The new and improved...’Round the Island Race has now been revamped and renamed:
“50/50 ‘Round the Island Race”
September 17 & 18 2016
Yes, this race was ready for a total ‘face lift’. Sailors got tired of racing 100 miles and straggling home at 2 am or later, often missing the finish party. So, to cater to popular demand we have made the following changes:
• Hobie 16’s, WETA’s and other modest speed multihulls will start at Sunrise off the Fort Walton Yacht Club’s gazebo.
• Corsairs and other larger Multihulls will start somewhat later.
• Faster Spinnaker Beach Cats will start progressively later yet.
• Saturday’s course goes from the FWYC out the Destin Pass into the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the Pensacola Pass.
• Fort Pickens, just inside the Pensacola Pass, will be the finish Saturday afternoon where all the boats should arrive somewhat together.
• Everyone will enjoy a Beach BBQ at Fort Pickens on Saturday.
• Anyone that chooses can tent camp at the Fort with showers at provided sites. Your dry clothes and other gear will be transported from the FWYC to Fort Pickens.
• For the more civilized, plenty of Motels and alternate night life is available at Pensacola Beach for Saturday night.
• Sunday morning starts the race back to Fort Walton along the scenic intercostal waterway.
• Again, progressive starting times will yield a tightly grouped fleet at the FWYC finish for awards where comradery will abound.
For your convenience the 50/50 is one week after the Juana’s Good Time Regatta. If you choose to do both events please feel free to leave your boats at the FWYC.
Soon you will be able to check FWYC.org to enter and get further information or contact Race Organizers Randy Smyth: SmythSails@gmail.com Cell 850 499 6490 and Linda Wright, Trisail@rocketmail.com
This sounds like a great time, I'm in! I know you've been working on the format for a while, so I'm assuming all the permissions for overnight parking and camping at the Fort are in hand? Would probably want to "prestage" a vehicle at the fort, then drive to accommodations. Otherwise call an Uber, who might not appreciate a couple of salty sailors and their gear.
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Yes, we have an approved event permit from Fort Pickens, so camping is not a problem. I believe there is an entry fee for vehicles to get into the park, but it wouldn't be hard to arrange for additional support. More details to come, but I think this is going to be a blast!
Yea the camping is the best part for me. Just a pillow and mosquito net is all you need and you can use the main sail as a blanket and just sleep on the tramp. It's really not bad. Whoever gets by with the least camping gear wins the "most manly" trophy
It's the evening post race chat that's the most fun anyway. Now we get 2 in one race!
Revamped and renamed 50/50 ‘Round the Island Race. For your convenience the 50/50 is one week after the Juana’s Good Time Regatta. If you choose to do both events please feel free to leave your boats at the FWYC.
I have a question, or two,
registration is $50 per boat, does that include the social event for a skipper and crew?
Also I know I won't be getting there to pretty late Friday evening. I know I will probably miss the skippers meeting. So I assume I can get the sailing instructions Saturday morning?
3.1 The Entry Fee $50.00 per boat, $75 per boat after September 1. Includes all Socials and one (1) T-Shirt for the skipper.
3.2 A Social Fee of $35.00 is required for each additional sailor and guest. This fee includes a Friday Welcome Social @ AJ’s on
Bayou, Saturday Coffee on FWYC Back Porch, Fort Pickens BBQ @ Battery Worth Pavilion, Sunday Coffee @ Battery Worth
Pavilion, Food and Refreshments @ FWYC Finish Line Gazebo and one (1) T-Shirt.
3.3 FREE camping for first 20 entries. FREE Gear transport to Fort Pickens Saturday and back to FWYC Sunday all entries.
So here's how my race went:
DAY 1- So I'm racing against 2 other H18's with identical spinnakers, one of which usually beats me so my goal before the race started was to at least always be on the same water as that boat to make sure nothing crazy happened. There were a few H16s and non spin 18s including my other boat with 2 friends sailing it.
