Regatta Announcements

My Swiftsure Experience – May 2018

posted Jun 8, 2018, 5:09 PM by A Rice

Kristin Bedell

The Swiftsure International Yacht Race is the premier long distance sailing race in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia area. Starting and ending in Victoria, BC over the Memorial Day weekend, the 75th edition on May 26 attracted nearly 200 boats including 18 multihulls.  

We had not gone for a couple of years.  I didn’t race on our Corsair F31R, Freda Mae, but enjoyed the journey to and from Victoria. This year Vincent DePillis, Jon Frodge, Johnny Ohta, and I treated this as our first cruise of the season (our fourth racer, Jim Kublin, joined in Victoria).  We had a lovely sail to Port Townsend on May 23 (land of beautiful views, quiet, and friendly people), staying overnite with old friends and eating BBQ salmon and garden fresh salad greens of all varieties. From there we attempted to sail through the washing machine of the flood tide at Point Wilson and across the straits. This was when the adventure started: a strong westerly and adverse tide created square-shaped, very choppy waves. The skies were clear and sunny -- which allowed us to easily track freighters and take in snowy Olympic peaks to the south – but the chop made me queasy. I sat still in one spot for 5 hours while the guys sailed the boat. It takes longer than you think as you go westward and try to reel in the ever elusive land mass and entrance at Ogden Point (graced by two huge cruise ships). We cleared customs and docked at 4pm. The inner harbor had filled up quickly and most multihulls had arrived. For hours after, I sway and rock as if I am still on a boat. Fortunately, our hotel room was two blocks away and a comfortable escape from the hubbub -- perfect for showers, watching basketball play-offs, and re-heating food. 

On Friday Vince did his boat thing -- puttering, yakking with other sailors, getting ready for Saturday’s race.  My favorite pastime is wandering through neighborhoods and parks admiring gardens. I stumbled upon the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria which had an exhibit of Emily Carr’s paintings of forests and trees, as well as amazing First Nations prints from the Pacific Northwest. While the guys attended the multihull dinner at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club that evening, I had sushi at Nobu - highly recommended!

On Race Day everyone is hyped up, even at 7am. The boats head out of the harbor as if they are going to war – anxious to get to the starting line by 9am for the Juan de Fuca race to Clallam Bay: round trip 78 miles. I hopped on a green bike-share bike to get out to Clover Point to join neighbors, young and old, who gather to watch the cannon start the races. Despite a clear day, Vincent knew it would be an exciting race. I checked the tracker every few hours but generally did not worry, taking the opportunity to explore this relaxed city. My favorite sights included a Victorian era bike parade, a farmer’s market packed with excited kids, a serious cricket match in Beacon Hill Park, and bracing the wind walking on the Ogden Point breakwater to the lighthouse. Suffice to say the Freda Mae racers returned by 8pm both exhilarated and exhausted. Results here.

We also took two days to return to Seattle. Sailing from Victoria to Port Townsend was much more fun since we were going downwind with the tide the whole way and even spinnakered around the back side of Protection Island. Following another fantastic evening with friends, we  pushed off on a quiet Memorial Day to sail through the canal and home. Light winds the whole way but great chit-chat on the boat and naps for the tired sailors. I am so grateful to live in such a glorious region of the world.

2018 Rally Wrap Up

posted May 17, 2018, 1:56 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc   [ updated Jun 8, 2018, 4:50 PM by A Rice ]

What a day we had Saturday!!! 

It dawned clear and still, and I was worried that we would have to do a short course, but the breeze came up as we were all standing around looking at weather apps (except for Eric Lindahl, who was trying to get through to NASA on a rotary phone plugged into his cigarette lighter), so we decided to do the long course.  We delayed the start to 10:30 to allow for more coffee, and by the start time came around, there was a solid racing breeze. 

Our participants:

              The aforementioned Eric Lindahl in his F31, with crew Brandon (aspiring multi owner from Tacoma area);

              Francois Rouaix with wife Suzanne, and charming son Lucas (Kite foiler in training) in their F31;

              Jim Miller with son Jimmy, and friend Evan in the custom cat Green Flash (aka mono crusher);

              Doug (reef, I don’t need no stinkin’reef) Barlow, with crew  (the cannonball) Yuri and friend Richard in the infamous F-27 Alii Kai, extra tall mast, multiple winner of the first-to-finish honors in Race to the Straits;

              Bill (why yes I am towing a dingy, do you have a problem with that) Quigley, with crew Joel (solid carbon) Smith, on Tatiana, an F32 that Bill built in closets and basements over the course of multiple years and multiple addresses;

              Martin (“sunburn”) Barker on his elegant Dragonfly 32 Touring (“Fafnir”), with crew Diane and Mark Olsoe. 

