Come 2020, Whidbey Island Race Week will be rechristened Point Roberts Race Week in honor of its new location in Point Roberts, Washington. Organizers envision Race Week becoming the largest sailboat racing event on the West Coast, with racers from the U.S. and Canada participating in big boat and dinghy racing. Point Roberts Race Week in 2020 will be held Monday, July 13, through Friday, July 17, allowing the bookend weekends for boat deliveries and returns
“Point Roberts has everything we need to host a world-class destination regatta,” says Schelleen Rathkopf, event producer and longtime Whidbey Island Race Week participant. “It has an exceptional race area for
both big boats and dinghies, a deep-water, full-service marina, and a comfortable Pacific Northwest summertime vibe. It’s the perfect venue for Race Week’s new home.”
Rathkopf hopes to grow Point Roberts Race Week by enticing sailors from Canada. To draw in teams from British Columbia, Rathkopf plans to have Race Week included in the Vancouver Area Racing Circuit (VARC) Society. Finding a resolution between the PHRF NW and PHRF BC systems is also a priority for Rathkopf, as it would simplify international racing. Organizers have been spreading the word about the event in the yacht clubs of Vancouver, and Rathkopf is looking to bring in a race officer with experience running races for Vancouver fleets. She’s also planning youth events and hopes to tie in a US National Sailing Championship during the week.
Point Roberts is a small seaside community of just 4.9 square miles overlooking the Strait of Georgia. It is home to a protected 920-slip marina that can easily handle the influx of boats during Race Week. “This venue will allow Race Week to grow to its fullest potential. There’s enough space to run multiple interesting and fun race circles for buoy and distance races for One Design and PHRF fleets of all sizes. The marina can handle the influx of 200 plus boats, including the Transpac 52s – even at a negative tide,” said Rathkopf. The marina hosts a 35-ton travel lift, a 3,000-pound dinghy lift, a full-service chandlery, and mechanic shop on site.
For the first Point Roberts Race Week in 2020 there will be three race circles for big boats, dinghies, and cruising class, each with its own US Sailing certified pro and committee. The cruising class will be for participants who want to enjoy one casual distance race per day. Awards will be presented to the top three finishers in each class. Traditional Whidbey Island Race Week awards will also be carried over, like the Philip Wise Sportsmanship Award for a crew exhibiting exemplary sportsmanship and the Molly Kool Cup Award that recognizes the achievement of a female skipper.
Point Roberts was suggested by several Race Week participants, including 2018 overall winner David Jackson. Organizers are excited to secure Point Roberts and Theresa Coe, General Manager of the Point Roberts Marina, is excited to host the event: “Our location, open water immediately adjacent to the harbor entrance and fantastic spectator viewing locations make this venue great for the racers as well as families and sport enthusiasts alike.”
Big things are in the future for this race, but enjoy the present and attend the final Whidbey Island Race Week this year from July 23-27.