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Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Round Saltspring Adventure...

Icon competed in the annual Round Saltspring race this last weekend.  This events starts and finishes in Ganges and races around Saltspring using a direction selected at the last minute by the Race Committee.  This year they selected clockwise as it would favor the slower boats.  At last count there were 92 entries - a relatively large race by local standards.

Since this event was being scored time-on-time we did not hold out any expectations of doing well, but instead we were using it as an event to tune up our light-air technique and tune the rig.  We had a great start (easily in the first three over the line and probably the first) and stretched out on the fleet until the first parking lot near Fulford Harbor.  There the wind brought the leaders down to us and we had our first re-start.

In a building rain-shower we got back into the game and had a nice duel with Lawn Dart and Strum (with Strum being our closest competition).  We were the first to the Narrows and did a nice job getting through until we hit the convergence zone.  At the convergence zone the southerly switched to the northerly and a number of the faster small boats caught us, along with Strum.

For a while the smaller boats managed to get ahead of us until we could get on the breeze and zoom ahead.  For a while we were side by side with other boats, but on the opposite tack!  Go figure!

Once we got back into a consistent breeze we managed to leg it out and did a great job down Trincomali Channel horizoning the fleet.  After transiting Captains Passage we hoisted the kite and ran to the finish.  Shortly before the finish we were headed and had to take the kite down and finish under a headsail.  We proceeded to hook a crap pot and had to use the kelp cutter to get free.

Our elapsed time was 9:02:15, which gave us 12th in our division and 27th overall - not particularly stunning, but we will take it given what we were trying to accomplish.

Here is a picture of our overall track around the island:

Here is a picture of the convergence zone in Samsun Narrows.  Note how the wind clocks from the SE to NW in a very short period of time:

Here is a picture of the big easterly shift north of Samsun Narrows: