Sorry for no blog yesterday, but hopefully after reading this you will understand.
We woke Thursday morning to the wind blowing the oysters off the rocks. Committee did not wait to post an AP OVER ‘5’ meaning return at 1500 and we’ll try again.
So we returned at 1500 with no change in the weather. Still blowing. But around 1530 we started rigging boats for first shape at 1700.
We ran 3 races into the evening. The current was stronger than before making the waves bigger. Most opted for the Oregon shore and flatter water. But the approach to the starboard layline had a lot of competitors heading to the Washington shore. Downwind the middle and OR shore were favored.
The “usuals” continued to make hay in the strong breeze. Marshack dominated. But when he wasn’t dominating the upwind machine known as Sohn put hurt on him. Erwin, who has been leading since Day 1, was tight on their tails. Both Ped and Evenden turned in good days, while Nelson and Sinnickson were hurt by equipment — Nelson flipping twice and hitting a mark.
After breaking the boats down in the dusk, racers were told to be ready for a start at 0800 Friday morning. With no races scheduled after 1400, committee wanted to get in some races to break the tie between Sohn and Erwin after Thursday’s racing. Short night. Racers had a quick nap and returned Friday morning to strong breeze, but not too strong.
Committee got off 2 more races. Sohn showed mastery and won the Championship. Erwin held on for 2nd, Marshack 3rd. For Div. 4, Nelson got 4th, Evenden behind Sinnickson at 6th, and Ped just out of the trophy hunt at 7th. I am not sure where Thompson finished.
Overall the event was well received by all racers. A total of 13 races were run in the 18 fleet — 14 races for the 20s — in medium to strong breeze.
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!!