The Tortoises and the Hare

The second Skipper's choice race started off with a choice: there was a beautiful westerly blowing out from around the backside of Douglas, but further down the course there was a strong easterly coming out of Taku Inlet, and a calm convergence zone in between. Surprise and Shoreless both chose to start at the Marmion Island end of the line and stay high to keep out of the convergence zone. Haiku had generously served as the committee boat, so they split to the east early followed by Mokahula and both fell behind as they passed through light air. This proved to be the decisive call of the entire day though, as at Point Arden the wind died completely and Shoreless and Surprise spent an hour and a half drifting circles around each other in a current eddy while the two boats which had gone east shot ahead. 
Surprise managed to escape first and caught enough wind to pull themselves out into the now very strong easterly coming off Taku glacier and sustained around 8 knots boat speed beam reaching over to Grand Island, including a spicy letterbox douse when it got to be too strong to carry the spinnaker any further. Haiku and Mokahula, meanwhile, had also gotten becalmed down by Grand and pulled far off the race course by the current. Their huge lead turned out to be bad luck. Surprise went clockwise around Grand while Shoreless went counter-clockwide, and they passed each other on the west side with Shoreless blasting down under spinnaker and Surprise close-hauled under reefed sails. At this point Haiku was trying to beat back up to the course from down near Taku Harbor, while Mokahula was becalmed near the west shore of Stevens Passage. Both were far enough away that Surprise couldn't identify them and believed them to be other sailboats not participating in the race. From there it was a fairly straightforward beat back to Point Arden for Surprise and Shoreless. The two boats that had missed the Point Arden trap on the first leg were unable to finish in time after having to sail the extra distance, but everyone else believed they had won by several hours and were already back at the pub.