Seattle Junior Leukemia Cup Regatta Raises Nearly $10K!

Seattle Junior Leukemia Cup Regatta Raises Nearly $10K!
Fund raising competitors in the first ever Seattle Junior Leukemia Cup Regatta.

Seattle Yacht Club hosted the first ever Seattle Junior Leukemia Cup Regatta on Sunday, May 21st. Fifteen SYC junior sailors stepped up and collectively raised nearly $10,000 to help cure blood cancers. We sailed the V15s on Portage Bay and we had great weather, with sunshine and plenty of wind and had an all around great time. Kit Stoll won the top fundraiser award, raising over $2,000 and also won top skipper. Luke Gibbons won top crew. A big shout out to our coach Cam Hoard who volunteered his Sunday to run the regatta. Thanks to all of the SYC junior sailors who participated and did such a great job fundraising. We are all excited to make this an annual event at SYC and are looking forward to raising even more money next year.  Join the fight to beat blood cancers! – Owen Timms

Ed. Note: Thanks Owen and Seattle YC for putting this together and showing that the youth of today have it figured out, doing good and building community while having a great time. And for placing sailing front and center. 

SYC Leukemia Cup Junior Regatta

Owen Timms, an up and coming force on the Laser scene already, is behind the Seattle Yacht Club Leukemia Cup Junior Regatta, which will take place in Portage Bay at the Seattle Yacht Club on Sunday. For more information and registration check out this page. For Owen’s fundraising page, go here. We’ll try to get info on the regatta and fundraising next week.

Lessons Learned for Charles Wright at High School Nationals

Lessons Learned for Charles Wright at High School Nationals
FJs on the Charles River (not from this regatta, however)

Remember when we reported that our friends on the Charles Wright High School Sailing Team were headed back east for the high school nationals? Well, they went, they saw, but they didn’t quite conquer, finishing 20th/20.  That said, spirits were high as it was yet another building block adding onto the high school sailing scene here. And there were many positives worth noting. Again, we have Charles Wrights’ Alyosha Strum-Palerm with some “embedded” reporting:

“We had low expectations going into the event. NWISA (Northwest District Interscholastic Sailing Association)  has been a historically weaker district on national regattas due to its relative young age, lower funding, and generally smaller size. Saturday was a tough day vs the larger teams with subs etc..  Sunday(races 15-20) was much better for me, averaging an 11 score over those 6 races.

“The “A” division was so incredibly deep. Everyone had high level boat handling and boat speed so if you made one mistake four boats would pass you. If you got on the wrong end of a shift then half the fleet would pass you. With the frequency and drama of shifts on the Charles, that was the key factor of the weekend. Teams who got consistent good starts had a much easier time of picking their lanes and sailing where they wanted. Everyone else had to pick through chopped up air and second choice lanes and shifts.

Alyosha contributed this photo from the weekend. Looks a bit Northwest-like.

“It was incredible to compete against the best in the country and being in the mix on Sunday was an awesome experience. Hopefully in the next 5-10 years we will have built the culture here in the Northwest to the point where we can compete with the Southern California and east coast teams. Lots of new, young, and motivated coaches are really helping to push the district into a more prominent position in ISSA.”

Support Our Kids!

I’ll just add that we as a sailing community here need to do more to support high school sailing in the area. The scene is active and exciting and the kids are having a blast. That’s all good. But if we want them to do well on the national scene, and graduate kids into high-power university programs, they need more support. While support can mean simply writing checks, there are other ways to help as well like volunteering, donations etc. On a personal note, if you catch wind of a high school regatta near you, go see it. Once you do, it’ll be hard not to offer some kind of support. As Alyosha says, “more involvement from the racing culture is what drives youth programs.”

Earlier today I published a post on the UW Sailing Team, which is headed to South Carolina for the college Nationals women’s and coed doubles at the end of this month. Good luck to them!

A general report and the results from the Mallory Cup, won by Point Loma, can be found here. There was actually live video coverage of the events, and those video links are available on this page.




