Founded in 2004 as a way to get Seattle area boaters out on their boats, the Downtown Sailing Series is a casual weekly summer regatta showcasing the sport of sailing to the citizens of Seattle. Extremely popular with local boating enthusiasts, the weekly post-regatta party has taken on a life of its own as great venue for building a sense of community. Since its partnership with the Leukemia Cup Regatta in 2005, the Downtown Sailing Series has helped raise more than $1,500,000 for help in curing this insidious blood borne disease.
This series is so popular that there is a waiting list to be one of the weekly sponsors. The entire Series was once again presented by BMW of Seattle who was joined this year by Sebago Deck Shoes, the Boat Insurance Agency, the Big Seattle Boat Show, SeaGlass Wines and Sterling Marine Services.
The rules are pretty simple, register, check in with the Race Committee on the evening of the Race, tell them if you are in Racing or Cruising, avoid other boats, have fun and finish by 8:30pm. If you have to use your engine to make the time limit, that’s just fine, because you wouldn’t want to be late for the party. That’s because afterwards you celebrate over beer, wine and hotdogs at the Seattle Yacht Club outstation. You may even win a sail bag of goodies from the sponsors. It’s a great way to spend time with your mates and meet fellow sailors!
This year while the weather may have been pretty strange, it was exceptional for the DTSS as there was only one race this summer where you had to use the engine. The rest of the time you had conditions that could only be described as “PERFECT”! Not surprisingly, the fleet continues to grow in size every year with the average fleet size this year being 85 boats.
This year the evening sponsors were Elliott Bay Yacht Sales, Fisheries Supply, Monkeyfist Yacht Care, Sea Hawk Paints, Splash N’Detail, CSR Marine, Emerald Harbor Marine, and Palisade Restaurant. The last night was once again the Rutten Race to honor Tom Rutten who was one of the inventors of the DTSS and it was also Sponsor Appreciation Night where all the Sponsors were honored at the post race party. Needless to say, this was one great party and was so well attended that it spilled out of the SYC Outstation and on to lawn between SYC and the main marina building.
The Rutten Cup is awarded each year to the boat that best exemplifies the true spirit of the Downtown Sailing Series. The previous year’s winner decides which boat should be awarded this perpetual trophy mug.
In addition to being a well known writer for Northwest Yachting Magazine, Tom was also a very active sailor and this award is a tribute to him and the spirit in which he lived. This year the Rutten Cup was awarded to the Pearson 365 NorthStar, co-skippered by Dave Huether and Mike McDonald. The Trophy was presented by Tom’s brother, Andy.
The other major awards went to the vessels with the fastest elapsed time around the course for the summer. In the Racing fleet it went to the 70’ Meridian skippered by Glenn Bonci who zipped around the course on June 18th in an amazing time 33 minutes 53 seconds. On the same night in the 52 boat Cruising Division it was the Centurion 47 Tre Gatti skippered by Kevin Monis who got around the same course in just 41 minutes and 55 seconds.
Other major awards included free moorage at Elliott Bay Marina for one, two and three months which in order to win you had to participate in every single race. There were only eight boats that met that requirement, so pretty good odds.
Another very successful summer of racing for the DTSS, so if you get the chance, pick up the phone, call the Marina at 206-285-4817 and thank them for all the hard work they do to put this on and don’t forget to patronize the sponsors. Remember there will be one more race this fall, on a Sunday, near Thanksgiving and you have to finish in time to watch the Seahawks!