34 Youth Sailors took to the tricky waters of Port Townsend Bay this past weekend July 17th and 18th. The competitors ranged in age from 9 to 17, and were either in Optis, Laser (Full Rig and Radial) or Vanguard 15s. The is the first time that Port Townsend has hosted a non-high school youth regatta. Port Townsend was recruited to be a regular venue on the NW Youth Circuit all signs point to higher participation next year.
Visiting families all commented on how sweet sailing out of the NWMC in PT was. Thanks to nice weather, good conditions (though sometimes with the big current they were marginal), good food, great spectating, being in PT, and the new facility, everyone there was really psyched.
There was a wedding taking place on the Compass Rose, but due to flexibility of the wedding folk and the sailors, everyone peacefully coexisted and both the sailors and the wedding crowd enjoyed each other’s presence. The sailors were on a postponement, but were already onshore and eating lunch on the upper deck while the short ceremony took place. They even arranged chairs around the circle for the elders. After the bride and groom kissed, the upper deck gallery applauded loudly. The wedding guests loved that as well as the beautiful backdrop of sails jutting up from the beach.
On the water, the conditions were good but sailors got a real lesson about sailing in current, as did the race management crew in trying to make marks not walk off out into the Strait. Eventually one mark was placed within 50 yards of the shore for shallow enough water to make it stick. This made for great spectating.
Despite the regatta organizer seeing only a moderate tide both days, at times there were 2 knots of current flowing through the course at very odd angles. This proved to be tough for the Optis, which can only sail a few knots. Nothing like sailing in PT! The participants became better sailors for it.
Port Townsend sailors not only enjoyed themselves, but sailed very well. Highlights include Eliza Dawson and Britz Grant winning the 5 boat V15 fleet, Chloe Dawson getting second out of eight in the Optis, and Cody Kowalski getting fourth out of 14 in the Laser fleet. These kids are on the up and up and are seriously starting to become a force to be reckoned with.
Many thanks to the army of parental volunteers, the competitors, as well as the NWMC, the YMCA, PTSA, West Marine and so many others who made this event possible. We are putting ourselves on the map one step at a time. If you did not get a chance to come down and see this event, please do for the next one, have some good food, and enjoy the good kid energy.
Erik Coburn, Coach, Port Townsend Youth and High School Sailing Team