Bruce’s Weather Brief Feb 20, Special for Toliva Shoal and Girts Rekevics

Bruce Hedrick Bruce's Briefs Sailboat Racing Weather

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This should be an absolutely banner weekend for boaters and that will be especially true for the sailors doing the Toliva Shoal Race out of Olympia and the Girts Rekevics Regatta out of Anacortes. For the sailors who made the long haul to Olympia it looks like this could be one of those great Toliva Shoal Races where the tide, wind and weather will all come together to produce what should be a great race.

If you look at the surface forecast charts you’ll see that we still have that persistent dome of high pressure off to the northeast of us at 1045MB with yet another weak (1028MB) ridge of high pressure off the coast. Between the two highs we have the remnants of that weak front that went through our area this morning. As we say, the best chance for breeze in the Salish Sea is the first day that the ridge of high pressure rebuilds over the Northwest. That first day will be tomorrow and with the dominant high being east of the Cascades you can expect a northeasterly flow over the Northwest with a stronger easterly flow near the gaps in the Cascades.

As always, the South Sound will probably feel the stronger breeze later in the day and it will fill from the Northeast. The great news is that the Toliva Shoal Race will start at about the time of max ebb in Budd Inlet so even if it is a little lighter you’ll still be carried along to the stronger breeze. This will benefit the fastest boats in each class as they will get to the stronger breeze first and they will stand the best chance of getting to the Toliva Shoal mark before the flood really starts ripping.

The boats that get around Toliva and can start heading towards the finish will also probably carry the building NNE breeze with them.

So what will the keys to success be for this year?

  1. Know the course and know the compass courses to each turning mark. Especially don’t forget to leave Bouy#3 off the Nisqually Delta to port.
  2. In the NNE breeze really watch your cog and sog and try to find the axis of the current, that is the area where the current is the strongest.
  3. Remember that since water doesn’t compress, the current will tend to accelerate around Points. That’s the good news. You do have to be careful if Points are below high bluffs that can reduce the wind velocity.
  4. Watch the boats around you to see who has the best breeze and the best headings.
  5. Rig your barber haulers before you leave the dock as this is one race where you can have significant amounts of reaching.
  6. Be sensitive to weight placement on the boat and don’t let bodies accumulate aft as the breeze lightens. Only move aft as the wind comes up and the apparent wind moves aft.
  7. The boats that work the hardest at keeping the sails trimmed will be the ones that win and in the South Sound the wind gods like to keep the trimmers really busy.
  8. Don’t let your best helmspeople wear themselves out. Know where you are on the course and if you’re going to be out on the course after dark, get them some rest so when the real night fighting starts, you’ve got your best drivers on the stick.
  9. Keep watching cog and sog and if it’s anti-water, figure out the fastest course in the least amount of anti-water.

Racing in the South Sound is very challenging and it’s also one of the most beautiful places to sail just don’t get too distracted.

Girts Rekevics Memorial Foul Weather Race/Cruise

This is from the Anacortes Yacht Club website and this sounds like an absolute hoot, but then again if the Schwenks are involved that’s just about guaranteed.

For the cruisers the event consists of a trip from Anacortes to Friday Harbor departing at around 9:30am in the morning.  Boats registering under the cruiser category are not scored or timed and are not eligible for the event trophy.  For boats entered under the racer category the event consists of a race starting between R2 and the Refinery Dock in Fidalgo Bay, Anacortes and ending between the NW corner of Brown Island and the NOAA Weather Station in  Friday Harbor, San Juan Island – a distance of approximately 19.5 nm.  Following the race there is a dinner in Friday Harbor. Many participants stay overnight in Friday Harbor and informally travel back to Anacortes on Sunday morning. If needed, crew members can take the ferry back to Anacortes Saturday evening after the dinner.

This should be a great race with plenty of wind and it will be way more challenging than it sounds. The same sort of rules will apply for this race as Toliva Shoal, however it will be almost off the wind the entire way to Friday Harbor. Should be a reaching start so once again you’ll want to have the barber haulers rigged however you will want to have the spin gear set up with pole to starboard for the run out Guemes Channel. Then once the kite is up prepare to get it right down as you get closer to the Bellingham Channel and the transition to cross the Rosario Strait. From there through Thatcher Pass until Upright Head you’ll probably be two sail reaching with the barber hauler. Boats with long waterlines will love this. At Upright Head be prepared for another chute set with pole to starboard and then get ready to go back to jib reaching to get to the finish.

Then be prepared for a great afternoon cocktail party and dinner in Friday Harbor. This should be a quick race with lots of great stories. Let’s hope somebody is taking pictures. Have a great time!

 

 

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Bruce Hedrick

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Bruce has raced and cruised the Pacific Northwest his entire life. He earned a Bachelor's of Science from the University of Washington in Biological Oceanography and learned meteorology "to keep from getting kicked around on the race course." <a href="https://www.nwyachting.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Brucekh.jpg"><img class="alignright wp-image-5597 size-medium" src="https://www.nwyachting.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Brucekh-300x224.jpg" alt="Brucekh" width="300" height="224" /></a>Bruce spent nearly two decades as Associate Publisher for Northwest Yachting Magazine, retiring in mid-2015, and was the chairman of the board of trustees for the Northwest Marine Trade Association in 2014.

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