Saturday, May 21, 2016



My first glimpse of the flag at the Crows Nest confirmed a moderate Easterly blowing.  We got out of the harbor and made our way to the start mark.  Since we were not certain if the wind would hold, we decided on a moderate length course Bravo 4: Start, Blacks, Gov, Finish.  Since some boats were waiting for crew, we delayed the start till 6:10 and gave a 5 minute horn.

On Pair A Dice we set up for a Starboard start at the buoy.  We had a great start with Toad right in front of us.   After the start, we were able to point higher and get above Toad.  Pair a Dice was the first to round Blacks. We felt there would be more wind toward the beach and sailed toward the beach. The only problem with this strategy is going through the dreaded kelp beds.  We gingerly worked our way through the kelp beds.  Kicks used the same tactic.  As we were approaching gov, it was apparent there was a Coast Guard cutter tied to the Buoy.  As we approached the cutter, we switched our radio to monitor channel 16 in case they tried to hail us.  We rounded Gov and headed straight back to start.

Pair A Dice rounded the start/finish mark first, followed by Pacific Spirit, Odonata, Kicks, Aeolian and Toad and Sea Quake.

It is always a risk going through a kelp bed!  You never know when you will pick up an unwanted hitch hiker.  Some things to consider in these situations: 

-High tide:  makes less of the kelp floating on the surface and makes it easier to avoid hitch hikers.
-Density of kelp bed:  We have had a lot of swell through the winter keeping the beds thin.  It would be riskier in late summer when the beds are thicker.
-Is there current? You can tell this by looking at the kelp.  If all of the kelp is streaming the same way, there is a current.  If they are streaming the way you are going, you are going with the current which makes it easier to find paths through the kelp.

When trying to go through kelp it is critical to have someone on the bow guiding the way through the openings in the kelp.  On this particular night, it was apparent that we had about a one knot current headed toward Gov.  We used this current to get to the mark and went outside to avoid it on the way back to finish.


There seemed to be a little excitement at the rounding of Blacks as many boats approached at the same time.   On Pair A Dice, we were busy and did not observe what happened so cannot offer an opinion.  Mark rounding can be a complex situation because so many rules are involved.  Rule 18 is the predominant rule that deals with mark rounding, but this does not mean other rules are not at play.  Rule 18 simply says that the first boat to enter the 3 boat length “zone” achieves right of way for mark rounding.  This gets more complicated when a boat reaches the zone but is overlapped by an inside boat, which gives mark room to behind but inside boat.  This gets much more complicated when any of the boats must tack in the zone to clear the mark which forfeits their right of way to boats that did not tack in the zone.  Other rules also apply like keeping clear of other boats when tacking.  If anyone with better knowledge on these rules would like to comment or clarify, please do so.

As complicated as these mark rounding can get, the boats that are seriously racing usually follow another rule “no drinking until going downwind”.

We will see you out there next Tuesday.  (The barbecue at SCYC will be the LAST Tuesday which will be the 31st)

Barry Keeler
Sailing Pair A Dice

No comments:

Post a Comment