This is a transcript of the 5min video above. Down the Sound is usually a two-day, double handed race from Shilshole to Gig Harbor and back. This year due to COVID and the inability to do an overnight, it was shortened to round Blakely Rock, Duwamish Head and head home. Added to the challenge was that you could choose which mark to round first. The race was just short of 16 miles and was designed as a pursuit race. What this means is that each boat has a special rating created from an equation that considers time and distance for each boat. This is done for equity, so different designs of boats can compete against one another and it’s fair. So, instead of a normal regatta start where the math is done at the end of a race, in pursuit style races like this, each boat is assigned a start time unique to its rating. Theoretically, all boats could finish at the same time if sailed to their maximum capacity. This means it’s super exciting when you are on course, because every boat you pass–you are beating.
This was our second double handed race and first J&J, our start was clumsy and put us behind. We were frustrated by it, but kept our head in the game. O is a quick little boat and we gained speed and started to climb. O is designed to point high and stay fast. Wind was predicted to be light but ended up being a pretty steady southerly for most of the race. Hot on our ass at the beginning of the race was another Olson 25, Sugar Bee, and Kirk and Melanie on a Capri 25 named, Tailwind. The boats we were watching most closely were Darrel Jenson on his Express 27 Alternate Reality, and Kandace and Nick Farralay on their Moore 24, Morphine. We were in a very competitive class and I was stoked to race against Kandace, who I think is a badass!
As we got closer to the Duwamish Head mark, we crossed some J-80’s who had decided to go the other way. They gave us props for good driving, that made me happy. Then our competition, the express 27, Alternate Reality caught us, that didn’t make me happy.
We popped our kite and were on a crazy fast reach with it when we started losing ground. I believe this happened for three reasons. One, we aren’t as good downwind yet and are still trying to figure the boat out that way. Two, our kite is 25 years old, it even has tale tells. It is like a big bed sheet, and also now a small hole that needs patched. And most importantly three, we followed Alternate Reality to the east side of a giant container ship moored. We thought we would get current relief, we thought we would stay out of the shadow of the boat. What happened next sucked. A huge power boat and a tug went to the east of that ship as well. We were on the edge of the wind shadow. The boats went on either side of us in such a way that we got hit with both of their wakes in confused seas, got swept into the wind shadow, and literally came to a halt with no steerage. Right in the middle of the fucking race. The Race Q track is painful. We watched it several times and each time were like “OUCH!” It really hurt. Also: everyone sign up for Race Q: so fun to watch later!
We got out of it and tried our best to catch up. We watched the J-105s pass us, and a couple of J-80s. Gray Wolf caught up with us finally at Shilshole Bay, which to me is a huge compliment and Jeanne and Ev yelled over hellos and we all lamented that the wind was about to die. With the finish line in sight, it was like someone was just turning off the southerly that carried us all day. I was excited to see David Miller and his new ride One Life so close and all the other boats with colorful kites approaching. It took about a minute and a half for us to cover three boat lengths to finish. Overall for the day, we got 15th of 50 boats, in our class of 7, we got 3rd, and in the Jack and Jill 8th out of 25. I’m stoked about those results because everyone ahead of us were better sailors than me and more experienced sailing together than Eric and me on O. It also took some fucking amazing boats quite a while to climb up our ass and pass us. I give Eric tons of credit because he is an amazing sailor and racer and I am so proud of all his years participating and leading in this community. So, I will take it as a total badass win day. Never in my sailing career have I been THE lead boat in any part of a race. I hope it’s not the last, it was hella fun. Anyone want to buy us a spinnaker?
Thank you STYC for putting on such a great race despite a really hard year. May we all sail in Peace.