Racing at SISC



for the 2017 Racing Season…

Series A

Hot Rum Race  1 Jan
Ben Mohr Rock A 15 Jan
Ground Hog A  29 Jan
Channel Islands A 19 Feb
Walker Rock A 26 Feb
Round Prevost A 12 Mar
Bas Cobanli A 9 Apr
Spring Regatta A 15-16 Apr

Series B

Opening Day Sail Past Race 30 Apr
Moresby-Portland B  7 May
Round Saltspring B  19-21 May
Wednesday Night Jun I B*  7 Jun
Wednesday Night Jun II B* 14 Jun
Wednesday Night Jun III B*  21 Jun
Captain Passage B 25 Jun
Wednesday Night Jun IV B* 28 Jun
Wednesday Night Jul I B* 5 Jul
Wednesday Night Jul II B* 12 Jul
McMillan Trophy B 16 Jul
Wednesday Night Jul III B* 19 Jul
Jack and Jill 23 Jul
Wednesday Night Jul IV B* 26 Jul

*The Wednesday Night Races will be combined for each of June, July, and August, to become one result for each month.

Series C

Wednesday Night Aug I C* 2 Aug
Wednesday Night Aug II C* 9 Aug
Wednesday Night Aug III C* 16 Aug
Wednesday Night Aug IV C* 23 Aug
Montague Harbour C  27 Aug
Wednesday Night Aug V C* 30 Aug
Jack Langdon C  10 Sep
Night Race C 23 Sep
Round Pender Day 1 C  30 Sep
Round Pender Day 2 C 1 Oct
Long Harbour C 22 Oct




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Hot Rum Race

1 January  2017

New Years Day dawned magnificently at our house though the heavily matted texture of the water down below and the swaying of the trees around the house bespoke of winds on the high side of the forecasts I had relied on. When I arrived at the club at 9:15, finding our new Staff Captain Mike Dawson had fully prepared for the luncheon already, with no further help needed from our race group, I set about preparing Velica and making note of who was also preparing for the race.

Announced by clanging halyards and tortured windexes, a stiff north wind howled through the marina, visibly heeling boats in their slips. One by one, an intrepid group of sailors gathered to prepare for riding this near gale in the harbour. Martin and Greg were readying the Kay D and Sprite, but thought better of venturing out in the end. That sent Greg onto Wildfire and Tony Meek onto Electra, and Martin electing to nurse his head cold from shore. These were cues the skipper of Velica would have been wise to attend to— this was not a day to single-hand!

After a brief skipper’s meeting with a lively debate about the course, I tried to strike a balance between caution and adventure with a final decision. The course was northward through the start line, windward to the “Breeze” tug off goat Island, returning to the start line taking the club end mark to port, and then heading out of the harbour on a fast broad reach, out to Welbury Spar. Take the spar to port, the fleet was then to return home, keeping only Second Sister to Starboard as required in the standing sailing instructions, before close-reaching to the finish.

Returning to Velica, alone, I quickly realized that it would be impossible to get her safely off the dock single-handed without risk of damage to her or her leeward neighbour. Just releasing the bowline sent her bow halfway across the slip toward my neighbour in a matter of two seconds. Taking safety to heart over derring-do, I tied Velica back up and headed out to the breakwater to watch the start with Martin.

We had a great vantage point for the initial phases of the race, as well as the finish. I was treated to a running commentary by Martin, critiquing sternly but fairly the tactics and boat-handling of the hard-pressed and hard-heeling boats before us. It was NOT a pretty start. Only Oasis was even on the line within five seconds of the start time, and no one managed to take the strongly favoured position at the offshore pin end of the line. Nonetheless, collisions and other serious calamities were avoided, and all were eventually away.

The boats who favoured port tack and a higher line to the first mark were well rewarded. Electra quickly established a solid position here, but was harried by Richard Clarke’s Ricochet. Alas, the latter, being late to the start and not attending the skippers meeting, guessed that the second mark was a gate through the start line, rather than the prescribed port rounding of the inside end. Therefore, she failed to sail the true course and were eliminated from the results.

Once round this first mark, Martin captured a stunning shot of the reaching parade of boats out of the harbour:

We see Electra leading, with Ricochet, Radiant Heat, Oasis, Wildfire and Warbird, like pearls on a string.

Rapidly the charging boats disappeared from view, and Martin took his leave to warm up. About 40 minutes later, I spied the boats re-entering the harbour, and jogged back to the breakwater to watch the finish and do the boats the courtesy of taking their times at the line. Electra still led from Ricochet, and cleverly kept a higher line to avoid any hitch tacks to make the finish. This was easier said than done because the overpowering 30 knot gusts rolling down on the fleet were causing chunks of leeway in their tracks, quite visible from the shore. The biggest victim of this was Radiant Heat, who was forced to tack up right in front of the breakwater, just giving away the seconds that Wildfire would need to overtake her for second place on corrected time.

Myself, and others down to check their own mooring lines, scurried around the docks helping to catch the intrepid returning boats wanting to crash their way into their own slips, driven by the unrelenting wind.

The race was followed by a splendid and well-attended New Year’s luncheon, complete with the key ingredient of hot rum-spiked cider. Mike Dawson’s big crew of generous and skilled volunteers put on a wonderful feast, complete with white table linens and dazzling holiday centrepieces.

After the fulsome munching, I had the pleasure of presenting prize bottles of rum to the podium finishers: Radiant Heat in 3rd, Wildfire in 2nd, and a triumphant Electra in 1st place.

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 162 11:28:25 00:55:41 1
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 166 11:32:41 00:59:24 2
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 136 18 154 11:32:07 00:59:54 3
WARBIRD Douglas Woolcock 141 18 159 11:32:45 01:00:04 4
OASIS Bob Jones 102 18 120 11:30:30 01:01:27 5


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Ben Mohr Rock Race

22 January  2017

Well, the first “serious” race of 2017 is finally in the books, and it was quite something— a steady cold (3-5ºC) rain for much of the race, extremely variable wind (less than 1 kt up to 25 kts), a protest, another rule infraction, a legitimate (and properly exonerated) use of engine to avoid a close encounter of the ferry kind, and more. Whew!

It has taken Philippe and I most of the last 24 hours to sort it all out!

The day began grey and not particularly inviting. When I reached the club, the harbour was (again) glassy, and the flags were limp. I encountered Martin on the walkway, and he asked, “is this the forecast?!” I cheerfully replied, “well, no, there is forecast to be a pulse of wind right after our start time that is supposed to last for just an hour or so, but could hit 20 knots.” Further discussion of the forecast with Tony Brogan and others on the dock included this hope, as well as a drop to less wind later, and a backing of the wind from SE to E to N.

As it turned out, all this and more happened. The race (again) began in just a breath of mostly E wind, making a starboard approach to the line almost impossible. The reaching angle lured a few boats to try to get spinnakers up, but the forecast pulse of SE wind was ready to pounce, before we were half way out of the harbour. I looked back to see colourful spinnakers wrapped around masts at odd angles. Shortly thereafter, as Velica approached a leading position in the fleet, Greg Slakov called over to me from Sprite, “good day to not have a spinnaker!” That was mostly true on the outward leg, but not so much on the homeward leg.

The constant wind shifts and pressure changes resulted in many lead changes— by my eye at least five of the nine entrants spent time at the pointy end. Radiant Heat and Velica changed places at least a half dozen times.

The crux of the race was a prolonged lull which happened right near Scott Point, on the Welbury side. Tiny fits of shifty wind combined with current vortices to turn steerage into an elusive exercise. Multiple fruitless tacks were taken, Velica did an involuntary 360, and had to fend off from drifting helplessly into the beam of Radiant Heat. Electra and Kaitoa retired (towing the engine-less Electra back), Imp thought about it, and just then a newly resurgent north-ish light breeze pulled the stubbornest among the fleet slowly past Scott Point and across the mouth of Long Harbour, into Trincomali with a direct close reach to the Ben Mohr mark.

The return journey was less fraught with extremes, but still quite tricky, especially the last mile to the finish in the harbour. The initial broad reach gave boats with spinnakers or expansive foresails a big advantage, and Radiant Heat took over the lead, with Kay D, Sprite and Imp within stone’s throws of each other and of Velica and Radiant Heat. In fact, on the 4.5 knot beam reach across Welbury Bay to Second Sister, the five boats looked like a tiny navy flotilla, in stable close formation.

In the harbour, we had at least three or four wind swings of 90º to 180º, and private favoured lanes of breeze on both sides of the harbour at one time or another. The best to navigate this maze was Imp, who came from nearly retiring on the outbound leg to line honours in the end. Kay D finished shortly after, followed closely by Velica and Radiant Heat.

Congrats go to Kay D, whose savvy skipper got almost all of the shifts right and very few wrong, resulting in a dominant win on corrected time.

Great “props” go to Wildfire and especially Skeena Cloud on this day for sticking with it to finish within the extended time limit of 17:00.

As I described to Pete McGovern today, it was an intellectually fascinating and a physically miserable race!

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
KAY D Martin Herbert 202 21 202 14:27:20 03:33:40 1 100
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 14:25:20 03:42:40 2 89
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 14:28:00 03:55:06 3 78
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 136 18 136 14:29:00 03:56:49 4 67
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 15:00:10 04:22:53 5 56
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 195 18 195 15:43:00 04:44:33 6 44
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 DNF DNF 9 33
KAITOA Philippe Erdmer 105 21 105 DSQ DSQ 9 0
SPRITE Greg Slakov 202 21 202 DSQ DSQ 9 0

Philippe’s Notes:

KAITOA and SPRITE were disqualified for infringing rules about penalty turns after fouling a competitor.

ELECTRA was towed to the start, made it to Captain Passage and was towed home from there by KAITOA. Visiting crew on KAITOA got cold and wet as they lacked sufficient foulie gear, which made the decision to withdraw a necessity; all this is mooted by KAITOA’s disqualification in not completing the required penalty after fouling WILDFIRE at the start.


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Ground Hog Day Race

29 January  2017

While we still do not know what the Ground Hog is actually going to tell us about this winter, we do know that the race we held in its honour had two big surprises. Firstly, only half as many of you came out this year as for last year’s event. Secondly, we were blessed with about twice as much wind as forecast, making for a thrilling, if winnowing, contest.

My wife Maggie once again put on a great feast, cooking oceans of golden delicious pancakes in our own kitchen at daybreak. Meanwhile, Jim Raddysh and Shelley Lipke contributed a cornucopia of fresh fruit salad, and Martin Herbert and Rosemary Harbrecht fried up a boatload of bacon. Alas, despite there being a decent turnout of eight boats for the race, five of the eight were single-handed, and the remaining three were double-handed, meaning that there was a distinct shortage of mouths to feed with all this scrumptious food we collectively prepared. All did their best to take seconds and maybe a couple thirds, but in the end there were a lot of leftovers. I offer my apologies to all the cooks for my excessive optimism on the numbers.

Thanks to everyone for pitching in with the setup, cooking and cleanup, allowing us to start the reverse-handicap sequence of the race at 11:30.

Just as we finished in the clubhouse and headed for the boats, it began to rain, bringing memories of last week’s drenching. The southerly wind, however, was beginning fly the damp flags on the yardarms, and the harbour took a distinctly ruffled appearance. By the time the two Flying Fifteens were jockeying at the line for the first start, the gusts were above 18 knots on Velica’s masthead.

Sprite got the jump on Kay D at the start, but the two boats stayed closely matched on the first couple tacks out into the harbour. Battle Axe and Skeena Cloud were next to go, and immediately showed signs of straining to stay reasonably vertical. Imp took off next, in fine form, handling the gusty wind well and quickly headed for an eventual early lead. Next, Electra just preceded Velica over the line, but Velica got the windward position and quickly caught up. Lastly, Second Wind got started, hoping to imply her long waterline to good effect in catching the fleet.

Velica got into a shadowing position on Electra, and Electra tacked to clear her wind and explore the right side of the course. When they came back together a tack later, Velica had pulled out a several boat-length lead on her mentor, which the mentee never surrendered. Meanwhile, I spied Kay D sailing distinctly off the wind and apparently retiring into let’s-just-have-fun-in-the-harbour mode. About five minutes later, Sprite did the same thing, kindly sailing past the FCR’s boat to wave and let me know her intentions. At this point, the pursuit was shaping up into a three-way battle, with Imp still leading, Velica second but slowly closing, and Electra third and keeping Velica sharp and attentive.

As we approached the first mark at Batt Rock, Imp rounded first, having over-stood slightly and thus approached a little off the wind and fast. Velica did the same although even more so, worrying her skipper that he might have left an opening for Electra. Indeed, Electra did close a bit, but needed a coupe of extra maneuvers near the mark, softening the blow to Velica.

On the reach to Welbury spar, boat speeds over 7 knots debuted, and the leading three got even closer together. Behind us, Second Wind had now rounded Batt Rock, and was showing signs of staying in the hunt for the downwind leg to come. Battle Axe and Skeena Cloud were not that far back either.

The final lead changes happened just before Welbury Spar. Velica had sailing a little lower than Imp and precisely timed and executed her one gybe. Imp meanwhile, appeared to be struggling a bit, and ultimately performed a 300º pirouette to assume port gybe. Velica thrust into the lead, and Electra followed into second.

The beam reach back to Second Sister was blazing fast, Velica was surging at 7.5 knots, and hit 8 knots on a few well-taken gusts. Electra and Imp were taking a little higher and hotter line, but still not able to close much.

Once back into the harbour, the wind held surprisingly strong and fairly steady, with just some mild oscillations to attend to. Velica was careful to stay to the right enough when the wind angle allowed her, to clear the sand spit without a gybe. Electra ventured a little closer to the Salt Spring shore, which allowed her to gain some boat-lengths on Velica early on, but paid for it later, and stopped her advance.

In the end, it was very close among the podium finishers (less than two minutes among the three), and Second Wind was only another five minutes back. Battle Axe and Skeena Cloud were further behind, but all agreed it was a blast of a race, and a good learning ground for full-on boat handling.