NWISA Team Race District Championship

NWISA Team Race District Championship

Eight Varsity and 14 JV high school sailing teams descended on Sail Sand Point May 4-6 to take part in the NWISA 3 on 3 Team Race Championships, with a berth to the National Championships up for grabs. The NWISA Team Race Championship along with the NWISA Fleet Race Championship hosted on Orcas Island April 29 & 30 are the two final district high school regattas for the 2016-2017 school year and a culmination of hours and hours of practice and hard work put in by the teams. A total of 18 district regattas during the fall and spring NWISA sailing seasons were completed leading into the championship regattas, and that is a lot of racing.

Check out these photos by Jim Skeel. And there are lots more on his Facebook page. Thanks, Jim for allowing us to use them and promote high school sailing.

Sail Sand Point hosted the event, and did a fantastic job organizing the 36 FJ’s making up six fleets racing on two digital N courses. The SSP pier provided spectacular viewing of the racing, fast rotations and a big lunch BBQ for all. Light winds both mornings turned into 4-9 knot northerlies by mid-afternoon both days making for perfect team racing conditions. A total of 137 races were completed between the two courses for the weekend. That is a lot of team racing and a big shout out to Nino Johnson Varsity PRO, Scot Boye JV PRO, the judges and all the volunteers who made it all happen. The high school sailors showed all of us who were watching how much they have improved their team racing skills the last few years, with a lot of close races decided on the final beat. It was so close in fact that after 61 races on the varsity course, it all came down to the last race of the day on Sunday, Orcas versus Olympia when the two teams tied for the regatta lead with 13-3 records. Orcas was able to win the final race and the regatta and are now headed to Northfolk, VA for the ISSA Team Race National Championships, “The Baker Trophy.” Olympia placed second and Bainbridge grabbed third. Regatta report and scores can be found here:

Photos can be found at

Ed. Note: The amazing high school racing scene here is largely due to the work of Burke Thomas. 






Huge Turnout as High School Teams Fought for Nationals Spot at MIT. Charles Wright Sailors Prevail

Huge Turnout as High School Teams Fought for Nationals Spot at MIT. Charles Wright Sailors Prevail

If you haven’t been following the high school sailing scene in the Northwest, you are definitely missing out. It’s exciting, active and very competitive. Teams are fighting every inch of the way around the course, and having a great time doing it. If you’ve got a high-schooler, or soon to be high-schooler, you should really be aware of this. For the rest of us, keep a watch on these kids ‘cause they’re really good already and just getting better. Don’t let that first sentence slip by you: 40 teams and 200 sailors. Following is a report from Alyosha Strum-Palerm, part of the winning Charles Wright team.

Three 10% regattas had already been completed and only the District Championship remained, counting for 80% of total points (you throw out your worst 10% regatta score). Winning two of the three 10% regattas, Orcas Island High School had to be favorites coming into the regatta, especially considering they were sailing on their home turf on West Sound. Bainbridge High School, Anacortes High School, Charles Wright Academy, Oak Harbor High School and Olympia High School were all also in the running. The first A division set was sailed in a strange 3-6 knot easterly, and Nicholas Lee ’20 and I (’17) took both races. After four races in A division and 4 races in B division, Charles Wright held a slender 6-point lead over Bainbridge.

A light 3-6 knot easterly greeted some 40 teams and 200+ sailors from around Washington and Oregon last Saturday for the NWISA (North West Interscholastic Sailing Association) Fleet Race Championships. Of these 40 teams, 17 were vying for one berth to fleet race nationals hosted at MIT on May 13th and 14th.

All Photos by Burke Thomas. (If anyone wants to chime in with photo IDs I’ll be happy to update the post!)

Day two brought seemingly much different conditions, a steady 8-12 knot westerly was blowing and it looked like we would have a wonderful day of quick rotations and maybe 6 or 7 races in each division. The Charles Wright A pair went on to win the first two of the day’s races, but the Orcas B pair of Dominick Wareham ’19 and Matia Schwartz ’17 matched with two bullets of their own. With Bainbridge also having a solid set from both their A and B pairs, Charles Wright and Bainbridge were tied with 57 points apiece going into the final set of 4 races. In A division, the Charles Wright A pair went 1,2 in their final two races and put crucial points in between them and Bainbridge going into the final two B races.

