R2AK Beat Down

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Ed. Note: Sorry, R2AK and Bruce Hedrick fans, the web master was out of wifi/cell range the last 48 hours and the following weren’t posted as promptly as they should have been. First up is this morning’s post by Bruce, followed by yesterday’s analysis. He’s into it. Check out R2AK for the tracker and all the latest news. It is a tough go for these guys.

 

R2AK 10 June: The beating will continue until morale improves.

I don’t think many people thought that it might be that you would have to beat all the way to Ketchikan. Beating in cold, sloppy water can get old in a real hurry especially on a small boat. Not only that, your VMG can also be a very small number making you wonder if you’re ever going to get there.

Yesterday we left our hero’s on Team Elsie Piddock finally having gotten out of Johnstone Strait and reaching north towards Cape Caution and after that aiming towards the next Check-In-Point at Bella Bella. Well that didn’t last very long as the wind went from NW to NNW and they were back on the wind again beating at just over five knots. Today at 1300 hours, there was a strange tack to the SW followed by a tack back to port which over the last 60 minutes shows them apparently being lifted as the wind is once again backing to the WNW. They are currently off the NW corner of Calvert Island and looking to pass between Hunter and Goose Island to set up for the approach into Bella Bella.

This should help make that stretch of the race pretty straight forward. That’s the good news. The bad news is that today’s GRIB files show the breeze backing to the west which will mean that after Team EP has passed the Check-In-Point they will have to make a sharp left hand turn into Seaforth Channel. The GRIB’s do show the beeze continuing to back around to the due south by 0600 hours tomorrow morning which would really help Team EP get back out to Milbanke Sound and then out eventually into the Hecate Strait before the wind clocks back around to the West which will at least have them close reaching to the NW and into the final turning point probably off of Porcher Island where they finally aim towards Ketchikan.

As we said yesterday, barring any major gear failure, it doesn’t look like anyone in the trailing pack is going to be able to come anywhere close. What is interesting is the battle for the steak knives which is developing between the Hobie 33 Por Favor and one of the other Ferrier cats, the F-28 Super Racer Team MOB Mentality. Skippered by none other than Wayne Gorrie who invented the Van Isle 360 Race. Team MM is only about 35 km behind Team PF and that could change very quickly as they both go into close reaching mode with Team MM probably going 2-3 knots faster.

This is going to be fun to watch.

 

R2AK: Tuesday 9 June

 

It would be very interesting to figure out just how many man-hours of productivity have been lost to people who are clicking on the tracker to watch this amazing race unfold. While the final leg, Victoria to Ketchikan, only started two days ago, it has been totally mesmerizing since the start. The Soggy Beavers smoked everyone going out of the Harbour and led well into the afternoon until the breeze picked up and the multihulls went into overdrive.

The first split occurred when teams decided how to get up to Nanaimo. As was suggested in our pre-race, those who went up Trincomali, out Porlier Pass, and into the Strait of Georgia scored big time. This fleet was led by Team Elsie Piddock who had previously led the first leg only to finish third by the time everything was done. Team EP then put the pedal to the metal and almost put the nail in the coffin before the first Check-In-Point at Seymour Narrows, just north of Campbell River. This was after a long, relentless, cold, sloppy beat in 15-20 knots of northwesterly. Amazingly, in the true spirit of champions, Team EP never let the foot off the pedal. They were so close to being rewarded with a total slam of the tidal gate door at Ripple Rock. They however got to Campbell River just at slack tide and the start of anti-water. Team EP, in a full court press, made it past the Narrows and then played the beach to avoid the flood. All the while, the fleet astern was starting to close up as Team EP was being held in the grip of the tide. The good news was that Team EP had at this point about a 30 mile lead! In a fleet like this that is pretty amazing and a real accomplishment.

This was where it really started to get interesting as the first leg winner, Team Golden Oldies, having gone the wrong way out through Boundary Pass, was steadily working its way up through the fleet and showing it had the speed to overcome that initial error.

What was really interesting was that in the mix of pursuers was the Hobie 33 Por Favor which while not a vessel known for weatherly speed in breeze, was doing a great job of holding off the multihulls.

All the while, it was Team EP going slow, holding the lead while the jackals closed up to Campbell River and looked to be hitting it at the perfect time to take the tide all the way to Johnstone Straits and close with Team EP. The only problem was that it was still a breezy northwesterly which meant breeze against tide which meant very sloppy conditions and slow going. It was taking as a toll as one after another, boats dropped out due to a multiplicity of problems.

This afternoon, the major stalker, Team Golden Oldies abruptly stopped advancing and turned south just north of Seymour Narrows and as of this evening are still headed south and appear to be anchored off of Hornby Island.

Now it appears that, barring a catastrophic failure of some sort, Team EP is totally launched towards a win with a lead of about 140 km(87miles) over Por Favor. Team EP has cleared Johnstone Strait and is now close reaching towards Cape Caution at over eight knots. Por Favor is only doing 1.5 knots while Team Brodema (3rd), Team MOB Mentality(4th), and Team Kohara(5th) are all anchored.

This should be another case of the rich will simply get richer because even though the pressure gradient will ease and this interminable stretch of beating will finally ease, Team EP since they are further north will get lifted, continue to reach at hull speed(whatever that is with a multihull), and continue to put more miles between themselves and who ever is a distant second.

There’s a lot of race course left but right now it looks like Team EP has well and truly done the job and will claim that $10,000 first prize. And essentially, “Your Majesty, there is no second”

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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.

2 Comments

  1. With all due respects, it ain’t over till it’s over. And I don’t hear any fat lady singing yet.

  2. Karl Schulmeisters

    Its over – EP at this point (23:30 pdt) has a 100 nm lead on the Por Favor.

    EP is reaching at 6+ knots back out into QC Sound for the final run to Ketchican, while PF is struggling to get into QC Sound for the first time and still has the tricky passage into Bella Bella to deal with and is only making 2.3 knots SOG

    now the good news for PF is that MOB Mentality seems to have a “well we need another shower” as they have tucked into shelter for the night behind Broughton Island

    I had commented on the Small Craft Advisory blog that I think these results are proving that if you are sailing, you really need to go with a 3 man crew so that you can run a continuous watch system while not getting worn down.

    I think the results show that unlike the Everglades Challenge where a large part of the issue is water that is too thin, and hence favors small light craft that can be rowed and pushed and manhandled in the thin water – this race favors boats that are quick and roomy enough to allow 3 aboard with one really sleeping in sufficient shelter to be able to recover.

    to me this means a multihull. And while there might be light wind periods in this race (even “no wind”) – even an F27 or F32 should be fine, because when there is breeze, you more than make up for the lack of speed that human power gives you.

    And the notion of running the inside passage in something as small as a Wave Rider, frankly just scares the bejeesus out of me (and I’ve sailed some stupid things in some stupid conditions). This isn’t a “Raid De Corse” where you can hit your personal EPIRB and have the coast guard heli there in 15 minutes. – Even in Johnstone straight

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