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Round Saltspring 2015: Baaad Kitty! Owns the Podium
Counter-Clockwise was the Call
The Race Committee announced that the Course would be counter-clockwise. A few competitors were scratching their heads and wondering what RC knew that they did not. Perhaps the locals knew that the winds would be such that boats would take their timing getting around and would approach Sansum Narrows around the turn from flood to ebb. It worked out perfectly with many reporting that the current was with them all the way around, even if the wind was not. Left: Baaad Kitty! (Maggie Argiro photo)
After some concern about the wind at the start, the breeze filled in from the east to about 6 knots, making an interesting reaching start. The racer/cruisers went first in 4 Divisions. After a short interval the sportboats were unleashed to overtake them. Left: The Start (Maggie Argiro photo).
Snakes and Ladders
All boats got away in good order with enough wind to get out of Ganges Harbour and into Trincomali Channel. At noon, the first boats were approaching Fernwood, but the wind had eased and positions were changing rapidly as a series of zephyrs forced a game of snakes and ladders. The bigger boats seemed to get on a ladder and the smaller boats a snake as a big gap opened up between them.
At 2 pm the leaders were at Vesuvius and by 4 pm 50% of the fleet had passed by as the RC watched and ate fish & chips. The series of wind changes around the top of the island had allowed the gap to be closed somewhat. But the changes also caused tactical decisions that ended badly with one boat coming too close to the south end of Wallace Island and another getting mixed up with Grappler Rock. Both had to withdraw for a date with the boatyard. Right: Rounding Southey Point (Keiko Taylor photo)
The wind shifted direction off Vesuvius, which further mixed up the placings just as the current turned and swept the boats down Sansum Narrows. But the snakes and ladders continued with several wind holes at the south end of the island for the fleet to contend with. Left: Heading for Vesuvius (Philippe Erdmer photo).
A strong southeasterly in Captain Passage saw the fleet ride spinnakers all the way to the finish with the leaders finishing around between 7 and 8 pm, most boats finishing before dark, and all but a few finishing before midnight. Right: Caliente for the Finish (Bob Troyer photo)
With the snakes and ladders, there was not enough pressure to allow the bigger boats to open the gap on the smaller competitors. And the places where zephyrs took the place of breeze meant that the lighter boats had an advantage. The larger and heavier boats did not gain enough advantage to overcome handicaps and results favoured the smaller and quicker. (Aerial photos above by Maggie Argiro with helicopter support courtesy of Don Arney.)
The honour of the fastest boat around was shared by Richard Ackrill’s Dragonfly from Royal Victoria YC, the multi-hull in a race of its own, and Jason Rhodes’ Valkyrie the newly named and re-jigged TP52 from Royal Vancouver YC. Right: Dragonfly Passes the Mark (Gail Beattie photo)
Back on the top place on the Podium, and winner of the Marshall Sharp Trophy was 2013 champion Ben Powers’ Baaad Kitty! (below), the Henderson 30 sailing for Royal Victoria YC. (Maggie Argiro photo)
UK Sails Team Challenge
This Team Challenge, sponsored by UK Sailmakers Northwest, takes combined scores of three boats in different divisions entered from the same club, and awards the winning team a set of dinghy sails for their club’s Junior program.
The 2015 UK Challenge was won by Nanaimo Yacht Club, who entered the team of Lawndart, Optical Illusion, and Runaway Girl.