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RACING SHEET

Summer Fun in the PNW Words: Doug Hansen // Photos: Maria Swearingen (SailingPDX) Recovering from Van Isle 360 this summer has been an ordeal unto itself; catching up with work, earning back points with the family, and trying to figure out what to do when you’re not waking up and racing every day hardly leaves time for sailing. Part of the prescription to avoid full withdrawals is to take part in some “just for fun” racing. It’s easy to get lost in the world of target boat speed and optimized weather routing, so getting back to the basics of what makes sailing fun is just what the doctor ordered. Monday nights on Puget Sound, the local PHRF fleet sets to the water in the heavily attended Ballard Cup, which is tipping the scales with over 70 boats signed

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up and packing the waters off the Shilshole breakwater. As the fleet ranges from heavy cruisers to purebred race boats, the traffic adds an interesting mix to the tactics with the constant need to keep clean air and choose your tacks wisely. Anyone would be hardpressed to show me another group of boats that cover such a wide spectrum in boat speed and experience, with some using the series as practice for other events, while others just focus on getting around the race course safely. They are all out for a good time, and good times are to be had. Once safely back at the dock, the group moves on to The Sloop Tavern, the host yacht club and sailing cultural icon, for beverages and awards to wrap up each week.

Taking the week into midswing and back to the freshwater, Duck Dodge takes the come-asyou-are attitude of Ballard Cup and kicks it into overdrive in more ways than one. The twolap “race” every Tuesday night is wilder than I remember in years past, and the post-race raft-up is easily one of the best evenings in the city. A different theme each week sets the tone, and they include everything from Prom Night to the full-blown Animal House toga party. The Dodge has been a longtime favorite and its popularity has clearly rubbed off on the locals, many who race “Duck Dodge only” boats that rarely, if ever, leave the lake. While it’s easy to get into the mix and race your way to a gold duck, it’s al-

Top: The leeward mark was a make-or-break moment where a clean rounding could launch racers into the lead. Bottom, left to right: The intensity continued to rise as the wind built and the points became closer through out the weekend; Staying in control while pushing for every ounce of speed in a tight pack of boats takes both skill and nerves. 80 NORTHWEST YACHTING || AUGUST 2019

most better to be a spectator and sit back and enjoy the mayhem that is 150 boats going around the same buoy at once. While there are always close calls, and sometimes the race has the occasional inexperienced skipper with no business being in the middle of the race course, it is hard to find anyone not smiling as the raft-up breaks up at 2200 hours and the madness disperses. Back in the saltwater again, Elliott Bay Marina is doing their part to keep sailors’ blood pressures low, thanks to both the Leukemia Cup and the Downtown Sailing Series. This year’s Leukemia Cup left something to be desired for wind, but was a fantastic way to kick off the summer on the water and in the shadow of the city. Truly a fundraiser, the Leukemia Cup raised over $70,000 this year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with the help of the 45 boats that took part. Following along after Leukemia Cup, the Downtown Sailing Series runs on Thursday nights and attracts an impressive fleet of immaculately maintained cruising boats along with several of the larger racing boats coming out each week. This race follows along with the common theme of “don’t take it to seriously,” and the crew counts on both the TP52 Smoke and the RP55 Crossfire

Profile for Northwest Yachting

Northwest Yachting August 2019  

The best of boating lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest - featuring a trip to the Kenai Peninsula aboard a classic 80' Burger yacht, the inte...

Northwest Yachting August 2019  

The best of boating lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest - featuring a trip to the Kenai Peninsula aboard a classic 80' Burger yacht, the inte...