2020 Lopez Cup ~ Sept 12, 2020

Photos by Bill White

Hello Fellow Yacht Club Members,

The 2020 Lopez Cup is in the books. Despite the heavy smoke in the air and the poor visibility the race turned out to be a lot of fun and very challenging. Unlike some races in the past we had some wind the whole race and never parked up. We had the best turn out for the race that we have ever had. 22 boats registered for the race. Only 7 of the boats were from Lopez Island. All the rest were from Orcas, San Juan, and Center islands.

The smokey conditions took a toll on the final starting numbers but we still ended up with 15 boats on the line for the race. For those unfamiliar with this race, it is a staggered start, with handicaps pre-figured. The slowest boats start first and the faster boats latter according to their handicaps. It is an 8.6 mile race from the Fisherman Bay channel entrance day marker to a Coast Guard mooring buoy off San Juan Island, near Cattle Pass and return. This year it paid to hug the Lopez shore on the beat to the Coast Guard buoy. The problem, as always with that tactic, is when to cross over to the San Juan Island side. This decision was compounded by the fact that we could not even see San Juan Island let alone the Coast Guard buoy.

Rounding the buoy first was Chris Maas in his self-designed, self-built 23’ day sailer, Slipper. We were next around a minute later on my Melges 24, Speedster. We were followed by two of the Martin 242’s Treachery and Purple Martin. Although I felt pretty good about our position I could see the J-111, Raku, closing on the buoy. They rounded a couple of minutes behind the Martins. We all set spinnakers and headed back over to the Lopez shore on favored starboard tack.

Within a couple of minutes, we quickly passed Slipper and were in first place. I could see however that the J-111 had rounded the buoy and was looking fast. Raku was the lowest rating and fastest boat in the fleet by a ton and she was coming on strong. As we neared the Lopez shore near Otis Perkins park, we still had the lead, but it was getting smaller by the second. Raku finally passed us near the fish traps just off the Lopez spit. I was truly impressed to see only two people on the boat. Christine Wolfe was driving the boat and I am assuming it was her husband working the foredeck. They finished about 45 seconds ahead of us on Speedster.

Slipper and Chris Maas sailing with Todd Twig finished third behind us, followed by two of the Martins from Orcas Island. The Moore 24, Hummingbird was first to finish in class B. Hummingbird was followed by the Colgate 26, Cassandra, that just barely squeezed past Dave Welker in his Etchells, Wailau, for second. Dave did a remarkable job coming in third. He was sailing single handed and the only boat that did not fly a spinnaker. Wailau and Speedster were the only Lopez racers to trophy. Good on you Dave.

I want to thank our incredible Race Committee of John Zaborsky and Bill White. They started and finished all the boats and took some time to take some great pictures that will be in the YC web site. In addition to starting all the boats with each boat assigned a different start time they were also tasked with collecting entry fees with a fish net and passing out the trophies with a boat hook. These were of course precautions we had to take for social distancing in this weird COVID world we are now living in. 

I was very much encouraged by the number of boats that turned out this year. The most boats in the 9 years of this race. I have been getting really good feedback today from the boats that came from the other islands. We might have to do this again. Number 10 next year.

Stay tuned. 
Your Commodore – Russ Johnson

Russ Johnson, Commodore

Russ Johnson, 2020 LIYC Commodore. He sailed 44 years as a master of towing vessels worldwide. Served as a Director of Safety, Training & Regulatory Compliance while at Dunlap Towing Company. Now utilizes his expertise in the field of maritime investigation and legal consulting.

Race Results

2020 Lopez Cup Race Results

Another photo gallery of the 2020 Lopez Cup

Click here “Photo Gallery by Gene Helfman” to enjoy photos submitted by our club member, Gene Helfman. Wonderful photos, in spite of heavy wildfire smoke in the atmosphere.

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