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Crew for VanIsle360 - 2005

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Leg 4

By: Kim Alfreds

Date: June 14, 2003

Course: Deepwater Bay to Hardwicke Island

Distance: 24.50 nautical miles

This is a slight misrepresentation; it is actually from Deepwater Bay on Quadra Island to a salmon farm in an unnamed bay east of Shorter Point on the north shore of West Thurlow Isalnd, the finish line is actually off Eden Point. As you can see this leg should really be called from Deep Water to Eden.

Todayís race is scheduled to be started at the gentelmanly hour of 11 am, however, just before the end of the day yesterday, Shauna, the PRO (Principal Race Officer) strongly suggests that we check the tide and current tables before heading off to bed. Of course we did and revised our departure time from 0900 hours to 0730 as the maximum flood was 5 knots against us at 0900 hours, so of course by leaving the dock at 0730, we hit Seymour Narrows at precisely 0900 hours to encounter the maximum opposing current. We slog through, sometimes only making a knot or less accross the bottom. No real problem, the pass is fairly short and the current is realativley mild and the weather very pleasant. We arrived in the vicinity of the start line an hour and 15 minutes early, which is good. So did most every one else. In fact it looked like a big cruising outing as many boats were all rafted up together to wait for the start.

We decided to get in some practice while we wait, we pop the chute, our back up spinnaker, as we ripped the main spinnkar the day before after crossing the finish line. Today we were going to try a new sail, described as a tacking screecher, tall on the hoist and short on the foot, not as much to furl as a big screecher. The idea is to make up in tackingspeed for the reduction in horsepower. As the start time appprocahes we plan our starting strategy, cleary the committtee end is favored for a port tack start, we donít think we are fast enough to the clear the starboard tackers and we donít want to be carried over to the left side, we want the right side. So I plan to get as far over on starboard on the right side so we can take advanatge of the right of way and then tack to port for the lift up the beach. Well the middle of the line would have been much a much better place to be as it turned out; we started on time but the port tackers were easily lifted above us. Now we had to dig our way up through the fleet and out of the dirty air.

This leg features a hard left turn at Chatham Point about 1/3rd of the way up the straight. The current switched to ebb and we were assisted up the channel by a 2-3 knot current. This of course created some interesting lifts or headers near the shore induced by the current of the back eddies. In general, we sailed a fairly good race. On the positive side, no one went for a swim of the boat and we didnít break anything. On the negative side, the skippers head wasnít in the game (thatís me) as we placed 4th this leg on corrected time. As an example, see the dipsy doodle on the chart below, indicating the course I sailed as we attempted to change headsails from the new sreecher to our jib as the wind was piping up a little. Well the sail didnít furl nicely and I got frustrated and sailed us down wind (back towrads the start line) to remove any pressure from the sail so it would furl up properly, Jason made the great suggection that we just pull the sail down, I donít like to sail with the screecher down but on reflection, it made a lot of sense and I should have thought of it in the first place instead of giving up so much valuable time and distance.

This exercise cost us 2 minutes of time and one twentieth of a mile over the bottom but at 8.5 knots (the not moving at speed), 2 minutes is about a 1/3rd of a mile. So giving up almost Ĺ a mile is painful and counter productive to any gains made by the screecher in the first place. The lesson here is to minimize an impediment to your forward progress ASAP. Hopefully, I will take this to heart and we will do better over the next 6 legs.

The scenery was spectacular, the race pretty much uneventful, we did have a few moments of high speed work to windward but basically the leg was almost all upwind with a varying degree of wind strength, The start was light, +5 knots, part way up the channel, it built to 10+knots, up towards Chatham Point the wind eased up and holes started to develop, the wind veered at the point so you basically just sailed around the right angle corner without even trimming the sail, we all just got lifted right around the corner. The wind built a bit later down towards Bear Point and we were able to get up on the foil going to windward at 12 - 14 knots, alas it didnít hold and I fact it looked like it might die right down.

We headed for the left side to sail around the hole and then a wind line started down the channel on the right hand side, we got up to the new wind just before Tyee Point and were able to bear off and reach in to the finish line at a spectacular rate of speed, flying along between 15 & 20 knots. A great day and a great sail.

Kim Alfreds - Skipper