PSSC 2010: A Perfect Weekend for Light Air Boats
Corinthian Yacht Club’s Puget Sound Sailing Championship Regatta (PSSC) began beneath stormy skies Saturday October 9. Conditions allowed 4 to 6 races each day for each of 10 classes. It was a perfect weekend for boats that do well in light air and less ideal for those who need heavier air.
Saturday it rained a good deal on both courses — the north course with the faster boats and the south course with the slower boats. Sunday was a different story — scattered showers clearing to sunshine on the north course, while the south course saw nothing but clear skies. The breeze ranged from light and shifty to medium and steady, topping out at about 10-12 knots.
When I arrived at the clubhouse Sunday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised to find it full– my concern that the wet weekend might have dampened some spirits and sent them home early was put to rest as I was greeted at the door by the friendly and boisterous crew ofHere and Now who proceeded to give me my weekly quota of hugs. With great animation, they embellished their day for me. Their infamous personalities exude excitement. “You wouldn’t believe it! The near loss of life! We feared for our lives! On the downwind leg, there were many of us lined up… Egress, Kowloon,Here and Now, Blue Martini. We were going past the finish pin, and we were all forced towards the pin. We were all so close, we almost hit! We almost died!” Laughs and smiles all around. Here and Now are a funny bunch, with a great exuberance for life, for sailing, for camaraderie and friendship. They are dramatic but they know it and play with it–I like that. Bucky, Burl, Gary, and Pat. They made me feel as if I had sailed with them.
I turned around and found Joe James and Suzanne Diess of Tantivy. They summarized Sunday’s racing on the north course. “Today’s racing began under an easterly–it was screwy. Race 2 was even screwier–it began with an easterly but then the wind shifted… until eventually the race was abandoned. Then the sun came out, the rain ceased, and the wind settled in from the north. The rest of the racing was spectacular!” Tantivy went on to capture 3Q and 1st in races 8 and 9, for 2nd in the regatta, Class 3. First and third places went to Illusionist and Veloce.
In Class 7, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd were won by Here and Now, Blue Martini, and Kowloon. Laney Gale, sailing Blue Martini, described the racing as very tight — in a majority of their 11 races, at least two or three boats finished within seconds of each other, and these tight finishes involved a variety of the 10 boats in the class.
The J/105s–Class 4–experienced their last racing with JP Peterson and his Last Tango. After sailing her for 11 years — five in Long Island Sound and the past six here in Puget Sound, JP has traded her in for the beautifulMorningstar, whose home port is Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Recently retired from Microsoft, JP and his new love have arranged their lives and are “going to live the dream” — living on Morningstar for the next year in Puerto Vallarta. After that, JP envisions a cruising life.Last Tango has been a fast boat, and JP has done well with her in the local racing scene.Morningstar is rated much slower, but JP is quick to add that she can sail wing-on-wing and doubly so, as she has 2 jibs and 2 mains. In a respectable final showing, JP placed in PSSC, taking 3rd in Class, after Jubilee in 1stand Allegro Vivace in 2nd. Sambal, a relative newcomer to Seattle’s J/105 fleet, took 4th.
Leif, of Jack Rabbit, Class 1, shared his experience. He was still quite excited about Sunday’s last race. As they approached the start line, there were four boats lined up, very close…. Jack Rabbit was the leeward boat, close to the start pin, fourth over from the committee boat. They were too early and would be OCS without some maneuvering, but with the racing so close, there was no room to come up to luff and slow down. So they peeled off to the left, did a 360, came up… crossed the start line–and they STILL came in 2nd in the race! Final results for Class 1 include Flash in 1st, White Cloud in 2nd, and Teddy Bear in 3rd.
Al Johnson, who skippers the Soverel 33 Pegasus, offered the following analysis of his class. Class 5 was a study in the virtue of consistency. Lunch Box did not win a single race but had a string of seconds and thirds, never finishing worse than 4th out of 11 boats. They ended up taking 1st in Class in the Regatta with 21 points — a full 10 points ahead of 2ndplace Pegasus. Grafix, on the other hand, was arguably the fastest boat in the class with three bullets but had to go back for three over-early starts, so they wound up with 35 points for 3rd place in the regatta. Al added, “Those who live by the aggressive start sometimes die by the too-aggressive start.”
In Class 2, Ballistic, sailed by Brad Cole, did great when the wind was up, but just couldn’t get away from the other boats when it went light. She had to beat Tigger by 30 seconds a mile — a tough row to hoe in light air. Brad commented that “Chris Winnard sailed that boat (Tigger) really well and did a great job staying in the breeze.” Tigger roared ahead of the pack with seven bullets and two seconds to take first in Class 2 with just 11 points — a full 18 points ahead of second place. Following in second, third, and fourth places — with just 3 points separation — were Nefarious, Uno, and Ballistic. After winning the FT10 class at the San Diego NOOD Regatta, it was a fine way for Tigger and Chris Winnard and crew to end their season. Chris added, “We had really stellar crew work and got better as the weekend went on.”
The next best thing to racing PSSC is engaging with all you sailor friends — hearing your stories and feeling your excitement. As I left the clubhouse and lingered further before walking to my car, a sailor came strutting down the ramp. I just had to say hello and ask how his racing was. “Wow, it was great! We — Uno — topped out at 10.3!” Third in Class and 10.3 knots — now that’s a fine way to end the Puget Sound Sailing Championship Regatta.
PSSC is hosted by Corinthian Yacht Club and was generously sponsored by North Sails Seattle, with additional support from Seaview Boatyards, CSR Marine, Prism Graphics, Fisheries Supply, J. Lohr Vinyards, Seattle Sailing Club, Shilshole Bay Marina, and Weather Routing, Inc.