So the race starts with the group of H18s setting off for the inlet. Almost immediately it's pouring rain and the telltails are stuck to the sail so the guessing game of sail trim began. There was some thunder and the winds were picking up, what a way to start. So we are all heading off on starboard tack when both the other boats tack back and I couldn't see why. They were in a massive header almost pointing back to the club and I just took lift after lift straight at the bridge. It became clear after 10 minutes that I had a substantial lead yet both of them still stayed on their tacks losing more ground to me by the minute. I assumed they had gotten scared off by the weather and were heading back to the club. I actually tried to reach them on the radio but no one replied.
So now we are almost to the inlet when we realize, crap we have to go through a different inlet with a bridge instead of the big inlet to the left that we were headed at. So no big deal, we hadn't lost ground yet so we fire off right to line up to tack under the bridge. At some point we realize we are supposed to round some buoys and begin looking for them but cant find them at all. Eventually we pass a boat and ask where they are only to find they are a mile back the direction we just came. So we essentially sailed an extra 2 miles.
By the time we went around the buoys the other 2 spin 18's were feet in front of me. I was frustrated blowing a huge lead at the start but the race was back on. After clearing the channel it was a downwind run down the coast so out the spinnakers came. Because of the wave action and low winds now that the storm had left us it was near impossible to heat the sail up enough to get past the waves that were rolling by us and slowing the boat, stalling the sail. So we were all staying pretty close together.
Then the wind picked up and I was the first to catch it. Heated up the spin and we were off surfing waves with 1 on the trapeze. The other boats got the wind a few minutes later but never seemed to heat the spin up enough to match the waves so after an hour they were almost out of sight. We were in a group with 2 boats, a blue and a yellow spin Nacra for a few hours jibing down the beach. Eventually they left me, being able to take a better angle to the beach while I had to go out to sea a bit to keep my spin working. After hours of hand holding the spin line my left arm cramped up and we had to start trading the sheet off. The Tension you have to keep in that kind of wind is pretty tight and the 1 ratchet block wasn't enough relief to survive for hours.
Out at sea there was a big storm cell that everyone was trying to get but it was miles out and we had good position next to the beach so we held position and caught a storm of our own. Wind shifted to a close reach and we dropped the spin and proceeded to blast straight down the beach in big waves pushing 20 knots easy. Traveler was past half way with 1 out on the trap. I didn't want to double up because the waves were crashing over the boat and it would have been easy to lose balance as my crew did and almost fly off the back of the boat. The cell moved with us and no one else caught it. A half mile back they all had to tack back out to sea as we took a direct route to the channel. Blasted through the inlet buoys and to the finish line with a 35min lead to the second boat and a 1:10 to the 3rd spin 18.
Awesome food followed and we went off to set up our tent and crash for the next day.
It looks like it's going to be an upwind day so we set off. It's a close reach to the first bridge and I throw the spin up, loosen the halyard and take it, almost collapsing, upwind as far as I can. The winds start building and we are double trapped flying a hull and almost going over. We are building a lead compared to the other 18s that are trying to hug the coast and catch some breeze without the spin up. Our sail is starting to become a problem we should have taken it down sooner as we just had to keep bearing off to get it to stay up. Then a gust hits us and as I stand off the side to double trap I find out that I wasn't hooked in and just fall in the water. I managed to trap the rear lacing on the boat and hang on, but my life vest gets hooked on the lip of the boat and it takes me at least a minute to get back on the boat.
So that was it, lead gone and we went under the bridge right behind the target 18 I'm trying to beat. It's now a close winded shot down the channel to the next bridge and you had to make the choice to take the shortest route or tack over to the shore and see if there was any breeze. The 18 ahead was clearly determined to try and hold the lead ahead of me but I was creeping up on them using some weight distribution tricks and constant main sheet trimming to good advantage. As I footed off to gain some air they bore down cover. That's when I had some fun. I know the skipper of the other boat usually prefers the shore line and this was the opposite side of the channel they wanted to be on. So I figured I'd bear off as far as I could and see if they were willing to follow. Sure enough they bore off with me slowly but I was already dead even with them. Now the chess match began.
