Funter Bay Never Disappoints
Last weekend SEAS sponsored the Funter Bay regatta. Six competitive boats with great crew took up the challenge of racing in the annual event. Joined by a visiting cruiser on Saturday, the boats began the race with a downwind start in near perfect wind conditions. The breeze filled the six spinnakers to Pt. Retreat. After rounding Point Retreat, currents and lightening air brought different strategies, definitely favoring the boats that chose to go closer to the Chilkat Peninsula.
As the day wore on, the breeze shifted to more westerly out of Icy Strait. The fleet separated into three groups, with High Noon, Haiku, and Shoreless battling tack for tack followed closely by L’oaa Nalu and Optiminium pushing e
ach other’s limits shortly behind. Tahlia, still learning the racing game, was behind the other groups of boats.
L’oaa Nalu and Optiminium took advantage of the lightening air near the mouth of Funter Bay to nip Shoreless, High Noon, and Haiku who mistakenly reached for the finish line too early. Wrapping up the fleet was Tahlia.
As the other boats went into the dock on the north side of the bay, Haiku tried its hand at fishing in the mouth of the bay. About 30 minutes into fighting off the Pink salmon (trying to get to the cohos), the wind picked up 25 knots, and it was time to join the party on the dock, so Haiku set some crab pots and headed in to tie up.
Gordon Harrison and Sarah Isto graciously opened their cabin doors to the fleet and hosted one of the best potluck dinners in recent SEAS memory. After dinner, the weather had moderated, and the crews from the boats broke out the badminton equipment. After an epic battle, it appeared that the old timers may have just nipped the teenagers in a defense of the aged. The evening wrapped up with a wonderful driftwood bonfire and stories on the beach of Gordon and Sarah’s.
Sunday dawned with a great southerly 15-20 knot breeze, for yet another exciting downwind start. At precisely 9:30 the horn was sounded, and the boats ran downwind toward Pt. Retreat at speeds reaching 9 knots. As Haiku and Shoreless took the lead, trading jibes, some of the newer boats struggled to manage their spinnakers in the strong breeze. High Noon would set his spinnaker, get screaming along, only to have to jibe, where the lack of experience with the boat would show.
At one point, Optiminium, running an asymmetrical on a pole, tried to jibe, and lost control of the sail. Unfortunately, the halyard was released, causing the entire spinnaker to land in the water to leeward of the boat. Luckily, there was no damage to the boat, crew, or sail. To their credit, the crew of Optiminium retrieved the sail, and rejoined the race with minimal time lost. However, in Tahlia and L’oaa Nalu took advantage of the mishap to move past Optiminium.
With an ebbing tide, the boats began to beat up Saginaw Channel, with Shoreless leading the way, followed closely by Haiku and High Noon. Tahlia, L’oaa Nalu, and Optiminium were tightly grouped roughly 30 minutes behind the lead group.
High Noon, reefed early and took advantage to pass Shoreless and Haiku near Favorite Reef. After making the tack out of the channel, the three lead boats were in a drag race to the finish. Haiku tacked to the mark a few minutes before Shoreless and High Noon which turned out to be the deciding factor, but all three boats were on the same tack towards the line, and finished within a minute or two of each other.
The second group was close towards the finish, with Tahlia holding off L’oaa Nalu and Optiminium who was never able to make up the ground lost due to her spinnaker mishap.
SEAS will be sponsoring a Day race on August 3 and an overnight race on August 17 and 18 at Admiralty Cove. If you’re not a racer but like beach parties the Admiralty Cove gathering is a great way to spend the weekend. See you on the water.