Get out boating
This year’s Semiahmoo Cup Regatta drew almost 80 boats compared to last year’s 50, and with good sun and fairly decent wind both days saw some good competitive racing for boats from as far away as Seattle and North Vancouver.
Local sailor Shane Alfreds took advantage of nearly perfect weather last weekend to tie for top honors in multi-hull division E at the sixth annual Semiahmoo Cup Regatta with Canadian sailor Bernd Giese who was sailing a multi-hull nearly one-third longer. In sailing, length usually translates into speed, and even though multi-hulled boats are a special case because they’re almost always planing, Alfred’s accomplishment is significant. Giese, for example, also sets two sails to Alfred’s one.
Alfreds took a second (to his dad) in the opening long distance TD Canada Trust race. Both were sailing 18-foot single sail (cat-rigged) carbon fiber A-Cat Catamarans built in Sweden, very light boats at 165 pounds and as fast as a regular monohull twice their size.
On Sunday, Kim Alfred’s fifth place dropped him out of the running for over-all honors, but Shane Alfred secured the overall trophy with a second Saturday and third on Sunday.
Other regatta winners, figuring combined finishes in the two races, include Gray Hawken’s Davidson 40 “Teddy Bear” in division A, Alan Keil’s “Wayward Wind” in division C and Jeff Rebiffe in his Cal 25 “Why Knot” in division D.
Three boats tied for first in Division B: Mick Corcoran’s slippery little Hotfoot 27 “Blackfoot,” Mike McColl’s “Caliente,” another Hotfoot 27, and Julie Kadar in her Choate CF27 “Goose n’ Duck.”
The weather both days was sunny with more wind Saturday than Sunday. “It was light in here (at the start near the White Rock pier),” said Reigh North, who skippered his Dash 34 “Absolute Kaos” to a decisive Division A win in Saturday’s 25-mile long TD Canada Trust Cup race, “but once we got out a ways it picked up, and from Point Roberts south to Alden Bank we had a good 20 knots or more.”
Saturday provided some entertaining moments in Division B as Michael McColl in his Hotfoot 27 “Caliente” made a very impressive save after committing a blunder at the start, sailing over the line with the wrong group of boats. “We thought we had such a good start, too, in Division A,” joked the affable skipper, “but then we realized that the group we were supposed to be with, Division B, hadn’t started yet. Ooops!”
Realizing their mistake, McColl immediately reversed course, put up his spinnaker, sailed back around the right (pin) end of the line, reversed course again, doused his chute, came up close-hauled and flopped over for a port-tack start, all quickly enough to start less than a minute behind his competition and with no penalties for being over early. “We wanted to go up the right side of the course because it was so heavily favored,” McColl said. And indeed, after all that, he beat his main competition, Bellingham’s Hotfoot 27 named “Blackfoot,” to the first mark by more than just a few seconds.
“Then we just ... gave the race away,” said McColl, referring to the downwind leg from Point Roberts south to Alden Bank. With Blackfoot hot on their stern, which is a controlling position sailing downwind, McCool’s tactician and former Hotfoot 27 owner who was only identified as Phil called for the crew to drop the spinnaker so they could play more effective tactics against Blackfoot. McColl later shrugged when asked about the tactic, questionable at best, especially since Blackfoot managed to sail right over the top of them and away toward the leeward mark one Caliente lost her momentum. “Dumb!” he laughed philosophically, “just plain dumb!”
Sunday’s light wind first caused a delay of over an hour, and then the two races planned for the day were reduced to one as an on-shore breeze gently built from the west. The afternoon was a thing of beauty as the 70-something boats in the five different divisions sailed carefully in the bright sun and rippled sea, most flying their spinnakers on the two downwind legs. It all finished with a barbecue back at the Blaine Marina where prizes were awarded and good-natured insults were traded. Next year will be even bigger, race officials promised.