Regatta Announcements

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.


Notice of Race, 2014

posted Mar 25, 2014, 8:55 PM by A Rice   [ updated Mar 30, 2014, 9:05 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc ]

Northwest Multihull Regatta, 2013

posted May 31, 2013, 11:41 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc   [ updated Jun 4, 2013, 10:50 PM ]

This was a unique gathering of the far-flung clan of multihull sailors. Although not blessed with much in the way of weather, races were run on both Saturday and Sunday.  And fun was had by all, afloat and ashore.

Northwest Multihull Regatta

posted Dec 13, 2012, 4:46 PM by Bob Hyman   [ updated May 17, 2013, 1:01 PM ]

Starting tonight!

Northwest Multihull Association is proud to sponsor a new event this year, a regatta exclusively for multihulls from 14 feet up. Based at Port Hudson Marina in scenic, historic Port Townsend, we'll have 2 days of distance and buoy racing, evening events on shore and an opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie of similarly afflicted souls. There's fun for the whole family, even a rating adjustment for young sailors in the crew!

Here's what's on tap:

Friday, 17-May  <evening> Tour of "Sliver" project at Port Hadlock, dinner at Ajax Cafe
Saturday, 18-May 0800, Skipper's meeting, on the outdoor deck of the building immediately east of the Pt Hudson Marina Office near the entrance of the Port Hudson Cafe.
Distance race (around Protection Island)
4 buoy races for racing classes, 1 race for cruising class
<evening> Regatta party and dinner at Marina Room, Port Hudson
Sunday, 19-May 3 buoy races for racing classes, 1 race for cruising class

If you can't bring your own boat, perhaps you'd like to volunteer to crew on another boat?

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