Swiftsure 2018: The Occam's Team hops boats - Part 1

The Preamble

If you read my last post, you know that the Occam's team spent most of 2018 racing the Farr 30 while Occam's is getting a make-over.

Unfortunately, the Farr 30 is just not that well suited to overnight racing, with minimal creature comforts below, and the new boat did not come with any of the requisite safety equipment.

So, rather than try to outfit KISS for overnight racing, we instead looked outside of the team for another ride for the annual Swiftsure Race out of Victoria.  Swiftsure has been a fixture in the PNW for a very long time, and 2018 marked the 75th running of the race, so we didn't want to miss out on the festivities.

Fortunately, one of the extended Occam's family happens to own his own race boat, and was looking for a crew to race it in Swiftsure.  So, in serendipitous turn, we quickly found a ride for all of the Occam's team that was interested in racing.

The boat that we were racing, while a pure race boat for it's time, could not be more different from Occam's.  Amazing Grace is a mid-80's vintage C&C 45 IOR war horse.  This boat has been there and done that, and participated in some of the biggest races of the late IOR era.  She is a lovely looking boat, that fortunately still sports her original colours and is easy to spot from miles away due to her red and white spinnakers.

It's hard to mistake that boat for anyone else

Although only a few feet longer than Occam's, Amazing Grace weighs well over twice as much as Occam's, and the loads on her are immense.  Added to that, she was built in the era before effective line clutches, so every line has a dedicated winch.  I mean, there are even winches to move the jib cars!

The jib car winch (center of photo), is larger than the cabin top winches on KISS!
So, after a couple of practice sails on English Bay, the crew set off to face all comers in the Cape Flattery Race at Swiftsure.

A busy inner harbour in Victoria

The Race

Conditions for the race this year were pretty much exactly as they advertise in the brochure.  Clear skies, moderate temperature, a fairly steady westerly wind.

The big tactical decision, as usual, was when to cross over to the American shore on the long beat out to Neah Bay.

But before we could get to that point, we did have to navigate the rather congested start line.

The crowded starting area

The crew happy to be on our way

After the start, things were pretty easy as we worked out way to Race Rocks.  There was a commercial vessel which decided to make like interesting for the fleet, and take a rather westerly route from the Quarantine Buoy to Race Rocks that brought them right through the fleet.

After passing Race Passage, the wind piped up rather quickly, and we had to change down jibs a couple of times in rapid succession, which on this boat put quite a strain on the foredeck crew.

Things start to get more serious...

But we made it through that trial, and then things settled down, and the wind gradually eased as the afternoon went on, and we headed West.

We rounded the mark around 7pm, set the red and white kite (well, they all are red and white), and headed for home.
The foredeck crew looking pretty happy after we round the mark and head for home
The downwind leg was pretty uneventful, and everyone had an enjoyable sail.

Clowning around!

"Martha" heading out to the bank

The moon rises ahead of us as we head east.

Although we prepared for it as much as we always do, for once, Race Rocks was not blowing like crazy as we came home.  In fact, it was no more than a couple of knots more than anywhere else.  So we had a fairly sedate and civilised transit through Race Passage, and then just had to watch out for the wind holes on the trip back in to the finish.

The moon sets behind us as we near the finish

All in all, it was a great sail (and a decent result) for us on Amazing Grace.  And we want to thank Steven and Mary for taking our rag-tag bunch on board and making sure we didn't miss out on the fun!