Northwest boating community? There is plenty to look
forward to, no matter what kind of boater you ask.
Perhaps the best aspect of New Year’s Eve is the pervasive optimism of good things to come. For the Pacific Northwest boater, the promises of the 2018 horizon will vary according to how he or she boats. Anglers will be looking at water temperature data and fish-count predictions, sailors will be eyeing the race schedule, the socialites and foodies will be looking for waterfront fun, and all of us will probably be crossing our fingers over policy developments coming out of Olympia. There’s plenty going on, but sometimes a little docktalk can help guide the scheduling of our boating calendars.
This year, we decided to turn to our star columnists and publisher–Michelle Zeasman-Gibbon–for insider perspectives of their respective boating spheres. Turns out, 2018 is already shaping up to be a pretty great year in terms of opportunities and developments. Best knock out those winter projects now, for you won’t want to be stuck at the dock come fair-weather season!
This past year has brought plenty of wonderful things to the Pacific Northwest boating community and Northwest Yachting magazine. It’s hard to believe that I purchased the magazine about two years ago, and this spring will be the two-year mark since our comprehensive redesign. Time sure flies! Now we’re taking a stab at video production (Northwest Yachting channel on YouTube), bringing on interns, and enjoying an increasingly larger magazine as more advertisers and contributors hop on the Northwest Yachting bandwagon. It’s an exciting time to be here as publisher, and I’m so honored to have the continued support of you, the reader. You rock!
As far as 2018 is concerned, all boaters should make sure to have the Seattle Boat Show, January 26 to February 3, 2018, on their calendars. Notable this year is the addition of the Bell Harbor location and, importantly, the associated parking garage. The scuttlebutt is that there may be some new ticket deals in the works as well. Pretty cool! We’ll be sure to report on Seattle Boat Show updates and insider tips/deals as the countdown continues, so be sure to stay tuned for the latest. As always, please drop on by our booth to say hello, grab a copy (or two) of the magazine, and enter to win some great Northwest Yachting prizes.
If you want to shake off that post-boat show angst and put winter in its place, the annual Poulsbo Winter Rendezvous is Friday, February 9 through Sunday, February 11, 2018. The theme is Cinco de Poulsbo, a reference to the five years the event has livened up the local boating scene during one of our rainiest, coldest months. Imagine a Pacific Northwest Mardi Gras, but with boats instead of floats and Vikings instead of brass bands. Tickets are now available online at brownpapertickets.com. Stay tuned for Northwest Yachting updates.
Of course, the Opening Day celebrations hosted by the Seattle Yacht Club mark the beginning of “boat season” (although, in my book, the whole year is boating season around here if you’ve got good foul-weather gear). Opening Day is on May 5, 2018, and features the theme Ocean Crossings. Moana meets Leif Erikson?
Finally, I’m looking forward to getting out on our Bayliner 4788 Northwest with my husband, Chris, and our Jack Russell Terrier, Pearl, this summer. Hopefully, my two kids, now in college, drop by for an afternoon cruise. After all, making great memories with family and friends is what boating is all about. I love getting out of the office and on the water to watch the Downtown Sailing Series weekly regattas on sunny Seattle afternoons. The race schedule for 2018 is still being determined, but the fun and inspiring Leukemia Cup charity regatta is always the series kick-off in early June. Get involved, get on the water, and help get a cure by raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
My boating resolution for 2018? Keep growing and improving the universe’s best boating magazine!
For better or worse, through calm seas or chaotic crossings, another year is drawing to a close. Hopefully, most of you who spend time on the water got to wet a line and enjoy some of the great weather we had in the Northwest throughout summer and fall. It feels to me like 2018 could be a good year to make time to chase fish, crab, prawns, and other goodies from our local waters that leave us spoiled and lucky. I know I’m looking forward to a fresh start and fresh seafood! If you’re one of those mariners who hauls out your boat for half the year, consider being one of us (fool)hardy fishing fanatics who keep their vessel off the hard and on the hunt for fish year-round. You’ll experience some magical times, often in near-sacred solitude. Here’s my rundown on what to look forward to for the first half of the new year:
January through March will kick off with winter Chinook fishing in the San Juan Islands and other locales in Washington and British Columbia. This means the Resurrection Salmon Derby, Roche Harbor Salmon classic, Friday Harbor Salmon Derby, and Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby are all on the table for anglers wanting to compete for big-money prizes. It’s always interesting to see how many fish are around when this season starts. Even if you’re not participating in one of these tournaments, it’s still a great time to get out on the water in the marine areas that are open to catch some salmon. Catching and releasing big native steelhead in our Northwest rivers is also an exciting way to shake off the winter doldrums and shake hands with a truly incredible fish.
April, May, and June mean halibut, ling, bottom fish, and prawns. Some big kings start to roll through Southeast Alaska, B.C., and places like Neah Bay in Washington this time of year as well. We’ll head to Canada to see our Northern brothers and sisters and compete in a couple of derbies. Rain gear and long johns are replaced by sunscreen and…well, maybe still rain gear…at least the bibs. The Northwest comes alive again out in the saltchuck, and spring Chinook hit rivers like the Columbia en masse (hopefully) to provide some of the best tasting salmon on the planet.
