Results are in - ISC took 5th (out of 11 - Cruising Class) in the South Sound Series. That's GREAT considering Earth's Edge missed half of the races (prop wrap - trans/strut repairs). http://ssssclub.com/ssseries/18-19seriesclass.html
Fellow ISC members, shipmates,
Thank you again for a terrific outing on Earth's Edge yesterday for the final race of the Southern Sound Series. We had a terrific crew (David Shepherdson, Justin Rose, Mary Mankin, Chris Black, and Tamsin Lindsay) and were ready to put to use all the small tricks we've learned over time to maximize our boat's performance. Unfortunately, on Saturday morning, it looked like we might not be racing at all! The forecast was for no wind, gusting up to zero. However, I'd noticed some ripples on the water on my drive down to the marina, and I was hopeful that the notoriously unreliable forecast would turn out to be wrong again -- which it was! So we toasted Poseidon and set out.
The start was challenging: almost no wind (but a wind line visible to the north, a mile or so away) and a slow north-setting current that created small eddies on the pin end of the start line. We opted for a fairly conservative start, with the aim of getting around the predictable mess that would ensue when the gun went off. That proved to be a good call! Three boats ahead of us started slowly spinning in the current near the start line, and we were able to ghost across without making contact with anyone (Justin was ready at the bow with a fender, though!), leaving a tangle of boats behind us. Within about 15 minutes, we had found the wind (a steady northerly, about 8 to 10 knots true) and started a long beat up Colvos Passage.
It was some glorious sailing! It was partly sunny, the mountains were smiling at us, and we were pointing quite high despite the less-than-optimal shape of our genoa (a bit too much draft aloft, which we were never able to completely eliminate despite moving our cars around a bit). Justin had brought along some dyneema and a soft shackle, however, and suggested we try rigging a barberhauler to get the jib in another inch or two. It proved a good call, and Earth's Edge pointed a couple of degrees higher. We spent the next few hours optimizing our sail trim as the wind shifted, and tacking to avoid dead air. We slowly gained on Emma Lee, our main opposition, and were able to get quite close to her by the time we reached Point Peter. She tried to shake us off, but we were right behind her as we passed Point Vashon, and we finally passed her right by the southeastern tip of Blake Island.
At this point, unfortunately, the wind was slowly dying. As we rounded the northeastern tip of Blake Island we could our committee boat flying the "Sierra" flag, indicating that the course had been shortened (Mary, our racing-rules expert, pointed this out). Emma Lee and Earth's Edge each tacked a few times, each trying to get an advantage in the dying wind and get to the line before the other. Luck was not with us for the final few hundred yards, as Emma Lee was able to get ahead of us about the Blake Island Marina and head straight for the line. We were immediately behind her on a close reach, heading for the line as well and hoping the wind would completely abandon us. We were able to close the distance a bit, but not enough. We crossed the line 1m 35s behind her, in fifth position for Cruising Class.
We then made our way back down Colvos Passage (sailing at first, then motorsailing, and finally motoring as the wind completely vanished) for a quick dinner at the Gig Harbor Yacht Club. As we made our way to the dock, Emma Lee came alongside and complimented us on a great race!
Although I'm a bit disappointed by the result -- I really thought we could get a second or third -- this race again demonstrates how far we've come as a crew. Looking at the times, we keep closing the gap with our opponents. We're now in the thick of things, able to think tactically and strategically. Plus, I can't think of a greater group of people to sail with than my fellow ISC members. Thank you all for sailing with me, and thank you for making this a great winter racing season in the Sound!