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC Finish Time Place Club Points
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 13:02:47 1 100
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 13:04:28 2 88
IMP Craig Leitch 167 13:04:45 3 75
SECOND WIND   CC Eric van Soeren 114 13:09:59 4 63
BATTLE AXE Jim Raddysh 210 13:23:17 5 50
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 195 13:33:42 6 38
KAY D Martin Herbert 202 DNF 8 13
SPRITE Greg Slakov 202 DNF 8 13


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Channel Islands Race

19 February  2017

This race was already the second this year that was abandoned for lack of wind on its first attempt. This time, we had highly divergent forecasts that left some doubt as to whether we would get it in, even on this second attempt. Plans for short courses were floated in advance. The usually quite accurate PredictWind forecast had an anemic northeast breeze holding station throughout the day, and leaving us with only 5 knots at the most, and tailing off in the afternoon from there. This was indeed exactly what we started with. However, the WindAlert forecast was much more optimistic, and in the end, much more accurate. By the time we were out of the harbour, the wind was well over 10 knots and headed for 20 knots and more.

The start was once again complicated by the presence of two squatter boats moored right near our start line. A trimaran was blocking the path away from the club end of the line, and a monohull, that has hung around all winter, was just inside the other end of the line. The wind was dodging and feinting between 2 to 4 knots and swinging through wide angles as well. Visiting Ogopogo took the pin end right on time, and headed out into a substantial and growing lead. In the middle of the line, Velica and Radiant Heat came within inches of each other, with Velica trying hard to give way to the leeward Radiant Heat, while struggling with stubbornly inverted mainsail battens. Electra and Imp got more windward starts, managing to avoid the trimaran, as did Wildfire. Skeena Cloud was a bit late starting and struggled to get going in the light and fickle initial breeze.

A southeast wind line gradually filled into the harbour, favouring the left side of the course initially. Ogopogo had headed right for it, and virtually disappeared as she got the new wind first. Radiant Heat got it next and began to pull away smartly, as did Imp, Wildfire, and Electra playing the right side of the course. Velica was late to the party, and found herself in a discouraging sixth position tacking halfway out of the harbour. As the wind built in, things began to change, however. Radiant Heat lost part of her lead in an apparent light spot, Wildfire ran out of room on the Second Sister shore, and Electra pointed high but seemed to lose a little boat speed. Velica charged through these opportunities, and having just cleared the Second Sister point on starboard, accelerated out into Welbury Bay now in a growing lead over the SISC boats. Ogopogo was a little more visible, but only a little.

By the time Batt Rock arrived the first time, Velica rounded just ahead of Electra, with Imp, Wildfire and Radiant Heat further back now. A fast broad reach ensued, and some of the boats got spinnakers up for the first time. Welbury Spar arrived in short order with Velica still narrowly ahead of Electra. Now the wind was really kicking up, with sustained 15-20 knots pressure and gusts over 25 knots. The tide was in an accelerating ebb and opposing the southeast breeze, creating a nasty sea state of short, sharp, cresting waves. Velica took a pair of these right over the bow and refreshed her skipper with a cold douse.

The remainder of the beat to the Channel Islands was a fast but pounding slog, which spread the fleet out more. But Electra stayed close to Velica, and upon rounding the first Island nearest Salt Spring to port, Electra dared a closer approach to the rocks and cut Velica’s lead to just three boat lengths. Velica responded by leaving less room at the point of the second Channel Island, and once around bore away onto a scorching run back to Welbury. Electra again took a deeper, more inside line, but unable to get a spinnaker flying single-handed in the 25 knot winds, gradually gave back water to Velica. Both Electra and Velica saw a lot of time over 8 knots of boat speed on this leg, and were still less than 100 metres apart at the second Welbury rounding.

Leeward marks in high wind are tough for a single-handed Alerion, since she is rigged presuming use of her electric winches, which her skipper properly does not use while racing in conformance with RRS rule 52. That disadvantage allowed Electra to hold a more windward line on the way to Batt Rock, and Velica was seeing a possible change of lead coming. Working extra hard to maintain boat speed in the high sixes, Velica just held her lead over Electra at the final mark.

The run into the harbour was mostly fast, with veins of the 20 knot wind snaking inside to keep boat speeds above 7 knots a good part of the time. By now, I could see that Imp had her spinnaker up and was clearly closing in on the leading pair. (Oh, yes, Ogopogo was still out there but already headed home to Galliano at this point!) Electra struggled with her second spinnaker hoist, with a persistent hourglass forcing a take down and re-hoist. Velica watched anxiously as eventually Electra’s chute ballooned. Nonetheless, Velica maintained her lead to the finish line, and just barely enough of it to overcome her slightly faster rating, claiming victory (among the SSI boats) by a scant 17 seconds on corrected time. Imp made up enough time on that final run to complete the podium, just over two minutes adrift of Electra.

Wildfire and Radiant Heat came to the line together, while I watched bringing Velica back to the marina. Radiant Heat nipped Wildfire by just one second on the clock, but the slower-rated Wildfire prevailed on corrected time. As I was entering times into the book, I caught sight of Skeena Cloud blasting her way into the harbour for a valiant finish, with probably a good chunk of boat-handling learning curve notched for the day.

Ogopogo did us the favour of not recording a time, sparing us all the humiliation of her dominant performance.

All in all, it was bracing and more typical SSI winter race, and even the sun made an appearance after the morning baptism.

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 13:43:20 03:10:59 1 100
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 13:44:30 03:11:16 2 83
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 13:54:35 03:13:34 3 67
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 13:59:00 03:23:22 4 50
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 138 13:58:59 03:26:27 5 33
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 195 18 195 14:49:30 03:55:55 6 17



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Walker Rock Race

26 February  2017

The day began for your FCR looking out at 2 cm of freshly fallen and falling snow at our Mt. Maxwell airie. It was too foggy to see what was going on at sea level, but I trusted the snow had reserved itself for us mountain-dwellers, and this was the case. Descending to the club, I found only a light drizzle, a steely sky, and an encouraging 10 knot southeast breeze in the harbour. The forecast models had mostly predicted an east wind backing to north and then northwest as it strengthened during the day. So this introductory breeze was a bit puzzling. Nonetheless, as race time approached, this harbour inflow dissipated and then died almost completely as the fleet assembled behind the start line. Then, just as boats were picking their spots, a wind line appeared off of Goat Island, the harbinger of that promised easterly flow. The angle of the wind made a starboard approach impossible, so there was a bit of ducking and diving going on to get a good position for a port tack run at the line. The pin end was favoured, and Imp nailed it just a few seconds late, with an accelerating Velica hot on her heels. Wildfire slipped in behind these two as they battled for clear air. The rest of the fleet held a more leeward position closer to the club, and found a building ribbon of wind there, closing the distance to the windward boats.

The first crux move of the race came as the converging fleet reached Second Sister with its characteristic wind shadow. Carrying momentum through this flat spot was key, and Velica was able to do it a little sooner and a little quicker than the rest of the fleet, resulting in a big jump into a lead in Welbury Bay, on the way to the first mark and Welbury Spar. Electra pulled out of the pack next and began a hot pursuit of Velica. That pursuit culminated with a current-avoidance duel up the outside shore of Nose Point. Electra won the lead at this point, as Imp began sneaking up behind the two leaders, followed by Oasis.

Velica could not effectively point as high as Electra, but was a touch faster on VMG as the current lessened a bit. Tacking off the Salt Spring shore, Velica was able to cross fairly in front of Electra, despite being on port tack, and narrowly regained the lead. Returning to starboard tack, the boats next had to contend with the hidden end of Atkins Reef. Velica tacked out again, and in a fateful decision, decided to cross to the Galiano side. Imp followed and got fairly close to Velica near the Ballingall Islets. Electra stayed offshore longer, apparently in more wind and little enough ebb current to make good headway toward the Walker Rock mark. As Velica converged with Electra, it was apparent that Electra had taken the better route and pulled out to a decisive ~3 minute lead at the rounding.

The balance of the fleet had fallen back here, probably contending with the sharp 18-20 knot gusts and oscillations rolling over the spine of Galiano Island. Oasis came forward to round 3rd, I believe, with Imp close behind.

Up front, Electra got her biggest white and pale blue spinnaker flying after a bit of a struggle, but once she did, her lead was assured and growing. Whenever the wind got above 15 knots, Velica would close the gap slightly, but in the lulls down to 12 knots, Electra would pull away again, at the peak probably about 7 minutes ahead. Other boats behind got chutes flying, including Oasis, Radiant Heat and Wirdbird/Firefly, and thus equipped, started slowly closing the big gap to Velica ahead. Notably, Imp did not get a chute up, and that probably was the difference in her inability to take the fight back to Velica and Electra. I believe this was also the case with Wildfire and Skeena Cloud, both short-handed.

Once around Nose Point, a fast reach ensued, leaving Welbury Spar to starboard, and then hardening up slightly for the close reach to Second Sister. Electra held her spinnaker as long as possible after Scott Point, and managed the take-down smoothly to hold serve.

In the harbour, the wind backed further to force another beat after it initially seemed a high-held starboard tack would do. Velica made some progress on this stretch, cutting Electra’s lead down to four minutes at the line, leaving the sharp-bowed boat both line honous and the clear victory for Roger, assisted ably by Philippe. Oasis followed Velica in, but on corrected time, Imp snagged the last podium spot, ahead of a closing Radiant Heat.

By the end, a persistent solid breeze was adorned by a brilliant sun-drenched blue sky, and regardless of finishing place, lots of smiles greeted each other on the dock.

The fleet from the deck of Velica, midway out of the harbour, showing left to right — Imp, Warbird/Firefly, Electra, Oasis, Radiant Heat, Skeena Cloud, and Wildfire

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 13:16:10 03:42:24 1 100
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 13:20:37 03:47:49 2 88
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 13:33:36 03:50:29 3 75
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 138 13:31:50 03:58:54 4 63
FIREFLY Douglas Woolcock 141 18 141 13:34:37 04:00:33 5 50
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 13:40:10 04:03:26 6 38
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 102 18 102 13:29:00 04:09:46 7 25
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 14:43:31 04:43:49 8 13


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Round Prevost Race

12 March  2017

Finally our luck with the sailing weather this year is improving! My call to postpone the Spring Regatta was a good one, with the Saturday weather truly miserable. In contrast, Sunday’s weather was better than expected, with only a few drops of spitting rain and overall plenty of wind for an efficient trip around my favourite daysail route.

There was some interest in allowing skipper’s choice for the direction of circumnavigation of Prevost, but a narrow majority wanted to keep the fleet together, and once this decision was made, it was pretty clear that the anti-clockwise direction would be in better phase with the current and forecast build-in of the wind.

Ogopogo joined us from Galiano, and as per usual, put on a master class that we could only gaze at in amazement from farther and farther in a-rears. I commented to Paul Faget about the Dart’s incredibly high pointing, to which he replied, “new flatter main = pointing high.” Those considering sail upgrades take note!

The start was complicated by a trimaran impolitely moored right in the middle and in front of the line, and marred by Radiant Heat’s fouling of Sprite, which I witnessed at close range. Tony’s own description:

“I screwed up the start being early and went out wide at the dock end but when trying to come back in to the start was squeezed up and in the way of another boat.
Penalty earned and penalty taken.
By the time we unwound from the circle the lead boats were already 3 minutes ahead.”

The wind veered to the south, and favoured starboard tack to the point I wondered if we all could make it down to the Channel Islands with nary a tack. Such was not the case entirely, but only a few hitches on port tack were necessary for those who read the shifts well. Once out in Captain Passage the late ebb current gave a good push to well-placed boats. Velica was able to make up a little water on Ogopogo this way, and pulled ahead of the rest of the fleet. Radiant Heat had made a great recovery and had joined Wildfire, Imp, Firefly, and Oasis in the middle of things. Sprite was staying in touch, and as became clearer later, sailed fast with respect to her much higher rating.

Bearing off at the south end of Prevost, the fleet made short work of the reach to Portlock Point. Staying out a little further from Prevost paid dividends for those chasing Velica, and things were beginning to get tighter as spinnakers bloomed on most boats for the run up Trincomali Channel (see photo below). The ebb current was still with us, but much diminished. Tony Brogan again comments:

“Heading up Trincomali channel, Radiant heat held off the charging fleet with barely perceptible gains on the front runner Velica. We took an early spinnaker takedown approaching Captain Passage and paid as Firely was now within two boat lengths having delayed their takedown to the last possible moment. Oasis was charging up.”

Indeed, approaching Peile Point, well after Ogopogo had slipped from view, a wind hole opened up right at the point, making a significant barrier prior to the strong breeze inside the Passage. Velica crawled through it, helplessly watching the fleet charge from behind. Nonetheless, she was released from her bonds in time, and shot out across Nose and Scott Points while Firefly, Radiant Heat and Oasis paid the tollbooth at Peile.

The endgame was the usual game of divining the patchy wind in Ganges Harbour, and playing the downwind shifts for all they were worth. Velica encountered Ogopogo a few hundred metres from the finish, already heading home to Galiano, after probably already having had a beer, sigh. Velica was counting seconds at this point, acutely aware of the corrected-time threat from Firefly, as the latter duelled with Radiant Heat right to the line, closely followed by Oasis (see photos below).

Thanks to Douglas for stepping into the breach, left by Philippe’s absence in the wild, and doing the scoring.

Congratulations to Greg Slakov and Sprite for the Club win, while introducing a clearly capable junior sailor to the fleet!

Greg Taylor aboard Skeena Cloud gamely commented:

“Everyone else uses PHRF to keep score. I use: is anyone left around to have a beer with? That’s a win for me. And today, for the first time in a long race, there was. Gyle invited me for a beer on Douglas’s boat. It felt like I won a Gold medal.”

Greg sets the example for the Corinthian spirit of sailing!


Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
SPRITE Greg Slakov 202 21 202 13:28:08 02:40:22 1 100
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 0 138 13:16:35 02:44:33 2 88
FIREFLY Douglas Woolcock 141 18 141 13:17:51 02:45:03 5 50
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 13:24:54 02:45:29 3 75
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 138 13:17:53 02:45:51 4 63
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 13:27:10 02:52:24 6 38
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 102 18 102 13:18:52 02:56:28 7 25
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 14:06:29 03:15:59 8 13
OGOPOGO*  Paul Faget 99  21  99  12:56:50 02:34:11

*OGOPOGO is not a SISC boat and does not qualify for placement in local SISC races


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Bas Cobanli Memorial Race

9 April  2017

Yesterday, nine skippers and hearty crews were treated to a truly magnificent race event.

