After a 6-year hiatus, it was great to be back! The town welcomed us as they sent their Director of Tourism to our Skipper’s Meeting to welcome us. It was great to have teams from Kelowna, Vancouver, Comox, and Seattle all come together. One youth team from Comox made an appearance and showed they will be a team to reckon with.
We had about 9 16s, 4 17s, 7 18s, and a couple of Tigers. We sat on the beach in the sun catching up all day Saturday until about 2 or 3 p.m. when RC called us off the beach for 4 races in a building breeze. The first two races were single/double trap, and the last two races were full-on double-trap racing at its finest. Winds the whole weekend ranged from 9-15k, with gusts to 17k.
What makes Harrison so special is the flat water. All of the teams reveled in the high speeds, but that didn’t keep a few from flipping!! Puffs coming down the lake caught a few skippers by surprise.
Sunday proved slow while everyone waited for the wind to switch and the thermal to build in. It finally did…but only soon enough for one more race. That race was critical, at least in the 16 fleet. Rosenbach, Hoag, & Christensen went into the race separated by only 2 points and the last race mixed up the final standings.
Between the great beach, the sun, the flat water, and that incredible thermal, the weekend proved absolutely stupendous!
Pictures at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204752202875456.1073741831.1548859644&type=1&l=32380fdf8e
The wind gods finally cooperated on Wed., but not until the afternoon. After postponing racing at 10 a.m., Race Commitee sent us out for a 4:30 start. Both classes got 4 races in on a course further west than Monday, and off of Stevenson.
In the 18 fleet a different competitor won each race — Sohn, Sinnickson, Marshack, and Doty — in a gusty 15k. Puffs were rolling down different sides of the river making it particularly challenging to “connect the dots”.
In the first race of the day Marshack showed mastery, only to auger in again like he did Monday. Only this time he was about 10 boat lengths from the finish.
In the last race barge traffic at A-mark created a 5-boat length starboard layline! In the 12-15k boats were bunched up, causing mass confusion. Sinnickson ran down Murray’s port hull and sheared off the rudder while putting a hole in his boat and causing him to retire.
Two protests were heard after the racing. Erwin was DSQ’d for not giving Nelson enough room to round the gate mark while the race committee had Edgar tossed for getting too close to commercial traffic.
Event organizer, Laura Sullivan, served the sailors a late dinner on the grass of cioppino and salad before everyone retired for a short night.
We woke this morning to decidedly cooler temps and much stronger breeze. By 10 a.m. the wind was getting up to the 20k limit. Most competitors were hoping tostay on the beach and a few hearty souls (Marshack, Lowry, Evenden, & Ped) were wanting to sail. Eventually we were spared and racing was cancelled for the day.
Now for yesterday, Day 1.
Started in 12k with a slight positive current that had a few OCSs. The wind was quite puffy with gusts 5-12k over median. Nelson/Sullivan got off the line well and led wire-to-wire in the 18 fleet. But they sailed the wrong course when the change mark could not be found. All competitors except Evenden sailed the original course. A bit of controversy ensued when the committee tossed the race.
As the day wore on the wind built. The 2nd race was in medium air, but by the 3rd race it had built into the teens. Sohn locked into his upwind speed while Erwin kept hanging around. Marshack showed the most consistent speed until he auguered in at the gate in the last race while leading.
The river is quite tactical. The middle seems to have the breeze. The WA side has (down river) current (but big waves), and the OR side has flatter water but ocassional holes.
Forecast for tomorrow is for slightly lighter breeze Wed., and then easing Thurs. & Fri.
A key ingredient to having an epic weekend of sailboat training is to have epic-type wind. And the solstice weekend of June 21-22 provided just that at Sail Sand Point in Seattle as two, Division 4, youth Hobie teams took to the water to practice for the upcoming Hobie 16 Youth North American Championships to be held in Sandy Hook, NJ in early July.
John Ped & Alex Biondi drove up from Portland to join Will Nelson (Seattle) and Tawnya Fox (Chilliwack, BC) for two days of training on the Hobie 16. The two teams were under the watchful eye of US Sailing instructor Tim Webb and Kelly Havig, as the two coaches put the two youth teams through series after series of drills that refined their boat handling skills.
Some classroom instruction in the morning of both days gave time for the wind to build while discussing strategy, tactics, rules, and racing technique. After lunch the teams hit the water while coaches took to chase boats and set marks for a short course. Long-time Div. 4 sailors Caleb Tarleton and Peter Nelson joined the action on the water.
Hobie Division 4 has been actively recruiting teenage sailors anxious to feel the “need for speed” that catamaran sailing delivers. “We had 4 teams travel to California for the North Americans last year. This year only two are going because the East Coast venue makes it more difficult logistically.”, said Laura Sullivan, Division 4 Chairman. Laura has been the primary impetus to the Hobie youth movement in the Pacific Northwest. “Between local fundraising and the youth grants the teams are receiving, the teams will be heading to New Jersey for what amounts to a free, week-long vacation. They will be re-uniting with friends they made at last year’s event.”, Sullivan continued.
The excitement from the North Americans is starting to build momentum. At a recent Hobie regatta at Sail Sand Point 6 youth teams showed up and got their own start! Any youth interested in learning Hobie racing should contact either Hobie Division 4 at www.hobiediv4.org or Sail Sand Point. While you don’t need “epic-type” wind to sail or race a Hobie, it doesn’t hurt the fun factor one bit!!