It’s been a long time since 116 boats have been on Puget Sound for a race on the same day, but that’s exactly what happened for Saturday’s Blakely Rock Benefit Regatta (BRBR). And with a gentle southerly, sailors and non-sailors alike looking out at Sound got to see a gorgeous parade of boats headed back to Shilshole after rounding the Rock.
Why so many boats? Maybe it had to do with the beneficiary of the regatta, The Sailing Foundation (TSF) and its efforts at promoting youth sailing. While all the beneficiaries of this race are worthy, there’s a natural connection with TSF. Maybe the participation had to do with the promotional efforts by the Sloop Tavern YC and Andrew Nelson of TSF. There was lots of outreach. Maybe the Sloop offering a provisional PHRF racing for a race helped spur attendance. It did in my case.
Regardless, why were there so many boats in BRBR is probably worth some study. In the meantime here are some great Jan Anderson photos and a race to talk about. The sun mixed with clouds and a bit of warmth made for some very happy faces, and Jan caught a lot of them. Maybe a shot or two of your boat?
There were three, count’em three, non flying sails classes comprising 15 boats. Starting first, they could stay in more of the dying breeze longer, though that couldn’t help some of the boats when it got super light off Shilshole. Despite that, every non-flying sails boat that started, finish. In fact, only two boats that started DNFed. Hey, it’s a benefit regatta and a beautiful day and, really, so what if some boats are a mile ahead. It’s great to be on the water, and that racing climate is what makes this race special.
There was something really special about watching Crossfire and Smoke smoke through the fleet on the long leg to the Meadow Point buoy. With their tall rigs and generating their own apparent wind, it didn’t seem like a light air race to them. They finished first and second overall, respectively. There were lots of other impressive performances you can find in the results. The two Bob Perry-designed Flying Tigers had a great day, finishing first and second in class. An Aussie 18 skiff, brought here temporarily from the sailing skiff Foundation in San Francisco and skippered by Evan Sjostedt, flew around the leadmines with the greatest of ease.
But this race was primarily about a relaxed race and gathering some funds for TSF. Youth Sailing Director Andrew Nelson doesn’t have the final numbers yet, but it was surely a significant fundraiser for the organization. And he reported that Ben Glass on Ocelot (The Mighty Ocelot for this race, anyway) invited four high school kids, who must have had a blast. Video below and on the sailish.com Facebook page.
And we’ll throw in another photo, this one of the Swan 391 Oxomoro crossing the trimaran Escape. Photo courtesy of Oxomoro skipper Doug Frazer, and if you want to see a relationship between a happy owner and boat unfold, check this slideshow out.
The race was SO appealing, my boat partners Joe and Becky Burcar and I raced our C&C 36 Slipstream with their 6 year old daughter Charlotte and my 10 year old son Ian. We would have won (not) for sure if not for a major crisis rounding Blakely Rock. Charlotte needed help getting her socks on, and was really quite insistent about it. Mommy was on the helm, and Joe and I were rather busy at the time and Ian’s help was unacceptable. So, after gybing the headsail and pointing back toward Shilshole, the first order of business was Joe getting Charlotte’s socks on. And you know, that was perfect. As it turned out, Charlotte’s socks were much less of a problem than our spinnaker sock. Following are a couple little videos I posted live to Facebook.
It’s obvious that with smartphone cameras and their ubiquitous use , we’re going to see more and more onboard footage. If you want to share yours on sailish.com or our FB page, let me know.