Blakely Rock Light Race

Blakely Rock Light Race

66 boats made it out for Corinthian Yacht Club Seattle's Blakely Rock Light Race - the first in their three race Center Sound Series. Winds were out of the north at 6-8 by start time, and at 10am class one led the fleet off the line toward the first mark in the course. With a starting area off Shilshole Marina, the Northerly breeze takes sailors up to a temporary mark set off the tank farms south of Edmonds, then all the way south to Blakely Rock before returning to the finish area off Shilshole Marina, a distance of just over 20nm. Picture 66 boats working up the sound in sunny skies through the last of the ebb, and the winds building up towards 10 knots as it slowly oscillated right to left. The solid J/105 one design fleet became the indicator for many as they split across the course, and those from behind watched who had the advantage on which side of the course before making their tactical choices. Most in the fleet pushed west into the last of the ebbing current, and as the later starters compressed into the fleet ahead, a few boats were seen heading off to the east toward Shilshole Marina. Winds built a touch more on the run down the sound, a solid 10-12 with a few puffs to 14 knots as the sun continued to warm up the city and create that solid thermal suction as temps downtown moved into the 60s. Rounding the rock and the long drag race across the sound to Magnolia began. Each boat battled for a clear lane, and if you got your bow across a boat that was slightly faster and could sail slightly higher, you were tossed off the wheel and had to tack away to clear before coming back on port and lining up again for Magnolia. The bigger faster boats continued to blow through the fleet on the long tack toward Magnolia Bluff, and the closer you got to that shallow muddy beach, the better you made out against your fleet. Tough to keep a clear lane but if you got forced outside to the left, you found yourself coming back in on the transoms of your competitors. Next up was West point and how to get across the sand bar without running aground but stay close enough in to spend the least amount of time in the adverse flooding current. But then an odd thing happened; usually you tack onto port and get out of the current along the beach and sail away from anyone on the outside. But there was still a finger of ebbing current out in the middle of Shilshole Bay. If you held out to the left just long enough, boats tacked over onto port in positive current and lifted right up past the ship canal toward the breakwater before tacking over onto the layline and the finish. The seven boat J/105 fleet, Class 4, was dominated by Jubilee, skippered by Erik Kirsten. Just a minute back in second was Delerium, leaving third to Inconceivable. Thanks for contribution from Ben Braden at Sail Northwest.    Blakely Rock Light sailing information

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