Kurt Hoehne Reports

After last week's windy Blakely Rock Race, CYC's Scatchet Head (the second of three Center Sound races), the fleet was looking forward to another sunny day but maybe a hair less excitement. Puget Sound delivered last Saturday.

The fleet spread across the Sound on the 10-knot beat to the Scatchet Head buoy. West was clearly best for some, east worked for others. Puget Sound can confound. For everyone, the run home was delightful, especially for those who stayed west. The wind was a little lighter until the northerly started to roll down the Sound later.

all pics © Jan's Marine Pix

In the IRC it was again Glory winning. It was TP52 conditions (are there any conditions really NOT for a TP52?) Smoke was second and Crossfire third. Our friends on Crossfire found it tough to hang with the TPs in the light conditions. "We made some time up on the downwind leg, but once it got back in to the 4-6 knot range downwind, we really couldn't real them in," Nigel Barron board Crossfire reported.

If last week's crew overboard incident aboard the Flying Tiger 10 Anarchy was exciting in one way, the Scatchet Head Race was about as exciting in different way as they slid home for an overall PHRF fleet win. Owner/skipper Tom Ward reported:

It was ideal conditions for the light boats. On the beat we stayed the west side going up with Bat Out Of Hell (BOOH), Sachem and Izakaya (another FT10) working our way through the fleet. I believe we were around 9th PHRF boat to round with BOOH leading our class. After rounding we stayed hot, working west. We did a couple of gybes out to the east and back as Sachem continued on working west and closed the gap on us and Izakaya. We saw BOOH had gone way east and fell well behind. Sachem was keeping pace but at that point not closing the gap.

We keep trading jibes with Izakaya reeling them in slowly by trying to stay a few degrees hotter than them. It was a great battle and forced both boats to sail at their best. I believe we finally jibed inside them and then back to get in front of them about 20 minutes from the finish. They tried going further out before gybing to the finish for a hotter angle and did close the gap as we soaked down to stay between them and the finish crossing just 30 seconds ahead.

Elsewhere in the fleet, Ace and Absolutely had an epic battle right to the finish, with Ace barely taking the class gun and winning by 10 minutes on corrected time. The entire J/105 fleet finished within 15 minutes and head into the final race with three way tie for first place between Jaded, More Jubilee, and the Racers Formerly Known as Here & Now. Gaucho and Kiwi Express enjoyed a match race in Scatchet Head and are tied going into the last race.

Brad Greene's Nordic 44 Kinetics enjoyed a very good race in PHRF 5, finishing third. Of course Dos ran away with the class with Different Drummer second. Considering Greene lives aboard the Perry design (no doubt a few extra pots and pans aboard), his fourth in class is pretty remarkable. Greene reports:

The start for our class 5 was light but we still got a decent start considering what it takes to get our 24,000 pound beast moving. Most of the fleet headed west as expected likely hoping Bruce's weather brief would hold with more wind on the west side. We ended up tacking back out into the middle and then decided to go east on a flyer in part to avoid some north and south bound commercial traffic and to avoid getting pinned on the west side tacking up the beach. For a while it looked like we were doing well. Then the wind went light and we just didn't have the power to keep the Nordic 44 moving.

We finally rounded Scatchet Head buoy and had a wonderful run home. We made up some time on a few boats in part I think because the wind started to fill in from the north again getting to us first. The only complaint on board Kinetics was the windchill upwind was a bit icy even with the sun trying its best to heat things up. Big thanks CYC for making it a great #2 for this CYC CSS.

From CYC's standpoint, the only hitch for this race came in the form of a reminder that we all share the water with commercial ships. Fleet Captain Matt Wood reports, "The only remarkable aspect was the amount of attention the fleet garnered from deep draft pilots and Washington State ferry masters. It is critical that competitors monitor both the race channel (in this regatta, that is VHF 69 ) and Seattle Traffic VHF 14. On the RC boat we were reaching out to the fleet to ensure Colreg Rule 10 compliance, as well as transitioning vessels were on 14. Everyone needs to be diligent in this regard."

With two good races in the books, it's on to the penultimate Three Tree Point Race in two weeks. Could it be three gorgeous races in a row? Check in the day before for Bruce's Brief.