             And last, your rapporteur, Vince (reef now or we’re gonna die) DePillis with wife Kristin Bedell, Johnny (sail hotter) Ohta, and old friend Phil Dinsmore, on the much-modified F31 Freda Mae.

 Vince and Doug were bang on time at Yellow buoy “AO” ready to go.  It’s just a rally, not a real race, so we were totally chill, notwithstanding the fact that Doug pipped us at the line last Sunday on a freak wind shift, after clobbering us on Saturday.  So don’t read too much into the fact that Kristin was counting down the seconds, and Johnny was all “go, go go” as the (imaginary) gun went off.

It is just such a joy to set off on a race on a sunny day in Puget Sound, with friends in hot pursuit, in strong breeze.   And I love this 28 mile course, north from Everett past Hat (Gedney) Island (always a question which side to go), up to the buoy at the head of Holmes Harbor, and back.  Interesting tides, relatively flat water, spectacular scenery, and a tricky mark rounding at the top of the course.  

The 14-18 knot winds never let up, except at the top mark, where the wind died for a minute, and we had to put in an extra tack to make it.   And such a spinnaker run home, a true magic carpet ride.  We completed the 28 miles in about 3 hours and 40 minutes, more or less tied with Doug on handicap (but who’s counting).  Everybody completed the course except Fafnir, which is much more of a cruiser than the other boats. 

As we hit the dock we saw Dan Hill, the true hero of the rally, hustling food down the gang way.  Beer, burgers, brats, kraut, potato salad, all the fixings.  We ate and drank from 4 to 8 PM, and then sat around and jawed for another two hours as the sun set, the wind died, and the perfectly still night enveloped us.  Next year Dan gets to sail—somebody else has to do the food.  Just do what Dan says.

Here's a sunset shot of the last hangers on the party float:

Sunday we pooped out on “racing” as there was no point in trying to improve on perfection.  We had a lovely sail back to Shilshole.

Particular thanks to Mark Olsoe and David Larew(nephew of ScuttleButt herself) who saved us tables at Scuttlebutt on Friday night, even thought we got there two hours late.  We had a highly convivial gathering (and a 4 piece fish and chips).

And thanks so much to Commodore Jeff Oakleif, who could not attend, but made his presence unforgettably known, as the creator of the “Calibrated Speed Orb”.  This magnificent device was placed by persons unknown in my battery compartment, where I found it Friday afternoon, as I prepared to head up to Everett.  Its primary component appears to be a large, and very genuine looking, iron cannonball.  When placed as directed (30 feet from the stern), there is no doubt that my speed increased dramatically.  The Orb is a club asset, and will be available to all racers, with appropriate notification to the PHRF handicapper, Pat McGarry.



Round Mercer Island Race Notice

posted Apr 2, 2018, 2:37 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc   [ updated Apr 6, 2018, 11:24 AM ]

Hobie Fleet has cancelled their participation in this event due to the severe weather forecast. Just a quick reminder that local Hobie Fleet 95 has invited NWMA members to participate in their Round Mercer Island Race.  This is happening on April 7th and will be out of the Stan Sayer Pit on Lake Washington.  This is a casual race and no official PHRF ratings are required.  "Run what you brung"... they promised that they would adjust course(s) if necessary.  There is a party afterwards.Here is a link to the Notice of Race:

“Round Mercer Island @ Stan Sayer Pits  3808 Lake Washington Blvd S

Apr 7 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Cost:  $10 (To cover chase boat and after race munchies)

10 a.m. Registration    11 a.m. Skipper’s meeting  Noon First start


Some of the Weta folks will be there... It would be great if other boats not participating in the Blakely Rock race decided to do this one!  Also be sure you know your mast height relative to the bridge on the east channel of Mercer Island.  There has been talk that for those unable to go around that they race to the bridge and then reverse course back to the finish.

Three Views of Protection Island Race

posted Mar 20, 2018, 3:51 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc   [ updated Jul 2, 2018, 7:20 AM by A Rice ]

Here's a picture of Larry Fisher's Sprint 750 MK2, Oystercatcher, in last year's Protection Island race in Port Townsend. Click on the image to get a better view. And scroll down to see the other pictures.

