All hands on deck. The 44th annual Shaw Island Classic sets sail Saturday, Aug. 9.
Sponsored by San Juan Island Yacht Club, the venerable, exceeding popular and one-of-a-kind competitive sailing contest (skippers can choose to sail around Shaw Island, or, circumnavigate it, as it's called in seafarer parlance, in either direction, clockwise or counter-clockwise) has long drawn racers from Bellingham to Seattle, in addition to the San Juans' top sailors.
In keeping with custom, San Juan Island Yacht Club will host a scrumptious lasagna dinner at the conclusion of the competition, followed by the presentation of race awards.
Enter the classic by registering online at, www.sjiyc.com; dinner reservations and commemorative Shaw Island Classic shirts can be ordered online as well.
As for the race itself, it's scored in multiple division for all types of sailing craft, using the customary PHRF rating to equalize sailing capacities of all boats entered. Results are therefore a test of navigational skill and overall sailing ability (a gift for reading tide tables and the current, and luck, of course, factor in as well).
Previous races have been marked by exhilarating sprints around Shaw Island, if the wind is 'a-howlin', to an exercise in reading the currents in order to ‘go with the flow’.
Skippers of all sailing vessels are invited to compete, regardless of whether they have a PHRF rating or not. Race instructions are available online, at the registration site.