An early season blast from Anacortes to Friday Harbor was great fun and faster than ever with a new course record.

Not everyone would understand why my living room looks the way it does right now, but I’ll bet there are a few people who do. The 2024 edition of the Girts Rekevics Memorial Foulweather Race on Saturday, February 24, featured enough breeze to break the Anacortes to Friday Harbor course record—18.5 miles in under 2 hours for the first finisher! 

It was intermittently very windy and splashy and occasionally drifty at a few corners. Every single sail on board my Santa Cruz 27, Wild Rumpus, went up at one point or another, except for the sweet drifter. The storm jib only appeared on the trip home. Between rain squalls and standing waves, each and every sail has earned some quality time inside the house to dry out.

The Wild Rumpus crew always has fun. Sometimes it’s Type 2 fun.

We started the race with solid close reaching conditions in Fidalgo Bay. The pin end boat, closest to weather, was the only one who elected to hoist a kite. Good morning, friends, you gotta keep things exciting! Some colorful words, but thankfully not colorful paint, were exchanged at the starting line. Right out of the gate, there was an expected slow patch before we turned the corner to Guemes Channel. It wasn’t too long before we had to do a bare-headed drop to the small jib. Other boats were putting in reefs, and some boats just hunkered down and hiked out. 

A strong ebb helped us fetch to Thatcher Pass without tacking, although the ebb stacked up some big waves that occasionally stuffed the bow. The mulithulls were launched, and the Burns 49 schooner Sir Isaac also sank her teeth into the big breeze and waves. On the good ship Wild Rumpus, we had already crossed Rosario Strait and we were only one hour into the race. 

Eventually it seemed like a good idea to hoist a kite in a mostly-upwind race.

After a brief slow down at the corner of Blakely Island, we cracked off just enough that hoisting a kite seemed like a great idea during the lulls. Rumpus had some competition just ahead of us that owed us time, we just didn’t know if we were close enough to correct in front. We just had to make our spinnaker call work well enough to make up for the inevitably sketchy douse in our future. The rest of the race was mostly upwind with at least one more sail change, lots of hiking out, and a little bit of ferry dodging. Not a course record but very fast for us, Rumpus finished over 18 miles in about three hours. 

There was a big system predicted to blow in overnight, so many crews elected to turn and burn back to the barn after finishing the race in Friday Harbor. Nonetheless, the survivor party on the dock and at the San Juan Island Yacht Club was big fun and exactly how Girts would have wanted it. Multi-generational good times were had, chickens were flying, the lasagna was as yummy as we remembered, and the spirit of the event lives on!

The J/30 Celebration sailed a great race and corrected just behind Wild Rumpus for 2nd in PHRF2.

Congratulations go out to Nigel Oswald and crew, winning the race for the second year in a row on his F25 Makika! He also saved the day with some much needed tech support. Second in the multihulls and overall went to Trevor DiMarco on Corsair 750 Trial Horse. First in PHRF1 and nipping at the heels of the multihulls were the Baileys on Sir Isaac. First in PHRF2 went to the small but mighty Wild Rumpus. We had two intrepid doublehanded boats on the course, won by John Gunn on the Beneteau 265 Little Annie. Congratulations to all of this year’s participants! 

True to the season and the event’s tradition, this year’s Girts Rekevics Memorial Foulweather RaceIt got a little spicy, and it was really the best of ‘Type 2’ entertainment. Here’s to another season well on its way. If this race is any indication, 2024 is going to be a great year!

Full results here.

Photos courtesy of Karen Rose.