Having just competed in the 17th annual two-day Homer Yacht Club Land’s End Regatta on June 29-30, local captains and crews were back on the starting line Saturday to celebrate the Fourth of July.
It wasn’t exactly a firecracker start, however, due to a lack of sail-filling wind.
“At the start, the winds dropped to near zero and most of the fleet wandered across the start line thanks to a few puffs and meandering currents,” said Eric Pullman, the club’s vice commodore and captain of Nereus, one of the entrants in Saturday’s race.
Craig Forrest, skipper of the Arctica, kept his eye trained on changing conditions, making the most of any change in weather to maintain his lead on the Homer Spit-Gull Rock-Homer Spit course.
Arctica’s bow was pointing in the right direction when the wind picked up, “where some of the boats had turned into the current,” said Forrest. “At first, it was kind of puffing us along, and I kept trying to debate whether to put up lighter sails or not, but the wind kept shifting, like 360 degrees. … When the wind did pick up, it picked up pretty good.”
Fortunately, it gave Forrest the edge Arctica needed as it rounded Gull Rock. No sooner did the Islander 29 sail behind the rocky mark than the “wind quit again and we were watching everyone catch up with us because they still had wind,” said Forrest. “Then, at one point, I was afraid we were going to drift into the rocks, but we had just enough wind and that was it.”
This is Forrest’s second win of the club’s sailing season. The Arctica also took first in the Memorial Weekend Sourdough race.
“Arctica managed to play the puff and was the first to catch the building breeze out of the south,” said Pullman. “Most of the rest of the fleet treaded the second place spot throughout.”
Most of Saturday’s action was focused between the Dolphin, skippered by Rick Foster, and Morning Star, skippered by Ron Downing and winner of the regatta.
Problems launching the spinnaker, a sail usually triangle in shape designed for use in specific wind conditions, meant a loss in time for Nereus, but Pullman said he “managed to make up the time on the way back to the finish line.”
Results for the Homer Yacht Club’s July 4 face, held July 6, were:
• First place: Arctica, Capt. Craig Forrest;
• Second place: Nereus, Capt. Erik Pullman;
• Third place: Morning Star, Capt. Rick Downing;
• Fourth place: Dolphin, Capt. Rich Foster;
• Fifth place: Winterhawk, Capt. Shawn Hansen;
• Sixth place: Seasound, Capt. Bill Marley.
The next club-sponsored event is a sail to and family-friendly picnic at Jakolof Bay on July 20. For more information, visit www.homeryachtclub.com.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at email@example.com.