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Winter Vashon 2010 Perfect

Another great event from Ullman Sails

Mon, 6th Dec 2010
By Greg Larson

Winter Vashon 2010 Perfect Another great event from Ullman Sails
Image Credit: Jan's Marine Photography
Team member John Leitzinger up to speed

The weather and wind gods blessed the Winter Vashon, the first of the Southern Sound series events held by Tacoma Yacht Club.   The fleet had clear blue sky with only a few wispy clouds and a n strong northerly wind all day.  Winds ranged from the middle and high teens, with gust in the twenties.   This led to some exciting sailing conditions and a fair amount of broken gear.
Like always, Tacoma Yacht Club put on a party Friday night while boats arrived, with drinks and food for all. This year’s event was sponsored by Ullman Sail and they provide T-shirt to the participants.   While the sailors partied and waited for class breaks to be determined, trophies for the 2009 Winter Vashon and a number of other races were handed out to winners. 

This year’s event had 90 boats registered.   Those 90 boats consisted of 19 cruising class boats, followed by 71 boats registered in the racing class.   The course as always was to start at Tacoma Yacht Club head north around the west side of Vashon Island.  Then around a turning mark at the north end of Vashon Island, followed by a return trip to Tacoma Yacht Club on the east side of Vashon Island, for a total  distance of 30.7 nautical miles.
The TYC race committee started the race a few hundred yards east of Tacoma Yacht Club, off the deck of Peter Stanley boat “ORION    This kept the fleet out of the way of ferry traffic, while they prepared for their start.  There was plenty of wind at the start of the race that kept most boats sailing under number #3’s and full main.  Although, a few boats even shortened their sails further by putting in a reef in the main.  Of the 90 boats registered, only four where scored as not starting.  The cruising class got started first at 0835 followed by the rest of the fleet at 0905.
The fleet started by sailing east though the starting line with their sails slightly cracked off.   Each start consisted of two different classes, except for the multihull class who had their own start. Shortly after starting, the boats cranked in the sails onto a hard beat heading toward the Gig Harbor side of Colvos Passage.  As the fleet moved into the waters beyond the sound end of the Vashon Island, the wind picked up, with an occasional gust that knocked a few boats over.
As the fleet beat up the west side of Vashon Island, a number of boats started withdrawing from the race for various reasons.  One boat “Tantrum II”, a Shock 35 skippered by Robert Hennessy broke her mast near Point Richmond.  
The winds held steady as the boats tacked back and forth up to the North End of the Vashon Island.  The waves and chop increased as the boats approached the end of the inlands.  It was quite choppy at the north end of Vashon, as boat made their final approach to the turning mark. This chop favored the heavier displacement boats that could punch through the chop with little slow down where the light displacement boats lost considerable boat speed as they slogged into the oncoming chop.  
After rounding the mark boats where on a very tight port reach, with winds hitting the boats forward of the beam.   This kept boats from raising their spinnakers until after the where well down the course, south of the end of Vashon Island.  A number of boats had a rock-n-roll ride as they got their kites under control.  One boat, Sidewinder told me they were knocked down as they put the chute up and wrapped it over the top of the mast taking off the wind indicator.  Rumor has it the tip of the mast went underwater when they broached.  This caused a hole to be punched in the top of their spinnaker, where it finally blow up further down the course just beyond Point Robinson. 
As boats approached Point Robinson, the winds lighted up some.  Those boats that stayed closer to Maury Island got more wind and tide and improved on their fleet position then the boats that stayed out in the middle as they approached Point Robinson.
Upon turning the corner at Point Robinson for the final approach to the finish line, boats where on a hard reach.  The wind was gusting over Maury Island as boats sailed home to Tacoma Yacht Club.   The helmsmen, and crew needed to steer and trim the kite in sync to avoid being over powered followed by a round up and knock down.  Most boats eventually took down their spinnakers, and sailed on a tight reach under their jib toward the finish line.  As boats broke out for the final mile sprint to the finish line a number raised their chutes again.  This allowed a colorful finish for those spectators viewing the finish from the deck of Tacoma Yacht Club deck
The first boat finished at was an F-32 trimaran named “PAX The Space Spider”,skipper by Rod Thorp, which finished in a little over 3 hours and 20 minutes.  The first monohull boat to finish, and second across the finish line was “Neptunes Car”, skippered by Paul and Mary LaMarche, with an elapsed time of a little more than 3 hours and 22 minutes.  The first cruising class boat to finish was a Tartan 43 named “6th Element”.  “Madrona” out of Seattle Yacht Club, skippered by Carl Buchan claimed first overall.   All boats where finished before dark with the last boat finishing a little after 1600. 
You could not have asked for better wind and weather for this year’s race.  The race committee also deserves a note for a first class run event.   We know that this has not always been accomplished in years past.  As we put the first of the Southern Sounds series events in the bag we all can look forward to the next event “Duwamish Head” that will be held on Saturday January 8th, 2011.

Check Results Here

This article was posted on Mon, 6th Dec 2010