Skip if you’re a serious racer looking for any info on winds and air pressure over specific islands because this is a “people report.”
In fact, here’s a direct link to my photos (also mostly people) if you want to avoid the journal entry below ;).
Shaun H as ‘race tactician’; Jess A as ‘second mom’ and ‘wind whisperer’; Omar F as ‘unexpected bad situation captain’; and myself as ‘party pooper extraordinaire’ in case conditions got too big, if I wanted to stay out of the path of the freighter, or start the motor. We each played our roles exceptionally.
Shaun was ever-attentive to the actual race. When conditions got light and I was being a bit of a distraction with music and dancing, he asked if we were racing or cruising. My response was “we are cruising in a race.” I don’t think his job was easy but he kept us all relatively focused and was constantly in race-mode, which was impressive during light winds on day one and a good example of what it takes to be competitive.
Jess was the official wind whisperer. When we couldn’t find it, we stuck her back on the tiller (where she spent most of her time when she wasn’t feeding us). If you look at the photos of Jess during our spinnaker run you will see her camped on the tramp and owning it.
Omar F. was my ASA 101 instructor who originally suggested I buy a trimaran (he owns a 27). He only practiced the dry run for his designated role. Apparently at 2am and 4am Friday night, I panic-yelled his name and he hustled out of the v berth to see what emergency could possibly be afoot. I was sleeping so he adjusted the thermostat on the heater. I have no memory of this but thanks Omar!
Conditions were light at the start, esp. by the third heat. We blew it anyway, since we fouled the furling spinnaker upon raising it for the first time since getting it back from the loft (you read that right- we tested the spinnaker at the start line). Once we got that sorted, I set a healthy team goal of staying ahead of Presto (as in, physically ahead, not counting rating) since we were dead last. We accomplished this with a bit of Beastie Boys for fun. Yay Undaunted!
The wind died at the southern end of San Juan island. We bobbed around for a while and then started the motor while Shaun (who was in a timeout on the starboard wingnet due to no wind and big ambitions) was on the phone with Vince. We gave our race tactician a bit of a heart attack when we started the motor without consulting him [that was, in fact, the most exciting moment of his very calm winds day so really he should be thanking us]. The 18 oz ribeyes I had marinating for the occasion won the argument and we motored north for steak and cake (happy birthday Shaun!).
They moved the start line and made it reallllly long. That caused six boats to have a false start during our heat. Too bad because our Sunday start was flawless, compared to Saturday haha. This start over almost killed Jess. I may have needed to give her a hug but I can’t remember because we hugged a lot over that fun weekend.
We tried to keep our eyes on Dougie but he’s sneaky and fast. Our goal was not to beat him (we are mere mortals, after all) but to keep our eye on him and learn, per Jonny’s suggestion. Unfortunately, he must’ve paid the 27s to have similar sail colors so he could easily slip from view. Either that or Omar thinks he has an invisibility ring. We saw him glued to the south side of Stuart and then lost him near the lighthouse. We chose to head out far to the west. Almost farther than anyone and found ourselves, once again, staying just ahead of Presto. In fact, I got a text from Vince (Presto) that said “check your topping lift.” What a guy!
Mahana, Yuri, and Undaunted stayed well clear of the current and light winds near Stuart. We think that worked to our general advantage as we rounded Patos and Matia and put up the spinnaker. We pointed it toward Bellingham, which was a fairly hot angle and then shot south down Rosario. Our top speed with the spin was 14.7, Undaunted performed beautifully and our crew was clicking.
We had Big Broderna well behind us until we hit the wall of dead wind a few hundred yards shy of the finish line. Our goal all day had been to beat Big B and he was closing the gap and taking the inside lane. We decided to cut left, furl the spinnaker and simultaneously raise and deploy the screecher with our 2 kts of wind. It worked and we crossed the finish line with enthusiastic cheers and Metallica.
A special thanks to Martyn and Linda for spending a couple of days down at the boat before the race to help get it ready and also surreptitiously checking it over for seaworthiness. They mentored me on Rehab and continue to do so on Undaunted (and thanks for helping me get it back to Shilshole). Thanks to Vince for convincing me I needed to buy this boat (haha) and then providing his slip and his time in getting Undaunted PHRF certified, race ready, and answering my unending text questions. Thanks to Shaun for spending a day on Undaunted when I wasn’t even present, getting the numbers on the sails, fixing a leak over his berth, tightening the trampolines, and giving Eric L a tour ;). Shaun continued working out the kinks during the race, too, including my insistence that we use the furling system on the spinnaker until I learned to hate it enough to ditch it (not there yet). Thanks to Omar for being Omar- full of great advice but only when I ask (a great teacher attribute) and always having an eye out for the bigger picture. Jeff O for inspiring me to race (Vince got incorrectly blamed for that one) and consulting with me about logistics and crew menu (so I had an idea of the low bar, haha). Finally, Jess A for her enthusiasm, wicked wind skills, amazing food, and female friend vibes. She wins biggest smile award.
Written by Ginnie Jo Blue | November 16, 2022