Blaine community sailing school schedules first mini regatta
By Jack Kintner
Blaine’s sailing season gets underway this weekend, April 25 and 26, with up to a hundred sailboats filling the bay for the annual Semiahmoo Regatta.
In addition to the regular long race Saturday and shorter races Sunday, Drayton Harbor Maritime’s community sailing school will be holding a mini-regatta of its own right in the middle of the marina as a grand finale to the two-day event.
Coordinator Ron Snyder said he hopes to have as many of the school’s 28 graduates as possible show up to compete in the race which is set for the area immediately in front of the Blaine Harbor boating center.
The start/finish line will be where the MV Plover ties up and the course goes south along the visitor’s float out to the breakwater and back.
Under Snyder’s leadership the school has grown since beginning classes last summer, and now has seven identical Clancy boats, small single-sail dinghies with room enough for one adult or two children.
The hulls were farmed out to local sponsors and sailing students over the winter for refurbishing and painting and all look brand new.
The race is sponsored by Blaine’s West Marine Express store and by Banner Bank, who is giving away hot dogs and refreshments for competitors and spectators.
Blaine Harbor is also chipping in with space and support and behind it all is Drayton Harbor Maritime, the non-profit foundation that operates the Plover and sponsors the sailing school.
Snyder said that in addition to the sailors trained by the school last year that qualified skippers off the larger boats in the Semiahmoo Regatta are also welcome to compete. Most if not all of the bigger boats will have finished their racing by the time the mini-regatta gets under way.
Snyder plans to hold a practice for those who feel they need it on Saturday afternoon, April 25, near Gate Three at the Monkey Island training site the school uses for their on-the-water classes. For those who are racing there will be a skipper’s meeting at 3:30 p.m. at the base of the gangway at Gate Two.
“It should be a real hoot,” said Snyder, “because instead of everything happening way out [in the middle of the bay], this will be right under everyone’s noses.”
This year’s series of classes gets underway in June. Some have already filled but a schedule of available openings is posted at the Blaine Harbor boating center.