Racers/ Cruisers Dribble
May 26th & 27th 2012
CUTTS ISLAND PIRATE RACE AND CRUISE
This is in the rear view mirror; been awhile since the event. Sunday evening in Gig Harbor didn’t help bring everything into focus. The race had 5 boats but you have to add another 10 boats that cruised. A Piratical lot to be found on dock, swilling of drink and laughing aloud to keep Davey away. If I’ve missed anything or possibly everything, I in good conscience blame the damnable Pirates.
Day one Friday started with a motor to Gig Harbor amid lightening, thunder and an impromptu raft-up in Gig Harbor shortly before sundown. Some of the early arrival cruisers had all ready laid claims to the Gig Harbor city dock and some joined us out in the bay via dinghy. All I can recall, around 0100 is when the party broke up.
Day two race days started slowly and the 2:30 PM start seemed a great stroke of genius after the previous nights pirating and rummage. But the credit for this planning was the Moon, dictating the tides that the Pirate Race Fleet was to sail on. The wind never went aft, always coming from the bows but the current was positive about one hour after the start. After rounding Gibson point (Southeast corner of Fox Island) the wind went a bit more aft putting the Pirate Racers on a fast screaming jib reach for Cutts. The wind built to 20+ knots and we the RC (Don White & Yours) barely got a finish line set before Obsession crossed. The cruisers that stayed in Gig Harbor I’m told spent their day in glorious sunshine and relaxed and visited the day away. Reports have come of a Gig-Harbor dog show that strutted their masters up and down the dock, a dinghy dunking of one of our skippers (not a rubber chicken offense has there was a broken swim ladder involved) and a most wonderful potluck. All very different from what the racers experienced.
Now the original thought was to anchor in the North wind Lee of Cutts, but a Southerly built and the anchorage at Cutts was frothy. Fred Ahrens aboard Wild Oats a shadowing cruiser made a brilliant suggestion, PENROSE…EAST SIDE. We all followed. On the way over we saw 29 knots true in a gust with a solid 23 knots for most of the way. An hour and a half later we were all on anchor, not really rafted, small rafts and mostly singles ready to dry out, warm up and wait until morning. The wind continued to top 20 knots in the gusts until 0100 when Discovery finally settled on her anchor and this skipper tumbled asleep.
Day three and a second day of racing broke under gray sky and a light southerly. After breakfast Don and I aboard Discovery decided to move the start line just off the anchorage shortening the course to 12.6 nautical miles thus accommodating the sleepy Pirates among our fleet of five racers and two tag-along cruisers. The race back to Gig Harbor was more of a test of patience as the light wind seemed fickle but if you waited the North bound current set-up and the wind rose. We showed ten knots true at the Committee boat at the finish line and a full knot of current. Once again it wasn’t a day for flying a chute with wind abeam or forward keeping everyone under white sails.
When we got into Gig Harbor after racing the CYCT cruisers managed to save space at the city dock for everyone that showed up. And a right proper Pirate party ensued. Grog seemed to be the drink of choice followed by brew and mead. The pot luck and Pirate stew was the best I can ever remember. The Pirate attire took us into the eighteenth century led by Roger and Judy on Starlight. They are Pirate. After collapsing asleep I awoke at midnight to find that “all’s well” peaceful on the dock.
Not to be outdone was Monday’s departing in a nice breeze and no rain on our way to Tyee. I cannot think of a better way to send a long weekend than among Pirates. I hope we have the opportunity to do this next year. One little planning change would be start times, Noon on Saturday would work with the finish line and a consequent cruise to Penrose, allowing those the ability to “tent it” and Sunday’s race to be kept in Carr Inlet between Henderson Bay (Purdy), a mark set off Cutts Island and back to Penrose hence keeping the kool name of “Cutts Island Pirate Race”. On Monday an 0800 to 1000 departure would do you well as slack is 0705 and a max ebb (north bound) of 4.8 knots at 1042 going slack at 1417 would get us all home in proper Pirate sailing style. It would work.
Race Chair CYCT