Sometimes there’s no wind, sometimes too much and sometimes, it’s perfect. Corinthian Yacht Club’s Blakely Rock Race, often thought of as the start of the racing season, was sailed in gorgeous sun and a light to moderate breezes last Saturday. Those racing reveled, those ashore knew they were missing out. The northerly dictated the fleet head that direction first, then rounding the rock later in the day. The small boats were started first which kept the fleet together for much of the race.
As usual, the great photos are by Jan Anderson with a shout out to “Boat Boy” Skip Anderson. Everyone should check out the entire gallery at
http://janpix.smugmug.com/Boats/Blakely-Rock-2015/47925004_sk5xLp#!i=3921678379&k=LsC4xzR Click any photo to enlarge. Race report below.
It was a great day – the wind came in earlier then expected. The first few fleets had more of a northerly, but the wind went west about 8 degrees for the middle to later starting classes. There were some wind bands, so boats in the middle to later starts found it was worth heading towards the shipping lanes to get into more velocity.
Downwind, the wind had a true northerly slant, so boats did not stay on starboard too long after rounding. Boats like Madrona found a little less bad current on the eastern half of the Sound than those on the Bainbridge side.
There were some shifts to gybe on between Eagle Harbor and Blakely Rock. The upwind leg favored getting right across to four-mile rock near Magnolia. Once over by the bluffs, there were 3 knot puffs that were starboard lifts. The first 3/4 of the fleet had to foot off for deep enough water to get across the spit between West Point lighthouse and the West Point buoy. A couple of boats may have sanded the bottom of their keels pushing it too close but didn’t come to a stop. The current was running against the boats from West Point to the finish off Meadow Point, but the starboard tack lift near the breakwater coupled with a little current relief was the fastest route, as long as you didn’t overstand.
The wind was better than predicted and it was sunny the whole time! It was a great way to start the Center Sound Series.
Northwest Yachting Racing Editor Ben Braden’s report (and a different selection of Jan’s photos) can be found at the Sail Northwest blog.