Shaw Island Winter Classic
Hard to believe a perfect day on the water in February would begin with heavy rain showers 45 minutes before the start. Light winds at the start and a change in navigation by WSF Hyak allowing the event to start on time. Few communications with WSF made sharing the water easy and uneventful.
During the day seemed everyone flew a kite and Wasp Passage delivered on mixing up the fleet allowing for some big gains and losses. At the finish the 10 gauge sounded off with the line honors for each class. A 911 call spurred a visit from the local sheriff (note made for next year).
More sun and breeze at the finish with time to tidy boats up and prep for the Orcas Hotel’s Buffet dinner. Dinner gathering was full , thanks for attending those who could to enjoy few stories, some history, Birthday wishes for Steph, and awards with the Over All going to a first time OA winner Shearwater with Justin & Chris Wolfe and crew, Congratulations!
This year's race proved once again that discretion is the better part of valor. Shortly after rounding the east end of Shaw the winds jumped with gusts up to 35kts. Many of the smaller boats with smarter sailors took the shortest way back to the barn. Ken Machtley's crew aboard Treachery fought on and after the boat's mast came down reported having regrets. Only one skipper had the cahoonas to hoist a spinnaker and it didn't help apparently looking at the results. On a positive note Stephanie stayed on her boat and out of the drink for like the third year in a row. Congratulations to the courageous winners Jimmy Roser in Div I and Steph & Andy Schwenk in Div II.
The 2017 race was the only one in the history of the Winter Shaw where every boat failed to finished. DRAT!
The race started at 11:45AM and the last boat to finish crossed the line shortly before 3PM. There was pretty good wind for the even and not much rain even though rain was in the forecast and the day was pretty much dark and overcast. Wasp Passage played it's usual shifty games but it wasn't particularly nasty this year. Most boats got through in good shape. At 26 boats it was one of the bigger fleets for this event and we thank everyone who came to sail with us. The party at the Orcas Hotel was great. Thanks Doug for the great food and trophies.
Stephanie and Andy Schwenk aboard Wild Rumpus won the Santa Cruz DIV and was 1st overall. Ian Wareham won the PHRF-A DIV sailing Time Bandit and his sister Betsy won the PHRF-B DIV on her new ride Purple Martin.
Nineteen valiant teams came, there was wind, they started, they had fun, they finished, they partied, and they went home. Nothing more is known about the 2015 race except that Stephanie didn't win and skippers Jimmy Roser, Alexia Fisher, & Gavin Brackett did!2015 Results
The 2014 race was another fast one!
Race Summary by Eric Moulton
There seems to be a sweet spot for some good early season sailing weather around mid - winter break and President's weekend. What separates the winter Shaw Island race and the summer one, besides the former being run by Orcas Island Yacht Club, is the noticeable lack of pleasure boats moving about this beautiful archipelago.
The Winter Shaw Classic provided the opportunity for 17 boats and their crews to get out there and really enjoy the islands to themselves. Another advantage to having a race in the winter is the prevelence of steady winds. This year like the year before did not disappoint. The wind found its sweet spot in the south and southeast direction, and with the coolish air, it stayed close to the surface and held for the duration of the race, even found its way into the often flat calm Wasp Passage.
The sun had just enough strength to burn through a thin cloud layer midday. The race this year was divided into two divisions, light and heavy. The two larger boats - Time Bandit and Ptolemy - got clear of the pack early and continued to sail their own race around the island. TB corrected out mid fleet at the finish and Ptolemy who happily finishing second sank well down the pack on corrected time. We dred those ankle bitters
The real drama came in, what they call a peloton in bike racing, the main pack of boats. In this tightly packed group the Santa Cruz 27s made up a good number of the boats. The flat water and nice reaching and running conditions were to their liking. This group was led by the Schwenk's and the crew of Wild Rumpus. But being the first into Wasp passage was not the advantageous position often and they suffered this handicap. The lead changed a couple of times in this group as boats made their way through the tight passage, with the tide this year. The struggle to be the first to exit in clear air around Broken Neck Point on Shaw usually gets a clear shot at the finish, a little over a mile away. This was very skillfully done by Blackfoot, and a resurgent Wild Rumpus. Much to the slight shift of the southeast to the south at the finish allowed These lead boats to solidify 1st and 2nd overall.
However, due to the near ideal sailing conditions several other boats put in good performances, as well, some strong enough to challenge the well sailed Santa Cruzs. The eventual Heavy division winner, Chinook, with local guru Chris White, sailed a clean and consistent race to place well in the overall standings.
There were two wood boats who may have used there displacement to help thrust themselves through the Wasp Passage making up for the nimble jibing in and out of the tide lines in San Juan Channel, that the smaller and more nimble boats were able to finesse. The family built, maintained, and sailed Fiona by the well known Orcas Island sailing Brackett family nearly knocked Chinook of the top of the podium. This made for a formidable pair of boats for the beautiful and very well sailed, recently rebuilt International One Design, Prophet to get around. Prophet had a great day and sailed and their way into respectable overall position. All and all it was a great day of sailing in our world famous cruising grounds!
If next year there are any boats looking for some good fun and wind in and around Orcas And Shaw Islands please come and join us. The Orcas Hotel put on a great awards dinner and the West Sound Marina opened it guest dock and hospitality for all participants.
The 2012 race was a fast one!
Video from the Shaw Island Winter Race 2012:LINK: Excuse me but I broached my boat again!
Blackfoot, Fiona, and Little Blue Dune Buggy — 2011 divisional winners
This 2011 race was a lot of fun. The day was cold but sunny. Shortly after the ferry delayed start there was a wind hole that everyone piled into leading to an early restart.
Then on the North East side of Shaw a big gust blew in from the West and broached nearly every boat (as far as this observers limited visibility goes considering I
was hanging from rigging to keep from going overboard at the time). Bart broke his pole! From there on things got less
crazy and the sailing was great. There was a North Easterly in Upright Channel and it was a hard reach for a spinnaker. Crazy Ivan tried to carry
the kite when everyone else gave up; sometimes it worked and sometimes not.
Once into the San Juan Channel the wind was on the nose - a northerly - at about 20 knots. It was three tacks to Wasp Passage where the wind changing from DEAD to 15 knots depending on the moment. Once past Bell Island it was a close reach to the finish line with steady pressure. By then the temperature was up and the sun was totally out with cobalt blue skies — a great day to be on a sail boat with friends. After the race the party at the Orcas Hotel was wonderful too. All 8 trophy winners were there to pick up their pickle-dishs (or pigs head) an uncommon level of participation for the after race part. Nice party and Kelly Toombs did a great job as the Master of Ceremonies. Thanks go out to Jim McCorison, Julie Brackett, and Barb Brunius who performed the race committee chores.
Blackfoot, Fiona, and Little Blue Dune Buggy were the divisional winners; Little Blue Dune Buggy was first overall and second in the longest name contest; while Ptolemy was first to finish.