Know When to Hold, Know When to Fold

Published on February 20th, 2017

The Shaw Winter Classic sends the fleet on a course that rounds Shaw Island, the smallest of the four San Juan Islands served by the Washington State Ferries. At about 12 nm, the course offers a scenic afternoon sail in good winds. But the 16th edition didn’t have good winds.

It was a race of ‘know when to hold, know when to fold’, as Eric Sorrenson learned February 18 while racing his Catalina 42 Jah Mon in the PHRF event:

“We had a great start and killed the fleet for about a half mile, but then the lightness set in and the 30,000 pound rule came into effect. We backward zoomed and were now about mid-fleet, a position we held for about half of the race course.

“Our opportunity soon came as we creeped up to the leaders who were anchored on the Shaw shore behind a rock. There was about 2 knots of adverse current on the nose and NO wind. We got back into first place, but sensing the conditions weren’t going to allow for a finish by the 17:00 deadline, we pulled the plug and dropped out.

“We were the first to drop out, a decision all the boats eventually made. This was the message from the race committee: ‘The race was a non-finishing race. The awards were brilliantly handled; the last 3 boats to quit received the awards!’

“I guess that gives us a brand new classification of finishing: DFF (Dead F#cking First).”

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