Another Window Opens

by · June 9, 2015

PorFavor
Team Por Favor (Hobie 33), the fastest monohull so far. Photo Debra Colvin

Update from R2AK high noon on June 9th

The remarkable Team Elsie Piddock continues to stretch their lead, bounding into the teeth of the Johnstone Strait nor’westerly and leaving what’s left of their competition and visible civilization behind.

Team Broderna is the next closest competitor, having made some nice moves and presently pushing through Seymour Narrows with the big cat Nice Pair and Team Golden Oldies just astern.

This present tidal window at the Narrows will potentially be a decisive one, further separating the race fleet when the door closes once more. Teams Por Favor, Kohara, MOB and Mau all look to be within theoretical striking distance.

Some twenty-five miles behind that group, Team Soggy Beavers has paddled to the front of the middle pack of racers that includes Teams Freeburd, Blackfish, UnCruise and Discovery.

A number of teams have spent the day moored or beached waiting out the weather and catching up on sleep, but the forecast suggests R2Akers will see at least 15-knot headwinds for the foreseeable future.

Team Sea Wolf’s off-the-shelf foiling Windrider Rave sustained major damage at 0300. The crew is safe, but they’ve withdrawn from the R2AK.

By The Numbers

40= Number of miles second place Team Broderna needs to make-up to catch race leading Team Elsie Piddock.

28= Wind speed gusts in knots middle of Johnstone Strait today.

35= Highest wind forecast for today and Wednesday

40= Highest wind forecast for Thursday

15= Racers who’ve dropped out of full race

3= Solo sailors still in the race

3= Crew aboard leader Elsie Piddock

3= Number of hulls preferred by current first and second place boats.

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Discussion20 Comments

  1. ronp says:

    Some real gusts here in Seattle this evening – not having sailed much I can only imagine the difficulty managing in such conditions for hours on end.

    Elsie Piddock seems to continue to do well – heading west at 5.6 knots at 1900 hours Tuesday night. Broderna is stopped and Por Favor still in second place going at 4.7 knots. I am thinking exhaustion or gear trouble could slow down the leader — but they seem to be continuing to extend their lead.

    Too bad about the hydrofoil boat – what gamble to sail that thing at 3 AM — no way to see logs or debris. Yikes.

    • ronp says:

      ..and thank you again for the updates smallcraftadvisor.com!

    • Karl says:

      Well you really can’t see the logs in daylight at the speeds you foil at since most of the logs are partially submerged and in distance racing you have no choice but to cross debris lines caused by current.

  2. Karl says:

    So the tracker seems very confused :
    –> Golden Oldies now seems to have teleported back to Hornby Island,
    –> Por Favor has teleported ahead of Broderna

    and it looks like MOB and Kohara also made it through the tidal gate – though with the tracker weirdness its not completely clear whether this is the case.

    And team Mau looks like they tried to make it through the tidal gate on the last chance and got stuck in the middle and opted to pause.

    Meanwhile Elsie Piddock has increased its lead to 70nm (80 miles) – in part I suspect because they were able to exit Johnstone straight and transition through Broughton straight and into the Queen Charlottes before the tide fully changed.

    So now they are running in less current than PF and Brod – who really are still fighting current in Johnstone straight.

  3. Karl says:

    on the Exhaustion side, I don’t see it happening. These guys are experienced offshore racers. I’d be curious as to what watch system they are running. In their shoes I’d probably run triple-twos:
    ie 2 hours as crew, 2 hours on helm, 2 hours to sleep.

    And 4 such phases a day.

    That way everyone gets 8 hrs of sleep. No-one has to do a long stint in the cold at night, and 2hrs at helm is just about the right amount of time to really be sharp. and when you wake up you come on as crew so you can wake up a bit more slowly and get into the rhythm of the boat

    traditional watches are of course 4 hrs

    And the only boat I think that could give the 25C a run for its money would be the Seacart 26. in both cases you have boats that are small enough and light enough that if you put oarlocks on the amas, you can do big “sweeps” type rowing and actually still make progress.

    Something like an F27 is doable, but the weight and displacement start to take its toll.

    And once sailing, these things are quick enough that with good piloting, the relative speed differential of an F27 isn’t going to grind them in.

    So the 25C or an Seacart 26 seems like the ideal weapon. The appeal of the beach cats is their higher top speed, but the fact that even in the height of summer you really can’t sail them for 6 of the 24 hours and that you have no effective rest short of beaching, which involves de-rigging and re-rigging thus reducing your sleep to 4hrs per night would be fine for a two or 3 day event, but not for the full R2Ak.

