Weekend Sept 13 and 14. The “Jack and Jill” sailboat race.

Written by Jack van Ommen on September 15th, 2014

Twenty seven years ago, in 1987 I suggested to the Gig Harbor Yacht Club that they should have a Jack and Jill race. They gave me their blessing if I would organize it. We opened it to club and non club members. For the benefit of my readers beyond our border: Jack and Jill is an old nursery rhyme.

Jack and Jill went up the hill To fetch a pail of water.Jack fell down and broke his crown, And Jill came tumbling after. 

Already for the first race about 20 boats turned out.  My boat went on the hard in 1993 and did not get back in the water till 2004, while I tried, in vain, to turn my business setbacks around. But the J&J tradition survived. This weekend it was organized by long time members Jaime and Joan Storkman. We had a smaller turnout than usual, just 9 sailboats, in part due to the fact that the Sea Hawks were playing on Sunday afternoon. The weather was glorious and warm. The 10 mile course was from Gig Harbor to Des Moines. And back on Sunday. My oldest daughter Lisa was my Jill. The last time she sailed with me was exactly 10 years ago in Gig Harbor. But she still has her helmsperson touch. We had every imaginable wind condition, light, nothing at all, and the last 3 miles we had a good 15 knots close hauled with gusts to just over 20 knots. We should have reduced sail but there was really no time for it and I found out how much this boat takes with a full main and 150% genoa. We finished third.  Lisa had prior commitments for Sunday. She stayed for the potluck dinner on the dock and Seth, my 34 year old son, also arrived before dinner fro Portland. He slept on the boat and sailed the return portion on Sunday with me.  Since it was Sunday Jack hiked up the hill (I did not break my crown and Jill did not come tumbling after), to attend 6.30 a.m. mass at St. Philomena church. A stiff 18 block hike. It was still dark on the way up. This was a Spanish service. The winds on Sunday were lighter yet and because of the football game the decision was made to finish about 3 miles short of Gig Harbor. We worked ourselves to first place and held this for quite a while but just in the last few minutes the two Thunderbrds caught up to us and we ended up finishing in second place. Not bad for a having to sail with all my belongings on board that most homeowners keep at home.

It was a very special weekend for me and so glad I had Lisa and Seth to share this experience. It was the first time on this boat for both of them. They got to meet the great company I keep here with my sailing friends.

The fuel flow problems came back once again. We could not start the engine after the race. Terry and Janet James on “Spirit” towed us into the Des Moines Marina. It happened again right before the start on Sunday. And after we finished I had to bleed the system a couple more times. We moored the boat in its slip without the use of the engine. Seth is smart (brains skipped a generation….) he figured that the air may be coming in through the original mechanical fuel pump. This was confirmed by a diesel mechanic this morning who happened to be working on a neighbor’s boat. So, I went into Tacoma and had a banjo fitting made up to lead the electrical fuel pump directly to the ignition instead of through the old (defunct) mechanical pump. Keep our fingers crossed.

Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill

Going Fast taken by Lisa

Going Fast taken by Lisa

Seth

Seth

 

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