The wind cooperated for our annual 12-Mile Island event, KSC’s longest distance race. We had a great turn our with 6 boats (3 cats, 3 monohulls) doing the full run, and 2 more opting to do a half-race to Pinhey’s Point and back (one cat, one Byte). Many thanks to RC Reese for driving the power boat all the way to Pinhey’s to drop the mark. I didn’t see what happened during the Half race, so the following account mostly covers the full run.
We did things a bit differently this year, with boats setting off “whenever” and timing their run around the island. After getting back, we adjusted their times against a handicapping factor.
Ellen/Mark and their family were first to set off in a Hobie 18, followed by Denise/Ken S (Laser 2). We then had 3 boats take off in close proximity — Tony/Devin (Hobie 18), Ken E/Norm (Albacore), and Jason (Laser). A while later Frank/Jean took a Hobie 16. Doing the half trip, and leaving significantly later, were Annie/Greg (Hobie 16), Carla (Byte) and a non-racing MG14.
The leg from KSC to Pinhey’s was largely upwind, with a slight starboard tack favour. Three basic strategies were used:
long tacks from one side of the river to the other (favoured by the cats, and Ken S/Denise)
sail on the Quebec side where there were fewer waves and more predictable wind (favoured by Norm/Ken E)
sail in the middle of the river, tacking on headers as they hit (favoured by Jason)
During that beat, Ken E/Norm were able to constantly extend their lead over Jason. Both managed to eventually catch up with Ken S/Denise, who happened to be on the Ontario side on port tack when a wind shift caught them and wouldn’t give them a break. Tony/Devin’s Hobie 18 got caught in the same shift and Jason passed them around the middle of the river just before Pinhey’s. There may or may not have been some trash talk exchanged, including referring to the cat as “a boat with training wheels”. Norm/Ken E was by this point well ahead of both and near the Quebec shore, and the shift which penalized the cat and Laser 2 was a lift for the Albacore, which was pointed straight up river.
Past Pinhey’s the wind steadied out a bit, with starboard tack now heavily favoured. Tony/Devin blasted by Jason (exchanging a few more light-hearted words) and ripped along. Between Pinhey’s and the island, Jean/Frank’s Hobie 16 also passed Ken S/Denise. Jason and the H16 rounded 12-Mile Island together, and the cat outpaced the Laser on the downwind.
The downwind leg was a straight run from Port-of-Call to KSC, and the boats had a choice whether to run it, or to make multiple reaches. The cats and Norm/Ken E reached, while Jason largely ran (focused on surfing the waves, although he would alter course to try to catch wind gusts) and Ken S/Denise got their nice shiny spinnaker flying.
Tony/Devin claimed honours as first back to the club.
The elapsed time (ET) of each boat was recorded, and adjusted according to the Portsmouth Number (PN) handicap for each boat. The adjusted time (AT) is:
AT = ET * (1000/PN)
Larger Portsmouth numbers mean a boat is usually slower. For instance, a Hobie 16 has a larger number (809) than a Hobie 18 (740). This means what a Hobie 16 does in an hour, a Hobie 18 should be able to do in 54 minutes 53 seconds. If a PN is greater than 1000 then the AT will be smaller than ET. If PN is less than 1000, then AT will be greater than ET.
So without further ado, here is what we have:
(Note — please double-check my math on the conversions)
The winner, is Jason, in a Laser! Despite finishing 4th over all in elapsed time, the Laser’s high handicapping mean he just won over Ken E/Norm. Look at those adjusted times — there’s less than 3 minutes between them over almost 4 hours. That’s 1.3% difference. Here’s the other thing… Jason’s Laser was in good shape. The foils were shiny, the hull was solid, etc. The Albacore Ken E and Norm were in has probably seen better days, and had scratches, dings, repairs, probably a leak or two. I’m sure if the Albacore was in as good a shape as the Laser then it would’ve been no contest.
The cats faired poorly overall on the day. The wind was to blame for that. Cats LOVE to sail on a reach, and beating into the wind really takes their speed advantage away over monohulls. The handicapping formula unfortunately considers reaching performance as well as upwind/downwind performance, so the cats were being scored on a scale which assumed they’d be able to use their quick reaches, and conditions were not cooperating. If the wind was coming directly across river the whole time, there would be no catching the cats.
Similar results were seen on the half-run.