And here's a shot of Oyster Catcher together with Sea Puppy.

And one final shot of Oyster Catcher.

Blakely Rocks Race Report from Freda Mae

posted Mar 9, 2018, 11:45 AM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc   [ updated Mar 9, 2018, 11:51 AM ]

We have sailed to Blakely Rock a bunch of times.  Racing and not.  Thing about Blakely Rock is, there are a bunch of boulders and ridges and ledges waiting just under the surface, eager to disjoint your daggerboard.  We hit it once in Little Freda, our F28, on a pleasure sail with a bunch of kids aboard.  Terrible sound of ripping fiber glass, and the main hull began to fill with water.  We limped into Eagle Harbor, the rescue guys put pumps on the boat and towed us to CSR the next day. 

Just by way of saying that we always pay close attention when sailing to Blakely Rock, especially Johnny, because he was steering that day.  Thank god for insurance.

I had been pushing pretty hard with boat projects since Round the County, and just got the boat in sailing condition the week before the race.  Rebedding/replacing a bunch of leaking deck hardware, removing a bunch of moldy rabbit fur, painting.  Generally making the boat a little rougher looking and stronger.  I’ll never work as hard or as fast as Jeff Oaklief, but I was down at the boat late at night, using up the AAAs in my headlamp.  Happy as a clam really, completely absorbed in the physical and mental challenge of boat work. 

Headed to the marina early on Saturday, all jacked up on coffee and the prospect racing, and swung by the loading ramp to check on Jeff and Ruff Duck.  He is in the water, and glad to see us.  He can’t find the pin that attaches the yoke to the mast base.  Jumped in car, hot tailed it back to house, grab pin, and back to dock, thereby having spared the life of a screw driver for sure. 

We rig our boat, get the spin on the correct side, rig the solent in case the wind builds, and head out into a glorious day...(rest of story below Janpix picture, click on picture to see it better, then back button your browser to get back to story)

It’s choppy and windy, and I am on edge.  It’s always like this after a while away from sailing –  the noise and the motion more than I remember, the intricacy of the rigging just a bit surprising.  But  in just a few minutes we are settled, main up, and here’s jeff, also main only reaching around below the start box.  Kristin is in the companion way watching the starts, and getting the timer synced.  Jon on jib, Johnny on main.  Focused.

Where is the line.

Where to start.  Boat end on starboard.

Where are we in the sequence.  Kris calls it out.

40 seconds.

Big S turns to kill time, Ruff Duck behind us, Green Flash on the line. 

30  seconds.  20 seconds, accelerate past committee boat,  I think they were whooping.   

First mistake, too close to Green Flash, can’t go above them without being over early, .  Go below at the last minute.  Damn.  Slow. Finally cross the line.  Decide to tack behind Green flash to clear our air. 

Second mistake.  Tack too close to Jeff coming up on starboard,  we cross, but foul him. 

We get in position for a fairly long port tack, headed for the top mark.  Feeling sheepish about the foul, but ok.  Boat handling has been smooth, we are trimmed and rigged right, everybody knows where to go sit.  Paying attention to tell tales, locked in.  We cross Ruff Duck and Green Flash on the way up to the top mark.  It is a glorious day for a sailboat race.  Sun, wind, and snow-capped peaks.

I have not told anybody, but I have decided I am going to stay on the tiller for much of the race, just to reward myself for the late nights and aching hands.  It is kind of strange, but have always acted as if it is my prerogative as skipper to say who steers when.  When I have it together, I have a plan that I communicate to Johnny and Jon in advance.  Other times it is a bit intuitive, maybe arbitrary.  So grateful that they have never been resentful about this, except maybe that one time at Cow Bay, when I took the tiller back with no notice, near the finish.  Still feel bad about that one.

So any ways, we leave the top mark wide, have a clean raise and are off on an epic run.  Wind is 15-18, maybe some higher puffs?  Lots of traffic, as we were 8th start.  Sailing pretty deep, and the spin does its “project” the luff to windward thing.  Johnny and Jon trade of trimming and log watching.  Kristin calling out traffic. 

Speed builds quickly, as we get away from the scrum.  I’m steering from the net at first, but not fully comfortable with the short tiller extension and my gloves—I move into the cockpit.  Kristin and the Jon on the float, aft of the shroud.  Boat sailing flat and fast, leeward float knifing through the chop, never pressed.  There is still enough traffic that I don’t concentrate fully on boatspeed— going deep to avoid boats, or to squeeze between lanes. 

