J/125 Hamachi’s owners, Jason Andrews and Shaun Dougherty, founded the Salish 200 race and share the story from the 2021 edition.

Editor’s Note: Fun fact not directly related to this story, Jason and Shaun are presently flying toward Hawaii in the Transpac Race on board the Pac52 Callisto. 

The Salish 200 was conceived in 2020 to provide an inshore long-distance race that could test boats and their crews while serving to showcase the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. It was started as a shorthanded race during Covid-19, but was expanded in 2021 to full crews and opened to both PHRF and ORC scoring. It is unique in that it is the longest single sailboat race in the region, but to encourage participation, it is comprised of two 100 nautical mile courses: the San Juan 100 from Port Townsend around the San Juan Islands and back, and the Puget Sound 100 from Port Townsend down around Vashon Island and back. This effectively creates a bowtie circuit starting and finishing in Port Townsend. The race starts Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. with a cutoff at 9:00 p.m. Sunday to complete any of the events (50 hours of fun!). 

In 2020, 25 boats left the start line and only two finished the 204 nm course. The 2021 event had limited participants due to conflicts with other races and on account of it being Father’s Day weekend, but all three boats — J/125 Hamachi, Sydney 38 Mako, and J/100 Selah — finished the full course. Selah, the smallest of the boats with a PHRF of 60, finished at 2:25 p.m. on Sunday (more than 6.5 hours before the cutoff).

For the past two years, the majority of boats have chosen to leave Port Townsend and go north around the San Juan Islands first, following the same mark roundings as the OIYC/FHSC Round the County Race. In 2021, similar to 2020, this meant reaching across the Strait of Juan de Fuca in 25-30 knots of wind and heavy seas with reefed mains and small jibs. 

Hamachi started with reefed main and J3, then added a genoa staysail as the wind came aft, and eventually deployed a small Code 0 from the sprit and blasted along at 15 knots with a triple headsail. The wet and wild crossing concluded unceremoniously with a giant park up and fleet restart in the San Juans (same as in 2020). Hamachi was able to find some fingers of wind and worked north under spinnaker into the night, with the wind filling nicely to 15 knots north of Point Lawrence. 

The fleet turned the corner at Patos Island and worked south under jib taking Stuart and San Juan Islands to port. We entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca around 7 a.m and had a great morning surf session back to Port Townsend in 15-20 knots. Morning clouds delayed the northerly down the Sound so we sat in front of Port Townsend for several hours before the wind filled. Hamachi crossed the halfway point off of Marrowstone Island just before 11 a.m. Saturday, and then worked south under spinnaker trailing the descending northerly wind line by a quarter mile or so. Eventually the wind filled fully, and we made our way south in 10-15 knots, passing pods of Orcas and many boaters enjoying the magnificent weekend.

We blazed by our home port of Shilshole with A2 and double stay sails (why not?) in 15-17 knots of wind and had awesome early evening views of downtown Seattle. We approached Vashon Island from the east and, as the sun began to set Saturday night, we struggled in very light winds at the south end of the island. We were treated to majestic views of Mt Rainier basked in orange evening sun and worked the light wind along the Tacoma waterfront up into Colvos Pass. 

We were convinced we would drift half the night but were pleasantly surprised to see the wind fill nicely and worked north in 7-8 knots. About this time we noticed both Mako and Selah only a few miles behind us – apparently the northerly allowed them to make up time and the fleet compressed again in Colvos! At this point we were sure Hamachi was third on corrected time.

By 1 a.m. Sunday, the wind built to 10-13 knots at the south end of Blake Island and Hamachi was able to scoot north. The Salish 200 was established to coincide around the summer solstice for maximum daylight, and this was on display at 3 a.m. as Mt Baker and surrounding Cascade peaks were silhouetted by the early morning glow. The forecast was for the wind to die from south to north overnight, so this played to Hamachi’s benefit and the gaps between the three boats increased. Hamachi crossed the start/finish line in Port Townsend at 7:49 a.m. Sunday followed by Mako at 10:29 am and Selah at 2:25 pm.

This past weekend re-emphasized two key points: 

  1. The Salish 200 will become a PNW classic 
  2. Boats of all sizes can finish the full course. 

It is an epic course that will test the best boats and their crews: a double-overnight race where you use every sail in every point of sail in conditions ranging from 0-30 knots and flat water to heavy seas. We were treated to some of the best views and wildlife the Pacific Northwest has to offer. The race will continue in 2022 at or near the end of June (but not on Father’s Day) and we will work to avoid conflict with other local events to encourage maximum participation. Finally, we look forward to the Canadian border opening to include our friends from the north.

Uncorrected and Corrected Finish Times for full course finishers 2020 and 2021:

Highlight/Lowlights from the different crews:

From Mako (Sydney 38 – PHRF 30)

We learned that our berths need some lee cloth improvements, a couple of unnamed crew learned not to fill up on pad thai before sailing in swell. 

Our spin run from Point Wilson to Point Robinson was a highlight on board for sure, complete with orca escort passing West Point. Also, we were pleasantly surprised to find such consistent breeze up Colvos. It was a nice surprise.

Somehow the Salish Sea feels just a little bit smaller now.

From Selah (J/100 – PHRF 60)

Great weekend of sailing. The start with the three of us at max heel was a sight to see. Needed a drone to capture that. Many highlights: spinnaker run from 2 a.m. around the San Juans for 4 hours. Seeing Maku only .2 miles away only to have them pull away and then see them again, only to have them pull away.

The happy Hamachi crew.

From Hamachi (J/125 – PHRF -3)

Putting up three head sails and sending across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

Ripping downwind first thing in the morning on Saturday and watching Jason drive in flip flops while taking waves over the bow was definitely an experience.

Seeing orcas twice, watching the beautiful sunsets and sunrises, having such great weather this weekend, sailing in all possible wind conditions and learning to trim all the different sails and eating sous vide lasagna was all so awesome and fun and crazy and amazing!