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.