Yaquina Bay Yacht Club 2009 Columbus Day Regatta

Scott and I are back home with the boat after spending this last weekend, Oct. 10th and 11th, at Yaquina Bay in Newport Oregon.  We took Wild Hare to Newport to compete in the YBYC 2009 Columbus Day regatta.  The weather and competition was fantastic.

Yaquina Bay Yacht Club hosted this annual event hosting racers from Portland, Eugene and of course the local favorites from YBYC consisting of 3 fleets, Santana 20's, PHRF, and Dinghies.  The Santana fleet consisted of 6 boats from Eugene, the PHRF fleet consisted of 4 Wavelength 24s, 2 Ultimate 20s, 1 Martin241, 2 J-24s, various cruiser/racers, and even a Corsair F-27 tri, the small boat fleet was made up of 7 Lidos.  For complete results see the YBYC website.

WildHare ended up 11th in the PHRF fleet sailing only 3 of the 6 races.  The boat was fast and sailed fantastic, we sailed 2 out of 3 races the first day having problems with the spinnaker at two marks in the first race, more spinnaker trouble in the 2nd and picked up a crab pot on the last leg to the finish.  Not to mention on race two the committee boat had problems with the pin end of the finish which ended up roughly a half mile up river from the committee boat so we (and others) sailed all the way to committee to finish, but the people behind us that figured out the mysterious buoy up river was the pin end of the finish line tacked across it to finish 15 minutes earlier that the boats that could not find the pin end.  Then there was an exciting crash between the trimaran and a J24 where one of the amas ended up in the cockpit of the J24 at the windward mark.  It was after 3pm by the end of the 2nd race and one of my crew had to get back to the valley so we decided to retire, drop off our crew and go fun sailing out in the ocean with the remaining crew. Scott, Sue and I ended up sailing out to #3 buoy and back, the ocean couldn't have been better, ~12-15kts wind and ~3ft swell.  Thanks to Larry "Swanthog" Falkenstien, see his video of Wild Hare, Scott and Sue for great job racing the boat Saturday.

Sunday was more great weather, no waiting for the wind to come up this day.  The wind was out of the East and blowing ~8 - 12kts.  I had Elliott Crowder (great friend and owner Bike Newport) on the boat racing with me today.  We had a great start, except for almost creaming a U20 that tacked on to port right in front of me, I still don't know how we didn't hit them.  We were 2 or 3rd around the windward mark, then dropped back a couple positions launching the spinnaker.  The spinnaker set went perfectly, just really slow since there were only two of us sailing the boat.  The 4 wavelengths, 1 U20 and Wild Hare were in a very tight pack all the way out to the ocean and around the #3 buoy all under spinnaker.  Wild Hare was able to catch and pass the trimaran and we were closing in fast on the first wavelength when the wind started to lighten.  We didn't have a chance of keeping up with our small jib against the wavelengths large mast head genoa, we were 6th across the line behind the 4 wavelengths and 1 U20, I think we should have corrected ahead of at least one of the boats but the race chair recorded our handicap incorrectly and for whatever reason refused to correct it after I requested a correction.  With that and waiting almost 45 minutes for the slower boats to finish, various racers asked the race committee to split the PHRF fleet as exactly half were very fast boats and the remaining were relatively slow with ratings over 300, so we decided to retire and take advantage of the weather, wind and ocean conditions and go sailing. 

Elliott and I headed out to the ocean and ended up sailing all the way to the Yaquina Head Light House and back ( 5+ miles each way).  We had a great, fast sail to the light house, sailing with 2 grey whales for about 15 - 20mins.  One of the whales surfaced within 20ft of the boat, I tacked away just to be safe cause the next time it surfaced would have been even closer.  The water was so clear, the whales were huge.  On the down wind run back to the jetties and harbor mouth we spotted a couple of porpoise, one of them swam right up to the boat and in front of the bow, then darted off.  Again the water was so clear you could see the entire body of the porpoise even when it was just below the water swimming along the boat.

All in all it was an epic weekend of sailing and racing, as usual the Eugene folks brought their A game and swept the PHRF fleet.  The Eugene sailors always bring a challenge along with great fun and spirit when they are in town, I am looking forward to bringing Wild Hare to Eugene for a race or two next season.  A huge thanks to YBYC for hosting an annual favorite and the famous fresh Tuna BBQ on Saturday night at the club house with endless Rouge beer flowing.

Wild Hare is out of the water and on a borrowed trailer now, and will remain out of the water and in the shop for the winter so we can finish our projects, get the boat painted and ready for the 2010 season.  We have commissioned a trailer from Precision Welding, I will keep you posted on the progress, and post pics.  If you have any fabrication/welding needs Precision Welding in Yamhill is THE place, aluminum, stainless, you name it they have you covered.  Precision Welding is responsible for most of the custom fabrications on Wild Hare. 

If you are looking for a challenge and great fun you must plan to attend this annual October regatta in Newport Oregon!