Ken & Barbie Recap

Ken & Barbie / Racing / VRC

Sunday morning arrived far too early after the fantastic dock party celebrating the Georgia Stait Alliance Charity Regatta the night before. The sun was shining and once the Race Committee got some coffee, we were underway out to English Bay on a nice ebb tide.

We motored out to the QC buoy and set the start line about 1/2 a mile to the SW, far enough from the freighters for clean air for the start. Environment Canada was calling for 10-15 knots from the NW out in the Strait, but often we don’t get the same wind in the bay. The wind was about 5-8 and more of a Westerly when we set the start line. It wasn’t a long line, but was pretty square with the pin end slightly favoured.

Start of the Ken & Barbie Race

Start of the Ken & Barbie Race

It looked to me as though the wind would continue to build so I set a course of A, D, B, which is Pt Grey bell buoy, QC buoy and Kits barge buoy, and set a green flag for marks to starboard. We were happy to see 12 boats on the line as the starting sequence got underway. We had a clean start as most boats were late to the line and many struggled to make the pin end due to adverse current. Everyone got on starboard tack and immediately headed for Jericho/Spanish Banks in search of some current relief.

After the rush of getting the race started the committee was able to relax and tuck in for some lunch. The RC consisted of my wife, Melissa, our dog Baylee and myself. We watched the fleet tacking up the South shore of the bay until they disappeared in the distance and behind the many anchored freighters. We could not see the action at Pt Grey, but apparently there were some challenging currents and some boats had to make several attempts to round the bell buoy.

After lunch and a couple of beverages we started to spot spinnakers flying in the distance as the leaders charged downwind on the strengthening breeze. By now it was a consistent 12-15 knots and remained so for the rest of the race. The first boat in view was Excalibur with a big lead on Thursdays Child who was followed closely by Windyfeat.

Thursdays Child having a bit of trouble with the gybe.

Thursdays Child having a bit of trouble with the gybe

The QC mark was going to be where all the excitement would take place with boats needing to gybe at some time before it, and then trying to drop the spinnaker and raise genoa for the reach over to Kits. Excalibur made it look easy with an early take down. Unfortunately Thursdays Child wrapped their spinnaker around the forestay when gybing still more than a mile from the mark. Windyfeat also had difficulty dropping their spinnaker and getting the genoa up when approaching the mark.

The next group approaching were Lark followed closely by Slingshot with Silik and Salus only minutes behind. Lark was able to make a clean drop while Slingshot surprised them by slipping past and continuing to fly their spinnaker all the way to Kits. Silik waited until after rounding QC to drop their spinnaker which thrilled the race committee as their spinnaker was flying out behind the boat as they reached towards Kits.

Silik with an interesting take down

Silik with an interesting take down

Now it became more challenging to keep an eye on the fleet as Excalibur was approaching the finish and the rest of the fleet were still heading towards QC. None of the remaining boats were flying spinnakers and lost time to the more daring boats who did. The closest battle we witnessed was between Lark and Slingshot. Lark, after losing the lead to Slingshot just after QC was able to take it back just before Kits buoy as Slingshot was dropping their chute.

Welo finishing

Welo finishing

The other exciting aspect was watching the boats fight against the current when approaching the finish line. The strong current was pushing them away from the line and some boats had to pinch up a lot to make the finish line. One unfortunate boat couldn’t make it and had to do 3 tacks within 50 meters of the finish to finally get across. All boats in the fleet were able to finish well before the cutoff time.

Many of the Kens and Barbies came back to the club to enjoy the beautiful afternoon

Many of the Kens and Barbies came back to the club to enjoy the beautiful afternoon

After racing many of the Ken and Barbies came back to VRC to enjoy some food and drinks. The results were read and thanks to Evolution Sails and Coal Harbour Brewing we gave prizes to the first overall (Slingshot), best costumes (Bluefin) and most embarrassing moment (Silik – for the entertaining spinnaker take down at QC). Thanks to all the racers for coming out and to our sponsors for supporting this event. We hope to see you all out next year.

Complete results available here: http://vrcracing.ca/ken-and-barbie/results/

Shane Alfreds
Race Officer – VRC Yachting Section
Skipper S.V. Talisman