You are a little mistaken. We had rounded Sisters and were on the beat back to Balenas with 3 reefs
and storm jib
, doing just fine when the coast guard called and said the race had been abandoned. The Coast Guard was kept informed of our status en route
. We proceeded to straight to Nanaimo. After sailing towards Balenas, the wind died to 25knots on the nose and continued to drop to about 5knots within 5 miles of Nanaimo. We contemplated heading straight back to Vancouver, but heard various buoy reports of 35'sw to 50''s towards Vancouver and further south and went into Nanaimo for the night. We arrived at 23:00 slept and had a great beam reach in 15knots of wind back to Vancouver.
There have been a lot of comments slagging off the race committee or others saying that those that took part were fools. Bollocks ... putting it mildly.
The decision is with the skipper to have the right boat, the right gear
as required, and crew that have the right experience, and finally the wisdom to know when they can't honestly admit to being capable of doing the event and keep the crew safe.
It is clear that you could have gone around the entire long course with a storm jib
and been fine. Some chose to fly a chute long after they should have dropped it and put up a smaller headsail and still be belting along at 15+ knots in control. A lot of local boats don't have proper reef points or enough heavy air working sails
of the right size; some think you're a ***** for reefing. Well it's that mind set that's ****** up. Not the race committee.
It's the decision of the skipper. Period. What needs to happen is for some skippers to take the safety
and survival aspects more seriously and put equal effort into getting around the course in one piece and not entirely grip it and rip it as you might for a day sail. It is after all "offshore racing".
Kinetic is equipped for going offshore
. It's been to Sydney
, done the Syd Hobart, and sailed back to Vancouver. You have to give credit to a skipper like David Sutcliffe for leaving no stone unturned when it comes to preparing the boat and crew for an event like this and making the right call when it comes to a priority on crew safety
, preserving the boat, and sailing the course. In the end, we had a blast.
The boat has 3 reefs
in the main, the usual number of headsails: 1,2,3 & 4, reacher, blast reacher, a new orange #5 and storm jib
and trysail + various chutes. It's all been used and tested well before this event. There are safety inspections of personal gear
, crew attend safety and survival at sea, life raft
and and marine medical
courses. It's sometimes regimented but if you want to get through a race like that last Southern Straits, you can't piss around with bar-room bravado.
is the crew gained another great experience of a tough race executed without a lot of drama. Our primary goal was to get around the course safely. Winning or losing was irrelevant. If we had a good result , great. It was a true test for a lot of the crew doing the next Vic-Maui.
We started a few minutes late, but decided to put one reef in and use the #3... got out into the harbour and hoisted a small chute. That was OK for a mile or so.... we saw the rougher water
further out and decided to drop early and stick with the #3 and 1 reef. Once we were out into the 35 gusting 40, we put in another reef and changed down to the #5 and doing 12 to 15 knots.
We headed for Vancouver Island looking for the forecasted veer which didn't happen as much as forecast
. Along the Island shore, it was 40 to 45 with occasional 50's. We tacked around instead of gybing and headed towards Lesquiti. Half way across, it was up to solid 45's with gusts to 50+ and confused crossing wave trains. The boat was doing steady 15's and some nice rides at 18knots. Looking ahead, there was nothing but spume and smoke on the water
. We put in a 3rd reef and changed to a storm jib
race boats should put lazy jacks
on for safe and quick reefing. I've heard some dumb-ass comments from some sailors that lazy jacks
are for shorthanded cruising boats. Fine... keep thinking that crap. Lazy jacks makes racing in those conditions faster and safer because putting in a reef is a no brainer and you don't have a lot of slab from the reef thrashing around while some crew tries to stand on the coachroof getting it organized, with a risk of falling to the lee rail.
Wind was now up to 50 gusting 58 and change... and doing about the same speed. We went down wind on angles that avoided being too deep and chicken gybed about 3 times on the approach to Sisters. Visibility was perhaps 2 miles or less and the wind was solidly 55 gusting higher.
(we had experienced similar conditions crossing the Bass Strait on the delivery
back from Hobart and had a good feeling about the boat being capable)
We rounded Sisters after 15:00 and started the beat back to Balenas. It was a tough beat against short and very steep waves and being blinded by stinging spray, while taking some green ones.
In any event... I was a great experience and morale booster for the crew, particularly a couple that had not been out in that.
The coast guard can be rightfully pissed off, at boats out there that shouldn't have been. They also did an incredible job with the rescues in extremely difficult conditions.
**** sometimes happens to the best boats, but **** definitely happens to those that don't give a **** and give lip service
to prep and safety.
Did anyone hear that laughable radio
call from one boat asking RC if the coasties could take an injured crew off so they could keep racing. What kind of BS is that? They were within 1 mile of a harbour just after the start and there was only one call. Retire for the safety of the crew member
, but no...they kept sailing past a couple of miles. Fark...