wind for the first three to five days except for maybe a 12 hour period from midnight Sunday until noon on Monday and then pretty much only in the area from Campbell River south to the mid-Gulf Islands. In that time frame expect the breeze to be from the northwest in the 10-20-knot range. After that, it’s going to stay light as another weak frontal system lazily approaches coastal BC. By light, I mean 0 gusting to 5-knots from Campbell River to Port Hardy. As the front brushes the coast, the race course will start to see a light southeasterly on Thursday morning, 5-8-knots.
The start on Sunday will be a challenge for everyone because max ebb is one hour before the start with the slack before the flood being at around 1500 hours. There will also be very little breeze. The wind will fill down from the northwest in the early evening and when it does, there will be wind in Trincomali Channel. Sailors will then have to calculate if they can hit the flood at Porlier Pass to get out to the Strait of Georgia where the wind will be slightly stronger and last longer.
Of course, in a light air scenario, the key for the rowers and paddleboarders will be traveling the shortest possible course and hitting the tidal gates at the right time at Dodd Narrows and Seymour Narrows. If they can get through there and slam a tide door on the sailors they will be able to get all the way out Johnstone Strait fighting only the tide.
They will also have the ability to work the back eddies along the beach to avoid the worst of the tide. If they can do that and then get out and around Cape Caution in a southerly breeze for the rest of the trip past Bella Bella and onto Ketchikan, they could finally take one from the sailors.
I will try to get another update done late on Saturday because this weather picture is by no means stable.
Stay safe and have a great weekend.
Editor’s Note We are all very lucky to have Bruce’s analysis on the weather scene and guidance on the race course. While Bruce eagerly provides these Briefs on sailish.com, he is also available for more specific weather analysis and routing. You can learn more about Bruce here. Email him if you would like to see him tackle a particular weather issue here on sailish.com or tackle a weather challenge privately.
What a difference a day will make. Today in the Straits is a very nice, light westerly of 5-10-knots with the air temp at 55⁰F. By this time tomorrow, it will be a very different scenario. As you can see from the surface charts we definitely have a front coming towards us and the only question will be when will it pass over the race course. Which right now is projected to be between 1000hrs and 1300hrs. If you’re a fast boat and can make it across to Victoria before 1000hrs that will be a great thing because the post frontal breeze in the Straits is going to make that crossing nothing to take lightly.
From a tidal current perspective, this is just about perfect with a moderate ebb really starting roll around 0400 hrs at Pt. Wilson. With the start at 0500 hrs, all Teams should be well on their way into the Straits with the next slack at 1025. The other good news is that the pre-frontal breeze will be southeasterly at Pt Townsend and will be in the 10-15 knots range. By mid-Straits at 0700-0900 you could have 15-25 knots from the southeast.
If you’re wearing your Garmin Quatix watch, at around 0900 start watching the barometric pressure to be bottoming out. The wind will drop and start to get flukey while the puffs start coming in from the west. If you’re in the mid-Straits or near the ½ way point, that will be your signal to batten down the hatches because it’s about to get gnarley.
How gnarly? By 1200 hours you could be in 25-30 knots of westerly and in the middle of the Straits there is nowhere to hide. This breeze will start to back off around 2000 hrs becoming 15 knots from the west by 2300 hours and then just sort of go away by 0200 hours Friday morning. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to be out there on a paddleboard or small rowboat when the westerly first fills down the Straits, so plan accordingly.
By that I mean if you are making 5-knots or less, think about the going the great circle route inside of Protection Island and up behind Dungeness Spit and then wait for the breeze to drop before you go across. Remember also that with this breeze the wind chill will be in the upper 30’s and low 40’s so don’t ignore the possibility of hypothermia.
After Swiftsure, this week certainly went by fast and now we’re racing again tomorrow. No wonder the Mrs isn’t exactly pleased. I guess I might be a bit behind on my lawn and garden maintenance program… I don’t know why however I think tomorrow on the water, any water, will still be a lot more fun than getting dirty in the garden.