After weeks of unseasonably cold, wet/snowy, grey weather, we were granted a reprieve from the gloom and persistent dripping, and moreover granted a fine sailing breeze from the Southeast. The forecast wind of 10-15 knots was exceeded at both ends of the scale, with maddening lulls down to 5-6 knots early in the first half of the race, and sustained blasts over 20 knots in the second half.

Race Custodian Roger Kibble had arranged to have Bas Cobanli’s widow Gil come down and say a few words about Bas’s dedication to the sport and to the club at the skipper’s meeting, and we all gave her a rousing ovation for her eloquence and spirit. Roger designed the course, a “grand tour” of many of the marks we use for our various regular races. He skillfully chose a counter-clockwise direction for this more-than-round-prevost circuit, which kept most boats in fairly good alignment with the tides— ebb to begin with, followed by a strong flood. Lastly, Roger had invited John Cameron, an accomplished photographer and erstwhile Martin 242 racer to record the event. His photos appear with this report, and can be perused more fully on his own blog here.

Roger presenting the course, as Gil Cobanli looks on from the left

After these introductions, the fleet organized itself and prepared for the first race start of the season without the presence of interloping moored boats on the start line! The wind was holding at about 10 knots, square to the line, so a brisk and fair start was to ensue, well captured by John Cameron.

Imp, Oasis, Electra, and Battle Axe on the line

Imp, Velica and Electra dicing just after the start

Electra duelling with Velica, and winning…


Fairly quickly, the eventual podium winners, Imp, Electra, and Velica, broke from the pack and established a lead over the other boats as a tight beat out of the harbour proceeded. By the first mark at Ganges Shoal, Electra had pulled into a clear advantage that she would hold for the whole race… oh, wait… maybe not…

After the rounding of Welbury Spar and the en passant of Horda Shoals, the crux of the race came with the port-rounding of the Channel Islands, just as it did in last year’s Round Saltspring. The current was beginning to flood in the narrow passage off Yeo Point, and the previously steady wind had shredded into narrow and pulsating ribbons that favoured one boat and then another.

Velica got tantalizingly close to Electra’s transom by threading a wind needle in the centre of the channel, only to watch as the blue knife caught her own gust and disappeared toward Portlock Point. Oasis, well-crewed, came blasting over from the Prevost shore and tacked just beside Velica, leaving her to wallow in a lumpy windless patch of sea. Imp came off the Saltspring shore and crept up behind Velica, just as her green-ness caught the wind and accelerated away on a beam reach, now chasing both Electra and Oasis, both gamely flying spinnakers in the rapidly building breeze.

Glancing behind, we watched as this wind and current gate toyed with the back half of the fleet. Wildfire got through followed by Firefly (the boat formerly known as Warbird, shhh!), and kept in touch with the leading group, as Deryn Mohr, Skeena Cloud, and Battle Axe stretched behind as pearls on a string.

The second half of the race was quite a bit faster than the first. With the wind gusting over 20 knots, and dancing white caps in Trincomali channel, the run down to the mark at Ben Mohr Rock went by in a flash. Electra rounded first, and shot across to Peile Point like an arrow released from a bow. Oasis followed and began to close on Electra off Nose Point. Velica pursued, now with Martin Herbert at the helm, who this author had recruited to share the race as a shakedown for our planning co-skippering of this year’s Round Saltspring. Despite his recent preoccupation with boats nine metres shorter than Velica, Martin quickly got in the groove, making the canny call to stay high at Peile Point and use the well aligned wind in James Bay to lift toward the last mark at Batt Rock.

As he and I spied forward, we began to scratch our heads, however. Electra, still narrowly leading from Oasis, had dropped into Welbury Bay, apparently a horse headed for the barn. Martin and I conferred and agreed that we were pretty darn sure that Batt Rock remained in the course on the homeward leg (Roger had originally drafted the course with Batt Rock used twice, both going and coming, but had revised it before the skipper’s meeting). The final assurance we needed was the divergence of Oasis from Electra’s track to windward. Knowing that our able and very detail-oriented scorer Philippe Erdmer was crewing on Oasis, and having remembered watching him photograph Roger’s placard of the course (see above), we were certain that Electra was straying from her own script. Martin deftly used the successive wind lifts we were dealt to inch up toward the lay line to Batt Rock, and to insert ourselves between Oasis and Electra while rounding the mark for the final run to the finish.

Oasis again launched her lovely new spinnaker, and in regal fashion romped home for a well-deserved line honours. Velica tried to follow, and while gaining early, could not keep pace with the long-legged and elegant Oasis. Meanwhile, a spinnaker aboard Electra, which in Roger’s words “was packed by too many people,” rebelled upon relaunch and did everything other than fill for a spell. Velica’s relief in seeing this was short-lived, however. Once properly powered, the ever-deadly down-wind Aphrodite ran down Velica as if she was a wheezing marathoner, and just pipped the Alerion at the finish by five seconds, despite the earlier scenic routing.

To the victors goes the portrait


As Velica turned upwind to lower sail, our shoulders sank to see the steady-as-a-tortoise, fleet-as-a-hare Imp gliding all too soon to the finish to let any of us predecessors claim the day. Indeed, having craftily declared No Flying Sails (NFS) for the day, her time corrected well in front of the three in front, and no contest for any boat behind. John Cameron got a suitably snappy photo of the reigning rascal, and as a Martin 242 veteran himself, he must have enjoyed the result:

Lastly, I would mention the grace under extreme duress of Firefly, and her crew of Douglas Woolcock and his young son Theo. The gusts got the better of the Laser 28 on the final run, and a bad broach was followed by a released and flagging spinnaker that took many minutes to recapture to the deck. She bravely finished nonetheless. On the dock, we found Douglas stiffly holding a badly bashed left hand, which thankfully x-rays later showed to be unbroken.

In some recompense, Firefly attracted Mr. Cameron to his most stunning portrait of the day, featured first on his blog mentioned above:

And the envelope, please…

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 183 14:10:17 03:23:41 1 100
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 14:04:41 03:31:07 2 89
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 0 138 14:04:46 03:32:09 3 78
DERYN MOR  CC Kevin Vine 228 18 228 14:42:48 03:39:41 4 67
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 105 21 105 14:01:35 03:40:03 5 56
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 14:20:45 03:44:32 6 44
FIREFLY Douglas Woolcock 141 18 141 14:23:30 03:49:37 7 33
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 14:44:28 03:50:22 8 22
BATTLE AXE   CC Jim Raddysh 210 18 210 15:18:31 04:16:54 9 11


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Spring Regatta

15-16 April  2017

This past weekend, we were blessed with another weekend window of wonderful weather, amid the recent rainy gloom. I noticed a report online that indicated that the weekend was the longest stretch of dry weather in our region since the middle of February. Happy Easter indeed!

Nature provided a full menu of wind options, in Small, Medium and Large, actually chronologically that would be Medium, Large and Small, for our three races. This was ideal to give a variety of challenges to the fleet (and the FCR’s course-setting imagination), as well as sampling the relative strengths of the various designs contained therein. As a consequence, I think it is no accident that there were three different winners in the threes races contested.

Given predilections and family and other commitments we had a number of boats unable to compete in every race, as often happens in the Spring Regatta. In the end, we had nine boats out, and points results were properly calculated on that fleet size.

Since the races were all so consuming and so different, and a bit blurred together in my memory, more impressionist summaries follow:

Race 1:

We had our maximum fleet of seven boats for this race, in a moderate 7-12 knot SE to SW varying breeze. We wanted to keep this race time-efficient to keep to the promised lunch break. So the course was set for: Start – Ganges Shoal (P) – Start (gate) – Ganges Shoal (P) – Finish, a minimum distance of about 6 nm.

The start was closely contested, with Velica and Caliente sparring early for the lead, with Imp, Wildfire and Firefly close behind. At the windward mark, Caliente rounded first with Velica chasing. On the first run back to the start line for the leaders, the traffic got interesting. The fleet was spread out such that about half were still beating as the faster boats ran down among them. It seemed everyone remembered the rules and I did not hear any frantic or angry hails, thankfully. Velica managed to just slip in front of Caliente at the pin end of the start line gate and round ahead, but Caliente used her prodigious power to accelerate back into the lead as the second lap progressed. In the end, the competition was quite close, with all boats finishing within 20 minutes of each other on corrected time, and the top five were all within 5 minutes, corrected.

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 0 138 11:56:08 01:25:05 1
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 188 12:04:42 01:26:57 2
CALIENTE Ole Andersen 72 21 93 11:53:34 01:28:37 3
FIREFLY Douglas Woolcock 141 18 141 12:01:07 01:29:36 4
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 12:02:36 01:30:06 5
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 12:18:44 01:38:26 6
BATTLE AXE   CC Jim Raddysh 210 18 210 12:29:50 01:46:42 7
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 DNS DNS 9
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 105 21 105 DNS DNS 9

Race 2:

After a pleasant lunch relaxing on the water or at the docks, the fleet reassembled in a gathering blow that was starting to send whitecaps skittering across the harbour, under a brightening blue sky. Electra’s Roger Kibble took a break from oodles of grandkids to join the fun, as Battle Axe stepped away, keeping the fleet seven-strong for this most rousing race. After a few suggestions, including from Theo, Douglas’ most nautical tyke, we settled on a snaking course as follows: Start – Ganges Shoal (P) – Welbury Spar (S) – Horda Shoals (P) – Welbury Spar (P) – Ganges Shoal (S) – Finish, a minimum distance of about 6.4 nm.

The start was very closely contested with the top runners right on the line at the appointed 13:30. Velica and Electra were side-by-side but Velica held windward cover, forcing Electra to tack away. Electra got revenge a couple of tacks later and pulled ahead of Velica at a cross. Caliente took a little time to build up a full head of steam, but once out of the harbour and on longer tacks, broke away into an on-the-water lead that was permanent.

The usually adaptable Imp was struggling a bit in the heavy and heavier air, now pushing 20 knots, and fell back through the fleet by the windward mark, and particularly on the run home. Nonetheless, she beat Firefly to the finish on corrected time by just fifteen seconds. Wildfire caught fire in the mid-race and kept close enough to the leaders to make them nervous. In a subsequent email Greg Taylor single-handing Skeena Cloud reported “crashing and burning” entailing a reefing struggle and a boom bash and bruise. He gamely finished and started shopping for a smaller genoa.

Velica and Electra kept up their match race-within-a-race, with Velica finally passing Electra on the reach back to Ganges Shoal from Welbury Spar. Given Electra’s NFS declaration, this was not nearly soon enough, so despite Velica crossing the line 28 seconds ahead of Electra (and both boats about 2-1/2 minutes behind an NFS Caliente), Electra claimed the race win by 2-1/4 minutes on corrected time.

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 162 14:47:50 01:14:11 1
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 0 138 14:47:22 01:16:26 2
CALIENTE Ole Andersen 72 21 93 14:44:10 01:18:39 3
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 14:52:06 01:19:53 4
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 188 15:01:50 01:24:19 5
FIREFLY Douglas Woolcock 141 18 141 14:56:00 01:24:34 6
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 15:40:18 01:57:58 7
BATTLE AXE   CC Jim Raddysh 210 18 210 DNS DNS 9
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 105 21 105 DNS DNS 9

Race 3:

The Easter Sunday fleet was reduced to four boats, with Oasis joining the fanatic fringe of Imp, Velica and Wildfire. Gyle informed me that his wife Sam had sent along thanks for the later race start time, and that made my skipper’s meeting!

The forecast had predicted a switch to a north wind on Sunday, albeit not a strong one, at least in the early afternoon I had chosen for the start time. The gathering sunshine, while warm on our cheeks and hearts, brought with it a risk of an invading sea breeze from the south and a consequent atmospheric tug-of-war right in the middle of the harbour. Alas, this is exactly what played out.

Expecting this possibility and controlling our appetite for floating-and-drifting-around risk, we agreed on a course of: Start – Ganges Shoal (P) – SISC 5-knot Marker (P) – Ganges Shoal (P) – Finish, a minimum distance of 5 nm. By the time we had finally crawled around the mark at Ganges Shoal the first time, a unanimous decision was taken to shorten the course by eliminating the second lap, reducing the course to 3 nm, around which we collectively struggled to average 1 knot of boat speed!

The wind initially scooted us off the line at 2 – 3 knots, aided by a broad reach angle to the northeast breeze rolling over the Chain Islands. We all quickly began shedding layers of clothing as our winter wool and windbreaker habits were rendered swelteringly obsolete by the blissfully beating sun. Light air specialist Imp quickly disposed of competition for the lead from Velica, and opened up an initial big gap by half way out of the harbour. At this juncture Imp gybed sharply toward the Saltspring Shore, perhaps attracted by the steady and quickening progress being made by Oasis, taking an almost direct line toward Ganges Shoal.

As I sat in growing silence watching Velica’s barely perceptible bow wave, I heard this sound of rushing water growing louder and louder astern. Looking back, I saw Wildfire with her spinnaker full approaching at what must have been close to four knots, urged on by the resurgent north wind that remained lurking in the inner harbour, while the transition zone to the south flow settled in around me.

My very precise and fairly accurate ultrasonic wind instrument registered 0.5 knots, then 0.05 knots, then finally 0.00 knots! Wildfire, of course, slowed as she joined the transition zone silent party. Meanwhile, Oasis had claimed the lead and the privilege of tasting first the faint south wind that forced her onto a spinnaker-dousing beat just before Ganges Shoal. Velica approached next, with Imp and Wildfire close behind. Both Wildfire and Imp spent some time looking at the finish line prematurely as a swirl in the current and the failing wind played havoc with steerage. Velica rounded the mark just behind Oasis, and then pulled up along side and to windward of the big boat. Philippe Erdmer at the helm politely hailed that she was taking Velica up, at least to a broad reach “slowly,” and so she did. Velica made way and blessed with a little more agility, pulled into the lead.

