June 28, 2016   Joe Cline

The incredibly talented crew aboard the custom 40′ monohull, Madrona, sent us this update and generously allowed us to repost!  Keep the hammer down, Madrona!



Carl Buchan up the mast on Madrona before the R2AK start in Port Townsend


Hi Madrona Fans,

Day 1 started with a bang, as the jacked up rowing crew posted record speeds (3.5 kts) and managed to keep several sleeker looking boats astern until we hoisted sails after clearing the middle harbour marker. Dennis did a beautiful job building our medieval torture device, but all the same I hope it is relegated to a piece of furniture for the foreseeable future. Team MAD Dog rolled us pretty quickly and headed off toward the horizon.
Fluky wind kept us mixing it up with several of the multi hulls like Pure & Wild, Bad Kitty, and Team Un-Cruise. Looking outside at a becalmed Turn Point Design the consensus aboard was to brave the channel inside Trial Island where 5-8 kt winds kept us nipping at the heels of Mail Order Bride and Jungle Kitty. More inshore breeze drew us inside discovery island where we passed MOB and halved our deficit with Ocelot [Team Jungle Kitty]. Poking our bow into Haro Strait presented a sea better suited for rock skipping and quiet contemplation than sailboat racing.
Carl Climbed to the first spreader and spotted a bit of breeze over on the shore of San Juan Island, so while Ocelot dropped their jib and fired up the peloton, we took a hitch east and where a whisper of breeze and our hand me down light air jib kept boat speed in the 5s while we tried to ignore the two knots of current that were pushing us back towards home. Kurt distributed rations and there was great rejoicing among the crew.
Reaching past Speiden Island we saw Ocelot screaming across from the Canadian side headed towards Johns Pass and presumably East Point of Saturna, avoiding the often light winds inside the Gulf Islands, but sailing considerable extra distance. We checked our high priced weather routing software, read some tea leaves and scoffed at their choice. Surely we would come out of Active Pass miles ahead. Sadly, this was not to be. Sailing gave way to drifting, gave way to rowing, and back several times as we nursed Madrona past Pender Island, and toward the sunset.
Darkness fell as we squeaked in to Active Pass with Turn Point Design and performed a couple of close up inspections of BCs luxurious ferries. Winds in the Straits of Georgia proved to be much the same as they were inside the Gulf Islands until around 4:30 AM when we were treated to a nice sunrise over the Coast Mountains and winds strong enough to prevent the crew from worsening their rowing blisters. A quick check of the race tracker showed Ocelot about 10 miles ahead.
It is now blowing in the low teens and Madrona is happily plugging her way toward Lasqueti Island. Another 60 miles or so should bring us to Seymour Narrows. Rations have been distributed. The crew is happy.
Thanks to everyone for their support. Fan mail is appreciated!
– The Madrona Crew