Speaking of Swiftsure, last weekend was certainly proof that when there is little to no gradient just about anything can happen. This weekend in the Straits will be much different as we’ll have an onshore flow and as the ridge of high pressure builds on Sunday by the evening it will be really cranking from the west.
For the last of the Tri-Island Series, not so much. There will be wind, and there will be the sunshine so it will still be a great day on the water. Just don’t forget the sunblock before you leave the house! The other plus is the tides which will be favorable and there won’t be much of them.
Tidal Currents at West Point
1036 Max Flood .71 knots
1500 Max Ebb .17 knots
The first gun is supposed to be around 0900 hours however if you look at the surface charts you’ll notice the remains of a trough moving to the east and unfortunately that will leave a large gap in the pressure gradient. This will result in a light downslope, drainage breeze from the east in the morning. With some clearing and no gradient, this could be the perfect set-up for the Swihart Effect which says the northerly will start down the Sound once the flood tide gets rolling. If the clearing continues, look for the northerly to continue to build through the day.
As is typical for the Blake Island Race, you can pick your poison deciding which way you are going to go around the Island. In almost all cases it’s best to leave the Island to starboard especially when you have a flood tide. This is because of the ebb that continues to roll up Colvos and the back side of the Island. The flood may not get all the way to the bottom of the Island, however, there will be more wind on the east side of the Island.
If the breeze is northerly in the starting area, you’ll probably do a starboard set just don’t go west too long. Before the start watch the flag at the West Point lighthouse and if it’s showing any easterly at all plan a gybe to port to be at the West Point Buoy. If on port you’re aiming at Alki, hold that gybe until you get lifted to Spuds Fish and Chips, then gybe and aim at the Island. Just don’t get too close to the Island especially at the south end. See the picture. If you swing wide enough at the south end you’ll carry the northerly into the light zone. Just be ready to smoothly transition into what little breeze there will be on the backside of the Island. Headsail up, in the starboard groove, spinnaker down, all without changing course and hopefully without slowing much.
Since you’ll be swept along with the ebb up the backside of the Island, sail the favored tack, usually starboard and don’t get too close to the Island. By the same token don’t too far over to the Manchester shore as it will get light in there as well. Work your way up to Bainbridge Island since the current tends to set from west to east along that south shore. Once you get to Restoration hold on to port tack. If you are aimed at Four Mile Rock, just keep going right up to Magnolia Bluff. If you end up being headed below(east of) Four Mile, take a short hitch until you can once again be above Four Mile. Really watch your depth sounder coming into there as it gets very shallow, very quickly. If the breeze has built as you’ve come across you’ll want to do your tack change here going from the light #1 to the heavy #1going from port to starboard tack. You should be right under the Bluff and it will be puffy so the mainsheet/ traveler person is going to be working very hard to keep the boat on its feet.
Once you clear West Point hold on to starboard tack until you can lay the entrance to the Ship Canal. Of course, this also depends on where the finish line is located. You’d like to get close to the entrance so it will be easier to call the tack to the finish, finishing on starboard and probably in more breeze than the boats on the outside. There will also be a nice push from the current coming out of the Ship Canal.
Be safe, use lots of sunblock, and have a great time.
What a week it has been in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Tuesday saw a steady 40 at Race Rocks and Smith Island had a gust to 59. Yikes. That is not fun sailing, that is survival or better yet, just stay at the dock and don’t put yourself or your vessel in harms way. How things can change. Yesterday, for the delivery up to Victoria, it was for the most part a mill pond across the Straits with even a light, warm easterly in places.
As usual, the most predictable part of this weekend will be the tidal currents in Race Passage and they won’t be insignificant.
Tidal Current Race Passage
0749 Max Ebb 6.7 knots
1436 Max Flood 6.1 knots
2146 Max Ebb 4.9 knots
0253 Max Flood 1.8 knots
0843 Max Ebb 6.6 knots
1527 Max Flood 5.9 knots
2042 Max Ebb 5.0 knots
Kudos to the Race Committee for changing the start order because the JdF and Flattery fleets are going to need all the help they can get to make it to the Race before the flood starts. As you can see from the surface charts there is simply no gradient over the Pacific Northwest, nor will there be until later this coming week. We are caught between two relatively weak high pressure systems and with the jet stream (see 500MB charts) well north of us, there’s nothing to move this situation along.
