10 Second Scramble

Saturday August 19
TCYC English Bay Scramble

It's been several months since Occam's participated in any local VARC races, as we have been away, sailing around Vancouver Island and then off at Whidbey Island Race Week.

So it was good to be back in local waters, racing against familiar competition.

The English Bay Scramble is a "choose your own route" distance race, with four marks to be rounded, in any order you choose.  This year, a predicted strong flood, and a dying westerly with lots of left over slop from the overnight blow, dominated the course.

While we normally would have tried to maximize our time riding the flood current in from Pt. Atkinson, we were very wary that the dying westerly would lead to a big hole on the North side of the bay.  So, we looked hard at the option of sailing the "X" course even though I have hesitated to do that in the past, as on paper, it looks to be a longer distance sailed.

So our plan was Bell Buoy first, then Passage Island. But the wind went way south right after the start, so we flopped onto Port to stay in pressure, and saw that we were pointing right at Passage. So we kept on going, hardened up around Passage Island, tacked when we could lay the south end of the island, fetched to Bell Buoy, hoisted the spinnaker just before rounding, gybed at the buoy, and headed out to the middle for pressure. Gybed again to lay the line, gybed a third time just before the line, then headed up to fetch North Van. Gybed around that mark, hoisted the Code 0 for a fetch to Kits, hardened up at the mark, tacked once and were laying the finish, then tacked on the line.

 So we did the entire course with 4 tacks and 4 gybes. Basically sailing rhumbline the entire time.

I've never been a fan of the "x" course, but it has paid off in the past, and the conditions seemed right for it this year. Even though the distance sailed appears to be longer (longer rhumbline), I think the actual distance sailed is less (in the right conditions), given that we were on the rhumbline the entire race. (And we never saw a SOG less than our boat speed).

As we came in to the finish, we saw Ha a'Koa coming in from the West Van mark, just ahead of us.  They finished about 5 minutes before us, so we knew we had them on corrected time.  But we didn't know where the Farr 30 Spiny Norman was on the course.  As we sailed away from the finish, we saw them coming in from West Van as well.  We were too far away when they finished to get an accurate time, but based off of when they called in to the race committee to report their finish, we figured we beat them by about 15 minutes.  Right on where we needed them to be, but too close to call from the race course.

It wasn't until the awards ceremony, when they announced Ha a'Koa third, then Spiny Norman 2nd, that we realized we had prevailed and won!  When we saw the posted results, we found out that we won by a very narrow margin of 10 seconds after 3 hours of racing!

 So there you have it.  4 tacks and 4 gybes in 3 hours, resulting in a 10 second winning margin.

The Chaos shortly after the start

Dave contemplating the West Van hole

Thanks to a great team for the good work, especially Ben for stepping up on bow.

And thanks to TCYC for the great race, and the sponsors for excellent prizes.

Our next VARC event is the Howe Sound regatta, Saturday September 16.

Van Isle 360 2017 - The full story in pictures

I am still working on the write up summary of the Van Isle race.  But in doing so I went through the collection of photos I have been sent from various members of the team, and picked the ones that best show the story.

Rather than holding them until I get the writing done, I thought I would publish them now for all to see.

Thanks to:
Karen, Mike Li, Mike G, Leah, Guy, Fabio, Bill, Henry for the snaps and videos.

All photos are copyright of the individual photographers and Occam's Razor Sailing Team

The fleet awaits the start in Nanaimo 
L-R: Guy, Bill, and Ryan enjoy the pre-race atmosphere

L-R: Mary, Andre, and Wally getting acquainted.

The whole crew gets together for dinner.

Leg 1 - Nanaimo to Comox
Parading before the start

Parading past the spectators on shore

Up-close and personal with the spectators

Pre-start manoeuvring in tight quarters

In clear air off the start

The view from on-board as we climb into clear air
Leading the fleet around the corner, out of Nanaimo Harbour

Occam's with a bone in her teeth

The tricky light air finish to Leg 1

Motoring up Baynes Sound to Comox, racing for the best slip at the marina

After racing each day, there are chores to be attended to, including collecting and cleaning the crew's water bottles.

Post race drinks, fresh prawns, and discussion of the day.

Leg 2 - Comox to Campbell River

Leg 2 start

Leading the fleet out of Comox - two views

Another tricky finish, with Occam's on the far side of the channel from the bulk of the fleet

Motoring through Seymour Narrows

Tied up at Brown's Bay Marina
One of these boats is not like the others...

Occam's next to the dining room, giving diners a different view
Leg 3 - Deepwater Bay to Hardwicke Island
The first windy start was quite hectic

A good video showing the starting sequence chaos

Sebastian putting his Ocean Rodeo drysuit to good use!

Post-race chit chat with other crews at the fish farm

The resurrected Man Overboard Pole

Leg 4 - Hardwicke Island to Telegraph Cove

The fleet was spread across the width of the channel looking for the advantage

Tied up in Telegraph Cove

Leg 5 - Telegraph Cove to Port Hardy

Leaving Telegraph Harbour.  The literal calm before the storm.
The start off Telegraph Harbour

The fleet at the start
Settling into the groove.  With Smoke and Joy Ride behind

Dave did a masterful job of flying the S2 kite. 

This picture says everything you need to know about why the blue S2 is no longer with us.

At the dock in Port Hardy
Michael, Byron and Guy have mixed emotions about leaving the race after the windy downhill leg.

Leg 6 - Port Hardy to Winter Harbour
The Leg 6 start from the shore

Leading the fleet out of the harbour, again.
Leading Smoke and Jack Rabbit while fighting the currents off Hope Island

Some cheeky fun as we cross Smoke

Spinnakers in the distance as we turn south, with the Scott Islands in the background

About to get rolled by the large asymmetric kite of Hamachi, on what was deemed to be a 100% upwind leg.

Andre enjoying the last of the sun

Post race relaxing in Winter Harbour

Leg 7 - Winter Harbour to Ucluelet

Another "calm before the storm" shot, this time leaving Winter Harbour to face 20 to 30 knots upwind

The start off Winter Harbour was light and flukey, but that would change very quickly

Having survived the upwind bashing through the night, the next day was spent fighting light winds

At the docks in Ucluelet, showing the boat to our groupies

Leg 8 - Ucluelet to Victoria

Heading out to the start off Ucluelet, with our team anthem blaring

Just after the start, trying to catch a tow from one of those pesky masthead-kite boats!
There were some good sized swells, for sure!

At the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Surfing fun!

Artistic shot of the S4.  Gee, it would have been nice to have the S2....

Leg 9 - Victoria to Nanaimo
A tight packed fleet after the start
That's a lot of boats

That's a narrow passage!
Approaching Sidney Spit, looking for wind

Those are some BIG boats, there is not much wind, and a lot of current - in Active Pass

Romping North near Gabriola Island

Sunset over Entrance Island, the crew anticipating the finish!
Still smiling after two weeks of racing!