Sailors Mckee at the Tasar World Championships Awards Ceremony

Local Sailors Win Big in Japan

Norris Comer Sailboat Racing

Pacific Northwest-based sailors Jonathan and Libby Johnson McKee won the Tasar World Championship 2017 in Gamagori, Japan held August 1 to 6, 2017.

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Jonathan and Libby Johnson Mckee at the awards ceremony. (Photo: Tasar World Championship 2017 © JUNICHI HIRAI | BULKHEAD magazine JAPAN)


According to the Tasar World Championship website,, the last day of the event was windless and the final two of 13 races were cut. The McKees were then awarded the win after taking the total 11 races into account.

“We are really happy. We were tired, but this is more than expected,” said Jonathan. The married couple have been sailing Tasars together for years.

“We just expected to have a great time because we love Japan. Now we are the top in the world? Really? We won?! Wow!” added Libby. “We started sailing Tasars before we were married about 29 years ago, and we’ve been married for 27 years and still sail together,” said Libby. “We hope to keep sailing Tasars for many years to come and will never walk away from this great community.”

For the unfamiliar, the Tasar is a 14-foot fiberglass two-person sailing dinghy with both mainsail and jib but no spinnaker. Designed by Frank Bethwaite of Sydney, Austrailia in 1975, the international class has enjoyed strong fleets in Australia, Britain, Japan, and the USA. The one design class has held officially recognized world championships since 2001. At a modest 149 lbs., the Tasar is light on its feet and considered easy and fun to sail.

The McKees also won the title in 2007 at the world championship in Phuket, Thailand, and in 2003 in Esquimalt, Vancouver Island, in Canada.

The next Tasar World Championship is slated for Hayling Isand, U.K. in July of 2019. Perhaps the Pacific Northwest Tasar sailing power couple will take first again, this time in the Atlantic?

Norris Comer

Written by

Norris Comer is an award-winning writer and the former Managing Editor of Northwest Yachting magazine. He was raised in Portland, Oregon and got his BS in Marine Science at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL where he lived aboard a 1973 Catalina 27 before moving to Washington and an Albin Vega. He has worked as a commercial fisherman, wandered aimlessly around the world, studied oil spills, and was a contestant on the Norwegian reality TV show "Alt for Norge."

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