The shores of Lone Lake were anything but lonely Saturday afternoon as dozens of sailors and their respective boats set sail on sun-kissed waters.
Members of the South Whidbey Yacht Club invited community members to join them in a regatta of wrecks and treasures during the organization’s first Sail What You Gotta Regatta.
Event organizer and yacht club member Bob Rodgers was inspired to hold the regatta when he noticed a plethora of tired, tempest-torn and weary vessels sitting in the yards and garages of his South Whidbey neighbors. Unused and neglected, they seemed to catch more sun rays than waves month after month, year after year, and Rodgers felt it was time to change that.
In tune with the yacht club’s overarching philosophy to provide a place where community members, including kids, can enjoy a day of sailing, Rodgers decided an event to encourage both experienced and amateur sailors to board their boats and enjoy a day together was in order.
Throughout the day, between 80 and 100 attendees and about 40 boats took to the water to enjoy the warm weather and atmosphere while yacht club members answered questions and offered free rides.
Several individuals and families, some of whom had never sailed before, took advantage of the opportunity to ride on one of the yacht club’s Pelicans with an experienced skipper.
This, according to Rodgers and his wife Kathy, was one of the highlights of the day.
The event saw a healthy mix of high-tech, speedy vessels, standard and older boats, which had to be coaxed from their heavy bedding of moss, dirt and spider webs.
“I felt that the Regatta was a complete success,” Rodgers said.
Kathy Rodgers and friend Lisa Irwin agreed, adding that it was “beyond our expectations.”
Free hot dogs were served and several attendees enjoyed picnic lunches in the park near the lake shore. Kids were invited to check out the yacht club’s Learn to Sail program, listen to music and play games.
There were a number of competitions throughout the day, including races and competition for best-decorated boat and most unusual.
The award for the fastest El Toro went to Owen Wadhwani-Meeks of Coupeville; fastest Pelican went to Bob Blasko of Clinton; fastest Vanguard was awarded to Satya Fawcett of Clinton; and the fastest boat overall was Brad Rice’s International 14.
Lisa Irwin of Freeland sailed “Bagpipe,” which she decorated in an assortment of bottle caps and topped with a colorful rainbow flag, taking home the prize for best decorated boat. The most unusual boat certificate was awarded to Bob and Penny Boehm of Greenbank who sailed twin kayaks with twin sails.
Penny Boehm, whose grandkids learned to sail through the yacht club’s Learn to Sail program, said that the Easy Rider kayaks were manufactured and sold to fit together, something she and her husband had enjoyed. She added that, although they are yacht club members, they hadn’t sailed the makeshift catamaran in some time and were enthused to get it back on the water again.
The grand prize was given to Chris Lee of Freeland who cleaned an old pram.
Overall, organizers said it was a great event and fun day on the water.
“No sinkings, no daring rescues, just lots of smiles and laughter,” said Rodgers.