It was shortly after this that a conference was held on VFH 72 to decide on the shortened course. I was careful to require an unanimous vote, since holding the lead, Velica was probably advantaged by the shortening. Velica built that lead to several hundred meters by playing the downwind shifts as efficiently as I could, while getting quite a work-out inverting Velica’s long and plentiful mainsail battens over and over.

As I crept toward the Club, I was haunted/encouraged by the sight of a burn pile up near Beddis Road with a smoke plume shearing away to the south at what looked like about 10 knots! The flow on the water where we were was directly opposite that and much lighter. In fact, the three boats following were now enjoying even stronger south puffs and gaining back most of the lead Velica had built on them. A distinct wind line stretched tantalizingly across the harbour right in front of the SISC breakwater, promising something new and stronger. It was not until Velica approached this line that Nature finally shared that wind that was literally blowing smoke up on the hill. Almost instantly, Velica was beating in 9 knots of wind and accelerating to 5 knots of boat speed in a final dash to the line. Imp was in it soon too and giving chase I knew would result in race victory, once her time was corrected.

But with my face toasted in a first sailing tan of the year, and in cotton shirtsleeves, feeling 14º of balminess, who could complain?

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 188 15:25:27 02:13:32 1
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 0 138 15:24:28 02:22:43 2
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 15:36:35 02:32:22 3
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 105 21 105 15:28:53 02:34:50 4
BATTLE AXE   CC Jim Raddysh 210 18 210 DNS DNS 9
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 DNS DNS 9
FIREFLY Douglas Woolcock 141 18 141 DNS DNS 9
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 DNS DNS 9
CALIENTE Ole Andersen 72 21 93 DNS DNS 9


For the full event, the biggest factor in the standings was full participation, with all three podium winners competing in all three races. Velica took the regatta trophy, with Imp a close second, and Wildfire a solid third.

Boat Skipper Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Total Place Club Points 
VELICA Vincent Argiro 1 2 2 5 1 100
IMP Craig Leitch 2 5 1 8 2 89
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 5 4 3 12 3 78
CALIENTE Ole Andersen 3 3 9 15 4 67
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 9 1 9 19 5 56
FIREFLY Douglas Woolcock 4 6 9 19 6 44
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 9 9 4 22 7 33
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 6 7 9 22 8 22
BATTLE AXE   CC Jim Raddysh 7 9 9 25 9 11



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Moresby-Portland Race

7 May  2017

From Craig Leitch:

Sunday dawned clear and bright, with a puffy little NE wind at the dock to greet the 6 boats that turned out. It was decided to go around counter-clockwise, based on the stiff flood tide anticipated all day from the start to almost 5 pm, and hoping for sufficient breeze, agreement was reached. An argument at the start developed when Imp (and possibly Radiant Heat, judging by the shouts from behind?) were accused of being over early, but Imp steadfastly maintained that they had crossed at exactly 10:30, with Radiant Heat one or two seconds behind but to windward (two seconds late, by Tony’s accounting!) so the race carried on down the harbour, with Oasis quickly jumping into the lead, and most boats accelerating in the beam reach to about Batt Rock, where both Mystic and Wildfire caught up to Imp, the eventual winner on corrected time. Firefly and Radiant had gone well to the left over by Prevost, leaving Imp to follow Oasis’ example and set the spinnaker to get to Yeo Point. At this point, the wind swung ahead and a beat to Beaver Point ensued, close to the shore to avoid the worst of the tide, only to see Firefly and Radiant Heat come from behind on a long smooth reach, and get to Portland Island ahead of the other 3 boats, with Radiant Heat avoiding the tide skilfully close to the Portland side, Firefly in the middle, and Oasis still in the lead but on the far side, near Swartz Bay. By this time there seemed to be two groups, 4 relatively close and 2 farther behind. From Swartz Bay to Moresby a pretty beat followed, with little gains or losses, all the way to the rounding of Point Fairfax on Moresby, followed by a slow reach (in sharply lighter wind, but with the flood tide) until spinnakers again blossomed off Pelorus Point, and the drag race to the finish for the four leading boats began, with the wind slowly but inexorably increasing to 10-12 knots, making for a 5-6 knot run all the way to the Sisters, where Imp began jibing, hoping to make slightly better speed, not able to catch Oasis, who claimed line honours, but just pipping Firefly at the line, with Radiant Heat just behind, followed shortly by Mystic and Wildfire, also both under spinnaker. All in all, a lovely day on the water, and the breeze never failed us for this second longest race on the calendar, with most boats finishing by 6 pm, after a glorious 7 1/2 hours on the water!

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 17:17:41 06:25:44 1 100
FIREFLY Douglas Woolcock 141 18 141 17:18:03 06:41:16 2 83
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 138 17:18:52 06:43:54 3 67
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 111 21 111 17:14:50 06:57:01 4 50
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 141 18 141 18:04:00 07:26:27 5 33
MYSTIC   CC David Questo 93 18 93 17:49:00 07:45:30 6 17


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Round Saltspring

19-21 May  2017

Sadly, none of the finishers were boats from the host club and so the Doug Thomas Memorial Trophy for first Saltspring Island Sailing Club boat is not awarded this year.

Follow this link to Round Saltspring 2017 Results



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Wednesday Night Race (Jun I)

7 June  2017

The evening began with a moderate but promising breeze blowing into the harbour. As such, we initially chose a course of Start – Ganges Shoal (P) – Welbury Spar (P) – Finish. However, just as we were forming up on the starting line, the wind died almost completely. I heard a chorus of calls for a shorter course converging on the helm of Velica, so to prevent a possibly frustrating and unfulfilling evening (too soon after RSS?), I shortened the course to eliminate the leg to Welbury Spar.

The fleet was graced by the (un-scored) presence of Martin Herbert’s beautiful all-wood hand-built Fireball, which he and Greg Slakov sailed enchantingly. This included Greg doing his best daring-young-man-on-the-flying-trapeze bit to entertain all of us.

A slow and somewhat chaotic start ensued, since the very light wind had also skewed hard to the east, making a port tack approach necessary, with very little way on any of the boats to maneuver. Nonetheless, no fouls occurred, and everyone crept away. Wildfire made the best of the early going, noticing a little more wind tickling the pin end of the line. Velica and others picked up the hint and headed to the left of the course to meet this new breeze. Just when we settled in for a slow drift to the mouth of the harbour, the wind began to quickly build to 8 knots, then over 10 knots. Sheets were hauled in and halyards cinched up and off we went heeling hard and loving it. As is her due, Caliente was first at the mark, but Velica was not too far behind. A straightforward run back to the finish line brought the race to a swift close less than 45 minutes after it began for the front runners.

You just never know in our endlessly creative natural playground!

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 17:45:19 00:44:46 1 100
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 17:47:37 00:45:03 2 80
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 17:47:11 00:45:55 3 60
KAITOA Philippe Erdmer 102 21 123 17:50:32 00:51:05 4 40
CALIENTE Ole Andersen 75 21 75 DNF DNF 5 20



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Wednesday Night Race (Jun II)

14 June Month  2017

The cool grey weather apparently held off a number of our group from coming out for this second “summer” race. In the end, only four scored boats participated, and only two finished the course (Start – Ganges Shoal (P) – Welbury Spar (P) – Finish). Martin and Greg were out again on the Fireball, but the lighter breeze prevented any dramatic planing displays.

The lovely breeze that had been blowing into the harbour all afternoon moderated before the start, but was still giving us a healthy 7-9 knots. The wind angle heavily favoured the pin end of the line, and tempted a few boats to try to port tack the fleet. Imp fell into this trap and fouled Velica just beyond the line, ruining the later’s solid start, and causing her to crash luff to avoid a certain and hard collision with Imp’s beam. Craig has apologized in writing this morning, which I appreciate.

Once away from this tangle, the fleet beat out of the harbour efficiently, with Caliente taking the lead fairly quickly, with Velica in pursuit. Velica made good gains on Electra by holding to the Salt Spring shore for current relief in the relatively strong flood tide. This gain was somewhat lost by splitting from the fleet, which continued up the Salt Spring shore, and crossing over into Welbury Bay.

Caliente rounded Welbury Spar well ahead, as Velica tacked up to the mark now just ahead of Electra. Both Electra and Velica were initially just shy of the lay line and required a further hitch tack to round. Spinnakers bloomed on all the boats that had them, and played a decisive role in the fading breeze— now 5-7 knots. Electra crept up behind Velica, and the lighter Imp gained on both boats to sail right around them, to weather.

There was a seam in the wind at Second Sister, which briefly slowed everyone’s progress to a crawl, but once inside the harbour, the wind built back to 5-6 knots and permitted steady progress. Nonetheless, a commitment to guests and a dinner reservation caused Electra to retire from the action to motor back to SISC.

Imp and the Fireball were now well ahead of Velica, who was keeping an eye out for unrated Battle Axe, still without a functioning motor. Battle Axe eventually made it back to her slip, but not without some deft gymnastics with a boat hook to walk her around the upwind corner to safety.

Forecasts for Sunday are somewhat divergent. Some show a similar light breeze as last eve, another model shows a healthy 10-12 knots throughout Captain Passage and the harbour. Let it be so!

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 18:49:00 01:43:08 1 100
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 18:56:50 01:55:25 2 75
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 DNF DNF 4 25
CALIENTE Ole Andersen 75 21 75 DNF DNF 4 25



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Wednesday Night Race (Jun III)

21 June  2017

Last night we finally had a lovely breeze and brilliant warm sun for the evening race. I was perhaps a bit too inspired by the sight and feel of it, and set an ambitious course of Start – Welbury Spar (P) – 5-knot Buoy (P) – Ganges Shoal (S) – Finish. The SE wind was blowing at 7-9 knots at the start, and increased to 10-12 knots outside the harbour, but fell back to 4-6 knots on the last legs, leading to a running time over two hours for most boats.

Imp, Electra, and Velica all hit the line right on time, with Velica a bit downwind of the other two. Caliente came in just behind, along with Battle Axe (still lacking a current rating), and Martin’s Fireball joined in for part of the course. We were also joined by Wind Blazer for her first race ever; we hope she comes out to play more often.

The beat out of the harbour was fairly quick, with not a lot of current as we approached the turn from weak flood to a weak ebb (lower high tide). The wind was reasonably stable, though some shifts gave Velica the opportunity to pass Electra and hold Caliente behind for a spell. Once outside the harbour, the wind angle allowed most boats to lay Welbury spar in one tack. Caliente rounded first with Velica not far behind, and Electra coming in hot behind her. The reach back to Second Sister showed the wind beginning to falter and get more patchy. This gave the spinnaker-flying boats a clear advantage over NFS Velica, and shortly after the harbour entry Electra re-passed Velica, and Imp closed considerably on both.

The approach to the 5-knot buoy became much slower in the lightening wind, as was the second upwind leg back out to Ganges Shoal. Upwind, Velica made back a little water on Electra, but could not catch her before the mark. The final run required quite a few gybes from everyone to keep the best of the pressure on offer filling the sails.

Caliente took line honours, but failed to record a time (again). Electra was next in, followed by Velica, just ahead of Imp. Battle Axe and Wind Blazer doggedly persisted in the lighter air and completed the course valiantly at around 20:00 hours.

On corrected time, Imp squeaked to a win over Electra.

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 19:06:27 01:59:38 1 100
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 19:03:23 02:01:20 2 80
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 19:06:06 02:04:34 3 60
CALIENTE Ole Andersen 75 21 75 DNF DNF 4 40



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Wednesday Night Race (Jun IV)

28 June  2017


After suffering two abandoned Sunday races in a row (that’s four this year already) for lack of wind, and several Wednesday Night races with barely adequate wind, Nature gave us an incredible evening yesterday. We had wind at the start line, wind throughout the ambitious course, and wind through the finish line. A ESE blow ranging from 10 up to 19 knots kept the fleet moving fast and the action and tactics snappy.

Everyone was ready for a challenge in such champagne conditions, so I laid out a new course as such: Start – Welbury Spar (S) – Horda Shoals (P) – U62 (S) – Finish. This slalom through the buoys of Captain Passage called for careful consideration of lay lines and current.

We were joined by Martin Herbert’s Fireball once again, as he and Greg Slakov continue to practice and refine their game for the Canadian Championship next month in Cowichan Bay. Also joining was our jolly and efficient Staff Captain Mike Dawson on his Tanzer 26 Morningside, in his first race— a trial run in which he and his two crew acquitted themselves very honourably.

In the interest of getting this out, I am going to forgo a detailed account of the race itself. Suffice it to say that it was a fast and closely contested tilt, as the times below indicate:

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 18:23:53 01:22:52 1 100
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 156 18:27:18 01:23:57 2 80
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 18:26:16 01:24:50 3 60
KAITOA Philippe Erdmer 102 21 123 18:27:05 01:28:02 4 40
CALIENTE Ole Andersen 75 21 75 DNF DNF 5 20



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Wednesday Night Race (Jul I)

5 July  2017

Last evening, the SE sea breeze held in for just long enough for most boats to finish within my target 90 minute time budget for these Wednesday races. The course was Start – Ganges Shoal (P) – SISC 5-knot Buoy (P) – Ganges Shoal (P) – Finish. The race was made interesting and tactical by patchy and shifty wind along the length of the harbour. Generally, the Beddis Road shore was favoured for wind throughout.

Two unrated boats joined in the fun, Ogopogo and Morningside. Each was given an unofficial reference time privately by Philippe. Also, congrats to Wind Blazer for their first scored finish!

The start was closely contested, especially among Radiant Heat, Electra, Caliente and Velica near the club end. Velica was able to luff up Electra just enough to get a jump on her and on Radiant Heat, and stay clear of Caliente to leeward. Visiting Ogopogo and Kaitoa, the later fortified by three of our best younger sailors as crew, started nearer the pin end but got away smartly.

The first beat was heavily affected by the wind gradient across the course, and some nasty shifts. Radiant Heat and Electra made good use of these to flush Velica to the back of the mid-fleet half way up. Velica was horridly out of phase and paid the price. Ogopogo sprinted away as per usual, leaving everyone else to contemplate their tactics and boat speed. Kaitoa also lost a little on the first beat, but made up for it later, and eventually passed Caliente in the process. Radiant Heat barged in on Caliente at the first mark, not having gained an overlap in time to deserve mark room, and coming in on port to Caliente’s Starboard tack. Caliente cried foul, and apparently much more colourful language annotated the event. Radiant Heat did her turns, quite possibly giving up an eventual victory in the process.

