Sailing race fills bay with boats
The annual Semiahmoo Regatta is scheduled for next weekend, April 28 and 29, and will once again bring the area’s top amateur sailboat racers to Blaine, appropriate for a town that is, after all, half water. The competition can be seen from many vantage points and you can listen to the race on marine radio, channel 72.
Racing takes place at 10 a.m. both days. Saturday’s race runs around the Alden Bank Buoy southwest of Point Whitehorn from the start near the White Rock pier.
Sunday’s racing is within Semiahmoo Bay, a close-quarters windward-leeward set of races around closely-spaced buoys that fills the bay with spinnakers.
Sunday’s races especially can be easily seen from Semiahmoo County Park.
The hard work that the sponsoring International Yacht Club’s racing committee puts in on the weekend series has paid off as the event has become one of the area’s major spring racing weekends.
Two years ago it was sanctioned by the Vancouver Area Racing Council (VARC), putting this local Blaine/White Rock racing weekend on the short list of major area races along with such classics as Southern Straits, Swiftsure and Whidbey Island Race Week.
Trophies are awarded in each of five handicapped starts, or classes, both for Saturday’s long-distance race, the TD Canada Trust Cup, and Sunday’s two-race short course series called the Bill VanDenBorne memorial. Additionally, the White Rock cup is awarded to the best finisher over-all on the weekend, and Blaine’s West Marine store awards the West Marine International Trophy to the best Canadian or American three-boat team based on combined results for the whole weekend.
Last year local sailor Mark Gumley, on his F9 trimaran Blue Lightning, won the VanDenBorne trophy in the multi-hull class and the West Marine trophy as well, teamed up with Gray Hawkins’s Davidson 40 named Teddy Bear and Brian Tyrell’s J-22 called T-squared. Tyrell came from Texas to sail in the race.
This is the ninth annual edition for an event that started modestly and flew under the local radar for a while, even though it brings several hundred people to the Blaine marina where race headquarters are located.
The race committee will also be using Peace Arch Park to accommodate skippers and crew from both the U.S. and Canada at the Friday skipper’s meeting and Saturday race awards. Sunday closes off with a barbecue and awarding of second-day prizes, including the West Marine International Cup, at the Blaine marina.