We pass the Melges 32 Ballistic, which is when I start to realize how well we are doing.  Their enormous mast head spinnaker is perfectly trimmed, they have a crowd of people hiking on the back corner, they are in full planning mode.  We pass them like they were a 4 knot SB. 

Soon enough, there are no boats ahead of us.

The leading TP 52, Crossfire, is almost even with us.  We cross them on starboard.  Feeling GOOD.

As we pass the entrance to Eagle Harbor, my paranoia starts to reassert control.  Got a shoal here, a lee shore there, the rock ahead.  Where and when to drop?  We discuss, and take it very wide.  The wind abates a bit in toward the Rock, and we have a smooth drop and jib raise.  The TPs pass us and we get trimmed for up wind, heading for the Space Needle.  After a bit, I hand the tiller to Johnny, and go below to pee and have a sandwich.  Feels good to be out of the wind and sun for a moment, but as always, the noise of the boat up wind is disconcerting.  I resolve to chase down every creak and rattle, every shimmy and shake that I can, until the boat can slam quietly into a head sea.

We are in clear air all the way up the course and the wind is steady and we never feel pressed.  No thought of a reef.   Johnny and John trade off on the tiller.  I watch the trim and fantasize about t-foils and canting rigs.  We keep the TP 52s in sight, but waterline tells, and there is not quite enough wind for us to stay with them. 

I take back the tiller on the last long tack to the finish.  We are 4th over the line, and in elapsed time.  We are elated.  Just after we cross, the committee boat hails us—their whaler has come unmoored and is drifting south, motor still running, no one aboard.  They ask us to go get it.

This is where James Bond comes in.  We make a couple of awkward approaches under sail, and t-bone the damn thing at least once.  Eventually Jon “leaps”  (poetic license)  into the whaler.  He puts it in gear and of course, immediately floors it in the direction of the committee boat.  He is soon back, a hero, a true Bond in our eyes, bearing beers from the grateful race committee.  He transfers back into Super Freda, and we roll it up, and head for home.

In retrospect, we did a terrible job with the whaler—no planning, poor communication, crappy boat handling.  But we got it done, and it was a great reminder that we need to practice close quarters boat handling under sail. 

And we had a really perfect day on the water. 

We will miss Scatchet Head, but are looking forward to Three Tree Point!

Duwamish Head Race Report... from a trailer sailer point of view.

posted Feb 3, 2018, 3:26 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc   [ updated Feb 5, 2018, 5:55 PM ]

He used to be smaller.  So small I could hold him in the crook of my arm with room to spare.  Now, taller than me with the shoe size to match, he is a fuzzy headed space consuming refrigerator emptying adolescent powerhouse.  So much energy... so much fun!

 My son Jonah and I teamed up with two friends, Jim and Vince, to do our first winter race on Ruf Duck.  Why not?  I am on a hiatus from major boat work this winter and Jonah and I have decided to get some racing in.  Duwamish Head seemed to be a good place to start after the holidays so plans were laid... according to Vince, laid out like a military operation.  Not a fair description I say, but there were some things to work out since the boat was still in the back yard and that takes a few minutes of planning. After a few days worth of phone calls we obtained permission to use the Des Moines Yacht Club launch ramp at the south end of the marina (a big thank you to Margaret!) and that was the piece that made the whole trip possible.  With that part of the puzzle solved the rest of the plan went a little like this:

·  Friday - hitch the boat to the truck after work... leave the house by 6:30 or so.

·  Drive to the DesMoines and arrive at the Yacht Club by around 7:30 or 8.  (yep... dark and rainy... and the tail end of rush hour). 

·  Launch the boat and park the truck and meet up with Jim and Vince to rig the boat.  This only takes 15 minutes or so with the total effort of this plus beam extension, mast up, gear and sails on taking around two hours or less.

·  Retreat to Seattle for hot showers and a nice bed.  I think I was in bed by 11.

·  Saturday - leave Seattle for Des Moines at 7:00am.  Since we left the truck and trailer in DesMoines Vince was the transportation maven, inscribing a very big clockwise arc around Seattle, as he picked us all up for the trip.

·  Our race started at 10:10... PHRF 1 Multihull.  We still had plenty of time to hang out, talk to folks, get some coffee and check over the boat before we left the dock.

·  After the race - derig, get the boat on the trailer and head back home.  One and a half hours to derig plus the commute.  Derig seems to be faster than rigging.