Carla was able to round the mark in about 20 minutes less time than the Hobie 16 in a Byte (which is supposed to be slower). The adjusted time was 50 minutes apart. Again, this was largely due to the leg being “beating upwind, dead run downwind”, where Carla’s Byte could tack on to take advantage of any momentary wind shift, while the cat was going back and forth across the river.
Congrats, Jason and Carla! You’ve got bragging rights for the year!
I hope everyone had fun, and don’t forget to email Ken Eaves with your “I’ve done a 12-Mile rounding!” story. For those who don’t know, Ken and Harry founded the “12-Mile Challenge” and there are trophies for those who round the island the most times in the year in a cat, in a single-handed monohull, and a double-handed monohull.
Each year, Kanata Sailing Club holds a “12-Mile Island” event as a long distance race. We’ll be doing things a bit different this year, so please read on.
Where is 12-Mile Island?
The island, also called Ile Allen, is upriver (i.e. away from Ottawa) a good distance from KSC. You sail North-West, past Pinhey’s Point, through the narrows at the Port-of-Call Marina, past Baskin’s Beach (both on the Ontario side), around the island, then back downriver to KSC. Note that we recommend that you stay near the centre of the channel, especially when you’re sailing on the Quebec side of the island as it can get a bit shallow there.
How long does it take?
Depending on the wind conditions, and the type of boat you sail, a round trip journey generally takes the better part of a day. The record, as far as I’m aware, is just over 2 hours (set in a fast catamaran, on a big-wind day, by ridiculously skilled and fast sailors). On a more typical day, it’ll take 3+ hours in a cat, 4+ hours in an Albacore. A light wind day could take 5 or more hours.
I don’t want to sail that far.
We have another option, and we’ll get to that. Please keep reading.
How is it fair to people who sail slower boats?
We “handicap” the time. There are generally accepted ratios as to how fast different boats sail. The RYA (the UK equivalent of Sail Canada) maintains the handicaps for a bunch of boats. According to their numbers for example, the Albacore is slightly faster than the Laser. So, if a Laser can do a course in 60 minutes then it should take an Albacore 57 minutes and a Hobie 16 catamaran should be able to do it in 44 minutes. We don’t consider the handicaps on our normal race nights, but will do so for this event. The 2017 list of Portsmouth handicap numbers for monohulls can be found here and for cats here (we’ll be using the “PN Look-a-like” numbers for the cats).
Smaller numbers mean the boat should be theoretically be faster.
Okay, so let’s say I want to participate in the 12-Mile Island Event. What’s the plan?
In previous year’s we’ve run the event as a “race” with a start line, and finish line, etc. This year we’re doing things a bit differently since it’s really boring for a race committee to wait 4 hours for a boat to finish.
We’re setting a target finish time of 3:30pm. You can start whenever you would like (be it 11:06am, 9:48am, noon, 1:21pm if you’re really optimistic, etc). There will be a bouy in front of the sailing club to act as a starting/finishing point. Sail from downriver, as close to the bouy as possible, to start your island rounding. Record what time you started. As you finish, pass the bouy as close as possible again and record your finish time. Alternatively, you can use a stopwatch to track how long the run took you.
We’ll figure out an “adjusted time” based on your elapsed time and your boat’s handicap.
Once everyone is back at the club (target 3:30pm with a 4:15pm cut-off) we’ll crunch the numbers and see who did the rounding in the least amount of adjusted time. Winners to be announced as soon as is practical after everyone is ashore.
As of July 25, the wind forecast is for moderate winds (maybe on the light side of moderate). I would encourage monohull sailors to target a start time of around 11:00. This would get you home right on time if the rounding takes you 4hr 30min. Having a group of monohulls all leaving at the same time also allows you to keep an eye on each other.
What to I win?
Bragging rights, and a round of applause at the club’s AGM. Also, this counts as one of the roundings for the 12-Mile Island Challenge and the trophies that go along with that.
12-Mile Island Challenge? What’s that?
KSC founding members Harry Adderley and Ken Eaves have challenged the members of the club to round 12-Mile Island as many times as they can in a season. There are trophies for those who complete:
the most roundings in a cat
the most roundings with a double-handed monohull
the most roundings with a single-handed monohull
If you round the island as part of this event, it counts towards your yearly total. Note that in 2016, there were no single-handed monohull roundings, and only 2 (I think) double-handed roundings, so if you had done the 12-Mile Event in a Laser, you would have won. On a tangential note, I had heard that Carla challenged Norm to round the island in an Opti, so we’ll see if that pans out. Norm, I suggest you leave the club at 8:00am to make it back by 3:30.