It was still early in the day and watching the shore boats I didn't feel like I was losing much to stay deeper in the channel. We were pretty much the only 2 boats not hugging the shore, but I had my competition in the same air and away from any other boats that might get in the way and screw me up if I had to tack. Me and the other 18 just maintained position for an hour straight until we started reaching some docks we were barely going to clear. That's when the other 18 bore down, trying to use the 50-75 yard windward gap to see if they could get ahead enough to pinch me out of the point it seemed. Well they didn't have enough ground and in the process I scooped up a little extra power and got just enough ahead that I had the lead.
Stuck behind me now they footed off behind me to tack to the opposite shore. That's exactly what I hoped would happen as when we are close together everyone just matches each others angle to the wind and we are all identical. The thing was, whether the other boat knew, we had actually been pinching a good amount the whole time, but if I bore off to a faster VMG they would just match me because we were so close and were just trying to hold position. So faster or not they would stay right with me. So I didn't want to tack right with them and have them matching me so I waited about a minute or two and then tacked, taking a powerful angle across to the opposite shore where they had already tacked back up the channel. It worked how I hoped and me being able to use the extra speed independently had gained me a 100 yard lead.
Now I'm dead in front of them and we are beginning to get some puffs moving in, some headers some lifts. So now I started trying some tricks to see if the other boat would respond. Each one of us wanted to try and gain some windward position on the other since we clearly would need to be farther to the right for the next bridge miles up the channel and it was slightly closer to the shore. Any time you saw the other boat get a header or lift you of course try and make sure you gain or lose similar ground, so that gave me an idea. When I would sail into a header I would wait until the boat behind also got it and then pinch up almost to a luff. I was far enough ahead that I figured they couldn't tell I had slowed way down. I was hoping they would also try and pinch in an attempt to match my angle and not lose more ground in the header than me.
The second I saw them slow I would bear off to a proper VMG angle while they were pinched and slowed. While it looked like I just got a wind shift, I was still in the same shift as them but cruising away at a proper angle while they waited for the shift that I was accelerating on which of course would never happen. It was just a matter of trying to get them to slow down and then be accelerating before they could adjust back. I have no idea if they actually were paying attention to me at all and responding, but it was fun and kept the mood high on the boat and more importantly the lead kept growing through all the shifts so I kept doing it. I lost a slight amount of ground to the other boats near us but I was only focused on the gap to my class.
Through Navarre bridge we now had about a 15min lead. Speeds were faster and we had 1 on the trap. Off to our right was a bit of a cove that curved back into our path and probably better wind but it was a lot of extra distance to take and wasn't worth it since the bridge pass was off to the left. The other 2 18's thought differently and tacked in the dead wind after the bridge to try the shore. As they puttered over to the shore we caught a puff and were gone. I never saw them again.
After the race I found out that they tried to fly their spin on a close reach through that area and ended up going over as they attempted a douse or something. Unable to get the boat back over many boats stopped to help. My buddy who weighs almost 300lbs alone said he stopped and offered to come over and get on the rope and right the boat but the skipper told him to leave them alone and sail on...Apparently sometimes pride surfaces in the form of sitting capsized for 30min instead of just accepting help to get the boat over and getting on with the race...Then still capsized they had not bunched the spinnaker up out of the water and a jet ski came by to help and sucked it into the engine. Ouch
In the meantime I was in pouring 0 visibility rain, double trapped in 30 knot gusts barely able to keep the boat down double trapped. We battled through it freezing from the rain and wind, passing 4-5 boats through the storm. We went over past 45 degrees a few times and I remember thinking that I bet one of the other boats goes over if they hit this stuff. Some boats beached it got so bad, but I was in a pack of big trimarans and saw the chance to gain some places so just sucked it up and tried to keep the boat down.
At some point we tried to save some ground and go through the shallows but one of our boards dug in and I actually had to get off the boat and dig it out from the mud before we could continue. Boards half up and we were good.
The finish was near and we had 2-3 boats right around us as we turned for the short downwind leg to the finish. Spinnaker out for the first time since the morning and we blasted by all the boats around us to finish. The other spin 18s were an 1:20min behind.
It was by far the greatest race I've done and the most challenging conditions to survive in on a small beach cat.
Edited by tamumpower1 on Sep 20, 2016 - 04:18 PM.