·  Back the trailer into the yard, unhook and unpack.  Jonah and I were back in the house by 6:00pm.

Seems like a lot now that I type it... but it really was not very difficult and it went without a hitch.  Unless you count the part where we got stuck in the craw of the Port of DesMoines parking lot entrance.  We missed the DesMoines Yacht Club turn off.  I should have looked more closely at the map.  Fortunately there was a very nice woman walking her dog that showed us the trick for getting almost 60 feet of truck and trailer un-tangled, through the automatic gates, turned around and headed back in the right direction.  

Race Day!

Not much wind in the marina and certainly not enough to fully display our NWMA burgee.  Not to worry though, Bruce Hedrick's dire predictions of very light air turned out to be just weather forecaster's reverse psychology.  Things picked up a bit once we headed out and we had somewhere around 15 knots from the southwest.  Our start was the last one so we got to watch all the fleets sprint off towards the north.  We were apparently so fixated by the procession that we   were a bit late, being hailed by the committee boat that the last horn had indeed been our start.  Still, no worries.  We have a fast boat.  Not the fastest mind you... there were a couple of Avatar Toruk types out there.  I would like to say that Crossfire and Mist (Steve Johnson's TP 52 ex Valkarie) were looking good but truth be known we only saw them at the start... and saw Mist halfway back up our return beat on their way home from having dropped off their crew, stowed their gear, gotten something to eat and probably caught a movie.

Mid Race

Things flattened out.  

Ack.  The promising breeze that we had at the start left us and we were down on our numbers a bit.  Still a decent breeze, just not enough wind to keep us from sticking and not enough to reel in much of the fleet.  And the logs!  There was more wood in the water than I have ever seen in a race on Puget Sound.  Small logs, big logs, dead heads... oh my.  There was one two boat length tree with a root ball that had a sail area seemingly bigger than ours.  Bob and weave... we only hit what Vince called "twigs".  Making the right hand turn after Alki Point the wind picked back up a bit and we had a nice gybe-fest digging through the fleets.  Crew work was impeccable and this was the first time that we had so many flawless spinnaker gybes on the boat.  Jim, Vince and Jonah really kept things humming.  Just as we rounded the Duwamish Head day marker the wind lightened up again and that combined with a close port reach and less than monohull angles had us sagging a bit below Blakely Rock.  Hard not to pinch in a close hauled competition with monohulls.  You really have to remind yourself to fall off a little and let the boat run.  Still, as we rounded the rock (per Vince by a suitably safe distance... which is a bit wider than folks who have not made substantial carbon fiber deposits on that rock might have prescribed) we were able to start slowly reeling in the boats ahead.  Mixed fleets are fun.  Monos sometimes try and pinch you up... which is fine since falling off is faster and ducking through there lee at a high rate of speed does not seem to be much trouble.  As we worked our way back south the wind picked back up and we were finally able to find our wheels.  I love the way this boat accelerates when it gets its breeze.  You can actually feel it leap forward.

The End

We won!  Our class.  Which was one boat deep.  I think we missed the parade the Chamber of Commerce held in our honor... :)

In all actuality, overall we corrected out somewhere in the upper part of the low quarter... finishing right behind a San Juan 30 I think.  Every part a victory in my eyes since I was able to hang out with friends, get some racing in with my son and turn a winter weekend into a worthwhile event.  What could be better?

Do those pictures look like winter?  I don't think so.

Jeff Oaklief

Commodore NWMA


posted Feb 1, 2018, 11:52 AM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc

Following the letter that I sent to all PNW multihull sailors with an interest in this year’s Swiftsure I have had a lot of letters of interest and support. There is also support to preserve the Cape Flattery Race for Multihulls, so this event will be continued as in past years. The Swiftsure Organising Committee under the leadership of Chair, Vern Burkardt, wants to encourage as many multihulls as possible to participate in this race.

As mentioned in the last communication, Swiftsure will also offer the new for us Juan de Fuca Race for Multihulls. This 78.7 NM race promises to be long enough to be a challenge, and short enough to be fun. With decent wind, it is entirely possible that some boats may finish before dark, a rare feat in the longer race.

The Swiftsure web site is being updated with this information, and already has the two races included on the registration page. Simply go to Registration, click on Register Now, Then click on Four Long Courses. Both events of relevance to the Multihull Fleet are there.

I have had questions about safety requirements and they are included on the web site as the top link under Race Info. These requirements are for any yachts sailing beyond Race Passage, so apply to both of the multihull events.

