photo by Jan Anderson

Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle kicked off central Puget Sound’s big-boat sailing season in March with the Center Sound Series, a three-race, long-course event that drew 75 yachts, the most in recent years.

The overall winner in the PHRF fleet was Bodacious, a Beneteau 355, sailed by J Rosenbach of the South Sound Sailing Society. While the 35-footer was certainly not one of the fastest boats in the regatta with a rating of 129, it corrected over the big boys to claim top honors.

The overall winner in the ORC group, populated by the fastest boats on the Sound at 45-feet and larger, was Crossfire, Lou Bianco’s Reichel/Pugh 55. The yacht finished at the top of an eight-boat fleet, an impressive number for the growing high-roller class.

CYC Race Fleet Capt. Matthew Wood said the good turnout for the regatta is evidence of the continued success of handicap racing in the region.

“In contrast to some other regions of the country, handicap racing is alive and well in the Pacific Northwest,” Wood said. “This is a good time to be playing in the yacht racing game here.”

The yachts started the Blakely Rocks Race, the first in the series on March 4, in a light southerly that got lighter as the day progressed. The ORC boats sailed the full 21-mile course, but only a handful of PHRF boats finished, even though their course was shortened.

The breeze proved better for the 26-mile Scatchet Head Race the following Saturday, started in a solid southerly that increased to the low 20s, carrying most boats to the turning mark at the south end of Whidbey Island and back to Shilshole by early afternoon.

“All the boats that entered the race and didn’t break something, finished,” Wood said.

For the third in the series, the Three-Tree Point Race, the race committee elected to post a shortened course before the start, as the wind was predicted to die near the turning mark early in the afternoon. So the yachts sailed to a temporary mark north of Alki Point and back to Shilshole.

“As it turned out, we had a very solid southerly,” Wood said. “But the wind did end up dying and there was nothing at the original mark at 3:00 in the afternoon.”

Bodacious owner, Rosenbach, said that overall success in PHRF racing often depends upon which fleet you start with, noting “sometimes you make it into different patches of wind or current.”

And he added that having slow boats starting early, with the reverse sequence used for Center Sound, gives the smaller boats a better chance.

“At the end of the day I say hats off to my guys,” Rosenbach said. “It’s a great bunch of guys who work together and work hard.”

Wood said he was impressed with the nine-boat turnout by the J/105 one-design fleet, at nine boats, and the increasingly competitive nature of that group. The class winner was More Jubilee, sailed by Erik Kristen.

Matthew was also gratified by the turnout for the “casual” class.

“They had three out there and that’s three more than they ever had,” Wood declared.

by Bruce Sherman, Corinthian Yacht Club

For individual race reports of Blakely Rock, Scatchet Head and Three Tree Point, by Stephanie Schwenk,

see the March and April issues of 48 North.

For Full Results, go to