Keep an eye out every month here on these pages, and I’ll try to guide you to more fish and more fun on the water. I love to see folks who haven’t been into fishing be successful. Why not drop a line? You just might find a passion. If I had one wish for 2018, it’s that anyone who enjoys fishing would educate themselves and get involved in issues that affect our fish and fisheries. Join and contribute to clubs like Puget Sound Anglers, Coastal Conservation Association, Sidney Anglers Association, and Pacific Salmon Foundation. Participate in this year’s North of Falcon season-setting process. It’s an eye-opening experience, but we all need to have our eyes, ears, and minds open for the future of our marine life and the fish we love.
As we wrap up another fantastic fall sailing season, our to-do lists include packing up the foulies, breaking out the ski gear, and heading for the mountains. While the snow pack is on-track to be legendary, keeping an eye towards next year’s major sailing events is going to be key for having all the details sorted out when you return to the starting line.
When looking at the coming year, two major events stand out as races to get excited about.
Running on opposite years to the Van Isle 360, Vic Maui will be taking center stage as the Northwest’s premiere offshore race with one of the best destinations one could hope for, Hawaii! The race is scheduled to start between June 30 – July 4, depending on boat speed (faster boats start last to get everyone to the party in Hawaii at roughly the same time). Registration for the race is open until February 5, but there are already several strong programs signed up in both the racing and cruising divisions. The send-off parties in Victoria and the starts for each fleet should be on any cruiser’s or racer’s calendar while on a summer trip north, regardless of participation.
For those who aren’t heading offshore next summer, there is plenty to do here in the Northwest. Whidbey Island Race Week’s new format has shifted to a four-day program from Thursday, July 19, through Sunday, July 22.
Hopefully, the new schedule of events will let more boats participate, as getting crew for the whole week was always a challenge. Other than the short schedule, expect all the traditional race-week shenanigans and tight racing in fleets from the Class Eight 20-footers up to the PHRF One 40’ weapons. The now infamous “Rum Tent” will be in full swing every day after racing and will be followed quickly by the tent city after-party. Registration for the regatta opens in January, so now is the time to get key crew sorted out and start planning for the event.
For me, I am looking forward to a new chapter in my sailing career, married life. By the time this is in print, I will be married to Shelagh Macaulay, who many of you may know as the bow girl from the black and yellow racing sailboat Absolutely.
We met nearly a decade ago at the Swiftsure International Yacht Race and got to know each other between spinnaker sets during the Whidbey Island Race Week. I’ve been trying to keep up with her ever since. Things haven’t slowed down much; as I write this we’re packing for Round the County where we will be racing together on Smoke two days before we fly out for our wedding.
With threats of buying a dinghy to race together (we want to see how far we can push this marriage right out of the gate) and a full big-boat racing calendar, I can’t wait to see what the future brings for the two of us.
I don’t see things slowing down for us any time soon, and that is something I am looking forward to in 2018.
Ah! Egg nog, Perry Como, and end-of-the-year musings mean that either my mom is in town or it’s time to roll out the 2018 policy predictions for the Pacific Northwest boating community.
As I look over the horizon, I see copper-bottom paint legislation passing in 2018. This would change the current copper ban date (scheduled to start on January 1, 2018, on new recreational boats) to a new phase-out plan in 2021, complete with a (real) commissioned study to examine the alternative paints and leach-rate approaches. If this prediction rings true, it would be a win for boaters and boating businesses right out of the gate.
Something not as “front-pagey” as the copper issue, but extremely important, is that the state does not have a Capital Budget in place. Funding for boating projects is tied to this bricks-and-mortar budget to the tune of $19 million. I predict the Democrats, who control the House, Senate, and Governor’s mansion, will pass this normally non-controversial framework. Another score for boaters!
I realize Halloween is over, but here’s some of the more ghoulish issues that will remain for 2018. The No Discharge Zone for the entire Puget Sound continues to move forward towards completion. Boaters (via the Recreational Boating Association of Washington) and businesses via their trade association (the Northwest Marine Trade Association) have long advocated for targeted No Discharge Zones in Puget Sound. Six years later, and the Washington State Department of Ecology has not moved an inch on this one. I don’t see Ecology moving away from their goal, but I do see the federal Environmental Protection Agency spending more time looking at its need and validity.
If you like power on your boat, then you should know about changes to the National Electrical Code (NEC). We’re talking stray current, ground fault protection, and electric shock drownings. Unfortunately, the national standard that the rest of the country has adopted has no basis in science and real-world applications. Even more, the new standard of 30 mA for an entire facility is unattainable. I am optimistic that common sense will prevail and that the Evergreen State will side with a number (100 mA) that keeps your power on and boaters safe.
Like the rest of the country, I learned some valuable policy prediction lessons last year. What I do know is that the next session will truly be a short (and normal even-year election) 60-day session. Okay, I could be wrong there, but I am certain that the fun will start on January 8, 2018. That much is certain. I’ll be there for the ride and appreciate you joining in the fun and popping into my life from time to time (Peter@nNmta.net).