The NOR does not yet reflect the addition of the Juan de Fuca Race for Multihulls, but please be assured that it will have an addendum shortly. In the meantime, the organising committee and the registrar are all aware.

If there are any concerns, do not hesitate to contact race committee, or one of the sub-committee of two for Multihulls.

Further updates will be sent in the coming weeks.

The race starts in just a few months, so get registered now.

John Green

Tim Knight

Round the County 2017

posted Dec 2, 2017, 3:17 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc   [ updated Dec 2, 2017, 3:22 PM ]

Start at the ending.

 Couple miles north of Shilshole, 7pm, a week after the race.  Cold, but not raining.   Dying wind,; adverse tide.  Johnnie watching for logs, Frodge is steering, I am standing next to the shrouds staring into the dark, looking for traffic, trying to see if the Meadow Point buoy is getting any closer.   It is, but not very fast at 3 knots over the ground. 

No talking.  Rustle of water at the bow, planes lining up to land at Seatac, a train headed south past Blue Ridge.  Remembering so many returns to Shilshole-- in hot sun; in an indigo dusk; after a 30 mile spinnaker run, or a brutal slog of a motor.  With these guys. 

We get to the dock, and tiredly congratulate each other.  We sailed well, all the way from Anacortes in 11 hours, in winds of 5 to 30 knots. Up wind all the way.  We reefed and unreefed so many times I lost count.  We are beat, but proud to have completed the adventure.

For us, round the County is an ADVENTURE.  I guess for the folks who have done the Van Isle 360, or the R2AK, it’s no big deal. It still seem like a big deal to us, because it is 5 or 6 days of sailing in November, when the days are short, the winds are strong, and the rain is cold.   We have gotten stuck in Port Townsend on the way to the race, unwilling to cross the Strait in the teeth of a forbidding forecast.  We have torn sails, and gotten stuck in Anacortes.  We have failed to finish, the time expiring in sight of the line.    We always sail there and back, often budgeting two full days up and two days back for the “delivery”.  For us, it’s not an easy delivery--  two guys drinking hot chocolate, as the diesel pushes them along regardless of wind and tide.  We sail, because we have to sail, especially now—  our new 6 horse outboard is not going to push you into any real weather, and sailing slow is much preferable to listening to its drone. 


It was a 35 knot pounding at Round the County that inspired me to set up a bullet proof reefing configuration—installing two deep reefs in the main, an inner staysail, with check stays to support the staysail.   We have it pretty much dialed in now—we put one reef in the main on the second day starting at Roche, while we were in the starting sequence, and didn’t miss a beat.  That was quite a start, with the pin right up against the shoal, and a rapidly building southerly.  As we hardened up and headed out into Haro, we could see boats flogging their mains, and heeled way over.  Dragonfly was ahead of us as usual, and caught a big gust.  Windward hull went WAY up, and then splashed down—I was sure they were going over.  Pat said later it was no big deal, and for him I’m sure it wasn’t.  Guy has ice-water in his veins. 

I, on the other hand, am a chicken.  I reef early and often.  The guys are so used to it now that they are ready for the reef even before I call it.   You don’t necessarily lose a lot of speed with a good reef—if the sail plan is balanced and sail shape is good, you can even make better progress.   My set up is not totally perfect yet, because I still spend too much time on the foredeck corralling the big jib and fixing jams in the staysail furler.    This year, coming across the bottom of the islands, in a very short sharp seastate, I was airborne with jib halyard in my teeth at one point- and landed hard on my knees.   Old guy like me, needs to spend as little time on the foredeck as possible.  Gonna replace the furler with a more robust unit, and gonna rig a down haul for the jib.   It is important enough to me that I plan on going back to a steel forestay with bronze hanks, because it is much quicker to drop the jib with that combination than with the soft hanks and Dux forestay. 

But man, once you get that staysail set up, it is like training wheels. Boat slows, pounds less, is totally balanced.  In the upper 20s, you can put in the second reef in the main.  And just chill.  In relative terms. 

So to me, the single most important safety precaution you can take, before adventuring, is to dial in your reefing. 

A boat you build.

We started dead last on Saturday.  Multihulls start with the fast guys and they are all amped up at the start.  I just want to stay the hell out of everyone’s way.  We had a minor collision this summer on the race course (our fault) and I never want to hear that sound again.  Ever. 

