Current Events

Summer Cruising

We have an exciting list of destinations on our cruise calendar this year. 
Coming up September 20 - 22 is Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle. The deadline for registration with the Marina office is Friday, September 13th.

Don't wait too long to contact our cruise captains for more information. They can get you started on a some cruising fun!

Membership Meeting

Join your fellow Milltown members at our next general membership meeting on September 11th, 7 pm at the Milltown clubhouse (410 14th Street, Everett, WA.)

Future meeting dates can be found on our Events Calendar.

Fall Regata and Autumn Racing Series

Fall Regata September 7, 2019
Join this one day event of three buoy races using both fixed and temporary marks for potential courses. Skipper’s meeting at 8:00 am in the Milltown clubhouse. First start is scheduled for 10:00 am.

Autumn Racing Series starts September 14, 2019

Five buoy races in the Possession Sound area. Races start at noon and have, typically, a three hour time limit with the possibility of a 30 minute extension.

Northern Century Race Aug 16 - 18, 2019

Last weekend we spent in the San Juans not cruising, but racing the Northern Century Race out of Anacortes.  100 miles starting Friday evening - up to Point Roberts, down to Hein Bank and back to Anacortes - don't hit land in between. 
When I got home Monday afternoon, I told my wife "this is the first time I've been ready to get off the boat."  Now with a lead-in like that, let's see the rest of the story. 



Thursday at 10 in the morning, I left Port of Everett with intentions to overnight at Oak Harbor then head to Anacortes the next morning.  It was a beautiful day for motoring - Dennis always says that 'the wind is always on your nose when trying to get somewhere on schedule.'  I got up to within a couple miles from Oak Harbor and was surprised by the amount of push I had from current...that and the boat is just faster than the ol' J-30.  I did a quick check of tides and could see that it would be easy to sneak through the Swinomish Channel and make Anacortes with plenty of time to that is what I did.  I got a slip reservation and then went back out about 7 pm to try sailing and see what the evening winds were like: shifty and declining.  Hopefully not a harbinger of the next evening.


Friday was spent walking and lunching around Anacortes, cleaning-up and stowing things on the boat so there was room for crew gear.   Tom Hunter and Brad Abels (those a rascals from Espresso joined this trip) were first to show up in the afternoon, followed shortly by Steve.  All three headed to town for late lunch/early dinner.  Jim arrived for afternoon cocktails, and soon it was time for the 5:30 skipper's meeting at the AYC Clubhouse.  Nothing exciting learned there.  They were going to break up the fleet into several divisions, we were going to be the slowest-rated boat in the fastest division of the Fully-Crewed 100 race.  Total entrants were 19 for the 100 and 50 mile races.


Starting was at 7:30 pm  with the double handed boats first, and at 7:40 the fully crewed boats.  We had a pretty good start and were lucky enough to read the winds and head due East quickly to catch what was expected to be an evening breeze.  The big schooner Martha (116') was following us and kept trying to go over the top.  Joe kept them at bay until the wind began to fade then started to take them up.  It is a little harder to take up a heavy schooner than a little Express 27, as you have to give them room and time to react.  Both boats were basically without wind, but momentum got Martha enough to smother us.  There were two consolations in this for us: they had to really pull in their boom hard to keep from smacking us; it left them dead in the water, and as the dusk began to settle, allowed us to watch them fade into the plethora of refinery lights.


Well, apparently this dastardly deed to such a pretty vessel was going to be punished, as we spent the next several hours running into, over, through, backing-down on, and just basically getting smothered by large patches of eel grass.  We watched as the entire fleet headed off and were nothing but stern lights - including Martha.  Arrggh!  Sometime near midnight, we could feel and see a breeze coming from behind so we got the spinnaker up, only to loose the halyard when furling the jib.  A bit of very good crew work and soon we had Tom in the bosun chair riding the jib halyard to recover the spinnaker halyard from the top of the mast.  Crisis averted as we had enough time to relaunch the spinnaker before the breeze got to us.  


Since we had no one to distract us, we spent the next several hours just doing basic sailing and soon were back looking at red, green and white lights.  We had moved out of DFL into something reasonable.  With the little SPOT trackers and the on-line application   (you can still the race there) we could figure out who was who, and saw that our division of hot-shots were already nearing Point Roberts.  Apparently they had better conditions than the back of the fleet working their way up Lummi Island.  We kept at just basic sailing performance which allowed us to survive the long night and arrive at breakfast time.  Brad had brought some yummy muffin-pan egg omelettes and soon the morning was looking and feeling brighter.  We were still behind, but had enough wind to make a nice tack up to Point Roberts ahead of some of our direct competitors.  


