Wet Wednesday Videos

It’s Wednesday, and our thoughts have finally dried out from Saturday’s Winter Vashon Race. In fact, the Northwest is seeing bright sun! Time to get wet. The first video is the new kiteboarding record run by  at Salin-de-Giraud, France. Courtesy of Malcolm MacNeil, the second video is from Crossfire‘s sail home to Seattle from the finish of Winter Vashon at the north end of Vashon Island. What a surprise, wind after the finish….

Please share your local videos so other Northwest sailors can enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a current/recent video, just something sailish readers would enjoy. Email me.


Zephyrs and Raindrops for Winter Vashon

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!


Bruce’s Brief’s 1,2 and 3 Dec: TYC Winter Vashon

Bruce’s Brief’s 1,2 and 3 Dec: TYC Winter Vashon

As usual, there will be a great turnout for the start of the South Sound Series. Where else do we get a chance to race in rain, snow, and sometimes a pretty good breeze. Unfortunately, this year it’s looking like some breeze for the start then dropping off as we transition from a very rainy November to a dryish and coolish start of December. November is traditionally our wettest month and this year will be no exception as we are two inches ahead of our average rainfall for the month. The good news is that we’ve only had 42 inches of rain so far this year and the record is 55 inches set in 1950. The normal amount of rain for the year by the end of November is 32 inches.

As you can see from the charts we’ve got quite a mishmash of weather systems lurking off the coast and by Monday we’ll have the start of a fairly big high-pressure system starting to build over the area with a whopping low-pressure slamming the Aleutians, again.

While it is Thursday, the models are still divergent with the general consensus shifting towards some wind on Saturday morning from the south then gradually becoming lighter before it shifts to the north by around midnight. For racers, this will mean drag racing from puff to puff as you ride the tide up Colvos. While you may have 8-10 knots of southerly for the start, this will drop to five knots or less as the day goes on with plenty of dead spots in Colvos. The masthead Windex will give you some warning about where the next puff will be coming from. The boats with the tall rigs will make out as long as the trimmers are working hard. After you get around the top mark you’ll probably have a due southerly until it goes really light around mid-afternoon. As you beat towards Pt. Robinson, don’t get too close to Vashon and don’t stray too far to the east of the rhumb line. While on starboard if the puffs start to become lifts that will tell you to stay to the west just not too close to the Island.

The great thing about TYC is that if it gets too sticky in Colvos, they usually have the good sense to end the race at the top mark so make sure someone has the bino’s out and you’re checking the flags on the mark boat.

While the parties, both pre and post race, at TYC are legendary, remember that the first day the high-pressure ridge builds over the Northwest will result in the most wind from the North and if you’re delivering the boat back to Seattle on Sunday you could have 15-20 cold knots of wind right on the nose. If they finish you at the top mark and Seattle is your home port, head straight for the barn after you finish and juggle the cars later.

Good luck and have a great race.