Port Ludlow Rendezvous & Race

Written Apr 25, 2023

Good times had by all! 

Saturday we had a spin run all the way to Port Ludlow (from Shilshole). I’m still getting comfortable with that sail so there were at least five occasions where I said, “…and THIS. Do you see that chop? You see that dark area? Are we still comfortable with the conditions?” I think I’m going to invest in a handheld anemometer gauge. I worry about getting overpowered. Happy hour on Presto was comfortable- so much room in that salon! Dinner got loud. The two male sailors shushed the four females a few times (fancy restaurant scene) and I heard Shaun tell Jess to “watch her Jessibles!” Get it?

One side note to Saturday, worth mentioning because of my previous thread about docking: as we tacked into PL, we were all surprised at how much the boat was slipping. YES, the centerboard was down, I remember pulling it down at Shilshole. We pulled into the marina in about 12kt winds and I turned the boat sideways to the wind and got pushed down the fairway and then just gunned it when I got to my slip. Tricky maneuver and done well! Turns out I now have practice sliding around marinas with my centerboard UP. Note to self: it’s always worth checking if it IS up or down and to use the back up cleat to keep it in place. 

Sunday started out with a light breeze 9am race start outside PL. Presto vs. Undaunted. Game on. We needed a 28+ minute lead to win. Foul Weather Bluff served up mist and rain and north winds which soon shifted to the south. Presto played the eddie line all the way to and around Point No Point. Sneaky. We opted for the mid-channel line after watching the light wind patterns and tacking with little progress. We didn’t quite clear Scatchet Head on Whidbey Island and started to feel those forecasted increasing winds. 

We beat into southerly winds from mid-channel and along the eastern shoreline to Kingston where we planned to reassess the weather and our options. The finish line was just beyond Kingston, as was our destination. We learned that Presto was out of the race (they blew the clew of their jib) and winds were expected to increase so we stayed put in Kingston, with two crew heading home on the ferry. Thank you, Jeff, for the shuttle!

Joe and Sue saw 30 gusting 34 on their instruments near the western shoreline. Those were definitely the biggest conditions I’ve experienced. It was great to learn just HOW stable Undaunted performs in those winds. Crew of four was all strapped in with the tethers left by builder Jim Love (thanks Jim!). We single reefed and then triple reefed and then eventually dropped the main and flew full jib alone to Kingston. I chatted with Jim afterward and will try a triple reefed main and no jib next time. He said he was surprised to see it perform well with no jib. As for my jib alone technique, we made decent upwind progress with back tacking. At one point we felt depowered and I worried about the uneven stress on my boat with that sail plan. I’ll try main alone next time. 

Only one moment had me feeling uncomfortable and that is when it felt like we were cartwheeling over a wave with my bows pointed to the heavens. We saw four feet under the windward bow and buried the stern of the leeward float. My leeward float still had plenty above water so apparently we were…fine (?). I tossed my sandwich (Jess makes an amazing sandwich so that was sad) and yelled “head up!” (my crew had finally pried me from the helm for a lunch break). Jess turned up and Shaun dumped the main and we settled right back down. It was after that when I decided to drop the main and continue with just the jib. 

Well, that was longer than a Ruf Duck R2AK update but I’m state testing with students today, so there ya go. Which reminds me, did I mention how amazing Jess’ cooking is? At our 5:30am sunrise motor back to Shilshole Monday morning, Jess cooked up caramelized apples and habanero sausages with some of our leftover food. I thought we’d be eating granola bars (never deviled ham, though). 

Ginnie Jo

F32AX Undaunted