Friday, May 24, 2013

Epic Race to the Straits Regatta

(Seattle, WA)- The Pacific Northwest is full of fun-loving sailors always looking for a reason to get out on the water, seeking out yet another challenge and enjoy the shared experience afterwards over some great food, BBQ, fresh salmon and the occasional beer.  With over 200 days of "moisture" on average, the Seattle sailing crowd are a hardy bunch and, all things considered, are some of the nicest group of sailors you'll ever encounter around the world.

Recently, one of the more notoriously fun group of sailors hosted their annual "Race to the Straits" Regatta.  Imagine this, 100+ short-handed boats duking it out from Seattle to Port Townsend Saturday, then sailing back on Sunday. The first weekend in May and entries are capped at 100 boats!?! The Party is back at the American Legion Hall Saturday night.  There's a keg at the skippers meeting, kegs at the party in Port Townsend, kegs at the awards.  What more could you want?  More to the point, who are these people?  Well, the host is "Sloop Tavern YC" in Seattle, not exactly your classic "yacht club", in fact far from it! They're the equivalent of the East Coast's "Mystic River Mudheads", the spirit that drives them is being the ultimate underdogs in their local sailing circles-- pomp and circumstance be damned (unless, of course, it includes a kegger).

Repeat winner of the small Single Handed Flying Sails class was Dan Wierman aboard his J/35 GREAT WHITE, taking his class by a wide margin.  As for the balance of other J's participating in the race, many had good performances despite the stunningly challenging tactics & strategies employed to even finish!  In Class 3 Doublehanded Non-Flying Sails Division, the J/35c ASTRAEA sailed by Lee Harris pulled off a 4th.  In Class 4 Doublehanded Flying Sails Division, the J/36 MONKEY BONES sailed by Jason Andrews won by over five minutes.

Class 7 Doublehanded Flying Sails Division was somewhat insane in terms of the enormous cross-section of boats sailing in that fleet-- somewhat laughable, really.  M24's, J/105's, J/35c, C&C 43's, Olson 30's.  Nevertheless, Tom Mitchell's J/35c WILDFLOWER placed 3rd, James Geros's J/105 LAST TANGO was 4th and Matthew Gardner-Brown's J/105 DULCINEA was sixth!

Class 9 Doublehanded Sails Division saw the J/70 DA SPENCER sailed by Mike Pitt take 4th followed by Dave Schutte's J/80 TAJ MAHAL in sixth.  Class 10 Doublehanded Flying Sails Division and the J/30 IMPULSIVE sailed by Ulf Gwildis take 5th!  Awesome job, dude!

Finally, in Class 14 Doublehanded Flying Sails Division the J/22s and classic wooden Thunderbirds were dueling for ABSOLUTE WORLD DOMINATION- fiberglass versus wood!!  Getting the short end of that stick were the J/22 mafia, having to settle for 5th, 6th, 7th in their division.  Top J/22 was Tom Brandt in 22 CALIBRE, next was Molly Jackson & Mike Karas on HOT LIPS HOULIHAN (love it!) and third was Nick Farley's DON'T TELL MOM! Really, you probably wouldn't' want to tell Mom you finished behind "hot lips"! :0     For more Sloop Tavern YC Race to the Straits sailing information