Record Protection Island Race

Record Protection Island Race

You know something special’s happening when the folks on a powerboat run to get their cameras to shoot a passing sailboat. That’s what happened as Crossfire was tossing up a rooster tail at about 20 knots as they were heading from Point Wilson to Protection Island last Saturday.

The fun continued for the Reichel Pugh 55 and everyone else as just about everybody from both the long and short courses were home for dinner.

Here’s what it’s like planing in the high teens on Crossfire, courtesy of Mike Stanley. At about the 3 minute mark they pass said powerboat:

Bruce Hedrick says that no other Protection Island was that fast: “Not even close. The conditions were perfect.”

Crossfire’s track.

Mighty as Crossfire’s race was, setting the record didn’t mean success on the corrected time ledger in the ORC class. Glory easily corrected ahead, but both were pushed down to mid-fleet by winner Hamachi, second place New Haven and third place Jedi.

The T-birds weren’t going “quite” as fast as Crossfire, but the fleet sailing out of Port Townsend was probably having just as much fun. Jack Christiansen photo.

On the PHRF side of things Terremoto once again planed away with the win, followed by the 18-raters Absolutely and Tachyon.

The 35-mile short course was plenty fast as well with boats all finishing before 1730. Kiwi Express won class 7 and nipped the J/105 More Jubilee by a mere 17 seconds for the overall win. In fourth place overall and winning Class 6 was Poke & Destroy which came from behind to beat Different Drummer which was covering her nemesis Uno. Class 8 was won by Alexia Fisher’s Santa Cruz 27 Zipper.

The eight boat cruiser racer class sailed a fast 26-mile race, with the top finishers Runaway, Jiminy and Puffin.


Evgeniy Goussev had a bit of a controlled adventure on his beautiful Gray Wolf. Goussev was singlehanding and enjoying the ride immensely, perhaps so much so that the big wind line snuck up him. An experienced singlehander, he set out furling the big spinnaker with the drum furler as the new autopilot decided to do some S-turns when a steadier course might have been more helpful. In the end, the chute wrapped around the forestay and wouldn’t come all the way down, but Goussev was able to get it wrapped up, tied down snugly and then duck into Port Townsend. “I didn’t rip anything, and I’m happy with the decisions and staying on the safe side of things.”


Bruce’s Brief for Weather April 29-30 and Protection Island Race

Bruce’s Brief for Weather April 29-30 and Protection Island Race
It’s a ways from Seattle to Protection Island

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

0706 Slack

1112 Max Ebb.   3.89 knts

1448 Slack

1800 Max Flood 3.13 knts

2124 Slack


0024 Max Ebb   2.46 knts

0354 Slack

0554 Max Flood 1.02 knts

0754 Slack

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 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.