A Sunny Ride on the Backside of Douglas
The race last Saturday started at 10am on the line made between Thalia, serving as Committee Boat, and the Marmion Island day mark. Weather called for light breeze of up to six knots and possibly rain. After a few weeks off due to the AIR, the sailors were itching to get off land, wind or not.
Haiku was over the line first with a clean start. Optiminium came off the start line in second place, with Tango in a close third. After the air horn didn’t sound, Thalia’s crew quickly had her sails up and moving, overtaking both Tango and Optiminium with the Code 1 unfurled.
Optiminium then flipped with Thalia within a ½ mile, flying her asymmetrical spinnaker. By this time, Haiku was in the lead, and running downwind like a bat out of hell.
Optiminium took a long jibe diagonally across Stephens Passage headed right to Pt. Hilda while Thalia made her way down the middle. About this time, Tango could be seen flying her spinnaker and gaining speed and Haiku was at the turnaround.
Although pointed at Pt. Hilda, Optiminium had to jibe two more times near the Douglas shore before crossing the turning line between Points Young & Hilda. Thalia slid across the turnaround line closely behind Optiminium, wing-on-wing. Optiminium had a rough spinnaker to headsail change and continued well beyond the turning line to sort it out. Thalia, crossing the line closer to Pt. Young, bore away from shore, resulting in at least a ½ mile lead they maintained the rest of the race.
Tango had been on the heels of Thalia and Optiminium until then, but also had some difficulty after the turnaround, stuck in what is now known as the “Young Hilda Triangle.”
On the upwind return, the boats were seeing consistent 13-15 knots of breeze with gusts to 17 knots. Haiku tacked six or seven times, as her crew found the current and wind to be extraordinarily consistent. Short tacks were not necessary or warranted. Most of her tacks were around Marmion, because the wind came forward at the confluence of Stephen's Passage, Taku Inlet, and Gastineau Channel. Haiku was consistently at 6.5-7.0 knots downwind and 5.5-6.5 upwind, and heeled at a 20 degree angle the entire way home, making good time to finish first.
Thalia maintained her position in second up Stevens Passage, keeping just toward the Admiralty side. Boat speeds were great, and the crew enjoyed dangling over the rail in the sun. Thalia crossed the line in just over three hours for second place.
Optiminium made good time on the way back, but not enough to overtake Thalia, although the threat was real. She and her crew crossed the line in third place.
Tango brought up the rear in style, enjoying the day to its fullest and crossing the line for fourth place.
Overall, it was an incredibly good day of sailing, with good people, good wind, and sunshine.
Click here for the race results.