This is also reflected in the fact that the models used for forecasting are not very much in agreement especially after tomorrow afternoon. This is where being your own weather forecaster will be helpful and that’s going to start by logging the pressure readings, wind direction and wind strength over the race course. This mornings readings showed the pressure at Forks at 1015.1 with the pressure at Bellingham at 1015.5 which tells us a couple of things. 1. The wind will be light in the Straits and from the east, never a very stable situation. And 2, sure enough 2 knots from the East at Race Rocks, 2 knots from WNW at Sheringham, and 4 knots from ESE at the JA Buoy at the mouth of the Straits. As the land masses heat up over the course of the day, this will draw a westerly down the Straits with the most wind (15-20 knots) being in the eastern part of the Straits, Race Rocks to Smith Island. This pattern may repeat itself tomorrow. Generally speaking, the first day of this pattern is the best chance of good breeze. Each day in succession, the breeze will fill later and not be as strong.
Most models show light air over the starting area tomorrow morning which will make getting through the Race before the flood starts at 1130-1200hrs a challenge. The flood starts first on the Vancouver Island side so if you get through the Race with the last of the ebb, get to the US side as fast as you can. If the pattern holds, we’ll start in a drainage or downslope ENE which will probably be less than 5 knots. Clearly with all that ebb tide you will not want to swept over the start line early as getting back might be next to impossible.
The other part about getting to the US side of the Straits is that when the westerly does fill, it comes down the US side first, with Canadian side staying light. Two of the models show the westerly filling between 1500-1800 hrs. This will make this a long race.
How long you might ask? If we run the GFS model for Crossfire, certainly one of the fastest boats out there, it shows them completing the Hein Bank course in 42 hours. Don’t kill the messenger……
Around the rest of the Northwest it will simply be a great weekend to be on the water so load the family, the BBQ, and enjoy yourselves.
Ed. Note: Bruce is giving a weather presentation at 16:30 this afternoon. We’re trying to find the location right now, when we do we’ll update this post. UPDATE: The in-person brief at 16:30 is at the Strathcona Hotel!
It certainly won’t exactly be the nicest of weekends but Sunday will be the better of the two days. The problem is a very persistent upper-level low-pressure system which is just not moving very much and will keep cool, unstable air coming ashore all weekend. Take a look at the attached Langley Doppler from this afternoon and then compare it to tomorrow morning before you head out.
For now, check the current surface chart and the current 500MB chart to get a feel for what is actually going on. As you can see from tomorrow’s chart, the surface gradient will have opened up and the remains of a weakened frontal system will be approaching the coast. The really cool feature about that chart is the Pacific High which is looking very summer like. About the right pressure, 1040 MB, and in very much the right place. The only problem may be that this is a little early in the summer cycle for this to be occurring. If however, Comanche were starting TransPac tomorrow, she would absolutely blitz the record. We’ll see.
The models have come together nicely for tomorrow so we’ll roll the dice and put this out there. As always, check all your resources before you leave the house tomorrow morning. Cool, unstable air coming ashore doesn’t make for a tremendously accurate forecast.
0800 Max ebb .43 knots
1606 Max flood 1.14 knots
Narrows north end
1118 Max ebb 3.98 knots
1654 Max flood 3.95 knots
There should be enough wind to allow the Vashon Island Race to start on time which is about an hour after max ebb, we still need to remember that the ebb will extend because of the amount of rain today and what will be flowing out of the Duwamish. There will probably still be a localized SE breeze at Shilshole, however at West Point it will probably be time to think about getting to the west anticipating a shift to the WSW as the day goes on.
