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Cool Crisp And Clear 2018 RTC

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  • Cool Crisp And Clear 2018 RTC

    Round the County, All in a Northerly
    by Kurt Hoehne

    For many of us, Round the County (RTC) race in the San Juans is the best of times and the worst of times, with one day having breeze and the next, none. Or, doing well one day and not the next. This year, the wind gods (Bruce Hedrick among them) decided on a relatively light two-day northerly for the race this past weekend.

    It was a clockwise year, and the fleet had good breeze heading south after the start. After Davidson Rock things became challenging, with the boats that headed inshore seemingly doing the best. Of course short-tacking the shore to the finish kept crews busy. On day two, the boats that kept close to shore after Turn Point found some good breeze and were able to escape quicker than those who kept offshore. A freighter forced that decision on a few, and in fact keeping clear of commercial traffic this year was one of the points of emphasis from the organizers.

    The finish turned out to a parkup off Lydia Shoal, where much of the race was won or lost. The results show Hamachi winning the ORC division just ahead of Dark Star with the TP 52s, for once, back in the pack. Class winners in PHRF included Recon, 65 Red Roses, Vitesse, Sir Isaac, Here and Now and Saltheart Foamfollower.

    all pics ©Jan's Marine Pics

    One of the great things about Round the County is the variety of boats that compete - and win! Remember the schooner Martha? This year there's another schooner to talk about, Sir Isaac, John and Ann Bailey's Chuck Burns designed 49-footer which won Division 3.

    The first thing to know about Sir Isaac is that she spent 10 years in a major rebuild. John and Ann sailed the boat for a few years before deciding to do the extensive work that would be needed to make her the cruising machine they wanted. From 2006-2016 Sir Isaac lived in one end of a building and the Bailey's in another. They wanted to be close, after all they were doing all the work themselves! It would be no small job on the 1984 cold-molded boat.

    The work including cutting the deck off (with a Sawzall, no less), replacing the deck, cabin and cockpit, glassing the cockpit, gutting and rebuilding the interior and re-glassing the hull. There was extensive vacuum bagging involved, and John Bailey credits "mentor" Russell Brown with advising throughout the process. The Baileys have plans to do some serious sailing in the years to come, including considering a race to Hawaii in 2020. So they built in additional tankage.

    The second thing to know about the Baileys and Sir Isaac is that they "LOVE" their boat and the Salish sailing scene. "Everybody treats us nicely," John reports. If the name John Bailey, associated with PNW sailing, sounds familiar, it is. John's mother, Jo Bailey, co-authored the wonderful Gunkholing in the San Juans book that goes cruising with me every time I head north. Sadly, Jo Bailey died about a year ago.

    While a schooner rig is fairly daunting for a racing crew, the way it breaks up sail area makes a good choice for shorthanded cruising. The Baileys find it an easy rig to handle. The boat certainly has strong and weak points. This year's light air reaching was very good for Sir Isaac, thought the beat up the west side of San Juan Island was not. The crew kept all those sails (including that marvelous "fisherman" hanging between the masts) going up and down and the the boat pointed away from the holes while John Bailey focused on boat speed. At the finish line parking lot, Bailey picked what was probably the best route - outside the Peapods, but not getting too wide before riding a wind line to the finish.

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery