After a one-year hiatus due to the covid pandemic, the 2021 Deer Harbor Wooden Boat Rendezvous Race took place on Sept 7, 2021. In the interest of covid safety, this year the skipper’s meeting and the post-race dinner were not held, with the focus on the sailing race around Yellow and Jones Islands, and the rowing race which had six entries.
A total of twenty-three boats gathered in the Deer Harbor marina for the rendezvous, down somewhat from the usual participation. Weather for the event was excellent with good wind and sunny skies. Bruce Brackett and his crew did their usual stellar work as the race committee.
Fifteen boats entered the sailing race and twelve finished. Conditions were brilliant, with a steady north wind, except in the lee of islands, and a tidal current flooding to the north. The start was a spectacle, the fast boats quickly moving out ahead, and the event taking on the aspect of a glorious parade.
After starting southeast of Fawn Island and passing a race mark south of the marina to port, the fleet went around Yellow and Jones Islands to starboard, and Reef Island to Port, then back to the line. There was enough wind so that all finishers could finish within the four-hour time limit. Sir Isaac, the showpiece schooner from Port Townsend, exhibited blazing speed and excellent crew work to amaze us all and finish 15 minutes ahead of the second finisher, the Six Meter Challenge. Craig Downey’s beautiful schooner Lucky Star was third across the line. She came from furthest away to attend, all the way from Poulsbo.
A big story of the race was the success of the little Blanchard 27 knockabout Starfire, of West Sound. Flawlessly sailed by Stan and Kay Miller, she took the coveted blue first place burgee. Congratulations, Starfire!
Other boats of note in the race, in immaculate condition and sailed very well, were Vito Dumas of Port Townsend, and Windsong of Anacortes, both highly appreciated regulars at this event.
Especially welcome this year was Alcyone, the big Prothero masterpiece schooner of Pacific cruising fame. Normally at the heart of the Port Townsend Festival, this year she was able to attend our event in the islands. What a treat to see her in the race.
New to the rendezvous was Sargasso, a Lapworth 36 some remember racing against back in the mid-90’s. Nymph of Lorne came from Friday Harbor again this year and was the winner of the sought-after last place award, a nice hand-painted plate crafted by our Wooden Boat Society President, Mike Douglas. Other local finishers were the International One Design Nutmeg, the Blanchard 33 Aura, and the Cheoy Lee Lion Børen.
In all, it was a great race, with beautiful boats sailing in a beautiful place. We were privileged to witness it. Thanks to all who attended. Let’s do it again next year!
[Photos of this year's event courtesy of Peter Wilcox and Peter Olesen]