The final series of SEAS Cup races took place over the Labor Day weekend. With Toison D’Or acting as committee boat, leg one found Lyric WR, Surprise, Haiku, Tango, Optiminium and Loa’a Nalu on the line at Mayflower Island. Under heavy rain and low visibility the fleet clawed its way down the channel, sailing a course which has been being raced for more than 20 years. With a variable head wind for most of the race, it was a long day of wet challenging sailing. Haiku and Surprise kept close quarters for most of the race. About half a mile north of Pt. Aden, Surprise was able to take the lead when a 20 knot breeze forced Haiku to make a sail change and Surprise just rolled in some of her jib and hung on.
Meanwhile further back in the pack, faced with the similar conditions, Lyric and Tango opted to scratch and Loa’a Nalu and Optiminium reefed down and sailed blindly on into the fog.
All remaining four boats had to claw their way past Grand Island with light variable winds slowing the pace. Haiku had now caught up and past Surprise but as the two leaders approached Graves Point, Surprise caught a favorable current passing Haiku for line honors. Similarly Loa’a Nalu caught Optiminium who was stalled in the light air. Optiminium was able to regain the lead finishing just 3 minutes ahead of Loa’a Nalu.
Leg two was a bust due to light winds.
Leg three, the return race from Taku Harbor to Juneau, came down to a duel between Brain Lieb on the Haiku and Joel Osburn of the Optiminium. Joel opted for going the long way around Grand Island and was able stretch out a considerable lead on a nice Taku Inlet breeze as Haiku and Lyric floundered in the North channel just south of Slocum inlet, in a sloppy sea with less than 5 knots of wind. Lyric decided to scratch but Brian and his hardened crew fought their way into the Taku Inlet breeze and managed to overtake Optiminium just a ¼ mile off the finish at Sheep Creek.