30th Annual Round the County is 76 Miles of Scenic Coastal Challenges
Appeared in Latitude 38, November 4
“The race is different every year,” shares race chairman Betsy Wareham. “This time it was a mixed bag; no one was blown off the water, nor beset by the doldrums. Most people finished, and we all had a great spinnaker run to the finish.” The 30th annual Round the County was held November 11 and 12. Approximately 76 miles, with an overnight stop in Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, the course leads contenders aside scenic landscapes and through challenging waters of San Juan County Washington. Sailors from the Puget Sound region on up to Canada compete.
Activities launched Friday night with a rendezvous at the Orcas Island Yacht Club in West Sound, Orcas Island. On Saturday, officials timed the starts for 112 boats as spread over eight divisions. Leg two commenced Sunday with starts in Mosquito Bay, south of Henry Island.
The 2017 counterclockwise circumnavigation saw fast vessels in Division M, such as Ackrill & Sailing’s Formula 40 boat Dragonfly, on the water for a combined total (Saturday and Sunday) of eight hours, while slower boats braved the elements for 17 or more hours. Dragonfly ran the course with elapsed time 8:33:38, trumping Nigel Oswald and Ivan Reiff onboard Farrier F-23c Makika by three hours (Makika elapsed time 11:42:43). In third place it was Vincent Depillis’s F31R Freda Mae and an elapsed time 11:47:16. For ORC, with a scant few moments between them at finish lines and elapsed time tallies, the big boat boys saw John Buchan’s TP52 Glory (elapsed 8:44:52) besting Steve Travis’s TP 52 Smoke (elapsed 8:45:58). The Crossfire Racing crew aboard the Reichel/Pugh 55 earned a third (elapsed 8:43:00).
Elsewhere on the course, in Division 1 Bob Brunius on J/120 Time Bandit (rating 54) fended off skippers Jim Hinz and Peter Dorcey aboard J/120 Hinzite (rating 51). Brunius and crew crossed the finish line on Saturday and Sunday a minute plus faster than Hinzite, but it came down to an elapsed time calculation 13:02:20 versus 13:02:41 to reveal that the Bandit had indeed stolen the prize. The third spot went to Cedric Burgers and Richard James on Dolce, a Beneteau 40.7. Another hotspot on the water was Division 5. Adds Wareham, “There was solid action amongst the Santa Cruz 27 and Moore 24 boats duking it out.” Morgan Larson and Christa Scheer's Moore 24 Bruzer beat sistership, Ben Braden's More Uff Da, to the win. The overall winner was Darrin Towe’s Melges 32 Wicked Wahine from Seattle.
Robert Darcy's 84-foot 110 year old schooner Martha, which California sailors may remember from 2015 races held in venues ranging from San Francisco Bay to San Diego plus the same-year Transpac, was among the competitors in Division 4. Round the County was started by Betsy’s father, Mike Wareham, and Sunny Vynne. It remains a grassroots gathering with nearly all hands-on logistics handled by an army of volunteers from local yacht clubs and the community. View more photos: https://janpix.smugmug.com/Events/Round-the-County-2017