This year’s Dale Jepsen regatta was one of the best in recent memory. By the end of the racing on Sunday, sailors had seen a wind range from 6 to 20 knots, testing speed in all conditions.
Running on an adjacent course to the Laser PCC’s, Dale Jepsen had a small fleet of FJ’s with many of Bellingham’s high school sailors and a 14-boat strong fleet of 505’s hailing from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and even Idaho.
Saturday morning brought beautiful sunny skies and an 11-14 knot breeze which got the 505’s comfortably on the wire upwind and down. The wind stayed quite stable in the direction from the SSW all day. Despite Bellingham Bay’s reputation for a strongly favored left side, the course stayed even all day with gains being made by those who could track the oscillating shifts the best. We had a nice day, managing to string together three wins from the 5 races. Races were also won by Courtney and Tom, whose upwind boat speed and tactics were excellent all weekend. Race two also saw Craig and Dan from Port Townsend nail the pin end of the line and show some extreme pointing ability, catapulting them to a win. Cynthia and Charles from Vancouver stood out with their remarkable consistency, putting up all fourths and a third from the first days racing.
After the first three races on Saturday, the wind began to lighten up. By the final race of the day, most teams were hiking upwind and running deep on the downwind legs. After racing and a few beers in the boat park, everyone headed across town to the Bellingham Yacht Club for an excellent dinner of Tri-tip and some great free beer provided by Stones Throw Brewing.
In stark contrast to Saturday’s great weather, Sunday dawned with heavy rain and a big wind forecast. While rigging in the downpour, teams commented on the fact that the rumored wind did not appear to have shown up on time. As teams gathered around the start boat for a scheduled 10 am start, the wind looked far from ideal. There was a 10-knot breeze from the land with 15-20 knot puffs coming from 30 degrees to the right made for a tricky course to set for the Race Committee. The first race on Sunday was a game of chutes and ladders with Tom and Courtney shooting out to a massive lead by negotiating the tricky top mark the best. On the final leg, they were worn down and eventually overtaken for the win by Oscar and Mitchel sailing a borrowed boat, an impressive showing for the two 505 newbies.
Fortunately, the wind really came in for the rest of the day, giving racers a more stable breeze direction and wind speeds ranging from the mid to high teens. On our boat, we were able to string together enough good results to secure the win but the most impressive performance from Sunday went to Cedric and Paul from Bellingham who won the second to last race despite a capsize and would’ve won the last race if not for a botched tack right before the finish. Pretty impressive as this is Cedric’s first season in 505’s after graduating high school last spring.
Once ashore on Sunday, the only thing any of the sailors could talk about was how great of a weekend it was on the water. Huge thanks to the BYC in putting this awesome event on and Mike Powell and Mike Poulos as well as all the other volunteers for the work they put in to make this another awesome DJOD. Hope to see you all next year!