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Three T


ree Point YC


Duwamish Head Race


48° North Top 25 Boat of the Year, Brad Butler and Paul Faget's Sierra 26, “Dos,” sail past the Alki Point Lighthouse. Photo by Jan Anderson.


with a series of four highly competitive and extremely challenging distance races collectively known as the South Sound Series. Hosted by some of the region’s most prominent yacht clubs, each race takes competitors on an exploration of the diverse and beautiful South Puget Sound. Race number two of the South Sound


In the brisk winter months of the Puget Sound, the South Sound comes to life


Series is the Duwamish Head race, hosted by the Three Tree Point Yacht Club. With an 18 hour time limit, the Duwamish Head Race would take sailors north from Des Moines Marina past Three Tree and Alki Points with stunning views of Seattle, Vashon Island and the picturesque Alki Point Lighthouse. From Alki Point the race continues east around the Duwamish Head Light and then west across the central Sound to Blakely Rock and finally due South back to the Des Moines fishing pier. In its 32nd year, the Duwamish Head


Race would be a test of each competitors light wind boat handling skill. With


48° NORTH, FEBRUARY 2012 PAGE 42


“Strategically, the first leg of the race to Duwamish Head is a critical play between tidal current and wind pressure. With four geographic points of land and various back eddies, playing the shore in adverse current is critical.”


11 class divisions and as many as 89 sailboats, the fleet would gather under overcast skies and light breeze to brave the winter chill and test their tactical skill against many of the best and bravest sailor in the Puget Sound. The flying and non-flying sail


cruising classes started off first in moderate breeze. Following closely behind, the multihulls and fast fleets started in a temperamental breeze that died off completely leaving a few back-row boats struggling to escape


the starting line. The remaining classes would be momentarily postponed until a southerly breeze freshened. Stephanie Schwenk aboard David Garman’s Giant Slayer recalled her highlight of the race as the return of Mark and Kathryn Harang aboard their Evelyn 26 Nimbus. As Stephanie put it, “Those Sea Scouts of the South Sound learned a thing or two back in the day, and old age and treachery has only made them wilier.” So, the South Sound heroes are back


again and on their very first race, ever on the boat, they took the overall for Duwamish Head. They squeaked out a start, from out of nowhere. If it was anyone else, I wouldn’t have believed it. Littlest and leeward boat of the fleet, blanketed by a crowd with an ebb that should have pushed them over the line and into the pin, they jammed it through and spun to port, hoisted and took off… leaving the rest of us in the dust.” On this brisk winter Saturday the


fleet would have the fortune of isolated flows of favorable current heading north to Duwamish Head. Faced with


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