North Sails LOFT NEWS

Story Contributors: Drew Mitchell


Strong Current And Unpredictable Breeze


The English Bay Scramble out of Tiddly Cove Yacht Club is an annual tradition where “tacticians have free-reign in how the marks are rounded, even which way to cross the start line.” The race this year saw intense current with the river west of the Lion’s Gate bridge running hard and 7-8 knots of wind offshore at the start, slowly easing throughout the day and with some notable holes. Krikkit, an Abbott 36, shares their experience of the strategy based race. 

For us, the holes came early at the Kits Barge Buoy, which we did first, and then late at the back of Passage Island, which we did last. We spent a long time there, but got free entertainment from a live reggae band playing on someone’s deck for their 50th birthday. Going inside first then outside seemed to be the paying move, Diva won overall with the same course as us, although it sure didn’t look that way at first. Halfway through the race it looked liked we’d really pooched it, because the boats that had gone outside first had been able to keep moving much better than us, and were returning past the Bell Buoy before we’d even got out that far.

That said, as the afternoon wore on the flood current built and the wind was easing starting from the east. So while we were able to come in from Passage with favourable current and still-reasonable breeze; the boats that had gone outside first were trying to buck back to the start/finish against about 2 knots of current in rapidly-diminishing breeze.

As Krikkit approached the S/F about 300 yards out, we saw Jasmina coming the other way under spinnaker, and about the same distance from the S/F. While we got pushed over the line doing 4.5 kts SOG (2.5 kts boatspeed + 2 kts current), Jasmina was essentially running in place and started going backward as the wind fell off further. They didn’t actually get to finish until an hour after us, when an 8 kt breeze kicked back on for a bit. The steadily-diminishing breeze also meant that the faster boats had a definite overall advantage. Still, the weather was generally pretty splendid, and a good time was had by everyone.

A big thank you to the North Sails team at the Vancouver loft for their support of our annual race.

Story Contributors

Event Spotlight: English Bay Scramble headshot
Drew Mitchell

Sail Expert — Vancouver, British Columbia

Drew Mitchell grew up sailing at the Lunenburg Yacht Club in Nova Scotia. He has raced on and coached high performance one design for nearly 20 years. Drew races in the Melges 24, Farr 30 and the TP 52 PNW...

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