Electra was re-passed by Velica, and the run back to the 5-knot marker kept things close in the mid-fleet. On the second beat, Velica took notice of the wind gradient that had bit her so hard on the first beat, and managed to sneak ahead of Radiant Heat just before the second rounding of the windward mark at Ganges Shoal. On the second run to the finish, it seemed again that keeping to the Beddis shore was fastest, with favourable shifts allowing NFS Radiant Heat and Velica a shorter more direct route.

By now, Ogopogo had finished and was heading back to Galiano, and a triumphant Kaitoa had built her corrected lead to an impressive minute-and-a-half over Radiant Heat. Velica completed the podium, a salve on her dismal first beat performance.

Congrats to Kaitoa on a very sharp race. Youthful skill and crew numbers really enhance that Ross 930!

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
KAITOA Philippe Erdmer 102 21 102 18:13:22 01:16:40 1 100
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 156 18:21:30 01:18:22 2 83
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 18:20:03 01:19:05 3 67
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 18:25:50 01:24:24 4 50
WINDBLAZER Trevor Bishop 187 21 187 19:07:48 01:57:30 5 33
CALIENTE Ole Andersen 75 21 75 DNF DNF 6 17



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Wednesday Night Race (Jul II)

12 July  2017

Last night we got another wind treat— a playful but strong inflow breeze that gave us speed and close competition. I set a course that got us out of the harbour but also tested boat handling at marks. The route was Start – Ganges Shoal (P) – Welbury Spar (P) – Ganges Shoal (P) – Welbury Spar (P) – Finish. This got most of the fleet back almost within my 90 minute time budget, while offering a longer challenge to the two slower (and unrated/unscored) boats, Battle Axe and Morningside. We were again treated to the company of Martin Herbert and Greg Slakov working out on the Fireball.

The start was a closely fought affair with lots of last-minute ducking, diving and circling. Wildfire had camped out at the boat end forcing Velica, Electra, and Radiant Heat to struggle for a fair line. To everyone’s credit, there were no fouls and no bumps or bruises. Having been badly blanketed by Kaitoa and Electra, who made great starts, Velica tacked away on port with Radiant Heat just behind. This turned out to work well, with good wind and less flood current on the right side. When the crosses came, Velica had stepped out in front, but not far ahead of the charging and fully-crewed Kaitoa. Radiant Heat found some magic on the Chain Islands shore and made good progress, but required an extra tack to clear the mark at Ganges Shoal.

Kaitoa was first to the Welbury Mark on the first lap, with Velica less than a minute behind. The broad reach back to Ganges Shoal went quickly, and Velica was particularly grateful to have Douglas Woolcock on board to help with an efficient leeward mark rounding, always a challenge with her long lines. A big lift on the second upwind leg to Welbury gave most boats the ability to close reach there on one tack, unlike on the first lap.

The final run to the finish was determinative for the standings. Kaitoa slowly stretched her lead, but not quite enough to convert line honours into a win. Velica had a mis-timed gybe and fell into a small wind hole beside Second Sister, which afforded Electra with a passing lane. Wilfire caught fire on this leg, and almost caught Radiant Heat at the finish, the later being NFS, and hence ahead on corrected time.

A long and languid discussion ensued at the picnic tables, with Greg Slakov and Douglas Woolcock telling tales of the VanIsle360. Also discussed was the record-shattering pace of the multi-hulls in the TransPac, with the line honours boat Mighty Merloe having as crew my first sailing instructor Will Suto. All supplied cheers when Morningside and Battle Axe came to the line almost together. It was the best of sailing evenings on our Rock.

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 18:42:10 01:40:28 1 100
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs perm 138 18:43:33 01:42:17 2 80
KAITOA Philippe Erdmer 102 21 102 18:38:50 01:43:17 3 60
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 156 18:50:37 01:46:22 4 40
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 18:50:35 01:47:36 5 20



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McMillan Trophy Race (re-run)

16 July  2017

Despite most forecasts being sketchy for wind, we finally got a perfect day for this classic ten mile race incorporating all points of sail. The course is simple to write down, but trickier to sail well: Start – Batt Rock (P) – Ben Mohr Rock (P) – Finish. The race is named in memory of former club member Peter McMillan, owner of a beautiful 6-metre classic, and who Roger Kibble describes as “a former BC Ferries captain, a distinguished gentleman, laconic, and a great sailor.”

We were happy to see Skeena Cloud back in action after her skipper, Greg Taylor’s return from an epic adventure biking all the way from Greece to the Netherlands! I noted that Greg had lost quite a few kilos, and was looking, as they say, ripped!

A sea breeze built up early enough to treat us all to a fair and closely contested start in 8-10 knot south-easterlies. The boat end saw a close bunching of Electra, Velica, and Radiant Heat. Velica gave Radiant Heat a pass by failing to hold her outside the boat-end buoy, leaving Velica open to an attempted hook by Electra. Electra called “up” but Velica avoided and just squeezed clear ahead. Kaitoa, meanwhile, had come in a tad early and had to run the line, only to find the line significantly shortened by small and tired-looking dirty red sloop anchored well inside the pin end of the line. I had gently warned the offending boat’s skipper before the race of his precarious positioning, and Kaitoa probably got the point across emphatically, barely grazing ahead of the little red bow.

The beat out of the harbour saw some to-ing and fro-ing especially between Electra and Velica, with the former holding tactical advantage. By Second Sister, Radiant Heat had established a good lead, and headed off into Welbury Bay in good air. Electra followed but at a higher pointing angle, as is her talent. Velica and Kaitoa tried to escape the dying flood current on the Salt Spring shore but fell into lighter air there, and trailed the two leaders as the approach to Batt Rock ensued.

Radiant Heat rounded first and immediately bore off toward the Scott Point side of the passage. Electra rounded next and stayed higher to the wind and the Prevost shore, while readying her smaller spinnaker for the reach through the narrows of Captain Passage. Velica was next, and took a middle course, weighing the speed advantage of staying closer to Prevost against the possibility of a wind shadow in James Bay. Kaitoa and Skeena Cloud followed onto the second leg.

Velica’s middle road turned out to be fortunate, as the greater speed afforded by her higher angle relative to Radiant Heat allowed her to pull alongside and then ahead as the narrows loomed. Electra got ahead of both other closely-rated boats, but when the wind shifted forward in the pass, she took time to get her chute stowed efficiently, leaving Velica to take the lead crossing Trincomali to the mark at Ben Mohr. Velica reached the mark first, but with Radiant Heat less than a minute behind. The lead was Velica’s to lose, but lose it she did! Radiant Heat took a wise northern route back to the pass, correctly anticipating the swiftly building ebb current. While Velica, Electra and Kaitoa were “crabbing” off the wind to avoid being swept below Pielle Point, Radiant Heat sailed on toward Nose Point with better VMG and an eventual reattained lead.

Meanwhile, Velica, Electra, and Kaitoa each found the turbulent and faltering wind in the shadow of Prevost much more pronounced than on the outgoing leg. Velica, at one point, totally lost steerage and was twirled in the twin vortices of wind and current nearly 90º before finding her way again. Next drama: As Radiant Heat and then Velica passed the mouth of Long Harbour, we could see our shiny new Salish Eagle ferry coming well up the channel. The two lead boats were safe across to Scott Point in the now solid reaching breeze, but Electra and Kaitoa were not so fortunate. As I glanced back, I could hear five sharp blasts from the Eagle’s beak, and then the sight of Electra abruptly alerting course. Actually, Radiant Heat had tested the Eagle’s will on her way into Long Harbour, and elicited nary a peep, so I surmised that the ship’s master did not have an itchy trigger finger on the whistle, and thus they must be duly concerned about Electra’s course. All passed without incident eventually, but this interlude had left Radiant Heat and Velica a bit alone to contest the run to the finish.

Radiant Heat got her spinnaker up and flying even before Second Sister, and smoothly gybed three times on the way into the harbour. This faultless single-handed boat handling on Tony’s part kept her just out of reach of Velica’s best shadowing moves. In the end, Radiant Heat took line honours and the well-deserved win by just over a minute from Velica, with a resurgent Electra narrowing the gap to third down to exactly 3-1/2 minutes on corrected time to complete the podium. Wildfire did well to just nip Kaitoa for fourth place on corrected time, and Skeena Cloud came home in good time to win the cruising class by default.

As Elizabeth Hayes aptly commented, after crewing with Philippe on Kaitoa, as we all sat around the picnic tables afterward, “what a wonderful place to live.” Indeed.

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 138 13:02:22 02:30:31 1 100
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 13:03:47 02:31:55 2 83
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 13:08:03 02:35:25 3 67
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 13:21:18 02:46:41 4 50
KAITOA Philippe Erdmer 102 21 102 13:10:10 02:47:23 5 33
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 14:06:13 03:15:44 6 17



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Wednesday Night Race (Jul III)

19 July  2017

As the day wore on as I worked on the brightwork of Velica, I watched the wind go from fantastic to just OK. So at the skipper’s meeting, I decided to keep the race in the harbour, but also keep it interesting. So a course was set as follows: Start – Ganges Shoal (P) – SISC 5-knot buoy (S) – Old 5-knot buoy (P) – Red-hulled boat off Grace Point (P) – Finish. This course required snappy boat handling with three beats and two runs. We were delighted to see Effervescence 1 out for the first time this season. They gamely put the big boat through all these maneuvers; probably more than they were expecting for a Wednesday Evening!

Radiant Heat shone brightly right from the start, pulling away from the line and leading the fleet up the harbour. It turned out to be a lead that was never challenged. Velica and Kaitoa took turns playing catch-up, but to no avail. Philippe had generously hosted a legion of hangers-on who showed up “looking for a ride,” some with no sailing experience. This seemed to create some issues with both boat handling and with course interpretation, and Kaitoa thus retired after finishing. Wildfire made a heroic effort to get on the start line after Gyle’s late departure from work, but for her also, the course proved a puzzle. She missed that last mark and was scored DNF.

All kudos go to Tony Brogan and his pick-up crew (whose name I did not catch). They sailed a faultless race and showed the fleet a thing or two for a dominating win! With the aforementioned non-finishes, Effervescence I bubbled up to the last step of the podium, surely a better result than R. B. and company had expected!

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 138 18:06:28 01:05:40 1 100
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 18:12:00 01:11:07 2 80
EFFERVESCENCE 1 RB Bortz 142 18 142 18:29:30 01:27:53 3 60
KAITOA Philippe Erdmer 102 21 102 RAF RAF 5 20
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 DNF DNF 5 20



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Wednesday Night Race (Jul IV)

26 July  2017

Submitted by Tony Brogan

Tonight was a fun sail, I was late over the line by 25 seconds but had the starboard end. Opting for the long tack to Chain Islands paid off immediately as Radiant Heat propelled into the lead. It was a lead we  were not to relinquish until on the home stretch passed Boulder Bay as Kaitoa powered past under spinnaker.

I’d opted for the 105% jib in order to have an easy tacking scenario and the suspicion that the wind may go over 10 knots. I was happy as we powered up a little to 5.2 -5.4 knots while still holding a good angle to the wind. We stretched the lead a little a by Ganges shoals with a couple of quick tacks . Imp seemed to shadow our track, Kaitoa went deeper to the shore before the tack to Welbury Spar. Wildfire was sailing well with good boat speed just to leeward and aft 150 yards. Indeed I was happy as a period of white cap 14-15 knot wind set in.

As the small fleet headed passed Welbury both Radiant heat and Wildfire were lifted 10 degrees to be both able to clear Scott and Nose Point into Captains Passage. Here individual choices showed. Radiant heat sensing that part of the ebb was still running and part of the flood was established tacked before the tide line and on Port now took a course that passed close to Horda Shoals.There was little current there with a flood evident. We still had 4.6 -4.8 over ground. In the meantime a quarter mile back both Kaitoa and imp took the tack out early until they could fetch the final mark U62. They seemed from the vantage point of Radiant Heat to have similar speed.

Wildfire had continued on the Starboard tack passed long harbour into Captains Passage, looking for the last of the ebb. Unfortunately they ran into the flood and it cost them a couple of hundred yards.

Radiant Heat rounded U62 several minutes ahead of the others and set off on a run to Sisters Island and home. Flying a jib and main, wing on wing Radiant Heat made a current assisted 6.2-6.4 knots and waited for the inevitable phalanx of spinnaker driven boats to bare down and overtake.

Radiant Heat did a remarkable run home and although all flying sail boats made gains none could do well enough to eradicate the upwind lead with the handicap calculated. Kaitoa took line honours by a little over a minute. Well done.

It is surprising what a good jib can do in a breeze.

Thanks for the chit and chat at the dock after the finish. It is part of a fitting finish for a great sailing day.


Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 156 18:37:30 01:33:45 1 100
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 18:43:27 01:37:53 2 75
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 18:41:53 01:39:08 3 50
KAITOA Philippe Erdmer 102 21 102 18:36:46 01:41:07 4 25


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Jack & Jill Race

23 July  2017

No report

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 188 14:06:14 03:18:31 1
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 156 14:00:30 03:22:24 2
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 162 14:27:30 03:46:21 3
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 111 21 132 15:05:50 04:34:59 4
FIREFLY Douglas Woolcock 138 18 156 RAF RAF 5


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Captain Passage

30 July  2017


Having reached the end of July, I was anxious to finally complete the last outstanding race in Series B, even as we are already well into the Series C events. The first attempt at the Captain Passage Race was abandoned in June in such light wind and adverse current, that none of the few competitors even rounded the first mark at Batt Rock. The forecasts for yesterday were uniformly discouraging, and thankfully, all wrong, at least in our playground.

To recap, the Captain Passage Race is an interesting course that tours the centre of our usual sailing area outside Ganges Harbour in a counterclockwise fashion. The marks are Start – Batt Rock (P) – U62 (P) – Welbury Spar (P) – Batt Rock (S) – Finish. It is one of several reverse-handicap or pursuit races, where the ratings difference between the boats are accounted for up front, and thus the faster boats chase the slower boat. In theory, if everyone sails to the full potential of their boat, all competitors should converge on the finish line together.

