Race Report: SEAS Cup Race #1—Skipper’s Choice
The opening race of the 2015 season started at 10 am at Marmion Island with Asterix as the Committee Boat. It was sunny and clear, and the breeze was light, but forecasted to pick up in the afternoon. High Noon and Optiminium were fast across the start line, followed by Thalia, Surprise, Loa’a Nalu, Cetus, and Tango in a cluster. Haiku took the opportunity to change headsails early on and was passed off the line by most of the boats. High Noon never looked back, Thalia moved into second flying her Code 1 sail, and the rest of the boats spread out between the start line and Pt Arden.
High Noon still appeared to be within reach around Pt Arden, but the already light breeze dropped off even more, and by hoisting her masthead asymmetrical spinnaker High Noon was able to pull away from the other boats. Haiku came up into second, and considered going counterclockwise around the island to out maneuver High Noon, but got caught in a hole, and got passed by most of the pack again. Some of the newer crew members on surrounding boats were overheard celebrating as they passed Haiku, anticipating victory, but the more experienced skippers knew better than to celebrate so soon. In an attempt to gain forward momentum, Haiku was switching to their symmetrical spinnaker, when a shackle opened up and dropped the entire sail into the water, costing them a bit of time. They recovered quickly and got back into the wind.
All of the boats decided to run clockwise around Grand Island. High Noon went around the southern tip of the island first, followed by Optiminium and Surprise, then Haiku, Loa’a Nalu, Thalia, Tango, and Cetus. The breeze picked up considerably at the south end of the island, and the sailing got a bit more exciting. Spinnakers came down and genoas were hoisted as the boats made their way around the island. Optiminium and Surprise gave the island a wide berth, while Haiku cut to the inside, taking the opportunity to pull into second. Thalia also took the inside track and passed Loa’a Nalu who had swung wide, and then Thalia fell into a bit of a hole and was passed again by Surprise, Optiminium, and Loa’a Nalu.
After rounding Grand Island the wind was coming out of Taku at around 12 knots, which made for a quick sail back to the finish. Boats were able to sail close hauled on a single tack nearly all the way back to the channel. Haiku continued to increase her second place lead over the other boats until she was out of reach. Surprise was next over the line. Thalia passed Loa’a Nalu and Optiminium on the final run into the channel, but failed to cross the line within a half mile of Marmion Island, and had to tack across the channel in light winds in order to make up the distance. Loa’a Nalu and Tango also made this mistake. Loa'a Nalu was able to tack back to officially finish the race, but Tango realized her mistake too late, and did not finish. Cetus fell behind the rest of the boats and opted to anchor out for the evening instead of finishing the race.
Despite the light wind in the morning, the weather was incredible and conditions for the second half of the race were amazing. It was a great day for racing. Final results.