Eagle Harbor was recently abustle with boats of all sizes: 24 small two-person boats, several umpire-required small outboard boats, a race committee start boat, a finish boat, and more small vessels to set marks and serve as safety observers.
Yes, it was the annual Northwest District Interscholastic Sailing Association high school fleet racing championship regatta.
A giant raft of floats — christened “Gilligan’s Island” by event officials — was anchored in Eagle Harbor Marina to serve as a swapping site. Also, the ferry system ran life raft and rescue craft training near the work yard, and people who were out for a day on their own craft had to navigate around all the small boat traffic without disturbing the racing during this annual maritime staple of the Spartan sailing season.
Saturday started with sun and light breeze and racing began shortly after 10 a.m. However, this pleasant day became one of the most chaotic weather days ever in the history of the event, according to regatta officials.
The wind oscillated directions wildly and there were random gusts and even some sprinkles, plus sudden wind squalls that had the kids crowing as they planed and careened wildly across the bay.
Officials were kept very busy resetting the start and finish boats and the six other marks that make up the course that must be perpendicular to the wind-flow direction.
At the end of Saturday’s 26 races, Bainbridge was tied in second place with Orcas and Olympia, and Gig Harbor was ahead merely by having completed one more match than the others.
Sunday began in a moderate northerly breeze, and racing was underway again shortly after 10 a.m.
The day saw 40- to 50-degree oscillations and frequent puffs, which made the racing challenging but there was much less need to reset marks. Everyone enjoyed the sunshine and the less dramatic winds, officials said.
One complete round was sailed by the 10 schools entered, and a consolation round was started while the top four were sailing a round robin to determine the event winner.
In the end, Olympia won the regatta and will sail in Maine at the Interscholastic Sailing Association’s Baker National Team Racing Championship.
Second place was Gig Harbor, third Orcas and Bainbridge wound up just out of trophy range in fourth place.
A total of 51 races were scored.
Representing Bainbridge were captains Max Doane and Zach Cooper, Dane Petrakis, Lindsay Campbell, Lauren Heinzelman, Lola White, Barrett Lhamon, and Zane Walker.