Close racing as the Tbirds head downwind. Photo by Piper Dunlap

Close racing as the Tbirds head downwind. Photo by Piper Dunlap

2014 Thunderbird Regional Competition – Port Townsend August 30-31, story by Mike Dotson

Sniffing out the wind…

Port Townsend Bay is an amazing race venue with spectacular views… and consequently a nice place to wait for the wind to blow. And there was breeze! So the eight anxious T-birders had to put away the chips and salsa (thanks to our host), the bubbles, and prepare to race! The wind provided 7 quick, action packed races during the two day Regional competition. There were two boats representing Fleet 2 – SELCHIE and INVADER. The remainder of the boats were from Fleet 13 (1 from Edmonds + 5 Port Townsend).

Despite the forecast we never needed our foulies. And our attentive race committee was poised to sound the horn as soon as a steady breeze filled the bay. THATUNA showed us how “ready” they were, as they sailed to a win in the first race. SELCHIE lead the second race – even while towing a “kelp island” into the leeward mark. But “new-wind” created a “pile-up” at the mark rounding. The quick and patient DORADO avoided the “pile,” sailed clean around the mark, and took a bullet in the second race. The third race started in a northeasterly, but ended in pursuit of a 180 degree down wind shift. The scent of the nearby pulp mill provided a hint. And the local – DORADO, “quick-drawed” their sails to be the first to capture the smelly zephyr. They went on to win the race, and day 1 – DORADO, INVADER, and SELCHIE.

The scent of “pulp-mill” quickly dissipated as we breathed in the delicious aroma of our post-race salmon dinner. The banquet was splendid. Our lovely hostess (Joe’s wife Julie Ann) provided a wine bar, treats, and tasteful decorations for each crews table. The Port Townsend Thunderbird fleet is fun and friendly. The dinner conversations brought everyone together like a big happy T-bird family.

Rounding the windward mark, 2014 PNW Tbird Regional Regatta. Photo by Piper Dunlap

Rounding the windward mark, 2014 PNW Tbird Regional Regatta. Photo by Piper Dunlap

Day 2 – A bit more breeze.

But the bay soon revealed obscurities just below the tidal current. In addition to the fragrant westerly and kelp snares, there were shifty patches to challenge the T-birds’ brains. The lead changed several times in the first 2 races. We surmise that SELCHIE was conversing with the mythical creature for which she’s named. As SELCHIE glided around the course capturing a 2nd and a 1st in races 4 and 5. While DORADO and INVADER “dueled” in the middle of the fleet. Race 6: What do you get with eight boats crowed around a heavily favored pin-end? Two general recalls (or was it 3?). Once we finally got a clean start we had a steadier breeze. RAVEN showed her feathers in one of her two bullets for the day. INVADER fired off a good start in race 7, and maintained a lead for the duration. (And SELCHIE may have lost her good standing with the sea… or took a detour to harvest her crab trap for race 7?) The race committee optimistically sent us out for an 8th race. But the “Bay” said “Sorry… no more wind for you today!”… But come again next year and I promise you’ll get to sniff-out some good wind and fun!

Special thanks to the Regatta Chairman – Joe Daubenberger, Committee Boat Crew (our former fleet 2 member Dale Dunning made an appearance!), and the many others who obviously helped to make this a successful and fun event. We’ll look forward to next year, when more of Fleet 2 can take advantage of this wonderful event!

To see more photos (credit to Olga Dotson) on the Thunderbird Fleet 2 – Seattle Facebook page:

Boat Name Daily Scores: total/worst/t-w Finish
Dorado 2-1-1-(5)-2-5-3 = 19 – 5 = 14 1
Invader 3-3-2-(6)-4-3-1= 22 – 6 = 16 2
Selchie 5-2-3-2-1-7-(8) = 28 – 8 = 20 3
Kuma-San 4-(5)-5-3-3-2-4 = 26 – 5 = 21 4
Raven (8)-8-4-1-6-1-2 = 30 – 8 = 22 5
Thatuna 1-7-6-4-5-(8)-5 = 36 – 8 = 28 6
Kolus (7)-6-7-7-7-4-7 = 45 – 7 = 38 7
Flair. 6-4-(8)-8-8-6-6=46-8. = 38. 8