As usual, in these conditions, it may get a bit fluky from the north end of Vashon to Pt. Robinson where, if we’re lucky, the WSW will finally start to build to 8-12 knots. You’ll want to be careful to not get too close to the Vashon shore as the wind will be coming over the Island and may not touch down until well offshore. At the bottom end of the Island stay out a ways to avoid the eastward flowing current that pretty much always run there. Get into the ebb up Colvos Passage and don’t get too close to either shore. Drivers and spinnaker trimmers will be working very hard all the way up Colvos. This will not be “Miller time”.
From the north end of Colvos to West Point, the wind will probably back from the SW to the S so you’ll need to anticipate the gybe and your approach to the finish. Watch gybing in north of West Point as this can get light from West Point to the Ship Canal.
For those of you going cruising this weekend, no real major issues of too much breeze except in the eastern end of the Straits and the San Juan Islands in the early Sunday morning hours when you should be at anchor. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of scope out and plenty of room to swing.
Have a great weekend and do something nice for mom!
You’re probably getting tired of me pontificating about how interesting the weather has been but yesterday was truly exceptional. The team at the National Weather Service Office at Sand Point deserves a hearty well done for doing an exceptional job yesterday by getting it exactly right with just the right amount of warnings and none of the drama, just the facts. It was great to go back and forth from the computer to window and watch this event unfold.
To quantify it, in the past five years we’ve had six warnings. Yesterday we had EIGHT! I’ve attached the Doppler Radar from 1535 yesterday afternoon and it was certainly colorful and if you look closely, there are three watch boxes. In addition, at one point in the early evening when the largest system was moving over Olympia, the Doppler was showing a rainfall rate of 20.57”/hour. Impressive. CYC Seattle did the right thing keeping the fleets off the water last night. Lightning can be a woefully unpredictable critter and it was simply not worth taking a chance.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re a powerboater), we’ll pay a post-frontal price this weekend. As you can see from this mornings chart, the front is just over us and off of San Fran we have, if you’re thinking about TransPac, a nicely developing Pacific High. It’s about medium strength, however, the real key is that it is starting to round up nicely. The rounder it is, the more stable it is. The bad news would be that if we were starting TransPac tomorrow, the first three days would be a real thrash. 30-40 knots of NNW as we leave the coast. That would really sort the fleet out in a hurry. I digress.
As I was about to say, in the usual scheme of things (if there is such a thing) in the Pacific Northwest, after frontal passage the first day the ridge of high-pressure establishes itself is the best day for wind from the north. As each day passes, the amount of breeze decreases. The problem for this weekend will be that persistent trough of low pressure over southern BC which will prevent a ridge of high pressure from developing.
For the sailors, this will mean a light and variable southerly for the start of the day. A northerly will develop however the timing of that will be tough as it will depend upon the amount of clearing we have over the area. The earlier the clearing, the sooner the land will start to warm and the sooner the breeze will start filling down the Sound. In the absence of a pressure gradient, it may come down with the flood tide, the Swihart Effect. So let’s look at the tides for the weekend, which will have a profound effect on the Race to the Straits.
Admiralty Inlet Tidal Current at Bush Point
0630 Max Ebb 2.92 knots
1248 Max Flood 1.4 knots
1848 Max Ebb 2.16 knots
0712 Max Ebb 3.12 knots
1336 Max Flood 1.75 knots
1942 Max ebb 2.17 knots
Since the RTS is a reverse start with handicaps applied at the start, the early starters on Saturday will have more positive tide but less wind. Since the northerly will fill down the west side of the Sound first, the key will be to simply use what wind there is to aim at Double Bluff, the first and only mark of the course. As you work your way to the north and you start running into flood, tend more to the west beach to get out of the tide. At Pt No Point it will be just go on across to Useless Bay and the mark at Double Bluff. The later in the day, the more wind you’ll have to deal with the flood.
The trade-off going north from Double Bluff will be to work the Whidbey Island back eddies before going across to Marrowstone where the ebb will be starting first. You would like to hit the Marrowstone shore so you can also be on the inside of the port tack lifts as you work your way towards the Marrowstone Light. After Marrowstone if you are in the ebb, watch the Cog and Sog and stay on the north side of the Midchannel Bank to stay in the ebb just don’t overstand the finish line by being swept too far to the west.