In race 7B, Jack Corddry ’19 and Hayden Flaskerude from Charles Wright pulled a crucial 2nd place, meaning that mathematically all they had to do is not get last in the final race to win the regatta. They went on to take 4th in race 8B, putting Charles Wright 17 points ahead of the second place team Orcas and 26 points ahead of the third place team Bainbridge.

I know that all the sailors involved in this wonderful event would like to thank Burke Thomas and Hannah Tuscon Turner for hosting the regatta at Orcas Island Yacht Club, as well as all the volunteers who made food for over 200 sailors over the course of three days. We also want to thank Bob Brunius for doing an excellent job with scoring, Dick Rose and Jared Hickman for being on the water judges, Brendan Fahey the PRO and all the other volunteers who spent their weekend in whalers trying to square the course to each infinite variation of wind direction and speed. Charles Wright Academy is the first South Sound team to take the district championship and is the 7th team to have won. Over the last 5 years we have had 5 different winners, which is a testament to the growing diversity and strength of NWISA as a conference. Wish us luck at Nationals!

–Alyosha Strum-Palerm

We’ll pester Losha for a report after Nationals.


Youth Open House on Saturday!!

Youth Open House on Saturday!!

Isn’t it great when sailing groups work together? The various sailing programs around the Salish Sea are generally pretty busy these days, but that’s no time to stop promoting.

From 11-3 on Saturday at Sail Sand Point several organizations will be putting their programs out there for the world, and lots of kids, to see. The Sailing Foundation has a big hand in coordinating it with funds made available by the Northwest Marine Trade Association.

Hobie Waves at Sail Sand Point

Visitors can go for a sail, enjoy a free barbecue and find out about our great sport. There’s a great bonus, high schoolers are having a team race regatta, and if you haven’t seen the high school sailing scene, or if you haven’t seen team racing, it’s all very inspiring and fun to watch.

Here’s the thing, LET OTHERS KNOW! If you’re reading this, you may already have your kid dialed in. We need to spread the word further, please let your non-sailing friends know about this. You know – the ones who’ve seen your eyes light up while you talk about sailing.

Here are some of the details courtesy of Andrew Nelson of The Sailing Foundation:

Think of this as Opening Day for the small boaters. Our goal is to get people out on the water, including those who might have never tried sailing before. Big thanks to the NMTA for again providing a grant for this event.

There will be one central check-in/information area where we’ll let area sailing programs display brochures and other materials. We will be offering lots of fun activities and a free BBQ once again. This event also coincides with the HS team race championships, so there will be lots happening on the water and plenty of good spectating.

Provided activities include…


Boat Rides (Boats provided by SSP)

Jr. Sailing Info Table

High School Sailing Spectating

Giant jenga

Corn Hole

Ladder Golf

Block and Tackle Tug of War

Arts and Crafts 

Junior Sailing Info Sessions

Last year we had about 200 members of the community come down for the event.

Squall Punctuates PSSR Small Boats

Squall Punctuates PSSR Small Boats

CYC’s Puget Sound Sailing Regatta (PSSR) last weekend was of the small boat and dinghy fleets, and there were plenty of options from which to choose, including both Hobie 16s and 18s! Saturday it blew in the teens (except for the last-race-of-the-day squall) and Sunday it was light. Life on the committee boat on lumpy Saturday wasn’t the most comfortable and rumor has it there was some mal de mer going around.

The largest fleet in both size boats and numbers was the J/24 class. In 2015 only six J/24’s sailed and last year it was eight. This year it was 14, which is a good sign the fleet has embraced the idea of coming out of Lake Washington for this event. Wayne Pignolet’s Joy Ride won the class with an extremely consistent performance, followed by perennial top boats Self Abuse and Tremendous Slouch.

All photos by Jan Anderson:

Mats Elf won the six-boat 505 fleet in a tight battle over Cody Kowalski while Paul Evenden, Eric Ledbetter and Jay/Lisa Renehan won the Hobie 18, Star and Tasar classes. Results here.