    Remember that even on the Worrell and Tybee there are shore crews that handle the boat when you come ashore.

    I could see a boat like the Stilletto 27 doing OK as well (well that’s an older version of the boat Team Kohara is sailing)

    So I really think the trick here is the 3 man crew. Because with a 2 man crew you have to run two by twos during the night – and that means one person is all alone running the boat, and after the changeover, the new helm is usually still groggy.

    you can modify that by doing a three hour helm stint with only 2 hrs of sleep with one of the hours being the new helm waking up and crewing. but then the layout of the day gets hard. And you still end up with 2/3 of the time the boat is being run single handedly.

    That’s ok if you are offshore in steady breeze – but here you are short-tacking the beach for a large part of the course and single handed tacks, just add up as slowness

    • ronp says:

      interesting observation on watches – I noticed this on the 48 degree web blog — “I asked whether a third crew member might have changed their experience. Nige said he thought it would have made a huge difference. When they had only one person sailing the boat, the person down below was pretty anxious. “It’s just that size and power where you need one person on the main and one person on the helm. And, you don’t have anyone to rest when you do that.”

  4. Karl says:

    Ok so EP is within 10 miles of Cape Caution and officially exiting into Queen Charlotte Sound. Realistically they are in the sound now as they are close hauled in 15-25 from the NW and sailing NNW, so their next hitch will take them out into the Sound.

    They’ve actually added about 6 miles of distance in the last 3 hours on their nearest competitor… Which is Por Favour.

    PF is continuing to sail in the night – they too have a three man crew. so while their reaching boat speed isn’t going to be nearly as fast as that of the Tris, their round the clock, grind the course I think is what is paying for them.

    I suspect that if this race gets run again, you will see mostly 3 man teams with 20-30′ multi hulls being the “horse for the course”… though a Formula 40 like Dragonfly would be an interesting choice as well

  5. Karl says:

    And another 3 man team strategy pays off. Team UnCruise has just launched through the tidal portal while Team Mau is sleeping ashore

  6. Karl says:

    And EP playing Smart in The Dark takes a land clearing hitch before tacking back They aren’t laying Cape Caution yet so they will need at least another hitch

    It will be interesting to see if they opt to go outside for more wind and faster straight line, or to go inside and avoid the hairy enterance to bella bella between hunter and Campbell islands.

    I’d love to hear the opinions of folks who have sailed that piece of water as to what the smart strategy would be

  7. Karl says:

    There goes their second hitch off the land

  8. Karl says:

    So EP is now into the Sound. And it looks like when the sun comes up in about an hour and a half, they will be right at the point of deciding to go left or right around Calvert Island At the rate they are sailing, they would be at the McNaughton Group entrance in about 12 hrs. That would give then another 3 hours of daylight to thread their way into the channel towards Bella Bella

    its about 6nm miles shorter to go outside. which is probably 2 hours if you include the tidal current issues.

    So if they go outside they might be through the Bella Bella gate by 11pm PDT tonight. And midnight or 1am if they go inside….

  9. Karl says:

    And the “we are impressed with your crazy dedication” faves “soggy Beavers” looks to be about to go through the current gate

  10. Karl says:

    And it looks like Broderna and MOB Mentality are up anchor and at it again.

  11. michael says:

    I just saw Team Discovery (sailing kayak with outriggers) pass by Cape Lazo. I spotted him off the BC Ferry Queen of Burnaby. He was working his way against the wind as close to the beach as possible. I give him credit as this is the best strategy in this area for working upwind to avoid the sea-state.

  12. ksrl says:

    and outside they go!! meanwhile Port Favor seems to be taking a bio break in Telegraph cove

  13. karl says:

    this is looking like a nice paid cruise to Alaska for EP

  14. Karl says:

    82 nm (93 mile) lead by EP on the next boat. That’s like 1/4 of the course or 20 hours of sailing

  15. Karl says:

    What’s interesting is that in the race for second, MOB Mentality is rapidly reeling in Por Favor… PF needs to start griding the upwind hard.

  16. Karl says:

    ok its 2:30 and Elsie Piddock is about 2 hrs away from having to start threading their way through the rocks of the McNaughton group into the passage to Bella Bella.

    Unless of course they plan on sailing in from the other side, hitting the checkpoint and doing a 180… that would be a unique plan

  17. Karl says:

    Ok looking at the GRIBS EP probably won’t finish until early tomorrow. its getting very light up there

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