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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

2010 Swiftsure Wrap-Up

Here is a brief synopsis of the 2010 Swiftsure as I remember things ...

Upwind start in 20-25 knots with reefed main & #3 in center groove.  Ian nailed the start - first boat, favored end, on top of our competition.  Winds built out to the Race - downshifted to #4 (starboard groove) which pulled out of the foil.  Immediately launched the #5 (starboard groove) - also pulled out.  Did an emergency hank-on using the #5 (it was setup for this) and re-launched.  Ran the #5 out through the Race with a massive ebb.  Sent Seamus aloft to sort out the halyards (Brian had them crossed). Winds lightened and we put the #3 inline using the center groove - it held this time.  Might be an issue with the starboard groove.

When we hit the beach on the US side in further lightened winds we put up the #2 (starboard groove).  Used this all the way to Cape Flattery (Derek was driving - superb close hauled speeds - at times nearly 10 knots).  At the Cape we continued to head up in diminishing winds.  Downshifted to the #1 (centerline) until we could hold the Code 0.  Rode the Code 0 to the Bank - furled up, put the #1 up for the rounding, unfurled after the rounding.  Our Code 0 work is getting better.

At the Bank we were about 1 hours corrected over the Car and 2 hours corrected over Strum - a very nice lead!

We knew the winds were going to go light and transition to a SE, but we wanted to get as far up the Strait as we could before this happened.  We rode the Code 0 down the middle to midway between Cape Flattery and Clallam where we went up with the #1.  Flew the #1 until near Sooke - our competition what completely out of sight!

At Sooke we were riding a little vein of wind about 2 miles offshore when it completely shut off hanging us out - put up the drifter.  Winds went to 0 leaving us exposed in the middle with no current relief - drifted for about an hour forwards (covering 1.75nm), then backwards in the ebb for two more hours!  There was wind behind us and the Car & Strum appeared (very lucky for them as we had hours on both of them). 

All of us tried to get to the beach.  Strum make it first about 1 mile behind and immediately anchored.  We beat the Car to the beach using the drifter and proceeded to lead them up the beach to the Race in very light air using the #1.  At the Race a lot of boats were anchored just inside as we arrived with the Car in tow.  The boats anchored there had tried for hours to get through the Race and had given up - when we arrived they broke out the bubbly to watch the show - and what a show it was!  

An Olsen 30 was trying to get through the Race about the time we arrived.  We were the first to try getting through the Race in 3 knots of wind and about 6 knots of current.  The first two times the current caught our bow and we spun out of control and had to re-try.  The third time we were determined to not make that mistake again, this time limiting our tacks to 2-3 boat lengths while keeping our bow out of the current.  Each tack we made about 3-4 feet up the beach.  It took us 71 tacks to get through according the HAL (Expedition).  The Olsen was quickly flushed and the Car made several attempts, but in the midst of our tacks we successfully covered them, effectively shutting the door.  They then made a last-ditch attempt to go fast and wide, but spun out!

At long last we made it through the Race and continued to the finish upwind.  Eventually a line of wind moved down to the Race and Strum & Car were able to make it through - however, we were now 20-30 minutes ahead.  We had a nice lift to the finish with a big header & diminished breeze at the end.  Line honors!

Ended up with 2nd, losing to Strum by 20 minutes corrected.   About 65 boats retired due to the heavy seas & wind at the start and later drifting conditions - a little bit of everything - however upwind both ways for us!

Here is a picture of the start -