Sunday it looks like the later starters will have the advantage of both more wind and less tide. The early starters will have to fight the ebb at Marrowstone and then work their way across to the Whidbey Shore. It should be a nice sail back to the finish at Shilshole after Double Bluff remembering that the flood will start first on the west side of the Sound and be slightly stronger there. The wind will be fairly even across the Sound so the angles will be key, gybing on lifts, covering your competition and watching where the smart guys are going.
For the Lake sailors, the breeze may take a bit longer to fill at Lake Washington but it will get there. Since its Team Racing, it will be more about Team tactics than going the right way. One thing to watch for in the mornings on the Lake is that the breeze may start out from the west-northwest and from there it will clock to the north-northwest. A small change but you might be able to break a cover with it.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the improving weather.
Ed. Note: If you’ve never seen team racing, it’s amazing to watch, and you’ll be able to see it from shore at Sail Sand Point both Saturday and Sunday. Be impressed by the skills of our regional high school sailors. Also on Saturday 11-3 SSP hosts the Youth Sailing Open House put together by The Sailing Foundation.
The bad news is that we are going to have more rain, as if we haven’t had enough already. The good news, especially for the longest race in the Tri-Island Series, is we are going to have wind as long as you finish the Long Course before about 0200 hrs Sunday morning. The other good news is that for the most part the tides will be with us. The really good news, especially for the folks going on TransPac, is that some semblance of a Pacific High is starting to form and the jet stream is slowly and inexorably moving north. Summer will eventually happen.
Tides for Admiralty Inlet off of Bush Point
0500 Max Flood 1.29 knts
1112 Max Ebb. 3.89 knts
1800 Max Flood 3.13 knts
0024 Max Ebb 2.46 knts
0554 Max Flood 1.02 knts
1200 Max Ebb 3.62 knts
The surface charts show a weak high pressure system off the coast that will be pushed out of the way by a weak frontal system that will make it’s way onshore over Saturday and into Sunday morning. Following a typical pattern, the pre-frontal southerly will be light, 6-8 knots, in the starting area and then build as the day goes on especially in the northern part of the race course. By late Saturday afternoon and into the early evening we could see 20-25-knots of SSE so plan ahead with safety harnesses and jack lines rigged before you leave the dock, as well as starboard tack barber haulers. Once the front passes, the post frontal westerly will fill down the Straits creating a light air convergence zone from Pt. Townsend to Kingston, in other words finish early.
You should be able to sail pretty much a course that gets you to the Island with a minimal number of gybes. You might also want to think about getting a warm meal into the crew while you’re going downwind because it will be really lumpy coming home and you’re going to want people hiking all the time for the beat home. As you sail up Admiralty Inlet towards the Island if you want to find out what’s happening on the water between Discovery Bay and Protection Island just go to www.windalert.com/spot/161444. This is a private weather station located on the north side of Diamond Point. Think also about getting set up for the beat home with the headsail hoisted in the port groove because you’ll have long starboard tacks and short port tacks.
Going around the Island for those of you with deep drafts remember the Dallas Bank extends a long way to the north of Protection Island and because it’ shallow in places there can be a lot of kelp out there. This time of the year it shouldn’t be too bad but it will pay to keep a sharp lookout.
From the Island to Pt Townsend, it should be a close reach and generally speaking the water will be flatter along the west side from Pt. Townsend to Pt. No Point. On starboard tack the puffs will be lifts however if it starts to get light on the approach to Pt. No Point remember there’s a reason why it’s called Skunk Bay, don’t get in too close.
From Point No Point to the finish if the barometer is rising the wind will be slowly shifting from the SSE to the SSW which will mean staying to the west so you will be on the inside of the lift for the approach to the finish.
Be safe, have a great race.
Ed. Notes: Thanks Bruce, for taking time from your Mexican holiday and putting down the margarita long enough to to the Brief. And to all those racers, please help me with post-race coverage by sending me anecdotes, photos or video links. Thanks.