A brigade of boats braved the waters of Port Townsend Bay and participated in the 31st annual Shipwright’s Regatta this weekend, with organizers from the Port Townsend Sailing Association …
A brigade of boats braved the waters of Port Townsend Bay and participated in the 31st annual Shipwright’s Regatta this weekend, with organizers from the Port Townsend Sailing Association hailing the event as an overwhelming success.
“I thought the regatta went really well. And I’m happy and proud that the Port Townsend Sailing Association has been able to help keep this great Port Townsend tradition going into its fourth decade,” said Race Director Jim Heumann of the Port Townsend Sailing Association. “I think we can say that a good time was had by all.”
Sailors, organizers, and other participants gathered at Boat Haven Marina’s A-B Dock at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 26 before the regatta started, and Heumann provided an overview of the race. He additionally took the time to highlight mariners that have helped out with the regatta since its inception 31 years ago, like Pete Langley — one of the race’s original founders — and others.
“The history of this race is a big part of what makes it special, and so it was great to have Pete Langley, who helped start the race in 1991,” Heumann said.
PREPPING FOR LAUNCH
Organizers were joyous to have an overcast afternoon with healthy gusts of wind, considering that the regatta was postponed a month ago due to heavy wind and rain.
Thirty-five boats participated in four different racing classes based on ship classifications and experience level: Racing Class, Thunderbird Class, Cruising Class B, and Cruising Class C.
Boarding their sailboats and launching out of Boat Haven Marina, the sailors headed toward the race start, indicated by the committee boat adorned with an orange flag sign.
The race layout resembled a massive triangle, marked with three bright, yellow buoys in a triangle formation for sailboats to lap around twice in a counter-clockwise fashion.
OFF TO THE RACES
The race kicked off at 1 p.m. with a brigade of boats gliding northward from the starting line at consecutively-timed starts.
The sailboats cruised through the the bay with differing forms of success, although a handful of ships struggled with the tricky windward mark buoy, having to navigate their vessels upwind and around the mark.
Out of 35 boats, 33 finished the race.
In the Racing Class, “Sir Isaac” took the top spot, followed by “Dooflicker” in second, and “Pacifica” earning bronze. For the Thunderbird Class, “Owl” finished in first, with “Dorado” winning silver, and “Blew Bird” in third. Cruising Class B saw “Amelie” take gold, “Windmist II” with silver, and “Windstrong” earned the third spot. Finally, for Cruising Class C, “Murrelet” took the top spot, followed by “Opus” in second, and “Sadie” in third.
All in all, the Shipwright’s Regatta ended as a resounding success for first-time organizer Port Townsend Sailing Association.
“This was the first time that Port Townsend Sailing Association took over the management of the event. As a group, we felt it was very important to uphold the spirit and traditions of the event that have been established over the past 30 years,” said Jeff Brantley of the sailing association. “We have not done our post-event debrief yet, but the overall consensus is that the event was a total success.”
After the regatta, the weary mariners and organizers rendezvoused at the Northwest Maritime Center’s main building on Water Street for a post-race celebration and awards ceremony.
After rounds of tasty pizza and fresh beer, the sailors gathered to hear race results and award winners. Eight trophy awards were handed out to crews for admirable, inspiring, or humorous performances during the regatta.
The Directional Helmet was awarded to “Tiny Dancer” for the crew’s high spirits, laughter, and memorable trumpet celebration as they finished third-to-last in the race.
The Golden Trident trophy was awarded to the “saltiest boat or crew,” and “Opus” earned the honor for their black-hulled, gaff-riffed beauty of a boat, adorned with tanbark sails and living up to the essence of a truly salty vessel.
The Hook award, humorously given to boat crews in need of a hook to attach to faster vessels for a much-needed boost, was handed to the fine crew of “Nais,” the last sailboat to finish the race.
The crew with the best use of misspent energy, “Surge,” was given the Wack-O-Matic trophy after a grueling battle to get around the tricky windward mark buoy in the first lap.
The Wire Cruising Boat trophy was awarded to “Amelie” as the first boat to finish in the cruising class.
The coveted Peg Leg trophy for the first place boat was handed to the crew of “Sir Isaac” for a stellar day at sea, and the boat’s name will be engraved into the peg leg for perpetual bragging rights.
The final trophy of the evening, the Van Hope Community Spirit Award, was given to an organization dedicated to helping improve on-the-water safety in the region. Nonprofit Salish Rescue was awarded for their volunteer search and rescue efforts assisting the people of Puget Sound since 2004.
Overall, the Shipwright’s Regatta was a big accomplishment for organizers, mariners, and all involved as the maritime tradition continues to be a longstanding cornerstone of Port Townsend’s unique community.
“So many organizations and volunteers came together to make it a success, our sponsors, the Northwest Maritime Center, Salish Rescue, the race committee, and, of course, everybody who came out to race,” Heumann said. “It was so much fun to see such a diversity of boats out on the bay having a good time together. And it was a joy to be able to get together again in person for the awards party.”
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