For a full description of the race, in both narrative and technical accuracy, I am grateful to Roger Kibble for having offered his own perspective. It is very close to what would have been my own account, so I offer it here with just a few edits:

Today’s Captain passage race was blessed with continued blazing sunshine which generated useful SE thermal breezes well in excess of those forecast [8 to 15 knots]. It was an exceptional summer sailing day. This consistency of breeze and flat seas in a reverse handicap race produced an unusual opportunity to more closely inspect the PHRF handicap in play and observe the various performance characteristics of different boats of similar rating.

Velica, an Alerion 33 with a powerful hull, [large main, and high ballast ratio] has greater upwind speed than the 101 but no flying sail to help her downwind. She does not point as well as the 101 or J30. Radiant Heat, a J30, has about the same speed upwind as the Alerion and points higher but has a tad less downwind pace compared to the the 101.

Electra, a narrow 33 ft Aphrodite 101 points higher but is not quite as fast upwind but faster downwind than both the Alerion and the J30. The super light (ULDB) Imp enjoys superior performance in lighter air and often can go upwind and downwind at the same pace as her longer but heavier local siblings. The J30 goes well in lighter breeze having a full set of foresails of up to 155%. The Alerion also has a generous sail area ratio with a powerful code 7 flat top main which performs well both upwind and downwind. The 101 has small jibs only and needs more significant breeze to perform to its rating. Thus each boat was challenged to make the most of their respective characteristics to respect their almost identical ratings. Wildfire is similarly rated at 147 but is not quite as highly prepared as the aforementioned boats. Without a full crew, Kaitoa, a Ross 930, can’t sail to its rating. This is most impactful sailing up wind when the lack of extra crew weight denies a high pointing angle and some speed. Kaitoa did well double-handed.

The reverse handicap produced a series of solo starts in some variable soft breeze. Coda was the scratch boat and enjoyed a firm 7 knots of wind and smartly moved to the Chain Island side. Skeena Cloud followed and then it was IMP’s turn. The wind moderated just a little by the time Wildfire crossed the start line who was quickly followed by Electra, Velica and Radiant Heat. Second Wind was the last boat to start. A more generous local rating for this heavy boat is needed to even her playing field. Wildfire couldn’t match the pointing ability of the three boats behind her and was soon overhauled although she halted the widening gap by some smart moves later on.

Electra played the Chain Island side catching some wind shifts on the shore while Velica moved to the starboard side of the harbour to seek some current relief while Radiant Heat opted for a more central and slightly faster course. Velica’s impressive upwind speed moved her slightly ahead but then Radiant Heat had chosen the best route in this early stage and edged slightly ahead of both Velica and Electra. There was not much in it as the wind angles and currents on either side tended to cancel each other. Imp was moving well and playing the wind shifts first on the Chain Island side and then more in the centre of the channel.

The differences in course strategy could be monitored at the various crossing points between boats as they sailed up the Harbour. The deltas between the boats as started were about the same although a move by Radiant Heat to the starboard shore after the Sisters proved costly and put her behind Velica and Electra. These latter two boats tacked east behind the Sisters toward Captain Passage in an area of less adverse current and building breeze. The wind kept a consistent SE direction and a 9 to 12 knot velocity.

The challenge now was for IMP to try and keep her now diminishing lead and hope that her superior downwind, chute-assisted speed would be enough to later offset her shorter LWL. Velica’s challenge was to get ahead upwind enough to offset her speed deficit downwind. Radiant Heat just needed to get slightly ahead up wind and keep any advantage downwind. The goal for the 101 was to play the shifts and currents, higher pointing ability to offset her albeit small through-the-water speed deficit compared to the J30 and Alerion 33.

At Batt Rock Imp was still ahead followed closely by Velica and a minute later by Electra. Radiant Heat had lost ground to these leaders by working the starboard side and had lost some twenty boat lengths. The more favoured left side permitted the approach to Batt Rock to have less lee bow effect and less exposure to adverse current that existed around this buoy area. Wildfire was now moving well although behind the leading pack. She held her position as soon as she started to reach and later set her powerful spinnaker.

The reach over to U62 saw Velica overhaul Imp [to leeward] just before the mark. Electra was able to reduce her deficit on this leg by about 15 secs by choosing a slightly straighter course. The leg to Welbury Spar Buoy was downwind and Imp soon set her spinnaker and Electra did the same after the rounding. Imp edged ahead of Velica by the mark and Electra also shaved her deficit by another 15 seconds on this downwind leg. Closely rounding the Welbury Spar was critical to obtain the widest angle back to Batt Rock. Velica and Imp were close hauled all the way and Velica moved ahead of Imp again and rounded Batt Rock first. Electra was able to ease her sails just a little on this leg and this produced extra speed which closed her gap to Velica to about four boat lengths and she fetched the mark just behind Imp. Both Imp and Velica continued on the port tack after rounding with Imp deploying her chute smartly. Electra chose to tack to starboard immediately to seek more breeze in the centre of the channel. Her chute was set and soon Velica and Electra were neck and neck and ahead of Imp. Radiant Heat was still playing catch up but ran out of time and water. Wildfire was also holding her station and moving fast with her spinnaker flying, [finishing just behind Radiant Heat].

On this final leg to the finish Electra, flying a spinnaker, gradually moved ahead of Velica although the Alerion showed impressive downwind speed in her NFS format. Imp gradually made up ground on Velica and moved ahead of her, yet again, yards before the finish line.

So at the race end only a few minutes separated the first four boats, a powerful demonstration of PHRF at work. It is fair to say that Radiant Heat’s distance behind the leading boat was only because of ground lost by her earlier right hand course choice. Velica only needed to find about a minute on her upwind journey to match the leading boat. Keeping more to the left on the way out and a sharper rounding at Welbury Spar and finding one more degree of upwind angle would have been enough. So there was little in it at the end of a surprising fascinating and instructive sailing day.

Second Wind and Skeena Cloud played tag all round the Course and finished well. Coda showed excellent speed but rounded the buoy at Horda Shoals an easy mistake as both U62 and HS buoys are red and clanking. Hugh had a fine sail anyway in the most glorious of Salt Spring days.

Congrats all round.

—Roger Kibble on Electra

It was great to have veteran club member and world sailor Hugh Greenwood back in the fleet! I was indeed one of the most beautiful sailing days of the year, and one of the most fairly contested reverse-handicap races I have participated in at SISC.

Here are the placings from Philippe:

Boat Skipper Finish Time Place Club Points
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 12:46:00 1 100
IMP Craig Leitch 12:47:01 2 89
VELICA Vincent Argiro 12:47:17 3 78
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 12:49:00 4 67
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 12:51:55 5 56
KAITOA Philippe Erdmer 12:55:30 6 44
SKEENA CLOUD   CC Greg Taylor 13:01:25 7 33
SECOND WIND  CC Eric van Soeren 13:16:18 8 22
CODA  CC Hugh Greenwood DNF 9 11



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Wednesday Night Race (Aug I)

2 August  2017


The sweltering heat, choking smoke, and muted sunlight made for a dramatic setting for last evening’s race. I decided to keep the course reasonably short, despite the plentiful northwest breeze at race time, to limit the risk of a dying wind (which did afflict slowest Morningside, sorry!) and limit our exposure to the toxic air. So we headed out as follows: Start – Ganges Shoal (P) – Welbury Spar (P) – Ganges Shoal (S) – Finish.

The breeze called for a downwind start and a long first downwind leg which mixed things up a bit. Velica got to the line on time, holding off Imp a bit, but then Electra stormed up with spinnaker already raised, and Velica had to scoot away on port tack around the pin to keep from fouling her. Wildfire got her spinnaker up quickly as did Imp, and the drag race was on. Morningside (soon to be rated and scored, hopefully) was NFS and disadvantaged that way. Effervescence I made the trek over to join us again, and also flew a big beautiful chute, but had difficulty keeping it filled and pulling.

Electra led away, taking the club side of the course. Imp and Wildfire quickly caught and slightly passed Velica, heading for the Chain Islands. At one point, we were lined up cheek by jowl with only decimetres separating our various outstretched spars. Everyone played fair but there were a few tactical nudges and jockeying maneuvers. When Imp gybed back onto starboard as a wind shift demanded, Velica followed immediately and was able to blanket and re-pass the smaller boat. Wildfire got by Electra for a time and was close to making the first mark in the lead when well timed gybes by Electra got her back into the stronger ribbon of wind toward the chain islands and she held inside position and the lead at the Ganges Shoal mark.

The reach over to Welbury Spar started as a more typical beam reach, but within a few hundred metres of the mark, the wind went forward to a close reach, and Electra and Wildfire had to bear off the layline and struggled a bit with their tight-played chutes. Velica powered up here and got by Wildfire first and started to close the gap to Electra. By the turn at Welbury, Electra was less than 30 seconds ahead, and gave Velica a nice preview of the surprisingly tight wind angle of the return trip to Ganges Shoal. Wildfire rounded third and Imp was moving well in fourth. As Electra and Velica sped toward a convergence at the last mark, we saw Effervescence in spinnaker difficulties and Morningside needing more speed to keep in touch.

At Ganges shoal, Electra still led but now only by boat lengths. The layline was just off the wind, so Electra was able to come up as she passed the mark, but held her starboard tack in the direction of Boulder Bay. As Velica did likewise, she spied that same ribbon of stronger breeze persisting on the Chain Island side, all the way into the harbour. She waited a few moments to be sure, and then pounced onto port tack and even footed her angle to get to the wind faster. She was rewarded with 10 knots of gusty turbulent breeze which required constant attention to the helm and the trim, but soon gave her the lead, albeit well separated from Electra. The Blue Canoe saw the opportunity and tacked over to join Velica, but now quite a few boat lengths behind. Velica played the shifts to allow slipping safely between First and Second Sisters, garnering even more wind at the far right of the course.

Extra tacks were required to remain in that band of wind, but the payoff was huge. In the end, Velica took line honours by almost two minutes and the win by 88 seconds corrected over Electra. Imp played this wind band effectively as well, and closed to within 30 seconds of Electra on corrected time. Wildfire was next, less than five minutes back from the podium finishers, and Effervescence about 15 minutes behind the less commodious but nimbler boats.

A number of us endured the heat and haze to share some nibbles and chat on the picnic tables, and cheered Morningside in as they drifted in by the now exhausted breeze. They tell me they are working on their spinnaker skills, and are committed to getting up to speed downwind soon!

So, that is a wrap for me, the cat is soon away to the Broghtons, and the mice will have to play nice on their own for the next three weeks. Douglas got called away on business, so y’all organize amongst yourselves for the Wednesday Nights of August, 9, 16, and (probably) 23. I will be tanned, well salted, steeped in the Wild, and ready for the Montague Harbour Race on the 27th.

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 18:11:55 01:11:03 1 100
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 18:13:45 01:12:31 2 80
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 18:17:20 01:13:10 3 60
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 18:20:02 01:17:53 4 40
EFFERVESCENCE 1 RB Bortz 142 18 142 18:31:22 01:29:43 5 20


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Montague Harbour Race

27 August  2017

The Montague Harbour Race always throws some challenges at the fleet. In my experience, they can sometime be of the hopelessly insufficient wind variety, making the really interesting course a painful frustration. This year, however, we got a fair bit of wind, especially early, and it held in just enough in the later going to get most boats home inside of four hours. Nonetheless, the drama that ensued in between was quite exciting! That drama was also given even more life by the backdrop of the return visit of floating condo ship “The World” practically blotting out the sun south of the Harbour!

The race began in a 7 to 9 knot northwest breeze making for a downwind start. Velica chose to take the pin end and gybe to port immediately to get into the ribbon of wind tickling the Chain Islands. Electra chose the opposite approach, hoisting her spinnaker right at the club end of the line and thus, while in somewhat lighter air, had a steadily hotter angle to the Sisters. The other boats sprinkled in between, with Imp more to Electra’s line and Radiant Heat struggling with their spinnaker behind Velica. Electra soon romped into the lead, making best use of her smaller reaching spinnaker. By the beginning of the reach to Scott Point, she had perhaps ten boat lengths on the pursuing Velica and others behind.

Once the wind piped up to 12 knots and flirted with getting ahead of the beam, Electra was forced to bring down her chute, and Velica accelerated into her most powerful point of sail. The gap narrowed steadily until Electra fell into light wind in the lee of Scott Point. Velica saw this and had planned to go wider, and pulled alongside but leeward of Electra just as Electra freed herself into the mouth of Long Harbour at again shot forward. Imp and Radiant Heat had gotten going and were also closing on the leaders, with Wildfire and Skeena Cloud further back.

The wind was wavering and gusting continually, requiring constant trimming and course adjustments. Velica crept up behind Electra about halfway across Trincomali Channel, only to have Roger and Patrice get feisty with some luffs-up to weather to prevent Velica from passing that way. After several feints and jabs, Velica caught Electra slowing on one of those moves and swiftly dove through her lee with sails powered up just enough to get her nose into clean air, and accelerated into the lead.

Entering the Montague Harbour channel, all of us were set upon by a surging swarm of cruising power boats and sailboats, most somewhat aware of our right of way, but some cutting us off or giving little quarter as they passed. I have never seen that stretch of water so stuffed during one of our race runnings! The wind mostly held through the channel, but it vacillated wilding in sharp 30º+ wind shifts which required frequent and smartly executed tacks upwind. Velica swung through at least twenty tacks before finally setting a clear course around Sphinx Island. The ebb current was also quite significant, making the passage through the narrows north of the harbour really tricky and slow. Some tacks could only be held for 20 metres or so before wind, current and the rocky ledges forcing another maneuver.

Electra stayed close to Velica through most of this fitting and starting, with Radiant Heat and Imp pulling closer as well. But as Velica approached the freedom of Trincomali again, she had built about a 10 minute advantage on the fleet. That would soon be moderated however, since the wind had diminished to 5 to 7 knots in the channel, and since we were running with that weak breeze, the spinnakers bloomed again, and Velica’s big lead was coming down.

