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  • Lynn Watson
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    I’m having trouble understanding how these distance races get planned and why we keep getting sent off into large foul currents that are all but impossible to fight against and make it around the mark and back home. It isn’t as if the tides can’t be predicted and races can’t be arranged to take advantage of them.

    So far this year:

    Bush Point 4/13/19
    The race starts at 10am; the ebb at Bush Point starts at 10:37am. Builds to 2.6 knots at 3:30pm So we’re beating into a foul current all the way there. As it turned out, we had a howling gale to beat into as well, but still four teams came out to make the attempt. Sir Isaac, that marvelous boat, punched through the miserable conditions and succeeded, but three Tbirds never had a chance.

    McCurdy Point 4/20/19
    The race starts at noon, the flood (again, dead foul) starts at 12:17. Nine boats come out, showing definite interest in this race, and four of them can’t even make it around Point Wilson. Nobody can make it to McCurdy Point. Again, wasted effort and general discouragement. A 10am start, like the week before, would have given the fleet a much better chance, but…

    So, why not plan the race for a day with at least some fair tide? It’s not that hard. I sat down with DeepZoom, an excellent tide planner, and quickly came up with current flows for the whole summer and picked out the best looking days. Here’s what I came up with:

    I’m using two scenarios for a race — start going north on the ebb and riding the flood back, or start going south on the flood and back on the ebb. Time the start so that we get to the rounding mark around slack tide. Starts would be between 10am and noon; slack tide between 1pm and 3pm or so.

    Going north, there are McCurdy Point, Partridge Point, Partridge Bank, the SA buoy, Protection Island and Smith Island for destinations. Travel times to the mark should run from 2 to 5 hours in light conditions.

    For southern marks there are Bush Point, Kinney Point (south end of Marrowstone), and the Port Ludlow entrance buoy for the longest race. Travel times to the mark should run from 2 to 4 hours.

    The most convenient days I found for northern races:

    6/8   — ebb till 3:15 at Pt Wilson

    6/22 — ebb till 2:45            ”

    7/6   — ebb till 2:00            ”

    7/20 — ebb till 1:45            ”

    8/3   — big ebb till 1:00      ”

    8/17 — ebb till 12:45          ”

    8/31 — big ebb till noon     ”

    Going south, the best days I found are:

    7/27 — flood till 3:10 at Bush Point

    8/10 — flood till 3:30          ”

    8/24 — flood till 1:20          ”

    9/7 — flood till 2:00            ”

    I’ll note here that the ebb starts in the PT Canal a good 3 hours before slack in the Inlet, so it’s easy to ride the tide down the Inlet and back up through the Canal and sail around Marrowstone. I’ve done this a number of times and it makes for a very nice day on the water. How’s that for a race plan?

    I hope it isn’t too late to plan some more events to get us out of the bay to enjoy some different scenery this season. What do you all think?

    Lynn Watson

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