CYC’s annual Commodore Gibson race/cruise to Port Ludlow took place on August 15, with the follow on Gibson race back to Shilshole the next day. Twelve CYC boats participated in at least one of the races.
It was a pursuit race with the slowest handicap boat starting first, and subsequent boats starting behind by the amount of time they owe the first starter. Since you get your entire handicap time on the front end, the faster boats are catching up to the early starters through the entire race. So in theory, every boat would arrive at the finish line at the same time.
The fleet was an extremely varied one. At one end of the racer/cruiser spectrum was Rob Hodge’s 1960 vintage wooden Lightning that he has turned into a pocket cruiser with a micro cabin and a bowsprit for an asymmetric. And a very different place was occupied by Andrew Bereson and family on their 20 ton full keel cruiser. And in between were racer/cruisers of assorted characteristics and dimensions.
Saturday featured a 15+ knot northerly beat to Foulweather Bluff with sunny skies and 80 degree temperatures. It just doesn’t get better than this! After a slalom racer start through all the fishing boats at Meadow Point, everyone sailed north against a building flood tide. Many of the faster boats caught up with the early starters near Point No Point in the middle of more fishing boats. By the end of the race, Jenny Heins and Tim Huse on Those Guys proved to everyone what a great upwind boat a J35 is in a breeze. They were a full 12 minutes in front of the next finisher, Jane and Al Johnson on Charlotte. The remaining finishers were Cindy Gossett and Derek Storm on Outlaw, Suzette Connolly and Paul Baker on Altair, Jim Medley and family on Puffin, Karen and David Barnes on Gratitude, Jennifer Lathrop and Chris McMuldroch on Wind Dancer, Jennifer Olegario and David Sinson on Aquavit, and Rob Hodge and his son John on Lady Jane. Monica and Robinson Howell started the race but ultimately motored the rest of the way.
Even though the covid19 virus shut down most of the weekend’s social activities, most participants still managed a dockside or cockpit dinner with at least 6 feet between folks and good conversation.
Sunday’s return race to Shilshole (the Gibson race) had a slightly different cast of characters. Puffin continued north to the San Juans, but Second Sun was returning from the San Juans on Saturday, and joined the race south on Sunday. Sunday turned out to be the hottest day in many years of Seattle weather history with a high of 98 degrees. And unfortunately, Saturday’s glorious breeze was replaced by alternating flat calm and temporary trickles of breeze. Several of the smarter skippers looked at the weather and opted to just motor home. Those that didn’t show such good judgement moved the Sunday start from Foulweather Bluff to Point No Point to attempt a start there. There was enough breeze for the first few boats to get away, but later boats had progressively less breeze and watched the early starters slowly disappear over the horizon.
The early starter that totally got it right was Andy and Kate Bereson’s Second Son, a 20 ton full keel cruiser that you generally wouldn’t pick to win a light air battle. They worked their way into an easterly that no one else found and simply sailed away from everyone. Between a favorable flood tide on Sunday, and the fact that the sailing instructions had allowed for a “shorten course” finish line at latitude 47 degrees 48.90 minutes (Apple Cove Point), they were the only boat to reach that latitude before the Sunday time limit, so they were the winners of the Gibson race.
So this year’s Commodore Gibson goes to show that CYC is a club that can work for all sorts of boats, and everyone can have a great time. Hope to see lots of folks at next year’s Commodore Gibson in a non-covid19 world.