"Awesome" pretty much sums up the weekend! The 3rd annual running of the WA State Championships was held the weekend of Sept. 8-9 at Westport, WA at the mouth of Grays Harbor. Sunshine both days set this up to be an epic weekend.
Westport is not for everyone. The conditions are much more challenging at this venue. This year we launched off Half Moon Bay Beach. Saturday morning we had about 10k from the west (onshore) and a 3-4' surf. All but one of the boats made it out of the surf OK, but not without some heart-thumping moments!!
We just don't have any surf at our venues in the Pacific Northwest, and Westport provides us an opportunity to improve our surf-launching skills. These skills instill confidence in the teams, and help to make them better, more well-rounded Hobie sailors.
Once out on the water, the wind built to 13-15k and double-trap conditions. And did I mention the current? With max ebb peaking close to 5k, you really had to call your laylines carefully and round the marks even more carefully! All of the teams were challenged with the 8' swell, the open-water waves, the 5k current, the kelp beds, and the double-trap wind.
When all of the teams hit the beach after surfing the waves in, everyone had smiles on their faces. They were each victorious as much for surviving the conditions as for the racing. We went back to the campground and had a wonderful albacore tuna barbeque/potluck and then watched Race 7 of the America's Cup in Jerry's motorhome.
Sunday morning brought more of the same. Only this time the surf was up to 4-6 feet!! An offshore northeasterly of 6-8k helped a bit. But timing the surf was the key. All of the teams again made it out safely -- sometimes with incident, sometimes without. Either way, it was incredibly exciting to do and exhilirating to watch.
On the water we had tamer conditions. Committee set the course up inside the harbor in more protected waters. Sunday's racing was equally as challenging, but this time the challenge was as much mental as it was physical. The early flood made the waters lumpy, and the winning teams were the ones that could keep their boats flat from pitching, worked the current advantageously, and found the pressure spots. When the strong ebb came on, the water laid down flat as a pancake and the challenge was now working the pressure and the proper side of the tide lines.
We hit the beach early Sunday afternoon after 8 races. Hats off to Laura Sullivan, Patsy ?, Todd Christensen & Kayte Davis for running impeccable races in challenging conditions.
And big hats off to each of the teams that rose to the challenge. Westport is not the easiest of venues. But everyone rose to the occasion. EVERYONE grew in skill and confidence, and became better sailors through their experience...and had a ton of fun doing it! Results will be posted shortly.
The only downer for the weekend was Sunday morning when Don Davey announced that he and Laura and family will be moving to Alabama this winter on a job promotion. This team has been a special fixture on the Div. 4 circuit, and we will miss them dearly. Best of luck to them in their Hobie adventures back east.
Finally, Damien Frye caught some excellent pics of the surf launch on Sunday. You can check them out at http://www.damienrain.com/pictures/v/admin/hobiewestport2007/