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Commodore’s “view from the Helm” report

posted Oct 4, 2016, 12:34 PM by Sandy Buus

This past weekend I was accused of “cruising” to Edmonds since I stayed overnight on BoB before the CYC Edmonds Foulweather Bluff race.  This year, the FWB race was the 5th of our Milltown Mid-Distance series, and Brad (Espresso) stated he was now a racer and he did not stay on board.  Well I sure don’t want Brad to define me as a sailor, so I thought I’d share my race report and see if the club members think if this qualifies as cruising.  Let me know what you think at next week’s General Meeting on October 12. 


Before I share the BoB view of the FWB Race, here is a reminder that Milltown cruise to Edmonds is in two weeks and I have been given authorization from the Admiral to wear my Lederhosen and participate on my first official cruise!  Time to break out the dodger and cook up some spaetzle, sauerkraut and weisswurst!    


That darn Espresso-Soup-Can Brad may be right after all.  J 


BoB’s Foulweather Bluff Race Report


It was a great delivery trip down to Edmonds on Friday -- 1500rpm, auto-helm, sunshine and about a 2 knot push current got me into Edmonds in just over 2 ½ hours.  I spent the time scrubbing the toe rails, wiping the mirrors, polishing the port lights and cleaning the galley to make BoB pretty for the Saturday race.  I was happily welcomed into Edmonds by Doug and Candy from Puffin, who were just heading back to Everett.  After dressing up BoB with the battle flags, I welcomed in the other Milltown Boats, then had a nice dinner out with Mei Li and Lady Eileen.  After way too many Mandarin delicacies, I made it back to the boat for a pleasant night under the Edmonds Disco Light display (LED reader board that operates every single hour of the 24 hours of the day).  Saturday morning the BoB crew met for breakfast up-town at Claire’s.  With a bit o’ chewing the fat (figuratively and literally)we all left with full bellies courtesy of Dennis.  Skipper’s meeting was a repeat of previous years - doughnuts and coffee - and there was still humor about the not so “foul weather” with the calm morning and the medium winds predicted for the day. 


We headed out to the course and it was soon apparent that the first leg would be a starboard pole downwind all the way to Scatchet Head buoy.  When Joe finally figured out the Port/Starboard start thing, we had a right-on-time start in clear air.  Up with the spinnaker in about 9 knots of wind, and then just a matter of enjoying the morning and watching the race develop.  We had one little dust-up with Espresso but soon had cleared them -albeit a bit high of the mark.  This turned out to be troublesome as we got closer.  Spinnaker down, but now we had a bit of current pushing across the course and Joe had Brian hold out the mainsail as we were very by-the-lee coming into a very large, very green, very hard steel navigation buoy.  A bit of nail biting and the crew cried out “you missed that by literally an inch!!”  In his best Trump fashion, Joe bellowed back “I missed it by just enough, now get those sails in!”  


The wind had started to climb into the mid-teens as predicted, but rather than gusting, it was pretty constant.  It was a close reach over to the FWB buoy and a few boats tried to maintain spinnakers.  Mei Li found out that after the top half of the spinnaker blows out, the bottom half can keep drawing!   Twenty minutes from the mark we almost re-set the spinnaker, but the wind strength came back, and now in the upper teens with gusts into mid-twenties.  We had #2 headsail drawing nice, and made a smart rounding of the mark.  At this point we calculated we were in maybe 4th place and our only hope was some chop to develop and slow down the light-weight boats ahead of us (Espresso, J-80, Aphrodite 101).   We did a little bit of threading the port tack boats still coming into the mark and then found out the winds were building even more….   Windward across Skunk Bay we saw a pretty large boat “auto-tack” and wipe out in a heavy gust.  15 seconds later it was our turn, and Joe had just enough helm left to push BoB away from a back-winded wipe-out, returning us to dynamic racing form.  Phew!  That was close and the smartly executed movement to centerline by Chris to avoid getting dunked was unnecessary.  Moving out into the VTS lanes, Steve and Joe worked backstay and traveler and keep BoB on relative heel of 20 degrees.  Passing Point No-Point, the winds were at a steady 25, and Joe fessed up that he took #3 off the boat for weight.  The vitriol was flying like the salt spray, and there were threats of keelhauling and flogging around the fleet.  BoB continued to climb a bit higher than our competition and were seeing gusts just under 30 apparent.  Joe finally decided to reef the mainsail and we settled down and picked up speed with a great combo of #2 and a single reef.    


As we finished crossing the Sound, the winds died back down into the mid, then lower teens.  We shook out the reef then looked around.  Only boat ahead of us was the J-80 and they owed us time.  We could see our competition far enough back that we might correct out what we owed them.  The J-80 got the gun and we crossed a couple minutes behind them.  We did not hang around to find the exact finish of next boats as we were interested in wringing out and getting some food and grog.  We peeked back at Espresso and figured we had just beat them too.  We went from bedraggled 4thplace finishers to possibly 2nd or 1st in class.


At the dock, sunshine had overtaken the squall that had worked its way through the race course and inside most of the crews’ foul-weather gear.   A bit of clean up, then Ed broke out the sushi and sake feast – Yum!  By this time we were watching the boats come in and saw that all our class were well behind us.  The crew from the J-80 came over and congratulated us as they figured we had corrected out on them.  With full bellies and elated spirits we broke up the boat party with Steve, Dennis and Joe heading up to the award ceremony.  Milltown did well with a Bullet, First in Class, First overall for Lady Eileen in the Short course.  Bullet and First in class for Sweet Sue II.  Third in class for Bingo.  Third in class for Espresso, and a First in class for BoB!  Also down from Milltown were the hardy boats and crews from Mistral, Manutea, Mei Li and Izzara.


The trip home was pretty uneventful although a bit wet with another southerly squall that washed off all the remaining salt.  Again a very nice push from current had BoB back at dock in 2 ½ hours.  With the “first in class” finish at FWB, three MSA boats qualified for the SYC Grand Prix race on October 21-23.  While BoB has not raced out of Shilshole for quite a while - and the SYC Grand Prix is considered the PNW Invitational Sailing Championship - BoB is not going to give it a shot this year.   (Catering to Joe’s ego, recall that we also qualified in 2015 from both our Swiftsure and FWB finishes.)


Soooo…as taught by Gary Meisner to start with ego building expectations and be happy with each higher level…No (new) injuries, nothing broke, fastest J-30, fastest MSA boat on the Long Course, fastest boat in our class…GREAT JOB BOB!



FWB Class 4 Results (full results at ) 


















Jolly Green









Express 27








Cal 39








Aphrodite 101








Herreshoff 47






Ohhh!  Pretty darn tight results between 2-3-4.  Couple bad waves one way or another was the difference there.