What a time what a race. 117 boat of all types where registered for the round Salt Spring race. However being totally bias there is one boat type in particular that I’m gong to report on. It is billed out as ” The Martin 242 is a 24-foot, high performance, family-oriented day racer and weekender” and let me tell you on this race it lived up to it’s billing and it’s reputation as A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing. Being a new martin sailor I was really looking forward to doing this rather long and argues race. The round Salt Spring is not a typical round the cans event. The currents of the local waters make it a tricky course not to mention all the hidden rocks. Yes this is more of a marathon than a regular race. The start was at 10 am and the cut off was at 11am Sunday morning.
The Salt Spring Island sailing club and all the volunteers put on a great show and really makes the race an event weekend. On Friday night there was a salmon barbecue, live jazz music and a fashion show. The fashion show features the latest in race gear with the round salt spring logo on it. I could not miss the fashion show and had to miss out on a party at the Campbell’s home where most of the martin 242 owners and crews had gone. The reason I could not miss the show was my wife June was in the show. It has taken me 20 years to relies I married a super model.
On Saturday morning the day got off to a rocky start. The Salt Spring Island Roasting Company coffee machines had either run out of water or kicked the breakers and Coffee what is short supply but we soldiered on to the skippers meeting with tea in hand. John Healey the Commodore of the club gave a great speech about the race stating this was the 35 running of the race and it was designed to be a race for all types of boats and sailors. From cruisers to hot racers all are welcome. With the niceties over fleet captain racing Pete McGovern laid out the details of the race at hand. The currents made a clockwise course the route for this year. With light winds forecast he changed the starting sequence of the divisions and set them back to 10 minutes each. The Marting fleet would be off at 10:20 am.
With tea in hand we where down to the docks and on the boats and did the big untie. With 117 boats rafted all over the docks it is a time consuming process. Finally we where out on the water with sails up and stalking the line watching the wind. The big boats where off , div two was off then the 5,4,1 and go horn for our division and we where off on our 42 mile race. The winds were about 5 knots and most of the fleet managed to make it out of the harbour with the exception of two boats that ran aground. Neither where martins and lets just say the humiliated boats where healed over by the Salt Spring coast guard and did their 360 turns and where back in the race.
Not Fred, Wicked, Min on Mine, Maptown.com and our boat Boomer where all within range of each other. Some of the martin fleet stayed on the Salt Spring side of the harbour and elected to tack out at Batt Rock but those of us with local knowledge of the waters sailed out to Wellberry Spar and jumped into the tidal stream of Captains Passage and where pushed out in front of at least one other Martin. Yes it was fun for Boomer to actually be in front of one of the other Martins. This was not due to our faster sailing. I was really impressed with the sails on the other Martins and our older dacron main was looking pretty tiered and baggy when compared to the others. The fleet had a good run until we went off of Fulford where the wind died. Ug. At this point my crew became restless and pulled out their dreaded darn horn. Maybe I should explain we sail as a family and my crew is June, Thomas (8) and Keith (11). So at this point the race became one of a grind and wait for the wind. Two of the Martins wisely creped out and off salt spring and put themselves in a great spot to catch any wind filling in from the South. I think it was Min on Mine and Not Fred. Wicked sailed into a tough hole and was dragged into Fulford harbour by the current. After what seemed like 100 blast of the horn and a hour wait the wind filled in and we where all on a spinnaker run up towards Cow bay.
The spinnakers stayed up all the way through Sampson Narrows, past Maple Bay and right up to Crofton where the wind direction changed and at that point we had a nice 8knot breeze that took us up to Southy Point and the entrance to Trincomali channel where we faced the current, sunset and no wind. Well at this point it seemed like half the boats in the race started their motors and headed home. The VHS was crackling with calls to the race committee and boats pulling out of the race. At this point my eldest son Keith made me proud he stated “Simmons do not quit we are going to finish the race”. Then he promptly pulled out his sleeping bag and went to bed until 11 Sunday morning. He may not have quit but he slept through the rest of the race. He must be the smartest one in the family. Shortly after Keith statement Thomas retied to the spacious Martin Cabin and was off dreaming of his beloved trimarans.
Needless to say I had a wonderful night with a super model. Unfortunately June was cold, tired and had a nasty headache which was probably caused by Keith’s darn horn. At about midnight she turned in. Drifting in a Martin, looking for the wind, the current, the rocks. The mind started to drift. Darn it all we where dragging kelp. I could see a line of it off the rudder. So I thought it would be easy just to spin the rudder and free it. Darn still there. Ok sheaves up and pull it off. Hanging on half asleep and dying for a coffee. I spent an hour trying to get the darn kelp off the rudder only to realize it was not kelp it was the reflection of the motor off the water.
Well it passed the time. At about 4am Thomas Sprang up from his berth and said I’m going to be sick and promptly threw up in the cock pit. Then being the trooper he is he said; Dad you are sitting on the wrong side of the boat, lets get the weight over, where are my racing gloves. What a sailor. June and Thomas took over the boat as we passed our house at 5am an could hear our Turkey Tom “Bobby” barking out his morning gobble. June and Thomas drove the boat in light airs for an hour or so while I caught a cat nap in the cabin. Once we where past Atkins reef I joined them on deck for one last push through Captains passage and home.
With a flood tide coming on there is only one way to make it through the passage. I have to give the credit for this move to Roger Kibble and like to call it the Kibble maneuver. There where 10 boats stopped against the current when we sailed up and passed them all. Yes another victory for a Wolf in Wolfs clothing. The trick to the Kibble maneuver is you have to sail right up to the rocks on the Salt Spring side of the passage. You have to sail within 10 feet of the rocks and tack sail out 25 feet and tack sail into the rocks an tack. All in all we probably did 12 tacks but stayed out of the current and passed all the boats. As I looked back they all tried to follow but most did not want to come in that close. Note to readers; Warning if you have a tall mast try and not hit the overhanging trees.
The last spinnaker run into the harbour and finish line was glorious. I could smell the RoCo coffee, the sun was shinning, Keith was still sleeping but Thomas maned the horn and we finished a great race.
The day ended with David Wood’s wonderful Salt Spring island lamb barbecue and the awards. A big congrats to team Fred in Not Fred for a overall 3rd place finish and Boomer finished 41st.
So all in all the martin 242 lived up to it’s billing as a 24-foot, high performance, family-oriented day racer and weekender. Not Fred proved the high performance and Boomer proved the family part. What a weekend if you missed it there will be the 36 running of the race next year.