I’m not ready to commit to that long a voyage. Is there another option?
Yes! I’ll be dropping a bouy in the middle of the river just past Pinhey’s Point. This is about 1/2 way to 12-Mile Island. We’ll actually announce two winners — the fastest time around the island, and the fastest time around the 1/2 way mark. So, if you can’t get to the club until say 12:30, you might be able to grab a boat and do the half-run before the cut off.
I’m sold, how do I sign up?
Just show up at the club on Saturday July 29, rig your boat, and start your sail! I aim to have the start mark in the water by 10:00, and the 1/2 mark shortly after. As mentioned, aim to finish as close to 3:30, as possible, so everyone arrives back at the club around the same time. Bring something to BBQ, a drink or two, and we’ll go through the results. We’ll consider boats not finished by 4:15 disqualified.
Boats are first-come-first-serve.
Why the 4:15 cut off time?
This gives us time to crunch numbers, announce winners, and go out in the powerboat to pick up the half-way mark. If we see any KSC boats struggling to make it back to the club, we’ll also give them a tow home, but please be advised that KSC should not be considered a rescue service. Use your good judgement to take into account your sailing skills, experience, and weather conditions (both forecast and observed).
I don’t want to sail solo. How can I find a skipper/crew?
Send me an email at email@example.com if you’re looking for someone to sail with. I’ll try to get people who email me in touch with each other.
Well, the wind didn’t cooperate for 12-Mile-Island, and the very light air meant that we were forced to sail with a shortened course (many thanks to instructor Heidi for dropping a mark out by Pinhey’s Point to act as the “Island” for the day). The 11:00 start (monohulls) saw several boats out for more of a “float” than a sail, and it didn’t look like they had much of a head start by the time the Hobie 18 (12:00 start) was approaching.
The wind did pick up a bit (especially on the Quebec side of the river) as the day went on, and perhaps the course was shortened a little too much. The target time for the regatta is 4 hours for monohulls, and 3 hours for catamarans, but the first monohull completed the course after about 2.5 hours (Frank and Jean crossed the finish line at 1:26:07pm after an 11:00am start). Still, I’d rather have a fun 2.5 hour race than a boring 5 hour one…
Actually, the shortened course translated into a close race — all boats (including the cat) finished within a window of 22 minutes, and the adjusted times were even closer. Although Richard in the Laser finished about 10 minutes behind Norm and Monica in an Albacore, the adjusted times were less than 2 minutes apart. Similarly, the Tony and Ken E in the cat (1h 37m 42s elapsed time) were very close to Frank and Jean (2h 26m 07s ET).
The adjusted times (AT) are calculated by taking the elapsed time (ET) and multiplying by a handicapping factor called the Portsmouth Number (PN). The formula used is
AT = ET * (1000/PN)
Okay, now the moment you’ve been waiting for… remember, it’s the adjusted time that determines your placement…
2h 47m 20s
2h 32m 48s
2h 37m 58s
2h 31m 10s
2h 34m 17s
2h 27m 38s
2h 26m 07s
2h 19m 49s
1h 37m 42s
2h 12m 56s
Congratulations to 2016 12-Mile-Island Regatta winners, Tony Hendrikx and Ken Eaves!
A special thank you goes out to Heidi who dropped the rounding mark early in the day, Annie and Emily for assisting on shore (and on the water) to make the day run smoothly, Robert for having the foresight to bring a few packages of bottled water for the sailors sitting in the sun, and Darren and Annie for pressure washing the upstairs deck on their duty day!
Registration for the 12-Mile-Island Regatta is now closed
The event will be held on Saturday July 16, 2016. Please see the Notice of Race (NoR) and Sailing Instructions (SIs, to be posted soon…) for event details, including how boat allocation will occur.
To register, enter the details of you and your team-mates below. If you’re a lone skipper looking for crew (or crew looking for a skipper, or someone willing to do either) then send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to get you in touch with other sailors to form a team.
If you’re planning on sailing a club boat, we’ll work out who gets which hull the day of (i.e. of 4 teams all want Albacore 8033 then we’ll sort that out later… please see NoR/SIs for details).
The e-mail field is optional (not everyone likes to be spammed but the e-mail helps keep you informed of any changes, like if we have too many sign ups for a particular boat class, etc)