Yesterday’s report from the 505 NA’s
Riley Gibbs and Reeve Dunn held on to a two point lead at the end of day two of the International 505 North American Championships. The California-based team has sailed consistently well through a variety of conditions that Bellingham Bay has dished up in the first half of the regatta.
Yesterday had about 12 knots out of the SE sprinkled with holes and shifts. Most everyone battled for the left side of the course. When you made a mistake, you paid dearly. The fleet is loaded with talent from those who have a Gold Medal at home, to multiple prior World and North American champions. The final race seemed especially tricky with some teams sailing fast DDW and some making better VMG wire running. The race committee got three races off and the stoke level was high as the sailors feasted on tri-tip and drank locally-brewed Kulshan Beer at Bellingham Yacht Club.
Today started with an on-shore postponement as the wind built to a race-able level. Many boat park projects ensued as the sun started to blaze and the temperature rose appreciably. Sure enough in the clearing trend the gentle breeze set in and the fleet was launched and proceeded on the two mile sail to the racing area. The race track was in the gray silt outflow of the Nooksack River. The silt was only in the top 6″ so you left a track of clear water.
The wind was light but the water was much smoother. Just the same, if you didn’t have clear air you were dead. It was a mentally exhausting race and I think many of us thought that might have been it for the day. Then the thermal came in at 12 knots while we were waiting. I considered putting my spray top on but it was so warm I couldn’t bear to do it.
The RC ran two more races, and they were pretty epic. The conditions were moderate but rippable, but it was sunny, warm and wire-running on a 505 against 50 other boats towards Mount Baker is hard to beat. The fleet was pretty condensed which led to super-packed mark roundings. One gate rounding was really memorable with about 10 boats all converging into the 100′ gap at the same time.
The Race Committee of Bellingham Yacht Club has done an outstanding job so far, as has the hospitality crew. It has been a first class event and everyone is having a blast. The feeling of camaraderie is indescribable in this class. The leaderboard is very well represented on a geographic level with 2 boats out of the top 5 from the east coast. The Buchans are the leading PNW boat with Dalton and Fritz not far behind.
It will be interesting to see who prevails in the second half of the regatta. The forecast looks solid for tomorrow. It should be warm with good wind out of the NW. Sunday looks to be legit as well but with so many good teams in such a tight series it is really anybodies guess who will be declared the champ after the end of this. All I know is it won’t be me!
Stay tuned for more from sunny, breezy Bellingham, Washington!
Erik Coburn