Friday, October 23, 2009

The Rum Run Regatta: Cluster-fuck on the High Seas

The Rum Run Regatta is hosted by the same people that put on Duck Dodge and starts near Shilshole and ends in Port Madison across Puget Sound. I spent most of the week talking smack to my colleague at work, Kris Lande, who was also entering the race. I later learned that her 38 foot 2005 Dufour was about 3x as fast as our 27 foot 1978 Catalina. Anyway the crowd at these regattas is more casual than a yacht club regatta (e.g. whiskey vs. chardonnay … Kings of Leon vs. Peter Gabriel … boxers vs. briefs? uh you get the idea). This was our second regatta and our first time to experience sailing in fall weather. We were not let down.

Crew: Dylan, Deetz, Mustard, and Mike Zaroudny

View Rum Run Regatta in a larger map

Despite our planning we made it to the starting line about 25 minutes late. Oh well, we ran into one other late comer in the locks to race against and we could see 20 or so boats ahead of us so we set sail, close hauled, with 10 – 15 knot wind and no rain: perfect. Two minutes on our course Super Deetz somehow knocked some rod in the water and we had to turn around and pick it back up. That’s not a straightforward thing to do in a sailboat, but I kept a good attitude and considered it a good spontaneous man overboard drill. We looked pretty clumsy trying to pick it up it’s a good thing that it wasn’t a REAL man overboard.

We continue and are actually still ahead of the fella who went through the locks with us. We even start to get a sense that we are gaining ground on the other boats. More hot drinks are poured and spirits run high.

DRINKS ONBOARD: Hot Toddies, Hot Chocolate and Schnapps, Dirty Hebrew, and Hot Buttered Rum (later renamed “My Mother’s Milk”)

We lose our position as second to last as I make a poor calculation of when to tack around the first buoy. Now we have a long run and we’re excited at the chance to put up the spinnaker. It’s only our third time to raise this sail and many people just avoid the trouble all together. Deetz and Mike head to the bow and the five of us proceed to unsuccessfully raise the spinnaker three times. There was almost a sort of harmony at the coordinated chaos we caused. I’m not just talking your regular twist or snagging here. At one point the boat was keeled over and we stared at the spinnaker flailing like an untamed kite in the air and thought, in unison, “what the fuck do we do now?” At another point Mustard is steering, I’m trying to undo the knot he created on the wench, and somehow a spinnaker line wraps around my ankle yanking me towards the sky. We give up before we lose any more of our egos and Deetz and Mike lay exhausted on the bow.

There weren’t any boats around us at this point but some sea life might have heard phrases such as:

· “Last time it didn’t work because I forgot to raise the spinnaker with the spinnaker pole.”

· “Look, stop holding the line with your teeth or one of these times it’s going to rip your jaw clear off.”

· “Are you going to pull that fucking line out of the water?”

· “Mustard, untie my ankle from that line before it pulls me overboard. What? Mustard, now! Untie it right now.”

· “The spinnaker ate my favorite hat.”

· “Well, your taped together tiller is now re-broken.”

Like good sailors we regrouped after a little medicine and we enjoyed our beam reach to the finish line. In the protection of Port Madison the rest of the participants were tied together and enjoying the day. We came in swinging the American flag like champions and tied on to the end of the line.

… drinks, laughs, introductions, stories, exploring other boats, goodbyes …

The wind really picked up and made the ride home a ton of fun. This was record wind for the crew of the Endeavor. We had the sails reefed and kept on the same tack all the way back. The 30 knot wind blew water over the bow and onto our backs. The salt slipped into our smiles.


The Milligans said...

Sounds like another great adventure! The map was a good addition to show the distance as I always picture you sailing across lake travis horizontally.

Damon said...

That was some funny shit, you need to write a book..."My Adventures with Super Deetz"


Katherine said...

Oooh, uh, sounds like the booze is necessary to push all those scary "man overboard" kind of thoughts to the back of your mind.

DeBacle said...

Hey Steven and Dylan,

Love your blog! I'm the co-founder and editor of Three Sheets Northwest (, an online boating blog based in Seattle, and wanted to invite you to a get-together of Northwest boating bloggers on Saturday, Nov. 14. We'd love it if you could join. Please email me at and I'll give you the details.

Look forward to hearing from you.


sailing basics said...

What a great adventure, you seem to have had a lot of adventure,what with the booze around! For sure you couldn't win this.