Radiant Heat made a smart move to stay deeper in stronger wind on the Galiano side longer, while Electra tried to reach to weather of Velica and gain leverage that way. By the return to Nose Point, neither had threatened Velica’s lead, but Radiant Heat was now neck and neck with Electra, with Imp lurking along as well. Once into Welbury Bay, the nearly symmetrical reach from the outgoing leg allowed Velica to stabilize her lead and watch with wry delight as Radiant Heat and Electra got into a match racing fit behind. Radiant Heat eventually won that scrap, getting the better of Electra by the return to Second Sister, and powering into second place on the water.

The final stretch to finish line was classic Ganges Harbour racing: the northwesterly was being pushed aside by a building sea breeze from the southeast on the Beddis Road side of the Harbour, with a windless seam down the middle. This tricky playing field gave Velica some anxious moments as Radiant Heat continued to close from behind, and Imp came into advantage in the lighter air and stole her way into the middle of the podium on corrected time.

Velica welcomed herself home from her 760 nm solo excursion to the Broughtons with a line honours win, a welcome treat for a boat and sailor who had learned a lot about each other in 20 days on the incomparable Salish Sea.


Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 14:05:27 03:32:50 1 100
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 14:16:30 03:34:18 2 83
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 138 14:10:05 03:37:24 3 67
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 14:14:58 03:41:13 4 50
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 14:34:34 03:57:59 5 33
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 16:29:08 05:25:07 6 17


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Jack Langdon Trophy Race

10 September  2017

When I awoke yesterday morning, the sky was steely, there was fog laid across Captain Passage like a wet blanket, and the air was not moving much at all. I shuffled off to the closet to don wet weather gear and wool, and prepared for an abrupt end of summer sailing. Ha! Sometimes Nature’s surprises can be so delightful.

By race time at the club, the flags were standing out, and a well-ordered fleet of ripples was rolling across the harbour. The forecast had called for some solid breeze, but not until midday. The wind was early, the gusts were often, and the sun was beginning to poke through the steel-plated stratus. I was never so happy to be over-dressed.

This being a reverse handicap race, and a well-known course to the assembled competitors, the skipper’s meeting was short and to the point. We all set about preparing our boats for the staggered start, and hoped that the wind did not build or fade too much to skew the fates of the early slower boats nor the later faster ones. It did not.

Skeena Cloud led off the proceedings and made good use of her a priori lead to stay in the mix all the way into the third leg of the race. Windblazer, who joined the fleet occasionally this summer, and now declares the intention to be on the line more regularly, got away next. Imp held down the middle position in the start sequence, and proved to be the toughest boat to run down, as is frequently the case. Wildfire was next, followed by Velica and Radiant Heat simultaneously beginning a match race within the race.

The beat out of the harbour was made that much more interesting by the presence of what looked like a fleet of American boats engaged in either a race or a coordinated cruise from deep in the inner harbour. Many of the boats were single-handed and of a tiny variety that was unknown to me. Their brightly coloured sails dotted the harbour and intermingled with our own fleet, bringing another tactical variable when tack timing was considered.

The course for this race is a variation on a theme played out in a number of the earlier races in the season: Start – Batt Rock (P) – Ben Mohr Rock (P) – Batt Rock (S) – Finish. As is common for this race, all points of sail are sampled, and in this instance, all wind speeds from nearly zero in the lee of Prevost Island up to 18 knots on the close reach back to Batt Rock.

Radiant Heat won the start against Velica, and jumped out to a significant lead over the Alerion by the time Second Sister Island beckoned on the left side of the course. The slower boats were all overtaken by about this point, but Imp held the overall lead to and past the first rounding of Batt Rock. Velica and Radiant Heat tacked out into Welbury Bay and the promise of substantial current push from the ebb tide in Captain Passage. Radiant Heat was to windward and still in front, but chose to play the current gambit to extreme, over-standing the layline back to Batt Rock. Velica and Imp tacked onto port sooner and approached the mark with less distance sailed. Imp was through and was readying her spinnaker for reaching by the time Velica and Radiant Heat converged on Batt Rock on opposite tacks. Radiant Heat just maintained her lead over Velica at the rounding, but only by crash tacking just ahead of the starboard tack Velica, and quickly lost momentum and second place to the accelerating Velica.

The beam reach over to the narrows of Captain Passage proved to be the crux strategic element in the race. The fleet all took different approaches to the predictable light air hole and adverse current in the lee of Prevost Island, and that determined the outcome. Radiant Heat bore off sharply at Batt Rock and took a low line toward Scott Point, looking to get out of the current stream more quickly and fully, at a cost of more distance and a lower wind angle in the early going. Velica following Imp took a middle path, balancing the adverse current against a hotter wind angle. Velica was gaining on Imp, but that progress stalled when Imp got her spinnaker up. The chase resumed when the wind went forward, and Imp was forced to douse the spinnaker as the narrows loomed. Wildfire had stayed high after Batt Rock, and that permitted a deep broad reach under spinnaker later, with which she closed quickly on the leaders now stuck in light air in the pass. Skeena Cloud kept valiantly in touch with the leading group, fighting off the challenge from the faster Windblazer.

Once everyone had collected in the pass, arrayed like bobbing rubber duckies in absent air and the wake of passing powerboats, the game was fully afoot. At first, it appeared that Radiant Heat had the advantage, having streaked across Scott and Nose Point to a narrowly leading position further off Peile Point. Velica had drifted alongside and then ahead of Imp, using her much taller sail to pick the up the last fingers if breeze tickling over the highlands on Prevost Island. Then Velica and Imp found a little wind line spreading from behind into James Bay and rode it beyond the middle of the bay and closer to Peile Point. Velica fended off a couple of attempts by Imp to repass. Imp tried to chase the wind further into James Bay, and that turned out to be problematic, as that wind from behind evaporated. Everyone knew there was wind ahead in Trincomali, but how to get there?

Radiant Heat, Skeena Cloud and Wildfire were angling for wind coming over the bluffs of Prevost further out in the channel, but had to pay the current toll to stay there. Meanwhile, Velica was trimming her mainsail back and forth madly, as turbulent whispers swirled around her big roach. But the back eddy in the lee of Peile Point kept Velica’s progress forward, inching ever closer to the breeze beyond the point. In feints and then with increasing confidence, the new breeze caught Velica’s head and snapped it to attention. Soon she was beyond the point and accelerating rapidly up the wind gradient and into the clear. By the time Radiant Heat, Imp, then Skeena Cloud and Wildfire had found that same wind, Velica was half way across Trincomali to Ben Mohr Rock. But now Radiant Heat was beginning to close a little, helped by her big genoa.

Rounding the far point mark at Ben Mohr, Velica set her sails for a broad reach, complimenting the close reach inbound. Radiant Heat followed perhaps three to four minutes behind. Imp came next followed by Skeena Cloud, hanging on to fourth place. I saluted Greg Taylor as we shot past each other. Wildfire was leading Windblazer in the rear guard, but with more spinnaker opportunities ahead, her fire was far from gone out.

Velica had to crab quite a bit to leeward to fight the right-to-left ebb current approaching Peile Point. She did not overdo it though, remembering Martin Herbert’s good call of wind filling into James Bay later in the afternoon in a prior shared piloting of Velica. That echo proved true and Velica sped from Peile Point to Selby Point in fine shape, now riding the positive current, and setting up for a no-tack return to Batt Rock. Looking behind on this very close reach, with speeds over ground approaching 9 knots, the pursuing boats remained in the order they had escaped the wind hole, but the gaps were slowly changing.

Velica rounded Batt Rock with her lead intact, but would it be enough? Radiant Heat is mighty handy with a spinnaker and it was a long drag race to the finish line. Timing gybes and watching for wind shifts and gusts on the run were going to be critical. When Imp came around the mark, she headed more inshore than Velica and Radiant Heat, and while motivated by current relief, it seemed the cost in diminished wind strength kept her from challenging Radiant Heat for second place. I learned later that Skeena Cloud finally had to surrender fourth place to the much faster and more experienced Wildfire, just as they returned to Batt Rock.

In the final going, Radiant Heat inched ever closer to Velica, but ran out of run for her spinnaker, well-flown by Philippe Erdmer. Velica crossed the line only 25 seconds in front, for a second consecutive line honours win.


Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Place Points
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 13:43:28 1 100
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 138 13:43:53 2 83
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 167 13:45:35 3 67
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 Not submitted 4 50
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 14:14:18 5 33
WINDBLAZER Trevor Bishop 187 21 187 14:22:00 6 17


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Night Race

7 October 2017

Last night, we gave the Night Race another try, and finally succeeded in sailing the complete course (Start – U60 (S) – Finish) within the five hour time limit!

When I originally suggested this date, the forecast was for a stout Westerly throughout the evening. On Friday, this forecast was downgraded to variable wind 5-10 knots from the northwest, which is more or less what we got, in the end. When I arrived at the marina at 17:30, even this was dubious, with a glassy harbour showing. I found my two compatriots, Roger Kibble and Tony Brogan, in earnest conversation and chin rubbing about the prospects of getting away at the 18:30 time I had set. While we conferred, the wind began to pick up from the northwest, and flags and burgees began to wave and then flap.

So at our 18:00 meeting, we resolved to start on time at 18:30, and give it a go. I suggested a short course time point for safety— the transit of Horda Shoals and Nose Point— two lit markers in the darkness. I suspected that the building wind we were enjoying as we rigged and maneuvered for the start was associated with the small squall overtaking us from the Cowichan Mountains, and this turned out to be true. No sooner did the quick shower and black cloud pass, than the wind dropped to a more modest 5-7 knots— enough for a reasonable downwind start, but no barn burner, as we all had originally hoped for this night.

Velica made its way toward the line from the left side on Starboard tack, but foolishly did not carefully regard Electra sweeping in to leeward. The blue boat put its pointy end between Velica and the line and levered the helpless Velica away from the goal. To make matters worse, Radiant Heat was there as well, and Velica had to loop behind her to get to the line. The result was a poor start for this skipper a full half minute behind Electra to the right and Radiant Heat to the left, as the fading wind slowed Velica’s arcing pace the worst.

Once running downwind, Electra got her spinnaker hoisted quickly and cleanly, and set out building a substantial lead that would never be challenged. Velica pursued a direct course toward the mark, and for a while held hope of at least stabilizing Electra’s lead, but to no avail. Radiant Heat held very close to the Chain Island side of the harbour, and fell back a bit, having declared NFS and hence was without spinnaker.

This relative positioning of the boats stayed intact during the slow but steady progress toward U60, on the southwest flank of Prevost Island. I could only make out Electra’s position occasionally as Roger illuminated her sails with a flashlight to check their trim. The sky had cleared by this time and the stars were resplendent, but the waning gibbous moon was yet to make its golden entrance.

Electra reported rounding the mark at about 20:05, and Velica followed about fifteen minutes later. The wind was now showing signs of life, and Velica had to take care not to get too closely acquainted with the slowly flashing mark with gusts and shifts increasing in rate and strength.

The return trip was aided by this new fresh breeze, climbing to 11 knots at one point, but was complicated by the ebb current building to 1.5 knots. Electra held to the Prevost Island shore for tide relief, and this served her well enough. Velica and Radiant Heat instead crossed to the Beddis Road shore, hoping for and receiving tide relief on that shore, and helped along by a substantial lift as the wind veered to the north and then northeast. When this shift reversed somewhat, Velica tacked out toward Welbury Bay, and this turned out to be critical. Radiant Heat stayed inshore near Batt Rock, and suffered a hole in the wind and a delay long enough to bring about her retirement at about 22:30.

About halfway back to the harbour, we were all treated to a spectacular moonrise over the Prevost Island horizon. The reflected light on the water gleaned a golden trail on our quarter, and illuminated our sails and decks such that trimming was not such a task anymore. What a blessing!

Meanwhile, Electra slipped into the harbour and held to the Chain Island side, giving her leverage for a close reach to the finish when the wind dropped away to less than 3 knots. Velica caught sight of Electra midway into the harbour, having made up some of her deficit on the return journey, but there was no passing lane on this moonlit byway, and so the results were set early on.

Finally, after several years of trying, we three single-handers enjoyed the full measure of the potential of this race. I have come to believe that we should always schedule it on shorter notice like this, and when the moon has a good chance of making a fulsome appearance, and when the promise of wind is at least reasonable.


Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 22:07:30 03:33:53 1 100
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 22:18:56 03:46:09 2 67
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 156 DNF DNF 3 33


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Round Penders Race

30 September  2017 — 01 October 2017


It was the best of times. It was the worst of times….

Well, maybe not the worst, but Saturday was far from an ideal day to go sail racing! A deceptively sunny and breezy morning gave way to darkening and thickening clouds by shortly after the race start. Those clouds were to prove to be quite fecund by noon and afternoon. But I get ahead of myself…

Round Penders is always a favourite and fun event for the racing-inclined in our club. The challenge of single-handed racing blends perfectly with a frequently challenging course and a fun evening at the pub in Port Browning and aboard the larger boats in our fleet before and afterward.

The course is specified only as a clockwise circumnavigation of North and South Pender Islands, with an interim finish/start line at Razor Point outside Port Browning. On the way down on the Saturday, Prevost Island is left to skipper’s choice. While the distance around it and toward Navy Channel is very close to equal, the conditions on the two sides of Prevost are often far from equal. Furthermore, Navy Channel adds to the drama, since its tidal current direction is officially unpredictable. On the second day, the long journey around the south end of South Pender is complicated by the narrow passage between it and Blunden Island, and by the tidal rips around Gowiland Point. This year, we were treated to a strong flood tide during both legs of the race.

It was great to see nine boats take to the start line, after a trend of declining participation in recent races leading to much soul-searching and hand-wringing by this Fleet Captain. We were also joined by Nest Egg, Kim and Karen Laidlaw’s power boat, which ably served as committee boat for the race, making the second start in particular, much more orderly. Kim also held forth aboard Oasis after dinner on the political economics of farming in Saskatchewan, a topic none of the rest of us present had delved into before.