Only two Lasers showed up for the regatta, and were basically absorbed into the RS Aero fleet. Many new faces dotted the Aero fleet, which is great to see. It was Todd Willsie hanging on for a narrow win, especially after a satisfying last race on Saturday when a squall packing around 30 knots rolled through race course. After three firsts and a second on Saturday, Willsie watched his lead start to disappear as Eric Becker, Randy Shuman and David Rogers all showed light air speed.

It was interesting for me to watch the fleets assemble on Sunday from Golden Gardens Park. About 300 yards away from the CYC committee boat the SYC team, with a healthy number of kids Optis and Laser Radials, where happily doing drills with a coach leading the way in a RIB. While Willsie and the others were waiting between starts, the kids were drilling, practicing, MOVING. I understand the Tasar fleet decided to peel away on Sunday and have their own rabbit starts to get more sailing in.

Personally, have a hard time waiting between races, even when a RC is on top of it. I get impatient and cold. And today’s kids are used to pretty much constant engagement of one sort or another. I can’t imagine my 10-year old sitting for 20 minutes between races unless he had an iPad, and then he’d miss the next start for sure.

As we contemplate moving  kids moving into adult dinghy sailing, one of the things we should perhaps look at is how we can reduce the wait time between races or find another way to keep everyone engaged, even when there are multiple classes and challenging logistics. Nowadays I’m usually happy for a bit of a rest, but I didn’t need or want that 40 years ago and I’ll bet neither do kids today.

Blakely Rock Benefit Regatta

Blakely Rock Benefit Regatta

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 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.

Oxomoro and Escape (click to enlarge)

Onboard Slipstream

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 or our FB page, let me know.




Bridge of DOOM

There are a lot of great kids’ boats and programs out there, but every time I see a Bic Open “regatta” I think to myself, “Man, I wish they had that when I was a kid.” Well, I wish they had a bridge of doom when I was a kid. Come to think of it, that would put a whole new wrinkle in one of our local regattas. Even for grown ups.


Seattle Yacht Club Awarded for Excellence in Sailing Instruction from US Sailing

Seattle Yacht Club Awarded for Excellence in Sailing Instruction from US Sailing
The 2016 SYC Instructors

As we cover kids sailing programs around the region, lest we not forget SYC’s longstanding, outstanding program. Operating from SYC on Portage Bay, its Optis, Lasers, Vanguard 15s and 420s are a common sight as one drives on the 520. For more information, check out the brochure.

Sailing Director Brian Ledbetter was eager to share the news that his team earned some well deserved recognition from US Sailing. Here’s the scoop:

On behalf of the Seattle Yacht Club, Angela Frost and Cameron Hoard accepted the Captain Joe Prosser Award for Excellence in Sailing Instruction at the 2017 U.S. Sailing National Symposium. Angela is the Sailing Programs Coordinator at Seattle Yacht Club, and Cameron is the Junior Race Team coach.

Cameron and his Optis

This award is given to an organization that has demonstrated Excellence in Sailing Instruction, and has made an exemplary contribution toward improving the quality and safety in the training or instruction of sailors.

Cameron Hoard and Angela Frost accepting the award.

In addition to the trophy, a $500 credit, also funded by U.S. Sailing’s Training Committee, will be awarded annually to the selected program for Instructor Training. The Captain Joe Prosser Award was created to recognize the life achievement of the Merchant Marine Academy’s first sailing master. Nominees for the award may be organizations which are either “for-profit” or “not-for-profit”; and may be engaged in sailing instruction on a part-time or full-time basis. Nominees shall embody the characteristics of honor, integrity, and a selfless dedication to the sport.

Congratulations to the Seattle Yacht Club and the Junior Sailing and Racing programs for winning this prestigious award.

Congratulations, gang. One of the encouraging things that I’m seeing is that not only are there several different programs to suit different sailing communities, these organizations often pitch in on regattas together to give the kids the best experience possible.

If your junior program has a story to tell, please send it my way.