Archive for April, 2010

30th Annual Blakely Rock Benefit Race

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

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Eighty-eight boats entered the 30th annual Blakely Rock Benefit Race put on by the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club of Ballard, Washington. One of at least four editions of the local “Race around the rock” held each year, this one is especially significant in that all race, race day breakfast, awards raffle, and silent auction proceeds go directly towards supporting the Ballard Food Bank. In fact, it is such a worthy cause, even the photographer gives her picture proceeds to the food bank. With that in mind, and the fact that this is a Seattle Yacht Club Grand Prix qualifier, the people come rain or shine to race down the Puget Sound past views of the Olympic Mountain range and the Seattle downtown, to a little rock approximately seven miles from the Shillshole Marina and back again to the finish.

Weather was forecasted early in the week to be NE 5-10 but as the week progressed, so did the forecast. With over 50 knots in Vancouver, BC the day before the race, it was looking to be a wet and wild race. Though the early morning race day prediction backed things off a bit, Mother Nature did not get the message. People arrived at the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club starting around 7 AM for the “Blitz Breakfast” and 9:30 skippers meeting and were greeted with brisk temperatures and a nice early morning breeze. Later on, down at the harbor, everyone realized the race would be a fast and wet one. Full whitecap conditions in the twenty knot range were in effect. Though it was said the temperatures were to be in the mid fifties, the breeze and slightly overcast conditions made it feel like it was in the thirties. But it didn’t stop 19 non-flying sails and 63 flying sails boats from heading out for the start just outside the Shillshole Harbor.

With a reverse start format, the first few starts went off on time. Then a minor postponement for what described as a clock issue left the boats waiting for their start to literally “chill out”. With low temperatures and fairly good breeze, the sailing back and forth around the start line sent plenty of waves and spray up, over, and down the foulies. Soon it was all sorted out and everyone was back in sequence with the blood flowing normally again with a quick upwind to a port rounding at the channel mark, turn and burn downwind to a port rounding at the rock, and beat back. For the non-displacement boats, the conditions did not disappoint; full planning and surfing was the downwind du jour and for a while the cold was forgotten. Once around the rocks it was a long port tack beat to some current relief over by the city where once again, you were reminded of cold air and water. By the finish a little more than two hours after the start, many were happy with the thoughts of hot buttered rums, car heaters, and awaiting warm showers.

At 7 PM the participants gathered back at the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club, for the results and trophy presentation, raffle and silent auction. All appeared to be thawed out enough to partake in “sloopers” of cold beer, stories of the day, and a darn good party. In the end, the overall winner for non-flying sails was Bill Boyeson and his J42 ‘Jiminy’ and the flying sails class overall victory went to Jennifer and Ben Braden on their Moore 24 ‘Moore Uff Da’…but the real winner was the Ballard Food Bank thanks to the help of all the participants!
Written by Kurt Lahr.

Moore Uff Da showing their winning form
Photo courtesy of Clear Ahead Sailing©

Full results can be found at:…2010/race1.htm

Jan Anderson (Jan’s Marine Photography) photograph’s can be found here:…36076320/show/
Jan is selling high resolution images from the race with all proceeds going to the Ballard Food Bank. Thanks Jan!