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Thread: E32 Race Report: Race to the Straits 2019

  1. #1
    Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm Geoff W.'s Avatar
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    E32 Race Report: Race to the Straits 2019

    Hi all! I just did the biggest race of my E32 ownership yet, and had a lot of fun, so I thought I'd share with y'all.

    The race is a yearly classic called Race to the Straits, a two day race starting at Shilshole Marina in Seattle, racing up the Sound to Port Townshend. All boats are either single or double-handed, with divisions for Flying Sails vs. Non-Flying Sails. You spend the night at PT and then race back to Shilshole the next day. Registration caps at 125 boats, and fills up every year, so it's one of the biggest and most varied races of the year.

    I raced double-handed NFS with my stalwart German race partner Bettina, and I think we did a pretty damn good job! There were two other E32s in the class but one did not race at all, and the second didn't compete in the 2nd day of the race.

    The overall course looked like this. One critical factor was you had to pass the halfway gate at Double Bluff, passing between the green nav buoy and shore before heading up.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Day 1 was sunny with light breeze, and we had a killer start and first half of an upwind leg. The 32-3 performed beautifully upwind in light air with my 140%ish genoa. Keeping both sails full and big bellied, and keeping the amount of unnecessary movements to a minimum meant we were able to keep moving really nicely and we pulled away from most of the fleet. Unfortunately, at some point the upper spreader ripped my genoa leech line area so the line itself was free, and the leech line got caught on the upper spreader every time we tacked from port onto starboard. This caused some moments of extreme frustration during critical tacks, especially trying to get around the Double Bluff buoy. The current there was flowing at least 3 knots in the wrong direction, and the course between buoy and land meant you were going through some quite shallow water. We would tack up to make northward progress, then when we tried tacking to get west, the leech line would catch and we'd have to try to spin back over with the jib backwinded, fail at that, then do a full 360 to gybe and bring the leech line off the spreader. All with the starboard tack fleet approaching us.

    Fortunately we weren't the only ones to get screwed by the current as everyone tried and failed to make the mark, got swept backwards, tried to get back to the mark, swept backwards more, and so on. Our navionics track tells the whole story:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    We crossed the mark for the first time at 1:36PM. By 4PM we had only made it as far as my note in the top of the picture, so we called it at the halfway point and motored to Port Townshend. Turns out everyone else in our class did as well, except for this crazy Q Class race boat named Grayling, who were the only ones to finish, and they made it 17 min before the final cutoff at 7PM.

    Day 2 was a dead downwind leg. I moved the jib sheets to the outside track for the first time since I've owned the boat and I have to say it made a massive difference. I honestly thought the boat just wouldn't sail on a deep reach, it was either wing on wing or nothing, but we actually got moving pretty damn well. Nowhere near as well as we were upwind, but that's a given for NFS.

    We killed the start again and busted through the adverse current coming around Marrowstone Island, where the Cal31 and Catalina 30 in my fleet could be seen pointing dead south but moving straight north in another 2.5-3kts of current.

    We followed the fleet and hugged the beaches to stay out of the adverse current, except for one mistake where I think we separated from the Kitsap Peninsula too early to cross the Sound before the current was really favorable. Still, by the time we made it to the finish, we were 2nd in our class across the line, beaten only by that Q Class boat.

    We ended up taking 2nd in our class overall, and 3rd in the division overall. A Newport 28 somehow snuck ahead of us and crossed the line a minute and a half before we did, but for my first "big" race I am quite pleased and really happy with how the E32-3 sails. Wish I saw more of them out there

    Upwind Navionics track: https://webapp.navionics.com/maps/#s...7098440484.kml
    Downwind Navionics track: https://webapp.navionics.com/maps/#s...7098407428.kml
    Class Results (I'm Class 3): https://www.styc.org/race_info/RaceT...ies_Class.html
    Division Results: https://www.styc.org/race_info/RaceT..._Division.html

    Click image for larger version. 

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    s/v "Delightful"
    1987 E32-3
    Hull #712

  2. #2
    Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm Geoff W.'s Avatar
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    Bonus note as I know there are some strong opinions about them out there, but a Westsail 32 got 1st place OVERALL on Sunday. Yes, a Wetsnail 32 beat all the J boats, Farrs, custom sloops, and so on.

    https://www.styc.org/race_info/RaceT..._Division.html

    The beauty of beating your rating, I guess.
    s/v "Delightful"
    1987 E32-3
    Hull #712

  3. #3
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    Westsails often win the ratings title. Won class in the SSS Hawaii race, and have done well in the Pac Cup.

    They're also often last across the line, especially if the air goes light or there is a windward leg.
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
    Table of Contents for Thelonious Blog here
    Videos: http://www.youtube.com/c/ChristianWilliamsYachting

  4. #4
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    pictures from the race!

    one of the sites I like looking at... and found this!

    https://janpix.smugmug.com/Events/Ra...19/i-6PX6wJV/A
    Art
    Crew
    E32-3 "Aces Dream"
    Hull #661

  5. #5
    Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm Geoff W.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldfauser View Post
    one of the sites I like looking at... and found this!

    https://janpix.smugmug.com/Events/Ra...19/i-6PX6wJV/A
    Wow thanks so much! I hadn't even thought to look at Jan's from this race. Mighty fine looking boat, but maybe I'm biased...
    s/v "Delightful"
    1987 E32-3
    Hull #712

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