Tuesday, May 9, 2017

J/125 HAMACHI Wins Protection Island Race

J/125 Hamachi (Seattle, WA)- According to Janson Andrews co-owner of the J/125 HAMACHI, “We took line honors in ORC 2 despite being the smallest and slowest boat, and finished first on corrected time in ORC, beating some big sleds.  We had a great downwind run where we topped out at 19.5 kts”.  Here is their complete report of the race.

“We had a crew of eight turn out for SYC’s Protection Island race, the first of their Tri-Island Series, and also a qualifier for the VanIsle 360.  Shawn was on helm, Chris on main, Jason and Adam were on bow / foredeck, while Pete, Scott, Mike and Steve were in the pit.  The forecast had been up and down all week between a drifter or a fast run out to the island and back.  In the end it was more the latter, but it would start light.  The wind was out of the south at 8-10 and forecast to build to 10-15 by mid-day and then crank up to around 20 in the afternoon.  We had favorable currents with an ebb pushing us out to Protection Island, and a flood pushing us home.

J/125 Hamachi routeWe entered Hamachi under the ORC rules, since that is what we would be racing at Swiftsure and VanIsle.  We also wanted to test ourselves against the big dogs in the fleet.  There were eight ORC boats registered, so they split us into two classes.  We were in ORC2 going up against Olympic Gold Medalist Jonathan McKee and Dark Star (Riptide 44).  We also had Jedi (J/145) and New Haven (Ker 46) in our fleet, which meant we were the smallest and slowest boat, buy a good margin.  In ORC1 were the big sleds of Crossfire (R/P 55), Smoke (TP52), Glory (TP52) and Neptune’s Car (SC 70).

All ORC boats had a single start and we were in the mix and across the line in a good position behind Dark Star.  The ORC2 boats all started on starboard heading towards the right (east) side of the course, while the ORC1 boats immediately jibed onto port headed west.  There was more pressure to the east and we all accelerated against the other cluster.  Before long Dark Star jibed back west and we followed – why second guess an Olympic Gold Medalist?  This paid off as the two of us continued to pull away from everyone, especially the other two boats in our class.  We recontacted the ORC1 boats on the west side of the course and the six of us would jibe up towards Port Townsend, 30 nm away.  The breeze was steady around 10 kts but we could see it filling in to the south, pushing the slower boats up behind us.  Due to their longer waterline lengths, the sleds slowly increased the gap.  Abeam Marrowstone Lighthouse the increasing breeze finally caught us and we peeled from our A1.5 to an A2.5.  We debated between the A2.0 and A2.5, and luckily picked the sail with the higher end, as we would soon need it.  We made one or two short jibes to position us to lay Point Wilson.  The increasing breeze allowed us to hold, or even close the gap, with Dark Star and Neptune’s Car in front us.  We could also see white caps to the south.  Once abeam Pt Wilson the front caught us and the wind cranked into the low 20s and Hamachi jumped up on a plane and took off.  We were enjoying the sensation of planning out and saw 19.5 kts on the spedo.  However, due to the wind angle, we were sailing away from the lay line.  Further, at 18 kts we were rapidly covering the short 6-7 nm to Protection Island and had to reconfigure our sailplan so that we could beat to winward and round the island in the building seas.  We struck the staysail, put up the #3, and then struck the spinnaker.  This allowed us to head up and round Protection behind Dark Star and Neptune’s Car.  On the lee side of Protection we saw Dark Star strike their sails and retire – we learned later that they had torn their mainsail.

J/125 sailing videoOnce around Protection we had a 40 nm beat home in 20-25 kts of wind under full main and #3.  The ebb had switched to a flood, which was stacking up against the southerly wind.  It was a long rough beat.  Further, to hold our advantage against bigger and heavier boats, we sailed through all of the current rips, which were full of big steep waves, to maximize speed over ground – we often saw 10+ kts.  Once around Point No Point we stayed on the west side of the course and were able to catch a wind shift which allowed us to sail directly down the sound towards Shilshole.  Hamachi performed admirably and we held off New Haven until the end, finishing several hundred yards in front to take ORC2 line honors.  We covered the 81.6 nm course in 9:50, a record we may not break for some time...

Due to the timing of the currents and the building wind, the slower boats that started later all did better versus the big sleds at the front of the course.  Hamachi, on corrected time, finished well ahead of the big boats to take first place in ORC overall.”   Follow the J/125 HAMCHI Facebook page.   The J/125 HAMACHI YouTube sailing video of the Protection Island Race   Follow Hamachi’s crew on their blog. Add to Flipboard Magazine.