The Pink Regatta Returns for a Fifth Year on Lake Union
Now in its fifth year, the Seattle Pink Boat Regatta has firmly established itself as one of the premiere sailing fundraisers in the Northwest. Originating in San Francisco and expanding to Seattle in 2012, the event has evolved into part costume contest and part sailboat race. It is one of the most memorable days to be had on the water all year. On Saturday, September 10, sailors, family, and survivors, decorated top to bottom in pink, will head out on the water to race and raise money for breast-cancer research.
The race is hosted by the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club and presented by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The whole event is championed and run by local sailor and scientist Ashley Bell. Bell’s passion has combined with her expert management to build a fundraising event that stands as an example of what a motivated community can accomplish. The racing is accompanied by a fantastic gala the evening before. The high-class dinner party boasts a silent auction that will be full of items donated by local companies, as well as racers looking to give to the cause. The Seattle sailing community has taken this regatta into their hearts and it shows by the thousands of volunteer hours that make the event come together.
Over the years, the Pink Boat Regatta has raised over $200,000 for breast cancer research. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the regatta go directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), which provides funding all over the world to support research, treatment, prevention, and support for breast-cancer survivors. Standing out from many charitable organizations these days, BCRF donates 91 cents of every dollar raised to awareness and research. In 2015-2016 alone, BCRF will award over $48 million dollars in grants to researchers and scientists, many of whom work here in the Pacific Northwest.
The rules of the race are simple. Sail around the set course as many time as possible within the three-hour time limit. This year brings a change in venue away from Shilshole Bay to the warm waters of Lake Union. The course will be familiar to many sailors as it follows the tried and true Duck Dodge route counterclockwise around Lake Union. Each buoy rounded counts towards the points scored by each boat. The twist with this race is they encourage cheating, albeit a specific manner of cheating. Additional buoys can be purchased by making donations to the event. These buoys count the same as buoys rounded on the water and give many of the slower boats a fighting chance at the coveted overall points win. With many boats coming into the regatta having donated close to one hundred buoys each, the name of the game is giving if you want to go home a winner. While the grand prize for the event is the overall points raced, other prizes include everything from most buoys rounded to least buoys rounded, as well as the coveted “Pinkest Boat” award.
With many boats habitually moored on the lake for the ever-popular Duck Dodge, it is sure to be a good turnout of crews looking to grasp one of this summer’s last weekends. In the event that you don’t have a boat, you are not out of luck. For those with racing aspirations, there are still spots available through donations onboard both the Lancer 36 Billabong and the classic Q Class sailboat Grayling. No experience is needed to sail, just a willingness to get involved. For those looking for something a bit more relaxed, Lake Union Charter and Adventures are on hand with several boats taking spectators on one-hour tours of the racecourse throughout the day. All in all, there are options for
everyone looking to take part.
The gala begins at 1800 hours on Friday September 9 and racing begins with the first warning at 1200 hours on Saturday September 10 at the race course. Come prepared for a party and be sure to dress appropriately in pink! More information, sailing instructions, registration, and donation information can be found at pinkboatregatta.org.
Photos: Jan Anderson