Last years Merit 25 Regionals were at the 2014 NOOD in Seattle and we didn’t have a trailer to get my Merit up from Portland so we thought we would crash the party and sail up. I would have registered but couldn’t afford the fees or all the safety gear on a river rat sailing instructor’s income so we tagged along and got the bug for offshore sailing in a little boat.
I sold the Merit and got the Moore 24, a proper job at North Sails and an evening shift at West Marine unloading truck to afford the 400 dollars in flares and other stuff we are supposed to have. There were still things beyond the bank I didn’t have that we needed like a heavy weather jib so with more than a little help from my new friends at North, I cut down a sail I found in the dumpster to meet the requirements. Unfortunately I also cut the #*!^ out of my hand when a hacksaw blade broke and had to get 10 stitches the day before heading down to Astoria so with our crew of only 4 you could say we were a little short handed. After a beautiful day on the bay pounding north through the night as the drunken crow flies we where honestly surprised to see we were still in the race and keeping up.
Inspired by this we put all our energy into battling the light winds in a special hell where we were headed on every tack trying inshore and offshore to defend what turned out to be a surprising lead on the fleet. After tacking out of a bad decision to go close in and cut inside split rocks we crossed 10 (45 foot) boat lengths behind ”ION” to watch them anchor as the wind left us. Shocked that this was even an option we tied our sheets to our anchor rode and did the same. After making fun of them to ourselves about what we were sure was their crew settling down to a meal of non dehydrated food, we set about squaring the chaos below and above deck and got the kite ready for the eventual bare away at Flattery. We were not finish passing around the Tupperware of dehydrated three cheese mashed potatoes when we saw pressure to the south got our kite up and walked by our neighbors as they tried to get a colored sail up themselves. The next time we saw them it was with their steaming light on as they retired to make the BBQ and collect their hot towels and Champagne.
Meanwhile as Martin and I lay on the fore deck anchored again, watching the Windex spin, saw to our dismay our $300 lo draw LED tricolor flicker and go out. Without hesitation and with only a value pack of colored electrical tape and some battery powered lights from Harbor Freight Martin made red and green running lights. Shortly after the battery died, the SSW came back at 3 knts and we rounded the shortened coarse at Duntze rock. The wind finally filled in from the west and built to 30 knts for a very rewarding surf into Port Angeles where we rounded and hoisted our couture head sail just as the ferry containing the crews of the boats that motored into Victoria went by.
I guess what we lack in tactical coastal sailing savvy we made up for in tenacity. Thanks from the bottom of the bilge of my heart to everyone ashore and afloat for all the help.
See you at Pac Cup. – Anarchist Rhys.