And yet, we finished pretty well towards the front of the overall fleet (14th out of a 100+?)  at least in terms of elapsed time.  Johnny keeps saying “you don’t even know how fast your boat is” (referring to the replacement of the beams and floats).  Part of which is just to say “if you would just delay the reef a bit, and put up the spinnaker a little sooner….”   And of course, he is probably right. 

So I am super happy that Super Freda seems to have an effortless extra gear.  I never get bored of watching the lee float knife though the water, riding high, the spray sliding effortlessly aft, undisturbed by ugly chines, parted cleanly by the streamlined nose of the front beam.  But as we pounded brutally into the short chop on Sunday, slamming so hard my teeth clench, I stayed alert for the sound of ripping carbon, watching for cracks in the beams, looking for unanticipated movement.  Kept thinking about whether I would have time to radio for help if the boat starts breaking apart.   I steer aggressively into the waves, pointing up into the wind as we go up, rotating the boat away from the wind as we crest, hoping to land in the trough at an angle.  But the waves are so short, this often does not work.  Makika caught use while I was going slow, trying to preserve the boat, approaching the entry to Rosario strait on Sunday.  They were flying full sail, 4 guys on the windward float, no issues. 

To tell the truth, once we got into the strait, and the wind started dying, it took me a good 20 minutes to finally put up the spinnaker.  I was physically and emotionally wrung out from working the foredeck, and worrying about the boat.

Far as I can tell, so far, the Super Freda is totally solid.

Sleep.  The delivery up to RTC was pretty easy this year.  First day from Seattle was light to Point No Point.  I was on the phone downstairs dealing with work.  Missed the orcas, which was a bummer.  But by then end of the day, I had started to relax, and I slept like a baby on my narrow hard settee, barely hearing Frodgies thundersnores.  Adventuring is good for sleep.

Mistakes.  Friday, we sailed too close to some rocks off Allan Island, pushing too hard in light air and a strong adverse tide.  We sailed right over Alden Bank on Saturday and got stuck in the kelp.  On Sunday, we misjudged the approach to the finish line and just barely eked across the line as the wind died.  I get really angry when we make a mistakes like that.   They are mistakes of inattention--- of insufficient foresight.  They are fundamental seamanship mistakes.  A great sailor is always thinking ahead, always considering the invisible forces of tide and wind, always considering what might be under the surface of the water.  That emphasis on foresight, on thinking about the invisible, applies to the boat as well—how old is the gas?  Is there a chafed spot on the reef line for the second reef?    Did I remember the Loctite on the new reef cleats?    It’s endless—and no wonder I don’t look at the phone, or read, or daydream--- it is full on attention—and still we make stupid mistakes. 

Every year, I get a little better, but not near as fast as I would like.  I resent getting old, not just because of the aches and pains, but because I wonder if I will have time to become the sailor I want to be.  Seems like I’m running out of runway.

After we finished on Sunday, the miscalculation weighed on me for a bit.  But we made it, we finished, and we did ok.  Third in class on corrected as it turned out.  We didn’t get swept like that other time, we didn’t have to sit in our own private wind hole and watch other boats finish.  I got over it.  Shortly after we finished, the wind came up and it started to rain, and so we had our hands full getting back to Guemes channel.  In the channel, it was dark, the wind died again, and it was pisssing a cold hard rain.  Our little 6 horse was flat out for what seemed like hours.  We got to the motel exhausted, must have been 7pm.  Dinner and bed.  All mistakes in the past, already thinking about the morrow.  How to get back to Seattle and when.  Too much wind predicted for Monday.  We make the seamanlike call—to Kristin, who graciously agrees to come pick us up.  A mistake avoided.

So what?  I spend a lot of money on this hobby.   I get all wound up about it, I conceive of these adventures in heroic terms.  I can’t sleep the night before a heavy air day.  I read books about it, I spend hours and hours and hours learning how to make shit, and how to splice, and imagining further improvements. I take pride.

 But to what end? If I look at it wrong, it seems like self-indulgent play acting.  The drama contrived, the stakes low, the learning of no interest or use to anyone except maybe a couple other white-bearded fellow “hobbyists”.   I hate that word.  Hobby. 

But you know, I can’t be thinking like that.

It really was an adventure, if a relatively small one.   An adventure that I can handle.  It really was spectacularly beautiful, and that beauty cleared my mind of low and obsessive thoughts, if only for a time.  It really was a renewal and a deepening of the 20-year friendship between me and Johnny and Frodgie.

Those things are small in the great world, but in the context of my life, they are large.  Essential.


