Dinghies swung from davits, grills hung on push pits and wind generators whirred as area live-aboards took to the Puget Sound on Sunday to decide who’s got the fastest “house.”
Put on by the the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club in Ballard, Race Your House is an annual, light-hearted event aimed to get live-aboard sailors out of their slips and onto the race course. It’s a sailing event that we always look forward to and after missing out on the fun last year, we were excited to have Yahtzee back on the start line for Sunday’s race.
Joining Yahtzee’s crew of Andy, Jill, Porter and Magnus, we had our friends Emily, Paul, Cliff and Mike (and son Logan) aboard for the race. As is the custom on many boats, laughter is served up in large doses along with a few libations.
The forecast for Sunday’s race called for overcast skies with light and variable winds, which isn’t the best for getting hefty houses around a 9.25-mile race course. But enough breeze filled in to get 32 of the competing boats around the buoys.
When the starting gun went off we weren’t even close to making the line. Wind and current were both conspiring against us and making headway was tough at first. Of course, we weren’t the only boat dealing with these issues so our start didn’t turn out to be that awful. In our flying sails division of six boats, it was the Beneteau 13.50 Ardea who got the best start and jumped out to a commanding lead; one they would never relinquish.
Fortunately, the wind slowly filled in as we tacked back and forth on the first upwind leg off Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle, and we managed to get a nice lift right around the first mark. Our able crew got the spinnaker up in short order and off we went headed across the Sound towards a buoy on the northeast corner of Bainbridge Island.
Our friends Ryan and Autumn aboard Velella led us around the mark and across the Sound, and even though we were just boat lengths away most of the time, we couldn’t quite squeeze past them during that long leg.
After dropping the spinnaker and rounding the mark off of Bainbridge to head back across the Sound, we sailed fast at first but eventually got sluggish as the wind fluctuated and shifted. Dan, our former neighbor on D-Dock, and his crew of crazies aboard Nemesis eventually passed underneath us and the race was on. Not to be outdone, we put the spinnaker back up and gave chase.
As we sailed east towards the green buoy off of Meadow Point and Golden Gardens park, container ships roared through the fleet and the breeze continued its up and down pattern. We were able to squeak by Nemesis and then battled with them throughout the final upwind leg, crossing in front of them by about a boat length as we passed through the finish line. Even though we weren’t in the same division as them, our ratings are similar so it was fun to finish so close to our good friends.
Awards and raffle prizes were handed out at the Sloop Tavern that evening and when all was said and done, Yahtzee came in third in our division and eighth overall.
In the end, no matter who won, it was just great to see so many people out racing their houses.
The final 2015 RYH results are here.