On Monday, Aug. 6, over 50 boats thronged the sun-streaked waters in front of Shilshole Bay Marina. There are only two more races left in the Ballard Cup series. (Click on picture above for slideshow)
SLIDESHOW: Racers of the Ballard cup get closer to series victory
Over fifty boats thronged the sun-streaked waters in front of Shilshole Bay Marina for the third race of the Ballard Cup series on Aug. 6. Waters were wavy and rolled rough, with wind gusts upwards of fifteen knots and air temperature hanging over seventy degrees.
“These are perfect conditions, too bad we're not racing today,” said Sloop Tavern Yacht Club Commodore, Tim Morgenroth.
In a departure from racing, Morgenroth’s forty-foot Baba, Airloom, acted as committee boat, anchoring about two hundred yards from a large buoy that created a start and finish line for the racers. Members of the STYC take turns acting as committee boat throughout the racing season.
The crew of the Airloom: Suzzanne Oosterman, Laura Dangel and her husband Tim Adamson, Galen Yalch, Bob Foulds, and Paul Ramsay were the acting officials, signaling the countdown to start for each of the six fleets using horns and flags. They also had the meticulous task of checking-in each boat by watching for the sail number and name, which proved to be difficult on a day with zero overcast and a brilliantly golden sun streaming across the water.
“It's easiest to have two pairs of spotters -- one person with binoculars watching for boats and the other checking the boats on the clipboard,” said Morgenroth.
Racers watch the committee boat for flags with symbols that indicate the countdown for each race. As the countdown decreases a horn blasts in two-minute increments. Racers have to time their position, choosing lines carefully, so that they are in position to leave the starting area just as the starting horn sounds. To cross the line before the starting horn could result in addition of time to their score or disqualification.
After an hour and a half, racers began to approach, completing a seven-mile course of healing hard in steady wind and water lapping at the gunwales. The crew of the Airloom were ready with GPS synchronized clocks and binoculars, clipboards and cameras. They watched the water to the northeast as racers cruised down wind to the finish line, most with spinnakers pluming. A STYC traditional shotgun blast fired blanks and announced the first finishing boat for each fleet.
Winners in each included Figaro, Rock Lobster, Avalon, Tioga, Magic Button, and Delirium.
In the Ballard Cup series there are only two more races left before the scores are averaged to determine the winner and will be announced with other race results in September. There is still a lot of racing action coming up, including the Pink Regatta on September 9th. For further details, look to the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club web site, http://www.styc.org/.
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