Tales From The Edge: The Port Townsend Dash

Littlebluedunebuggy provides a tantalizing narrative from Saturdays epic on Puget Sound on the entertaining Pressure Drop.

Little Blue Dune Buggy, an SC27, takes off for PT in a building southerly.

Well, it was definitely a good day for the SC27 on Saturday.

After plopping the boat in the water at about 10:30 am and rigging up we depaterted the dinghy dock around 11:20.
We took our time motoring south down the marina & bent on the main. Now the main was deployed and we reached off towards Meadow point. 2 jibes (difficult ones with just the main up) We jibed to port, and waved to the Shilshole Bay Yacht Club Committee boat and set the full size 1.5 oz and we were off.

In the 1st 10 minutes of the run, we achieved 17.5 kts and punched through a wave, filling the cockpit. I now know why Arne Hammer opened the transom on his legendary 27 “Norn”

I made the comment to Garry Harr (3 time PT Dash veteran) how easy the boat was to drive with the cockpit full. A few minutes Later, the cockpit was empty and we were flat planing right at Point No Point. We got a nice compression Header off of Kingston, which ended up setting us about 1/2 a mile off of No point. Between Shilshole and Kingston, we were seeing confused wave sets and big puffs. Boat speed ranged from 10-17.5. LBDB was a on fire. The couple of miles before no point, got pretty Laid Back.

Breeze Backed to about 22-25 ish. We were laughing, telling stories, then Nick Bannon commented on the tug-in-tow off of our stbd bow. At this point, we han no worries, but as we cleared No point, the breeze went from 22 to about 35 and a big header. We now were zooming right for the tug with a cement barge behind at about 16-17 kts, one more header and a pressure increase and we were safely across the tug. But now with the Major Westerly component, we were hurdling along at high speed at Double bluff buoy. This is where I made my 1st mistake. Instead of being patient and waiting for the lift, I started working up when I could. This resulted in the Hardest “Bitch Slap” I have ever had on a boat. In about a 40 kt puff we rounded up hard (1st crash)

Garry Harr Was on the leeward side expertly trimming the massive kite we had up, and in the round up almost got washed out of the boat. While Garry was hanging onto the Stern pulpit, he also grabbed the precious gas can that was floating away. We then yarded him, and the gas can onboard. In this Crash everything that was on the port side of the boat, was deposited neatly on the stbd, it was very impressive. As Garry returned to his perch on the leeward side, behind the Primary winch, we got a nice lull, I was able to drive the boat down and under the kite again. We sheeted on and were off again at…oh no…I DONT KNOW HOW FAST…The GPS washed overboard in the crash. Oh well. We all laughed and we were heads back in the game.

At this point, the lulls were big lifts and Puffs, massive headers. One more Slap down, not as violent as the 1st. We eased the sheet, vang, and drove under it once more. The 2 crashes were about 3 minutes apart. Now we are maybe, just south of bush point, maybe 2 miles, going nicely again, I bet between 17 and 20??kts Fast, way fast. and we got A big growler puff as we stuffed into the back of a wave, and the bow stuffed to the mast, and the bottom 4 panels of the kite were in the drink, we were in an endo, stalled out and she finally rounded down, boom across. Nick and Garry organized getting the chute down, Halaryd was let go, it zinged through the rig with the kite. Jeff and myself hopped to the low side and yarded the wet 1.5 oz into the cockpit. Garry figured someone should drive, so he grabbed the helm and with just the main up, we got way on and went for the chicken jibe.

As I sheeted the main on for the tackaround, the boom broke right at the vang Tang (no surprise). Luckily we were a lont ways off the beach, sailing base poled. Jeff and nick yarded the main down and stuffed it below. We then got the boom off and below as well since it was sharp at the break. Yime to go home? no We cleared the #2 off the deck and nick tee’ed up the vintage 1985 Crosscut mylar Lidgard #3. Once that was up, we took off surfing and even planing for long periods with just the #3. I bet the wind was in the low 40’s. We had a great sail for the next 1.5 hrs into PT. The coast guard Helicopter flew over and waved, I waved back and gave them a big thumbs up.

Now the boat was moving on at good speed right for Marrowstone. The wind went slightly more westerly, and we reached into PT Surfing in the 3-4 foot swell. Nick Finished the sail, by crossing the line between PT Hudson Buoy and the marina entrance. We hardened up and sailed into the marina, doused the jib, fired up the Outboard, which amazingly started, and we grabbed a spot on the linear dock at Pt Hudson. Our buddy Ted, lives in PT, about 2 minutes from the wet and slightly crippled Dune Buggy. He picked us up after some hot showers and we had a nice, warm house to stay for the night.

We made it!, what a great sail. Thumbs up to Bill Lee. Goes to show a good old boat from the 70’s can still hold her own. I was never too worried, we had an awesome crew, and a fine craft to carry us into PT.

A huge thanks to Dan & LIsa at PT rigging for opening up there shop, to let us share some beer with them and let us use the shop to splice my poor boom together for the next day’s sail to West sound.

This is what the boys at Ballard Sails do for fun!
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