At the start, the wind was solidly from the West to Northwest, bringing a broad-reaching start. The fleet spread out across the start line, with wind strength favouring the left side and wind angle favouring the right. Electra atypically played it conservatively without a spinnaker, a key move of this leg, as Imp powered up nicely to the right side. Velica took to the middle, and punched out to all too briefly held lead. Electra played the shifty conditions smartly, and soon gained a lead she would hold until Navy Channel. Imp did similarly, overtaking Velica as the wind began to shift to South. Meanwhile, several boats had tried out their spinnakers in playing with the initially trailing wind. When the wind shifted, this turned out to be hugely disadvantageous, since the take downs and overall slower pace delayed the trailing six boats long enough to mire them in a light-air transition zone that spread like a cold-weather quilt across the central harbour. That dividing line gave the leading three boats, Electra, Imp, and Velica about a half mile lead for a critical period that eventually stretched to permanence.

As we made our way beyond the harbour, the wind solidified as south, but dropped in pressure, making progress against the ebb tide agonizingly slow. That agony was intensified by showers that slowly soaked each and every one of us. Electra, Imp, and Velica set out across Welbury Bay for the west shore of Prevost Island, trying to cross the “Ganges River” tidal stream at close to a right angle, and intending to short-tack that Prevost shore. Electra, as is her talent, out-pointed the other two boats and maintained a more southerly course, reaching the Prevost shore the furthest along and now well ahead of Imp and Velica. At the other end of the spectrum, Velica struggled to hold a good angle and got close enough to the mouth of the Captain Passage narrows to be swept northward and now well behind the leading two boats.

Behind us, the rest of the fleet was choosing sides, not politically, but with regard to Prevost Island. Wildfire, Skeena Cloud, Derry Mohr and Second Wind stayed longer on the Salt Spring shore to the right side of the course, but eventually crossed to Prevost Island to follow the leading three. Radiant Heat and Oasis were lured to Trincomali Channel by the promise of a current assist through the narrows and perhaps speculation that the earlier northwest wind would reassert itself over yonder. This would not happen, and the two boats got very acquainted with Enterprise Reef for a long sojourn.

Back at the pointy end, Electra made slow but steady progress up the Prevost shore. Imp tried a gambit of tacking offshore as the Channel Islands approached, and seemed to find better wind there and moved closer to Electra. Velica stuck to the shore, and too many inefficient tacks, allowing Wildfire and Skeena Cloud, sailing the best she has sailed all year, to start closing on an uninspired Velica. Once around Point Liddell, both Electra and Imp disappeared from sight for all too long an interval.

When Velica finally made said point, she was surprised to see both Imp and especially Electra quite far north of Stanley Point on the tip of North Pender. Perhaps the current had swept them there. I later learned that Electra’s plight was amplified by a spinnaker hoist that forced an angle too deep to the wind and lots of leeway. Velica resolved to ride a new wind line bringing a fresher breeze to the North Pender shore and countered the lee-making effect of the current. Briefly, Velica harboured hope of catching the two leaders before they entered Navy Channel, but this was not to be. In fact, Imp took the opportunity of Electra’s ill-timed spinnaker use to gain the lead and then to lengthen it, as the southeast wind built into Navy Channel and Plumper Sound. The spread among all the boats was reinforced by that building wind and a surprisingly strong favourable current running down Navy Channel. Velica hit 8 knots over ground for a while, which was a blessing as the rain intensified and went stingingly horizontal. Velica was able to gain a little on Electra, but the first day’s podium was already set.

Imp rounded Razor Point for line honours and a whopping 19 minute lead on corrected time (having cleverly declared NFS). Electra followed 3-1/2 minutes later, and Velica a further 8 minutes back. We three sailed and then motored at a relaxed pace into Port Browning, awaiting the rest of the fleet. The gap back to Wildfire stretched to 50 minutes, and the dejected Radiant Heat straggled in another half an hour adrift (literally). Second Wind saw the writing on the wall early, and retired before leaving Ganges Harbour, but motored into Port Browning to join the evening’s fun and live to compete another day.

The new owners of Port Browning Marina have embarked on an ambitious renovation plan. The pub is still familiar and warm, but a bit classier, with improved food and greater seating capacity. The place was jumping on a Saturday night, and though Greg Taylor had made a reservation for us, assembling enough tables and chairs to fulfill it took an extra effort. Greg Taylor— I owe the guy a big debt of gratitude! Having spent last week on a very busy trip to California to visit new and old friends, I asked Greg to arrange the Port Browning stay. He did it all with efficiency and a smile and clear communication, remarking “I am a professional fisherman, so when the skipper asks…” Indeed. Thank you!

Eric hosted us all on Second Wind for a happy hour and tales of the day’s patience-trying and clothing-soaking voyage. A fine and varied dinner was had by all at the pub, thanks to an expanded menu and beer/wine list. A few of us were warmly hosted on Oasis after dinner to continue the discussion over various fortified libations, and the delight of Bob Jones’ waxing eloquent on big band jazz and sampling his collection for us. Kevin Vine opined on the essential rote-ness of classical music and the player-centric fun of Jazz, blues, and rock, which he has entertained us all with on many occasions as a member of the Fabulous Flakes and the Wharf Rats. (The Flakes Moby-lize this Friday, Oct. 6).

The one drawback of the new marina management is that they no long offer an early breakfast. A 9am appointment became a 9:15 seating and a 10:15 bill-paying procession at the till. A planned 10:30 race start was not going to happen! Everyone scrambled quickly though, and Kim counted down the start at 11:00, assisted by my esteemed predecessor Kevin Vine. Kevin decided to forgo Sunday’s race to respect a hard deadline to return home by 16:00, which given Deryn Mohr’s inherently slower pace was unlikely under sail, even under what turned out to be ideal conditions.

It was the best of times…

Sunday and the day’s race again convinced us all of the boundless blessing we enjoy and share in this super-natural province of Maple Leaf Nation. Patchy clouds at the start gave way to brilliant sunshine and reasonable warmth by noon. The forecasts had all promised a bracing northwest wind, and we got that and more. While there was little wind in the marina, making our getaway easier, right at the Razor Point start line, the wind was gusting above 10 knots and white caps were showing further out in Plumper Sound.

Again, we were treated to a broad reaching start, which again gave the fleet options.  Radiant Heat held Electra off the line with leeward blocking move, but once released, Eelctra got her spinnaker up fast, and quickly blasted into a 10-boat-length lead. Imp and Velica were again close together, but as the wind powered up, so did Velica’s big NFS sail plan, and she stretched out to a solid second behind Electra. Wildfire got her spinnaker up brightly as well, and was steadily gaining on Velica to the upwind (left) side. Oasis had her newly-converted asymm up, but it seemed to lack the punch of her former setup. Forgive me if I missed details of the others in the fleet since my concentration was all on Electra ahead of me. As the pass between South Pender and Blunden Island loomed, Electra started to have stability problems with her spinnaker, and anticipating the variable conditions and eventual beat on the west side of South Pender, she quenched the chute. Velica stayed powered up wing-and-wing and rapidly closed on the reorganizing Electra. The blue canoe slipped through the pass first, but now only one to two boat-lengths separated first and second. The rest of the fleet followed not long after, and as the wind eased a restart began to develop.

Off of Gowiland Point, a northwest wind tumbles over the highlands of the two Pender Islands in a most disorderly jumble, with sharp gusts followed by deep lulls, and the wind angle swinging wildly from close reach to broad reach in a cycle of less than one minute. Lots of maneuvering ensued among the fleet, and lots of sail trimming was called for. Electra held close to shore, hoping to avoid the adverse current further out, while Oasis, Wildfire, Radiant Heat, Skeena Cloud and Second Wind sought more wind and less turbulence off shore. Imp came up beside Velica just to leeward initially, and the two boats had some respectful and clean dicing trying to keep clear air and forward progress. For a time, it looked like Oasis’s bold move far offshore would pay dividends, as it had for Kaitoa last year, but this seemed to be once again an instance when the middle path would prove the best. The solid NW wind lay just ahead with a wind line tantalizingly close. Velica squirmed toward it, hoping to reach it before Imp and Electra. Somehow she did, and within minutes, she was accelerating into a 15-20 knot breeze and a growing lead over the fleet. Electra remained for a crucial time mired in light air on the shore, and the others could not capitalize on the earlier wind advantage offshore.

Velica is preternaturally happy in strong wind and a rolling choppy sea state. She and her skipper settled into a fine grove, made the finer by a re-tuning of her mainsail battens done just a week before. Her lead growing steadily over all but Electra, who had freed herself and was staying in touch about five minutes arrears, Velica romped through the waves in long tacks, choosing her tacks carefully to stay in both the best wind and the most favourable current.

On the home stretch into Ganges harbour, the wind once again became wildly unstable, but the gusts kept coming, and careful attention to helm and trim afforded a fairly direct path toward the line. In the end, Velica took line honours a sufficient 3+ minutes ahead of Electra, and both 33-footers a sufficient 20+ minutes ahead of Imp to neatly invert Saturday’s podium. Oasis came in next, followed by Radiant Heat and Wildfire, all three of which had their finishing order inverted on corrected time, giving Wildfire a solid fourth-place showing for the weekend. Second Wind came next, impeded by a boat bottom in need of service, and then Skeena Cloud doggedly made it in, though last on the water, she beat Second Wind on corrected time, winning the Cruising Class for the weekend.

The event is scored as two races for Series C. The two legs are combined as a regatta for the awarding of the race trophy. This year, that trophy could not have been more closely contested, with a three-way tie in the low points score, broken by Velica’s second day win, and Imp’s first day win.

 Leg 1: SISC to Razor Point

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 188 14:31:25 03:41:38 1 100
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 14:34:54 04:00:49 2 88
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 0 138 14:42:42 04:09:38 3 75
DERYN MOR Kevin Vine 228 18 228 15:51:15 04:39:10
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 15:46:05 04:46:09 4 63
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 15:30:00 04:51:55 5 50
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 138 16:06:10 05:32:05 6 38
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 111 21 111 15:54:40 05:34:27 7 25
SECOND WIND   CC Eric van Soeren 117 18 117 DNF DNF 8 13


 Leg 2: Razor Point to SISC

Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 15:05:15 04:31:54 1 100
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 15:08:55 04:34:17 2 88
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 188 15:29:05 04:34:35 3 75
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 15:26:20 04:48:21 4 63
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 138 15:24:30 04:50:55 5 50
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 111 21 111 15:16:15 04:54:52 6 38
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 16:25:23 05:21:44 7 25
SECOND WIND   CC Eric van Soeren 117 18 117 16:04:50 05:41:40 8 13
DERYN MOR Kevin Vine 228 18 228 DNC DNC


And the winners are:

Boat Skipper Leg 1 Leg 2 Low Points Place
VELICA Vincent Argiro 3 1 4 1
IMP Craig Leitch 1 3 4 2
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 2 2 4 3
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 5 4 9 4
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 4 7 11 5
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 6 5 11 6
OASIS    CC Bob Jones 7 6 13 7
SECOND WIND   CC Eric van Soeren 9 8 17 8


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Long Harbour Race

7 October 2017


Well, we have done it! We have completed another racing season at SISC. This was also my last race as your FCR; I am now in the process of handing off the role to Douglas Woolcock, who I am sure will do a fine job, especially if he receives help and cooperation for the group.

We were quite fortunate with the weather for this race, since the week had featured wave after wave of deluges off the Pacific and onto our shores. Sunday proved to be the first dry and mostly sunny day, and with a pleasant southern breeze as well.

The course for this race requires some of the tightest maneuvering of the season, with not only the usual navigation of Ganges Harbour, but a foray into Long Harbour as well. The marks are: Start – Horda Shoals (P) – Clamsell Island (S) – U55 (S) – Horda Shoals (S) – Finish.

The wind was fluctuating quite a bit at the start, making the approach challenging. The fleet of seven scored boats distributed itself across the start line, with Ogopogo and Imp at the extreme left, Velica and Wildfire in the middle, and Electra and Radiant Heat on the right. We were also joined “just for fun” by Greg Slakov in his Laser and by Jim Raddysh on Battle Axe who is unrated for this season and had to leave early anyway.

Ogopogo built a significant lead right from the start, given her great speed and excellent crew. In a next group, Electra, Velica and Radiant Heat were very closely matched and crossed tacks multiple times, with multiple lead changes among this group. Alas, this close crossing also resulted in an acrimonious protest, and as the matter was not handled fully on the water, I convened the first protest hearing held for a club race in many years. Great thanks to Rich Ballantyne and Greg Slakov who volunteered to officiate.

After leaving the harbour, the close reach to Horda Shoals saw Ogopogo extend her lead, and Velica reach the mark next, closely followed by a gaining Electra and then Radiant Heat, Imp, Wildfire and Skeena Cloud.

The initially broad reach to Scott Point became a run, and Electra powered past Velica under spinnaker. Radiant Heat and Imp had declared NFS for the race, and so their performance suffered on the downwind legs. Velica closed a bit on Electra at Clamshell Island, taking advantage of Electra’s time to douse her spinnaker and harden up on the wind.

Velica pursued Electra out of Long Harbour, making some gains but never challenging too closely. Yesterday Velica was hauled out at Canoe Cove and as her skipper had suspected, too much time since her last painting meant some drag-inducing growth.

The reach and run back into the harbour saw few changes in places, but a significant spreading out of the fleet. Velica could not keep up with Electra running deep under spinnaker, Imp and Radiant Heat had insufficient power in the dying wind without those spinnakers, and Wildfire made a valiant attempt with a chute, but, ran out of wind too soon.

Conversations with Gyle and Craig on the dock afterward revealed that a transition in the wind from southerly back to northerly had left a hole right behind Velica, impeding all the other boats and delaying their finishes substantially.

All in all, it was a beautiful fall day on the water, and a tactically complex and enjoyable race.


Boat Skipper PHRF-BC NFS As Sailed Finish Time Corrected Place Points
OGOPOGO Paul Faget 99 21 99 12:36:30 02:12:50 0 0
ELECTRA Roger Kibble 141 21 141 12:47:40 02:15:23 1 100
VELICA Vincent Argiro 138 nfs permnt 138 12:52:30 02:20:46 2 83
RADIANT HEAT Tony Brogan 138 18 156 13:09:40 02:33:32 3 67
IMP Craig Leitch 167 21 188 13:17:36 02:33:52 4 50
WILDFIRE Gyle Keating 148 18 148 13:15:00 02:40:33 5 33
SKEENA CLOUD    CC Greg Taylor 198 18 198 14:28:14 03:35:40 6 17


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