Seattle Sailing Course Challenge on Presto Report

It was a dark and stormy day. No seriously – it was stormy, and there was fog, rain and hail. Joe and Sue invited myself, Ben Carver and Joanna Gaski along for an attempt at the Seattle Challenge Course with a pretty spicy forecast – very favorable conditions for Presto, a Chris White Voyager 48 catamaran. This was my first time sailing on a large catamaran – Hobie cats are an entirely different experience!

The forecast was enough that we postponed our dock time to watch developing conditions – a wise move as it turned out. There were a number of incidents during the Seattle CYC Center Sound Series race on the same day, and many boats including all of the TP 52s and all but one of the J/105s retired early!

From Poulsbo, the logical starting point is Point Jefferson, which does not have a floating buoy mark at this time of year, so we used a virtual mark on our chartplotter and simply sailed directly across the mark, taking a photo for our start time. From there, it was an upwind single tack in the Southerly to the Meadow Point buoy thanks to some routing discussion to avoid a likely unpleasant and slow beat had we gone to the NOAA buoy first. While we had the screecher on the bow net ready to deploy, the spinnaker remained below, and when we turned downwind there was a brief joke about putting up the screecher, but we had plenty of canvas up already!

During our downwind run, we heard a distress call from a dismasted monohull near the Meadow Point buoy and considered turning back to render aid. We weren’t in a good position to do so and they were quickly aided by others near the marina. Our downwind run was a single gybe the entire way and from the NOAA buoy we turned for a reach back to Jefferson Point.

Very shortly after we started our final leg, a Dan Buoy was spotted in the water to our stern! We immediately called it in and Joe made the call that we should get in position to do a rescue if that was necessary, so we set up for a tack and heave-to. The quick response positioned us upwind of the Dan Buoy, drifting backwards so we got some MOB practice in. The radio replied that the Dan Buoy was not an MOB, so we tacked back and returned to our course.

We set an incredible time for the course and boat speed maxed out at 22knots (not surfing!) and fun was had by all!

Center Sound Series race boats beating towards their upwind finish
A Center Sound Series racing boat (Absolutely?) with lots of heel
Rainbow finish in Poulsbo!