Home SailingSailboat Racing “Interesting” Blakely Rock Race

“Interesting” Blakely Rock Race

by Bruce Hedrick

Update: Jan’s full gallery is posted here! She’s got it set up for easy viewing for all, and if you want one for keeps you can always buy online right from her site. -KH

Ed. Note: Bruce’s weather analysis (see it here) pretty well nailed it. Don’t forget, he’ll look into his crystal ball (and a few weather models) before the Scatchet Head and Three Tree Point races. Look for his analyses on this site the Friday before those races. It’s your choice whether or not to tell your competitors about them, though obviously we would like you to! We’ll get a selection of Jan Anderson’s photos up asap. –KH

Tachyon leading Madrona during the Blakely Rock Race. Photo by Jan Anderson.

Tachyon leading Madrona during the Blakely Rock Race. Photo by Jan Anderson.

Well, I said it would be interesting and it certainly was! The breeze was hard out of the north at 0400 hrs and then proceeded to clock around and drop to 5-8 before the start. The line was heavily favored at the buoy end as the breeze was clear around to the east northeast. It meant that you had a reaching start and whoever had clear air, the longer waterline and went to the barber hauler the fastest made out. Almost all boats made the “N” mark without having to tack and the later starters with sprits and code-zeros were able to use them all the way to the top mark. It seemed that the boats that stayed slightly to the east of rhumb or on the rhumbline did slightly better as the breeze increased as you got closer to the mark and backed ever so slightly.


Jan Anderson photo.

The boats that rounded early tried to set kites for the reach to Blakely Rock however as the breeze had gone to the east, those that persisted found themselves aimed at the north-end of Bainbridge Island. Those that stayed on rhumbline did better. Those who did the best were the ones who took short hitches to starboard tack in order to do headsail changes or to clear their air, when the breeze went from easterly to east-southeasterly as the first effects of the approaching front were felt. The boats that were able to stay on port and make the Rock found a large patch of lighter air that extended from north of Winslow to just before the Rock. This allowed those who stayed east of the rhumbline to come in with speed and catch anyone who had stayed on the rhumbline or below.

As the fleet left the Rock there was a tendency for the early rounders to set kites and try to reach down the Sound. The breeze went from 10-12 from the east-southeast to 15-17 which put those who were carrying .6 kites in danger of trashing them as the wind built and went slightly forward the closer you got to the West Point. Most of the fleet dropped kites and went back headsails only to have wind drop just north of West Point, allowing kites to be quickly reset for the reach to the finish which even in the rain was quite a site. The reverse start also meant that the fleet compressed as it got closer to the finish which had the Race Committee giving horns almost as fast as they could press the button.

Waterline was king as Neptune’s Car was first to finish closely followed by John Buchan’s “new” TP52 Glory. Neptune’s Car also corrected out to win the big boat class which was raced under IRC. You can probably expect to see more boats switch over to this rule. Overall in PHRF was taken by Ross 930 Gaucho. As we said, it was a very interesting race.

Blakely Rock Results

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1 comment

Fred March 21, 2014 - 14:16

Great article! I was on Ballistic and that was a very interesting race. We set our kite on the return trip and was rewarded with 14.5 kts. blast. Bad angle though but lots of fun.


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