Nine years ago, the Tasar World Championship regatta made its way to the Pacific Northwest and was hosted by the Columbia Gorge Racing Association at Cascade Locks. Since then, the event has moved around the globe, from the U.S. to Australia, Europe, and Japan, but finally, at the tail end of September, it found its way back to Cascadia.
This time it was the Seattle Yacht Club that played host, and the week of September 17-25 was blocked out for the racing. The regatta was originally scheduled for the summer of 2021, however due to an abundance of uncertainty, the regatta was pushed out to 2022 and thanks to an amazing team of SYC volunteers, the whole show went smoothly!
The Tasar vessel was originally conceived as a simple two-person dinghy, designed as a solid racing boat for a couple or a parent and kid combo. Now nearly fifty years old, a couple minor updates have been made to the rigging and sails but the fundamentals of the boat have remained true. With major fleets in Australia, Japan, the U.S., and of course the Pacific Northwest, the boat has created a truly welcoming international community around itself. The Pacific Northwest fleet has long been a cornerstone in the Tasar community, and while some regions boast larger numbers, I doubt any has the pedigree and on-the-water success that the PNW holds.
The regatta got underway with a short practice race on Monday afternoon and the stage was set for a beautiful week of racing in wind and sunshine. That’s not always a guarantee, with the fickle weather and convergence zone caused by the Puget Sound’s proximity to a whole pile of different mountains, but it looked like the fleet was set up for success. It was certainly a week to remember, with steady winds and over a dozen races on the scoreboard at the end of it. It really gave the best of what Puget Sound has to offer.
As the dust settled at the end of the week, local sailors Dalton and Lindsay Bergan were on the top of the list after what was an absolute masterclass in starts and tactics. Their scorecard was impressive, and their consistency bordered on the absurd. They tacked up 6 first-place finishes out of the total thirteen races, sailing against a fleet stacked full of world champions, Olympic medalists, and globally recognized racers. The pair won cleanly even before calculating the two discarded scores for the series, in their case a still-impressive 7th and 18th early on in the series. After the final scores were tallied up to include the throw-outs, the Bergans took the win by nine points. On the second step of the podium stood the previously reigning world champions Jonathan and Libby McKee of Seattle, who kept the Bergans honest all week long. This win brings Lindsay and Dalton Bergan into the growing list of Seattle-based Tasar World Champions, bringing our local fleet up to a total of four, not bad for our little Northwest sailing scene.
The leaderboard is certainly full of familiar names, from lifelong racers holding “grand master” status to a number of junior teams that are well on track to becoming household names in the sport themselves. Perhaps the coolest thing about the fleet was their ability to continue to sail over the past several years without much in the way of interruption. Being a fairly simple two-person boat, crewed mostly by significant others, it was a fantastic way to get out on the water while others were not, especially during the early days of 2020. Thanks to an overarching “get out on the water and sail the boat” approach, the local fleet’s dedication over the past few years definitely showed in this year’s performance.
Now that the major international events are finally coming back into fashion, we can expect to see more in the works for the Northwest sailing scene. Rumors are abounding about major events for the J24 one design fleet, as well as some potential for a major college regatta along with a several other one design fleets submitting bids to host championships. Only time will tell as we see pen put to paper and plans taking shape, but it is certainly a fun time to be a sailor on Puget Sound and there is sure to be an abundance of opportunities to see how we continue to measure up against the rest of the world.