After the mark rounding, Steve made us a delicious lunch of pita bread sandwiches and fresh fruit.  With the wind out of the SW, we were headed back where we came from, knowing that we had to have a half-way time when we crossed latitude 48.48.  Joe was up on the rail with Brad and Tom enjoying the day, while quaffing a  second ice-cold Tropic Haze IPA.  I think this entire GECKO crew is experienced enough to know that when Joe has his second beer, he starts to: a) sing; b) whistle; c) pinch the boat too much; d) asks for a third beer; e) thinks about different strategies.  Since he was not driving we can assume a, b, d and e were what was going to happen.  After checking tides, charts, prevailing weather conditions and knowing that we were way behind our division, we decided to try to run down east side of the San Juans through Rosario Straight then "back-track" over to Hein Bank.   Brilliant! Inspired! Remarkable!  All words Joe was wanting to hear, but the crew said "well, we have lots of beer and if we bail it is closer to Anacortes than over by Victoria."  Good enough!


We had wind nearly all the way to Lawrence Point where we ran into a short stint of fluky air and a bit of tide line that had us trapped, but soon we had 1.5 knots of push, 16 knots TWS, and a bee line down Rosario.  Jim made us a wonderful dish of Jambalaya over rice which was heartily received by the entire crew.  As the sun was setting, Brad was on the helm loving the feel of groove the boat was in and carried us through the star-filled night out into the Straight of Juan de Fuca.  


Shift change at midnight had Joe awaken to confused seas, confused crew and sails slapping back in forth in a cruddy chop about 7 miles from our turning point at Hein Bank.  Unlike the previous night, the sky was clear, the moon just coming off full and the temperature in the 50s.  All was perfect except for that chop and lack of wind.  One hundred yards away we could see our competitor doing the same thing, but headed opposite direction.  Rolling up the head sail, controlling the boom a bit, and "pumping" the rudder gave us a little direction control and we began the process of heading out to what appeared wind or a serious tide line.  Fortunately it turned out to be wind and plenty of it.  TWS of 16 had us rolling along burning through the miles to the turning point.  Within one mile of the buoy, the winds had increased to 19 with apparent speeds of 25.  It was bit much for the genoa, but we would need immediately it after the turn.  Joe had it rolled in 1/3 and it was enough to have us make the mark and then turn back towards the finish.  Phew!   About 1:30 in the morning and we were able to settle down and race towards the finish!  We passed Davidson Rock and back into Rosario where we were consistently in the 8+ knot range under full main and genoa.  


Nearly there and we could see two of our competitors just ahead in what appeared to be a wind hole.  We headed towards the headland, skirting close to keep the wind flowing.  Re-rigged the spinnaker and launched it while gleefully picking off the distance to the finish - and closing on our peers.  Now it was just around the headland and following the 30' depth we were making great progress when it suddenly dawned on Joe that this was the entrance in towards Sky Line Marina - the south side of the headland we needed to round to the north!   Doh!  Back up with the Genoa and a slow but deliberate pull out and around the headland for the finish line!  Yippee!  Just after 6:30 in the morning and we finished the 100 mile race!   


On the motor back to Cap Sante marina, Tom made us tasty breakfast burritos while we checked on who was still on the course.  We were not DFL as many boats had apparently quit and turned off their trackers or we could "see" a few still out in the Straight including Martha.  That little "oops" on the wrong headland would end up costing us a place, but we were just happy to have made it!   The crew hopped off and it was turn and burn for Joe, as Steve pushed him off with a grunt and a wave.


Morning was a falling tide and I was worried about the getting through Swinomish without scraping bottom, so I headed out towards Admiralty Inlet with idea that if I could squeeze through Deception Pass, (just a 8' tide change - can't be that much current can there?) I could shave well over 3 hours time.  Time to slack was over three hours away and I could hole up in Bowman Bay as an alternate.  I've only been through Deception on near slack conditions, so I had not experienced what it was like.  I knew the currents could be 6+ knots and I knew that this boat could do 7+ in flat waters.  Well, I figured if nothing else I could always "back out" of there with new knowledge of what it is like in a full flood.


It was pretty awesome, I kept track of the SOG to make sure I was moving forward, and it was quite interesting as the keel and rudder would be pushed by different currents.  I made it almost all the way through and was feeling that I was stuck.  Full throttle and I was getting anxious while my eyes and mind were being confused by the rushing water, feel of speed, and the lack of movement against the shore.  At this point a large power boat wake gave me a bit of a positive push and I broke through!   Took about an hour from entrance until I passed through by Hope Island, and was back into waters that I could use the autohelm to steer the boat.  


The rest of the trip back was spent trying not to fall asleep (5 hours sleep in last 40 hours) and cleaning up the boat.  The sun was hot and the ice-cold beer too inviting, so instead I made a nice lunch from left overs rather than risk falling asleep at the wheel!   I made Everett just before 4 pm and had everything packed and ready in the cockpit for a quick off-load so I could go home, shower and sleep.


Looking at results, they had moved us into the slow division which was nice and it placed us 2nd in division, 5th in fleet and 10/19 overall.  I was just happy that no one got hurt, nothing was broken, fastest C&C 99, fastest Milltown Boat.  It is a tough race with the start on Friday night and thanks to a tough crew that knew when to sleep, were great companions, good cooks and pretty darn good sailors!


Thanks again Steve, Jim, Tom and Brad for a great race around the San Juans!


Oh...and my comment about being ready to be off the boat.  It was just for that one adventure.  Back to it again today to finish up cleaning and getting ready for next race!

Joe Geck, Race Captain