AYC Northern Century 2013

August 28, 2013

Well, another year, another DNF.  We still don’t know what happened.  Look at our track shortly after the start:


This is the SE corner of Guemes Island, where we were Etch-A-Sketch doodling for more than six hours!   There was no wind, and we got into some kind of eddy hell.  While we were there we collected a variety of grasses and kelp on our keel and rudder, which we attempted to clear with a rigging knife rescue-taped to the end of the boat hook.  No wind + no control of the boat + the middle of the freaking night = no fun.

By about 13:00 Saturday we’d finally cleared the North end of Lummi Island and picked up some wind.  The rest of the sail was great, but I did the math and guessed that we probably wouldn’t finish by the deadline, so we set a course for Friday Harbor and turned this year’s race into a cruise with a finish line.  Here’s our track before the GPS batteries went dead:


Sitting at home, analyzing our track and times, and comparing the tracks of the yachts that finished, I think we might actually have made it in before the deadline had we stuck it out.  There were some advantageous wind shifts after we withdrew, and it turns out most of the other teams had the same problems we did, but in different locations.  At any rate, I made the decision to withdraw, and regretting it now isn’t going to do any good, so I’ll keep learning the local currents and give it a go again next year.

We did see a lot of cool stuff.  Drifting to within 100 feet of an anchored tanker was cool.  You think those things are big until you get up close, right at their waterline.  Then you realize that “big” is a colossal understatement.  We saw the usual seals, sea lions, porpoises, and sea birds, which are all cool, but we also saw what was either a Dall’s porpoise or a juvenile orca.  It was difficult to tell which it was because it wouldn’t stay on the surface for long before it dove again.  We also saw a lonely looking puffin.

As always, the Anacortes Yacht Club put on a great event.  Maybe next year we’ll finish it.

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