Single handed race around Pender Island a Salt Spring Island Sailing Club race

A tranquil March Saturday morning on Ganges harbour was interrupted with the blast of an air horn that signified 5 minutes until the start of the two day round Pender island single handed race. 11 boats jockeyed for position on the line and waited for the final horn and were off. It was a slow start with light winds off the line.

The wind picked up in captains passage with electra out front followed by imp and boomer with Caliante and Oasis hot in pursuit. Imp was concerned about the winds in Trincomali and put in a reef. With the first day’s finish line being off Raser point on Pender the fleet spread out along the course.

New club member Eric van Soeren had PARAMOUR out racing which was nice to see. He had mentioned that the main had not been up in two years. It was quite the time to test it out. He could not blame the crew if something went wrong. Speaking of new members Gyle Keating in EMPEZAR had quite the sail. It is his first year of racing and he has been very bold and determined in his effort to make Empezar thunder along. The benevolent leader of the races Fleet captain Pete McGovern had decided that the fleet should race clockwise around the island and have to go through Captains passage on the way but left all other obstacles up to the racers including the numerous freighters parked in Plumper sound. Gyle must have thought these poor merchant seamen have been parked there for months with no entertainment and decided to see if he could sail under the anchor lines. Like I said he is bold and determined. To the chagrin of the seamen he survived and sailed on. The other noteworthy event on the way over was Greg Slakov on Imp decided to sail through the rocks behind fanning island. His comment was he had been there before on a power boat. Hey it worked.

The fleet managed not to hit any rocks or ships and made it to the harbour and tied up for the night. Being tired we all went to bed at 8pm because we knew it would be a long day on Sunday. (that’s the official story) And that is what would have happened but the trouble maker Keith Simpson showed up via BC ferries claiming he left Fulford at the same time we left and started arguing about the ratings of the ferries. This led to a heated discussion that seemed to go on for longer than the race. It was determined that a pool tournament would settle the matter.

I made the fatal mistake of ordering the special and had to wait to eat 5 minutes after everyone had left the table for the pool table. Well it all worked out. This kind lady was organizing the karaoke and left all these nice little cards on the table. So I filled them all out. Pete being our leader was first up with “Girls just want to have fun”. Let’s just say it was one of the more interesting renditions you could imagine. Tony Meek felt so bad for Pete that he sprang into action and jumped on stage to “help” out. It was like throwing gas on a fire. There was no helping. Once Pete started to swing the mike the lady in charge hit the gong and threw them off stage. To top it off the great singer Patrice Pothier was next up but ran for the parking lot. Three fellow sailors tried in vain to coax him on stage but it was not to be. Other than Eric getting checked out on the orange cannon at 1am not much else happened. Like I said we needed our sleep for the long race the next day and with Keith on the ferry with it’s 600 rating he managed to keep us up all night with his antics.

Some of us without heaters were up early and cold. It was hard to sleep in with the sound of those heaters blasting away. The coffee shop was open at 7am and I thought I was first in until she said she had found someone already in the place when she opened up. Whether a unnamed racer slept in the head or not is still unknown at this time. Roger Kibble had opted out of racing because of the 1 meter races at the club on Sunday. He was in first place and we thought he should not let down the other IOM racers. Eric van Soeren had to fly to Holland to go to his aunt’s funeral so he was off early and would not finish the race. That left 9 boats for the long leg home. Without a stove I had asked Bob Jones if I could boil some water for tea for the day. Bob was not having a good morning with heater problems. Then the bic lighter would not light the stove, then matches would not work…

With building winds of 10 – 12 knots we were off for the start. Greg had picked a house on a hill as one marker and the red can off Razer point as the other. The thing is there was about 5 houses on the hill and no one really knew which one. But we were off. Some of the fool hardy souls decided to fly their spinnakers. Being one of them I found my self boxed in between Keating’s EMPEZAR and Mario Tello’s TARA’S WHISPER. Mario had this ear to ear grin on his face as my spinnaker was laying in the water. Do you think he would give me a break? I was thinking I’m going to broach and be a permanent visitor in his cabin so I elected to round up and around him. He seemed like such a nice fellow.

