The final Whidbey Island Race Week (WIRW) in Oak Harbor was epic and described by many as, “the best Race Week yet!” After 37 years in this venue, that says a lot! We had four stellar days of great racing in Saratoga Passage and Penn Cove, five nights of awesome bands that got people packing the dance area, and a full Kids Camp sailing Hobie 16s for the first time.
As the race organizer, I also reintroduced a tradition dating back 30 years for a mariachi band to surprise and serenade racers early one morning. Most were still sleeping off the shenanigans from the night before and were stirred awake by the sounds of the vihuela, guitarron, and violin and sounds of Las Mananitas, Cielito Lindo, and an occasional, “Wakey! Wakey!” as we strolled through camps, shook tents, and walked the docks. All combined, it really did make the closing chapter of Race Week in Oak Harbor very memorable.
The Overall Winner with nine bullets was David Jackson on his Dash 34, MadDash, from Point Roberts (it should also be noted that Jackson was the Overall Winner in 2018 as well). Jennifer (JJ) Hoag from Seattle Yacht Club and Corinthian Yacht Club on Chinook was the recipient of the Molly Kool Cup, a perpetual award that honors a female skipper. And the Philip Wise Sportsmanship Award Recipient was Maureen Batterberry from Seattle Yacht Club with her Hanse 455, Bribery.
Many of us in the Puget Sound area sailing and racing community have been attending WIRW (lovingly referred to as Adult Summer Camp) for 20-plus years. Every July, we’ve made our way to Whidbey with our crab pots, our favorite bottle of rum, and our friends and family in tow for a great week of summer to race, party, and play. It’s tradition.
But due to the broken hoist and shallow channel in desperate need of dredging, the traditions are set to continue in Point Roberts going forward. Fingers crossed that the City of Oak Harbor sticks with their plans to address these issues beginning in 2025. So thank you, Oak Harbor, for 37 great years! Sailors, stay tuned for details about the Point Roberts Race Week (PRRW) set to debut summer 2020.