Portland Island / Moresby Island yacht race

Salt Spring Island sailing club annual Portland /Moresby Race was held on Sunday April 15. The forecast was for light wind, which was worrisome, as the race around Portland and Moresby Islands (which are located off of Swartz Bay and Fulford Harbour) is one of the longest on the calendar at over 26 nautical miles.
The pre-race meeting was something all Saltspringers can relate to. It all started with good intentions and a simple question by Greg Slakov, the racing fleet captain. (Note to Greg: “If you ever have to be in charge of a group of Saltspringers don’t let them vote on anything”! EVER!!! sometimes the debate goes on for years)
The initial question was should we break with the traditional “skipper’s choice” procedure, and choose a direction in which we all have to round the islands? The vote was “yes”, let’s choose a common direction. But which way? Some wanted to go clockwise, others counter-clockwise. So we had an inconclusive vote on that. Then, a call came from Roger Kibble – “perhaps we should re-vote regarding a united rounding direction”. Greg duly held the vote – again inconclusive – so he unilaterally declared the rounding direction “Skipper’s Choice!” So much for democracy.
It turned out to be a glorious day for a sailboat race, with steady winds and bright sun the whole way round. Nine of ten boats elected to go clockwise around the islands. David Wood and crew elected to go to counter clockwise and unfortunately it was the slow way, but you can never tell what will happen. The race featured the longest spinnaker run we have had in a while, from the south tip of Moresby Island, around Portland Island, and all the way back to the finish line.
It was also one of the closest races of the season with boats sailing within yards of each other over the entire course. First and second place were separated by 26 seconds over a race that lasted about 6 hours! For the next few day you can easily recognize everyone who was out there: we are the ones with raccoon eyes and sun burns. Thank heavens for sunglasses. The next race will be on April 29. (This was voted on as well!)
The Salt Spring Island Sailing club is democracy in action, Salt Spring style. You gotta luv it. Great Sailing, great people and great debate. The Round Salt Spring race is going to be May 19-20.
By Scott Simmons

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