The first leg to Race to Alaska is now in the books. The start was delayed by high winds by 1/2-hour. At 5:30am the adventure began for 58 boats.
The highest winds reported were 20-22 knots. The wind caused seas were about two to three feet. Swell was about the same. In the tide rips the seas were confused with waves four to five feet. Coming into Victoria the seas were smoothed out and the winds dropped down to 5-8 knots.
By noon about 1/2 the fleet had completed the course from Port Townsend to Victoria. Thirteen boats dropped from the race, with one cabsize. No injuries.
I was not a race participant. Sage Marine and Spyderco are race sponsors so I sailed with the fleet. I finished in just under eight hours, including time spent at the customs dock (so about a seven hour crossing). The GPS stated AIR BORN averaged 4.6 knots and traveled 36.8 nm.
Sage 17 AIR BORN handled everything with flying colors. The entire distance was done on one tack, port, and the boat sailed herself for most than 1/2 the distance (balanced and helm tied off to hold course). I started the course with full main and working jib. Once rounding Point Hudson and 1/2-way to Point Wilsn the wind increased and was gusting. I put in a single reef that remained until about five nautical miles from Victoria Harbour.
Here is a short ‘rough cut’ video taken about 10 nm NNW of Point Wilson –
You can see the lumpy seas and AIR BORN is heeled to about 20 degrees during the gusts. The boat is fully balanced and during the video i am not touching the helm.
I share more video once I have time to edit it viewable format (right now it is about 45 minutes of footage).
Noon today, Sunday 7 June ’15, Race to Alaska starts leg two – next stop for them is Ketchikan, Alaska.