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Picture Perfect Toliva Shoal Race

by Kurt Hoehne

As Bruce Hedrick predicted, this year’s Toliva Shoal Race, the third in the South Sound Series, was one to remember. Don’t forget to check in for his weather outlooks for each of the upcoming Center Sound Races.

Jan Anderson with help from Captain Skip and assistant Mocha, not only captured hundreds of great images, she helped pull Lightly Salted from its imprisonment aground off the McNeil Island Correction Center. Whether you were out there or not, you’ll probably want to take a look at her gallery. If that doesn’t stir some excitement for the racing season, nothing will.

Results here. Race report below.


I-5 looking great.
Lightly Salted, stuck in time out.

Toliva Shoal — Perfect!

Bruce Hedrick, editor of Northwest Yatching magazine, stated on his web site before the race: “This should be an absolutely banner weekend and that will be especially true for the sailors doing the Toliva Shoal out of Olympia . . . it looks like this could be one the those Toliva Shoal races where the tide, wind and weather will all come together to prove what should be a great race.“T Bruce nailed it!

The start for the Cruising Classes began at 0930 in a northerly wind with an ebb tide. Boats were able to beat down Budd Inlet to Dana Passage where the ebbing current made every boat look great as they swept down the channel. Looking behind one could see the PHRF fast boats, which started 30 minutes later, closing the gap on the furniture fleet classes. Aboard Koosah we knew it was going to be a great race because Jam, the fastest boat in the fleet usually passes us in Dana Passage, but today they passed us just after we rounded the McAlister Creek buoy. That is a difference of three miles from previous years! We were going to finish before dark! (Last year we finished in the dark with a blizzard! When we arrived at our Swawntown dock there was six inches of snow!)

After rounding McAlister Creek buoy, all beat to the Toliva Shoal in strong northerly winds and some chop. The larger boats were able to punch through the waves better than the lighter boats.

Rounding the Shoal, the PHRF boats hoisted their spinnakers and held them almost to the finish line at Olympia Shoal. The cruisers were able to sail wing and wing and admire the colorful chutes as they rolled over them.

Of particular interest was Lightly Salted. They were getting prepared to jibe their spinnaker just after passing the McNeil Island boat dock and they went aground! Jan and Skip Anderson on the photo boat came to their rescue and nudged them off of the muddy bottom. Once off, Lightly Salted continued sailing since the weather was so great and crossed the finish line and then retired from the race. (Jan will have some great photos of the race!)

Most boats finished before dark. Jam finished around 1518 hours and only a couple of cruising boats elected to retire as the wind was dying as the sun went down.

Great party and food Friday night, wonderful breakfast Saturday morning, and hot soup after the race! Thank you volunteers! Kudos goes to Norm Smit, Principal Race Officer, and his crew of volunteers for running a fair and organized race.

The results can be found on the www.sssseries.org web site.

The final race in the Southern Sound Series is the Islands Race sponsored by the Gig Harbor Yacht Club on 21 March. You may register on the Series web site.

Whew! What a wonderful day of sailing!

Dave Knowlton, Koosah


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