Blakely Rocks: CYC Seattle’s Sailing Season off to a Great Start
Resoundingly described as the most unique of all the light-air Blakely Rock Center Sound Series races, the clubroom post-race roared with excitement. The sailing season is off to a great start. Over the course of the day, the wind waxed and waned and flopped and held, but just as we began to wonder whether the race would be shortened, we could see the forecasted northerly coming down the Sound.
Saturday morning there were clouds all around but for a hole above Shilshole, so the 69 racing yachts gathered for the start enjoyed some spring sunshine. It was a classic convergence zone day, but as usual, the details vary, and it is in the details that the race is won.
We started with a 5-7 knot southerly, and in the vicinity of West Point, the wind got as high as 8-10 knots but from there on south, it decreased. As we neared and rounded Blakely Rock, it had fallen to 1-2 knots, and soon after rounding, at about noon, the tide switched to a flood. Continuing north, the wind swung around to the east and many but not all boats were flying a chute—or trying to. The wind increased and decreased a few knots several times, and various boats went west or east, looking for more wind and maybe less of a flood or a kick out of the locks.
But by about 2 pm, holding out in the middle paid off as the approaching northerly arrived, working its way down the center of the Sound first and putting smiles on our faces with 8-9 knots. This breeze took us to Pt. Wells, where the committee boat finished us on a shortened course of 16.8 nm.
Dan Randolph, owner of the Mumm 30 Nefarious sailed in Division 2 noted, “Today was anyone’s race. All the races I’ve done out here, and all the times I’ve done this race, I’ve never seen the middle pay off. The boats that stayed in the middle did much better than the boats that went to the beach.” Dan’s Tactician on Nefarious, Jonathan Flack added his perspective. “This year, conventional wisdom didn’t pay. You had to keep your head out of the boat the whole race, banshee just did a better job of it than we did.”
In Division 2, Banshee blasted ahead to finish first, more than 8 minutes ahead of second place Nefarious.
First place in Divisions 0, 4, and 7 went to Neptune’s Car (SC 70), Tahlequah (J/35), and the J/29 Slick. Finishing first overall was Invader (Thunderbird), followed by Blue Martini (Olson 911) in second and Dos (Sierra 26) in third.
Article by: Peggy Johnson