By Piper Dunlap
The eleventh and final race of the International 505 Dinghy Pacific Coast Championship was over by 2:30 on Monday afternoon. The remaining sixteen crews of the 21 entered in the event each gave a wave of appreciation to the committee boat, “Petrel,” as they crossed the finish line and headed back to the launch site at Fort Worden Beach. After three days of varied conditions and good tight racing, everyone seemed satisfied and ready to call it a day.
There have been bigger 505 regattas before in Port Townsend. Ron Farrell recalls having over 50 boats on the line back in the ‘70’s, but it’s been a long time. That’s one reason it was so satisfying to have this event come off so well. We had a good turn out (21 entrants), and we were blessed with breeze – ever building breeze.
Saturday, day 1, saw fluky, zero to eighteen conditions on Race Area 1 in the lee of Point Wilson. Keeping the race marks in position was, at first, a challenge for the race committee due to a combination of the water depth and current, but once the course was set, they banged off three challenging races with big changes in pressure and wind direction. If this had been a Worlds they would have abandoned one or two of them, but as Fritz Lanzinger put it: “Everyone had to deal with the same issues.”
On Sunday morning the forecast was for south winds of 10 to 15 knots, but the pattern looked familiar. As the day warmed up the breeze could easily shut down, and then we’d have to wait for the typical evening westerly. There were big cumulus on all horizons and the wind felt like it was building slightly, so after great deliberation over a fine fundraiser breakfast offered by the high school sailing team, the event organizers and Stuart Sinclair, the Primary Race Officer, opted to send the fleet around the corner and into the Bay to Race Area 2, south of the Boat Haven breakwater, where there is less current and more consistent breeze. This added about an hour of transit time to and from the course, but was the right thing to do because the southeasterly held nicely and allowed for five solid races. With eight races in the bag, the sailors returned to the beach to enjoy a barbeque feast at the Kitchen Shelter with gorgeous skies, good company and the fine feeling that comes with being in the middle of a great regatta.
Monday morning arrived with a distinct nip to the air and the southeasterly still making its presence known. Back into Townsend Bay we went, where the race committee stretched the course out from the breakwater to damn near Indian Island. The author felt some leg and ab muscles that he hardly knew he had, and the next four and a half hours were pretty much a blur of wind, spray, some blood, a few clear images of the centerboard and macramé spinnaker cloth punctuated by moments of improbable motorboat-like speed. Later on someone said she saw us out there and we looked so cute. Cute? Lady, if you only knew! I’d love to see the look on her face if I could magically transport her to the windward tank during one of those big puffs off the breeze with the kite up. That’s going to be my new exclamation when we’re ripping along, barely in control, skipping from one wave top to the next. “CUTE!!!”
The final results were no surprise. Dalton and Fritz took it with nine bullets. Augie Diaz and Jeff Nelson nipped at their heels. Jeff Miller and Stuart Park were third. Jen and Ben Glass showed fine form and color coordination in fourth. Phil Craig and Reto were the top Canadians in fifth place. And so on … (see attached results). The main thing is that a fine time was had by all, both the sailors and the army of smiling volunteers, too many to name here. You know who you are. Thank you so much everybody. Lets do it again someday soon. And maybe the wind gods will smile upon us again.