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  • Ward Fay

2024 Yellow Island Race Report

On Saturday May 18th, 2024, we had another one of our famous pleasant and interesting wooden boat sailboat races from Deer Harbor. The weather started out cloudy with good wind out of the west. The forecast was for a 30% chance of a shower around 2 pm. There were 11 boats entered, which gratified the organizers. As the sun came out, we made our way to the start, where Bruce and his Grand Banks had set up the line.

We started the race on time at noon, in lighter wind. As always, the start was spectacular to see, with all the beautiful boats in the rocky island setting. The boats were near each other for the most part and this remained the case through the race. It was kind of grueling to maintain speed as the breeze came and went, mainly went. It took about an hour to get through the Wasp Islands out to the west end of Yellow Island, and by then the tide had turned to an ebb.

At this time the race committee made the wise decision to change from the long course around Jones Island to the short course from Yellow Island back into Deer Harbor. Then began some better wind from the NW and we started moving back to Deer Harbor through the dozens of sport prawning boats and their buoys. The forecasted rain never quite arrived, as the dark clouds slid overhead going east. As often happens in these races, those of us behind the leaders were intrigued to see they had sailed into a large hole devoid of wind as the current pushed them south toward Crane Island. This enabled our slower boats to catch up, which made for a tighter grouping at the finish than we usually see. All the finishers made it around the course in under three hours. The first and last place finishers were only 33 minutes apart on a four-mile course. The top five finished within five minutes of each other.

Special congratulations and burgees go to the top three finishers on corrected time, all of whom were local boats: Starfire, the Blanchard 26 from West Sound, got first despite finishing fourth on elapsed time. Challenger, the 1930’s 6-meter from Deer Harbor Boatworks, got second on corrected but was first across the line. Scamp, the ultralight modern plywood I550 built by Steve Emmes in Olga on Orcas Island, attained the white third-place burgee.

We especially want to thank the participants who came from afar. Alcyone, Vito Dumas, and Sir Isaac from Port Townsend. Windsong came from Anacortes. Sula came up from Lopez Island, and Nymph from Friday Harbor.

Our next race will take place on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2024, the day after Labor Day, as part of our Annual Wooden Boat Rendezvous. We hope you can make it!

Ward Fay, Secretary, Wooden Boat Society of the San Juans.


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