Yahtzee sailing in the 2015 Shipwrights’ Regatta (photos by Wendy Feltham)
Yahtzee sailing upwind in the 2015 Shipwrights’ Regatta (photo by Wendy Feltham)

There are qualities in a partner that you love because you don’t have them and there are qualities that you love because they’re mutual. Spontaneity is fortunately one that Jill and I share.

Mt. Baker as we arrived in PT on Friday evening
Mt. Baker as we arrived in PT on Friday evening

We were about two hours south of Port Townsend on Friday evening when Jill poked her head up from down below and said, “Hey, the Shipwrights’ Regatta is tomorrow. We should do it!” That’s all it took.

Race morning looked fantastic
Heading out to race

After spending the night in Port Townsend, we signed up to race in the cruising class 10 minutes prior to the skippers’ meeting and met an able young sailor named Matthew there who was looking to crew on a boat for the race. We made a quick trip to the store for provisions (beer) and left the dock at 11 to head out on the bay and test the wind as the race committee set the triangle racecourse and boats trickled out from the two marinas. Weather-wise it turned out to be one of those days where if you could order conditions for a sailboat race on the last day of February, this is what you’d choose.

The cruising class’ start was second and we got a decent one in the gusty, shifty northwesterly breeze. We had a reef tucked in the main and were sailing fast and pointing high as we got off the line—this would be the story of the race for Yahtzee.

Our view from astern during lap 2
Our view from astern during lap 2

After rounding the second mark we shook out the reef and gained a bit of boat speed downwind. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, we had cleared out in front of our class and seemed to be adding distance during every leg, especially upwind. But it was hard to tell if the boats in front of us were in our class or if they’d started first with the racing class. When we crossed the finish line after two laps, the race committee gave us a hearty wave while we cheered and I thought there was a decent chance we had at least placed. We’d won.

Matthew takes a turn at  the helm after the race
Matthew takes a turn at the helm after the race

Normally Jill and I would have handled all the sailing and lines ourselves, but it was nice to have an extra crewmember aboard in Matthew. And though he didn’t have much sailing experience, he was a quick study and had a hell of great time for his first racing experience. Porter loved the spirited sailing conditions and then retired below for his afternoon nap when we completed the first lap. Magnus contentedly hung out down below in his car seat wedged between the lee cloth and seat cushion.

The winning crew!
The winning crew after the race

As with any post race party, there was free beer, prizes and great conversation to be had. The party spilled out onto the deck at the Northwest Maritime Center so everyone could enjoy the spring-like weather and we met a ton of friendly people, many of whom we hope to cross wakes with again. Port Townsend is always a place Jill and I love to visit, and the hospitality of this group of sailors made it even better.

Good thing we both embrace spontaneity.