Flying Fifteen International

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A Flying 15 takes part in the Round Bowen Island Race, in British Columbia
FFI Publicity 1506

A Flying 15 takes part in the Round Bowen Island Race, in British Columbia

Bowen Island Race route

The race was the annual Round Bowen Island Race, in British Columbia. It is open to yachts and sportboats, racing under the PHRF Handicapping system, using Time-on-time correction. There were 100+ registered entrants all starting in one start sequence. The race is approximately 18 miles, clockwise this year, around Bowen Island in scenic Howe Sound.

The wind at the start was SE at 10 to 12 knots, gradually dropping a couple of hours later to less than 4 knots, with an hour and change of drifting. The light air was very challenging to keep the boat moving upwind in any zephyrs you could find. After reaching the west side of the island, a new light breeze built to approximately 6 to 8 knots from the SW and the fleet enjoyed the downwind spinnaker legs on the west side. On reaching Northern end of the island, we had a beat of a couple of miles to the finish in approximately 10 knots.

Bowen Island Race start

"FFANG" was the smallest boat in the fleet, but not the lowest handicap, and finished 25th overall on corrected time.

To be eligible for the event, we were required to have a motor and heavy weather sails. A mainsail with a reef at 12.5% of luff would qualify. I had the reefs installed by Evolution Sails in my old mainsail still bearing AUS 3056. I added a Torqeedo Ultralight 403 trolling motor which was the lightest engine available that could move a Flying Fifteen at displacement hull speed. It was an expensive solution, but as we are the only FF in Vancouver, handicap racing is what we'll have to do to build visibility of the class. The other 5 FF's are approximately 30 miles away at Saltspring Island, in the Gulf Islands near Vancouver Island, and barely ever seen in the more populous areas of British Columbia.

Ffang'sMotorWhen FFANG was delivered in Napier, it was in need of much maintenance, however since its arrival in West Vancouver, it has undergone some essential overhaul of hardware, halyards, vang, and layout. in addition, the heavy aluminium spinnaker pole has been replaced with a P&B carbon, self-launching pole, and similarly, the hunk of split wood used as a tiller, has been replaced with a P&B carbon tiller. The self bailers' dried and leaky gaskets are next on the list, along with a retracting cover over the chute launcher. New rubbing strakes, faired hull and keel, and a paint job will come later.

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