With light air and some starting confusion, this year’s Islands Race will be forgotten as the race that never really happened. It was still a lovely spring day!

Early in the week prior to the final event of the four-race Southern Sound Series that began in December 2022, forecasts gave a foreboding wind prediction of 0-2 knots. Usually an early forecast like that will change into something, anything! Not this time. All the models agreed that this was going to be a great weekend for doing just about anything outside…other than sailing.

The dock banter at Gig Harbor’s Jerisich Dock on Saturday, March 18, was fun and jovial as the chilly morning gave way to warming sunshine. The cruising class got off to an uneventful, downwind start a half-hour before the PHRF boats, and achieved speeds marginally faster than the current. This observation gave the rest of us hope that we might be able to manufacture some wind. 

The first two classes of slower PHRF boats minded their manners with an orderly start. The boat end was favored and most boats started with their jibs to get out into whatever breeze there might be, as well as more favorable current in a building flood. A couple of kites popped out and hugged the shore. 

An orderly start for PHRF Class 8.

The next start was for the medium-fast PHRF classes, and those of us in the last start thought things were proceeding. But somewhere the wires got crossed. The flags on the committee boat were difficult to see, and sound signals difficult to hear. Sailors weren’t paying attention, and before you knew it things went sideways. The fast boats started, but several minutes later an Individual Recall went up. One by one, boats in that last start started following the leader and returned to the line, all the while fighting adverse current in no wind.

Radio chatter escalated as each “self-appointed PRO” offered their unsolicited advice. Eventually, the committee decided to call the last fleet a General Recall. We started our engines and returned to the starting line. Then, the middle-fast boats were included in the General Recall. After another 10 minutes, all PHRF classes (but not cruising classes) were recalled. The boats that had started first were going to have to buck a building tide from a long way down river, and several of the first PHRF to start chose to keep going and enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day of sailing. While the going was slow, sails were full, and springtime had arrived! 

Ranger 33 Aurora won the prettiest kite award.

Aboard Time Warp, rather than wait for a restart in no wind, we decided to head to the dock. We took second in that “race” as Gardyloo was already tied up at Tides Tavern.

Tough day on Time Warp’s foredeck.

After dropping off crew, we motored past the few remaining holdouts for a restart as we began the delivery home to Seattle. Still no wind. Farther up Colvos Passage we saw legendary Puget Sound racers Dave Knowlton on Pearson 36 Koosah, and Pete Stewart on Cal 33 Cherokee, packing it in. We knew then that we’d made the right call.

In the end, no one made it across the twice-shortened finish, and most boats never made it across the start! Despite the lack of breeze and racing, the warm, sunny skies still made it better than the best day at work!

With no scores for Islands Race, the first three events made the series. Congratulations to all the sailors, especially to overall top finishers. Riptide 35, Terremoto, took the series going away with an amazing score line of 1, 2, 1 in each race’s overall results! The rest of the overall top 5 for the series included Aerodyne 38 Kahuna in second, Jeanneau SO 519 Equus in third, Olson 40 String Theory fourth, and Santa Cruz 27 Wilder fifth overall.

Check out the Southern Sound Series results, both overall and by class