Tide beats sailors in Land’s End Regatta

Although 10 boats competed in the annual Land’s End Regatta put on by the Homer Yacht Club, most agreed that the tide was the real winner.  

Two days of sailing with no wind left participants in the regatta being pushed backward by the tide and disheartened.

“The tide definitely won over the wind this weekend,” said sailor Shawn Hansen shortly after the race.  

Day one of the regatta began with no wind, and racers were left to drift across the start line at the mercy of the outgoing tide. Two boats, Hansen’s “Winter Hawk” and Rick Foster’s “Dolphin,” positioned themselves well and glided across the start line ahead of the other eight boats.

“Saturday was all about timing,” said Foster. “Being in the right place when the flighty winds and tide allowed you to move in the direction you wanted.”

The rest of the racers fought their way against the tide to make it to the mark indicating the start line, anchored directly off of Land’s End Resort. Once across the start line, it was a slow drift to the next mark, which racers were aiming to turn around and head back the way they came. 

“Winter Hawk” made it to the mark first, but without wind couldn’t turn around the mark and ended up being carried out with the tide for the next hour, desperately looking for wind.

Seeing the fate of their fellow racer, two of the boats behind “Winter Hawk” threw anchor as soon as they reached the mark, hoping to stay in one place and wait for the wind to pick up. That turned out to be a good strategy, and they only had to wait a few minutes for the wind to start building. With the slightest of breezes, all of the boats were able to turn around the mark, except for “Winter Hawk,” still drifting across the bay with the tide.

Although it had a slow start, the first day of racing ended with wind and some close finishes. “Nereus,” owned by Homer Yacht Club Commodore Erik Pullman, came cruising across the finish line first. “Hemingway” and “Wind Dancer” came across the line neck and neck, finishing within 20 seconds of each other and placing second and third respectively. 

Two boats were so taken over by the tide that they never made it across the start line and ended up forfeiting the race. 

Unfortunately, conditions for the second day of the regatta were even worse.

“I’ve never seen a race like this one before. Both races were who can catch the best drift,” said long-time member of the Homer Yacht Club, Kevin Walker. He was aboard sailing vessel “Dolphin,” the second boat to forfeit on Sunday, having had enough of floating without any wind. “We were all just sitting out there shouting to each other, and when you did get going you were just drifting backwards but not as fast,” mused Walker after Sunday’s race. 

After four hours of dedicated floating and no one making it around the first mark, the race on Sunday was eventually cancelled.  The Land’s End Regatta trophy was awarded to Pullman and his vessel “Nereus,” the winners of Saturday’s race.

Although all of the sailors agreed they could’ve done with more wind, the mood was jovial during the awards ceremony dinner on Sunday evening. Foster wasn’t too disappointed, saying, “We just kept asking ourselves, ‘Is there a better place to be than here on Kachemak Bay?’” 

The Homer Yacht Club has several more races for their summer season. More information, including on how to become crew for these races, can be found on their website at www.homeryachtclub.org.