Tony Meek has his chute up flying first and was off. The old girl MINKE was going like a bat out of hell. All the money he spent on the new spinnaker was money well spent. Not to be out done fleet captain racing Pete on DREKI flew his genniker. CALIENTE was out front with Imp hot in his heals. This left Bob on Oasis just behind them. Now a reasonable person would be fine with that but Bob is a task master and he drives his crew even when he has no crew. There is up on the deck of that 41 ft boat trying to get his spinnaker up. Like I said earlier I just knew it was not to be. We hit the gap between the island and south Pender and Bob had to jibe that huge chute. And there it goes under the fore stay and around and around and around. I was right behind him and could not control myself. I had to sail close by and ask “So Bob how do you like that new spinnaker?” As the fleet sailed away I thought I could hear a course of four letter adjectives coming from Bob’s boat.

As the fleet rounded the south end of Pender Island we where greeted with sustained winds of 12 knots. I’m glad Greg had gone over martin reefing the night before. I had never reefed the boat and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Caliente bore away at high speeds with Ole grinning from ear to ear. The whole fleet was tacking back and forth under the Pender Bluffs. It seemed as if we would all be back in no time but the wind gods decided to go for coffee and have a little time out. Leaving the fleet spread out. Some had to motor in and some managed to sail in. We all made it back at about the same time. All and all we had a great time.

I would say we had 12 winners and it was great to see the new members out in force. I’m sure next year we will have 16 boats out for this race. The thing about single handed racing is you can not blame the crew or drag them in the water and slow yourself down. The skippers get to prove to themselves that they can drive the boat to the maximum. That is if they are not on a ferry sleeping.

Cheers Scott

PHRF Club Club Rating Finish Corrected Time
Rating Rating As Sailed Boat Skipper Time (Time on time) Place
144 0 144 ELECTRA Kibble 13:34:39 03:15:26 1
168 13 181 BOOMER Simmons 13:53:00 03:22:08 2
105 19 124 OASIS Jones 13:43:40 03:30:37 3
72 -5 91 CALIENTE Andersen 13:34:49 03:32:34 4
158 -28 130 IMP Slakov 13:49:44 03:34:44 5
234 12 246 MINKE Meek 15:43:03 04:38:22 6
228 27 255 EMPEZAR Keating 16:24:00 05:09:29 7
153 51 204 KLAATHEM Pothier 16:08:12 05:17:06 8
151 8 180 PARAMOUR van Soeren 16:01:00 05:21:17 9
218 27 266 TARA’S WHISPER Tello 16:50:10 05:26:48 10
205 27 232 DREKI McGovern 17:00:00 05:50:04 11

Race 2

PHRF Club Club Rating Finish Corrected Time
Rating Rating As Sailed Boat Skipper Time (Time on time) Place
72 -5 91 CALIENTE Andersen 14:06:14 04:21:57 1
168 13 181 BOOMER Simmons 15:07:50 04:45:26 2
105 19 124 OASIS Jones 15:28:22 05:31:26 3
158 -28 130 IMP Slakov 15:35:35 05:35:35 4
218 27 266 TARA’S WHISPER Tello dnf 15:43:49 12
228 27 255 EMPEZAR Keating dnf 15:36:46 12
234 12 246 MINKE Meek dnf 15:30:52 12
205 27 232 DREKI McGovern dnf 15:21:23 12
153 51 204 KLAATHEM Pothier dnf 15:01:20 12
151 8 180 PARAMOUR van Soeren dns 14:42:51 12
144 0 144 ELECTRA Kibble dns 14:12:39 12


BOOMER 2 2 4 100
CALIENTE 4 1 5 91
OASIS 3 3 6 82
IMP 5 4 9 73
ELECTRA 1 12 13 64
MINKE 6 12 18 55
EMPEZAR 7 12 19 45
KLAATHEM 8 12 20 36
PARAMOUR 9 12 21 27
TARA’S WHISPER 10 12 22 18
DREKI 11 12 23 9

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