The numerals 48’ 32” 45’’’ N and 123’ 00” 04”’ W to most sailors merely defines a geographical position on the earth.
But to any Friday Harbor Sailing Club racer passing through the point, it means the end of their race. It happened again Saturday during the annual Single Handed Race.
A weather search prior to the race indicated winds of 6-8 knots in San Juan Channel during the race, and Force 5 (16-21 knots) in the strait south of Cattle Point. Being a race day, these winds did not obtain. Three-knot puffs and an occasional 6-knot wind was the best we had.
Lloyd Bacon in Got to Run, a Cal-20, and Howard Lewis in Liberty, a Newport 28, wisely leading the 10-boat fleet, sailed south the length of Brown Island before heading for the Reid Rock mark. The rest of us, underestimating the 2-knot flood current, failed to make the mark and had to make repeated tacks to get around. Then, after finally properly rounding the mark, we sailed/drifted into the nefarious position mentioned above. Here, we exchanged our positions as much as a quarter-mile as mixing and opposing currents captured us.
Sitting helplessly while a competitor 100 feet away goes right by you is enough to make one think seriously about becoming a powerboater.
The second race of the series around Brown Island went a bit better except for Mariana, who missed every puff at the start. Fleet Captain Paul Barger and committee member Mary-Brooke Barger got off a third race to Yellow Island when a 10-knot breeze finally came in.
Final scores gave Lloyd Bacon in Got to Run, a Cal-20, a first overall; Lynn Adkins in Tinette, a J-124, second; and Club Commodore John Manning in Alishoni, a Cape George 31, third.
— Columnist Fred Hoeppner is a retired Navy captain and a competitive sailor living on San Juan Island. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.