Cold, wet and nasty in the PNW—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

Puget-Sound, between rain storms
David Schmidt
For some reason, spring’s yearly march seems to have utterly stalled in the Pacific Northwest. Granted, we’re only some 36 hours past the vernal equinox, but virtually everyone I know up here under 'the dark curtain' of clouds is impatient for a touch of warmth, some blue skies and some time on the water (or even some quality time outside). Enough is enough!

Take yesterday. The temperature wasn’t bad at 0630 hours, a touch 'wet', but nothing that we haven’t seen in heaps in this corner of the country. Things got interesting, however, when a piping wind spoke up a few hours later, threatening to blow dogs off chains and houses off foundations. More rain followed, encored by a sunny-but-steely cold winter sky, the unrelenting wind a constant companion. By Southern Ocean standards all of this amounted to a perfect day, of course, but after MONTHS of drizzle, mist, spit, drip and full-tilt boogie rain, it’s high time that spring gets released from detention!

DONNYBROOK - 2013 International Rolex Regatta

Meanwhile, the fortunate few are down in St. Thomas at the Rolex International Regatta, where the racecourse action promises to be considerably warmer than Seattle’s cold, ugly lurch into spring. 'Reliable winds every day, terrific competition, a challenging mix of courses, and of course plenty of camaraderie, the 40th Anniversary of the International Rolex Regatta will be a regatta to remember!' said Bill Canfield, regatta chairman.

MAYHEM and PRIVATEER - 2013 International Rolex Regatta

According to reports, the Rolex International Regatta expects to see a variety of exotic and elegant sailing hardware on the starting line, as well as plenty of super talented sailors at the onshore parties. Racing starts today and continues through Sunday, so be sure to stay current with the website for the latest news, as it unfurls.

Grant Dalton, Emirates Team NZ Managing Director

Meanwhile, in America’s Cup circles, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) has had a bit of time to do some reflecting on the crane mishap that involved their wingsail and some high winds earlier this week. 'It was windy the other day and we did a bit of damage,' admitted Grant Dalton, ETNZ’s team boss. 'America’s Cup Race Management tells us we have got to be able to race in 30 knots so teams have to be able to get the wing up in [those winds]. It’s not like we could say ‘we can’t put the wing up so we can’t go sailing’.'

Inside, be sure to check out ETNZ’s video of the mishap, as well as their post-incident report. Fortunately for the Kiwi-flagged team, the damage to their wing was minimal and the team is already back at it on their AC72 on the Hauraki Gulf, preparing for their upcoming winter migration to San Francisco and practicing for the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup and the 34th Americas Cup.


Also inside, get the latest news on the VX One sportboat class, check out the previews of next week’s BVI Spring Regatta and the upcoming Les Voiles de St. Barth (April 8-13), and don’t miss the latest from the venerable Finn class. And for anyone else who is as disgusted with winter as I am, try to focus on the fact that time does cure all ills, especially now that 2013’s spring equinox is astern.

May the four winds blow you safely home,