So, that’s it folks, my thoughts on Round the County 2017. 

Pictures from s/v Sun and Stars

posted May 29, 2014, 4:55 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc   [ updated Dec 5, 2017, 8:54 AM ]

We took some photos on the second day and posted them. Really neat to watch a race from within the race course itself.

 Thanks once again for the warm welcome. We look forward to other events..,


Race Report from Moxie

posted May 29, 2014, 4:38 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc   [ updated May 29, 2014, 4:46 PM ]

"Thar be wind...or not."

There was a great turn-out for the 2nd annual Multihull sailing regatta at Pt. Townsend May 17-18.  I arrived with my crew Friday afternoon at the Pt. Hudson Marina where the event was scheduled to be staged.   As the afternoon progressed, other boats arrived.  Familiar friends like PaxDragonfly and Freda Mae were there early along with the F24 Sea Puppy out of Sequim and Escape, an F27 arriving much later.   Even better there arrived some new faces!!   We met a very happy F31 who was forced to endure the renaming ceremony, as well as Triagain, an F31 brand new to the area.  We mixed it up with a very sporty F28SC (center cockpit sport cruiser) named Zama and got to see Ruf Duck again.  Moon and Stars, a big Catana 472 cruising cat hung out in the anchorage and finally the multihull entrants were rounded out by a pair of free spirit Wetas.   We even had a pair of full keel sailboats represented from the Pt. Townsend Yacht Club to round out the fleet. If I left someone out and the web guy missed it too, please feel free to take it up with us at the 3rd annual regatta.  (Seriously, our sincere apologies - Ed).

We all settled in on Friday evening with the sailors heading to a boat builder's shop who is putting together a Proa.  That was all fine and dandy, but I couldn't wait to start the morning because that evening among the boats, the buzz was about wind.  Would the forecast 20kt westerly show up?  What is this about light and variable rumors?  As is not unusual, we racers adopted a wait and see attitude.  Tomorrow will be what it is and we will either race fast or slow or really slow.

Well, Saturday was raced, I think most of us would agree, in the slow or really slow category.   For my crew, we had two who have never sailed before and a 5th who the sailors had met up at Blaine two weeks earlier.  They certainly had lots of laughter and I only remember one outburst from the tactician/main trimmer which he later apologized although I certainly understand.  Light winds can be frustrating.  With two hours to finish the skipper announced, "If we average 5kn for the next 2 hours we will not finish in time."   We, along with most of the rest of the fleet had succeeded in sailing in circles, following real or imaginary currents, tacked, tacked back, hoisted different sails, doused sails, furled sails, popped the main, flopped the main and pretty much did all the cool sailing stuff we routinely practice when there is very little wind to play with.  Eventually my crew finally decided to give up on the zephyrs and headed in.

You notice I said "most of the fleet".  There were two boats, wait for it, drum roll, who obviously had vastly superior sailors, who managed to disappear around Point Wilson. Dragonfly and Pax had attained what for the rest of us mere fiberglass shells was the unattainable.  For many hours they sailed in the "beyond".   Did they battle with The Cracken or repulse pirates?   Had they run aground?   Was there even water in the "Beyond"?  Only they can tell.  I know we left Dragonfly on their way back becalmed just inside Pt Wilson when we returned to port and joined with the rest of the crews with a hearty cheer as they finally managed to sail past to finish.   Not long after, another cheer went up as Pax, too, sailed past to finish as well.

Sunday saw short course racing all over Pt Townsend Bay.   Winds were still a bit squirrely but start after start was conducted by the Race Committee and fun was had by all.

I, along with all the other boats wish to thank the RC, PRO David Miller, Vince DePillis who championed the event and all those who tirelessly made this event happen.   We have neither a trophy nor bragging rights but we did have fun and for us, that is ample.   

Thank you,

Linda, Martyn, Laurie, Cameron and Scott)

Footnote from Martyn - Our 2 ex-non-sailing crew, Laurie and Cameron, are now sailors and want to do more.  They live in Pt Townsend and introduced us to a new friend, Aren, who is a well-known master chef in Pt. Townsend.   We took his family sailing the following Monday evening and they treated us to a wonderful salmon dinner the next evening.  We brought this nice big King Salmon and he showed me how he prepared it nose to tail.   Though I may have broken his heart when I declined his special horseradish cream sauce, it seems he wants to crew on Moxie next year.   I already "suggested" roast salmon as the dinner.   We shall see.


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