After taking a year off in 2020 for the pandemic, the 9th Yellow Island Race took place on Saturday, May 22nd, 2021. The whole event was marked by everyone’s relief at surviving Covid to get vaccinated. Weather conditions were extremely good, enabling everyone to finish well within the 5-hour time limit. Most boats finished within 2 hours. The final finisher was just under three hours. At the 9 am skipper’s meeting it was a unanimous consensus to attempt the longer course around Jones Island. At the start that decision looked questionable as there was light wind. Then the south wind filled in wonderfully, to our delight. This year we were again able to include Jones Island as a mark of the course. The course began from a line established by Bruce Brackett’s Grand Banks committee boat southeast of Fawn Island. From there the boats kept Bird Rock, Coon Island, Yellow Island, and Jones Island to starboard, and Reef Island to port. From there it led to the finish line, which beginning this year stayed at the starting line. We were gratified to see 15 boats participating, almost double the turnout of any previous Yellow Island spring race. It was a great day of sailing in a beautiful place. Here are the results:
Quickstep, the International One Design boat now based in West Sound, did not attend, and was missed. She is undergoing extensive rebuilding to correct the results of decades of hard sailing in San Francisco Bay. Challenge, the 6-meter boat from the 1930’s, sailed her usual mistake-free race, first on corrected time. Sir Isaac, the fast and flawless schooner from Port Townsend, graciously executed a 360 soon after the start, and did not dominate as was expected, finishing second on corrected time. Slipper, the fast little sled from Center Island, was barely first across the line but finished third on corrected time. If she had not sailed into the dreaded windless hole in the lee of Jones Island, she might have taken the coveted blue burgee. Vito Dumas, the Campos cutter from Port Townsend, had an excellent race and finished a solid fourth. Starfire of West Sound got fifth. Orion, the Kettenburg PC not seen here before, also had a good race. Windsong from Anacortes sailed well and got seventh. Nereia II was a late entry from Lopez. Nutmeg, the IOD from Deer Harbor, sailed well but was not helped by her rating. Particularly inspirational was Jack Schooley and Nymph from Friday Harbor. Jack spends a fair amount of time in a wheelchair. It was great to see Coriolis of West Sound, a Concordia, one of the more beautiful boats in this part of the world, make an appearance here, and even get around the course. Who knows how she would have done with her mainsail up? Also gracing the racecourse was Bene Velle, the gaff topsail cutter with tanbark sails, complete with little kids. In all, although there was some semi-fierce competition, the spectacle of these boats racing around these islands was the main reason for the event. In the evening, the awards for top three finishers were given on the deck of Island Pie, the pizza and pasta restaurant across the road from the Deer Harbor Marina.
Despite a near miss at the start, there were no boat collisions, no one ran aground, and fun was had by all. Our next race is September 7, 2021, the day after Labor Day, in connection with the Deer Harbor Wooden Boat Rendezvous. After the race there will be a boater’s potluck augmented by a salmon dinner put on by our Wooden Boat Society. We hope to see you there!
Some photos from this year's race, courtesy of Peter Olesen: