Blakely Rocks 2004 Race Report
submitted by Alex Krawarik
7 Olsons made it a one-design start for Center Sound Series #1, Blakely Rocks.
This year was an especially emotional year, as Kelly O'Neill had just died in a car accident a few days before, and the local fleets came out to pay tribute to her in a special way during this race.
The breeze was good and the Olsons got off to a good start at 9:45, heading south in about 8 knots. Conventional wisdom says go for the beach off West Point for current relief, and all but one Olson did this. There was an easterly component to the wind on the W side of the sound, however, and Surfer Girl took the flyer and pointed much higher than the other Olsons, though battling the current ended up costing them anyway.
The first beat to Blakely Rocks was a put drag race for the 6 Olsons who stayed together. Enigma, Lunchbox out in front, followed closely by Wild Turkey, then Bad Dog, Orcrist and Roadrunner all together. This was some of the closest racing we'd seen,....well....since last Summer sometime! Wild Turkey and Lunchbox decided to go have a close look at some commercial traffic. Everyone rounded Blakely Rocks close together, where Kelly O'Neils boat was moored and people through flowers in...
The run began choppy, and here the fleet split. Lunchbox, Roadrunner, Enigma, and Turkey took off on port pole straight down the Sound, while (for some dumb reason) Bad Dog and Orcrist went across the Sound a little ways on stbd pole for a while before realizing the error of their ways. A long long run (10+ miles) with building winds and partly sunny skies was a nice introduction to Spring sailing. The left side of the Sound was clearly favored, and the first 4 boats and second 3 boats lost contact after this split. Bad Dog and Orcrist went neck and neck for those 10 miles, and passed some J105s and other boats in the process. At the leeward mark, the wind was now blowing about 16-17 with gusts, and keeping the boat upright was difficult under the #1.
On the last beat, some boats did the smart thing and went out into the flood, while many boats did the dumb thing and stayed in, loosing several minutes. A great day of racing, with some really nice wind and weather!