Submitted by the Friday Harbor sailing team
For the first time in five years, Friday Harbor’s high school sailing team slept in their own beds for the Islands Cup, an annual springtime regatta that rotates around the Salish Sea. The event was held at Roche Harbor, which proved the perfect backdrop for 16 teams from Olympia to Bellingham, and without whose support the event would not have been possible.
After a day of racing in very light wind on Saturday, April 14, the teams retired to the San Juan Island Brewery food and friendly games on the patio.
Friday Harbor got off to a great start as skipper Per Black and crew Zoe Calverley won the first race on Saturday morning in the light wind, netting 1 point. The pair went on to have an outstanding regatta, finishing first, third, second, first, third, second and ended with two more firsts – one of which did not count in the scoring – for a total score of 13 over the two days. The next lowest, or best, boat was for Charles Wright Academy of Tacoma, with 22 points, skippered by Aliyosha Strum-Palern. Skipper Leah Black and crew Addi Kessler, Per’s and Calverley’s teammates, ended the regatta with 70 points, a respectable 10th in their 16-boat division. Team coach Bob Halliday could not have been prouder of the team and pointed out that Leah Black and Kessler are making real progress learning this tricky sport, as evidenced at Islands Cup by their consistently good starts, and attributed some of their higher finishes to plain bad luck and the light winds. The team’s combined total of 83 was only two points behind Olympia, which finished in third place with 81 points. Wright finished in second with 65, and the regatta was won by Sehome of Bellingham with 60.
Orcas High School also finished near the top of the 16-team fleet, finishing sixth with 110 points over the 14 races and on the heals of Bainbridge Island, which took fifth. Orcas’ Islands Cup was noted for consistency, typically finishing between fifth and 10th place. Also competing, and in order of finishing after the teams noted above, were teams from Ingraham of Seattle; Gig Harbor; North Kitsap of Poulsbo; Roosevelt of Seattle; Central Kitsap of Kingston; Anacortes; Capital of Olympia; Bellingham; Oak Harbor; and Squalicum of Bellingham.
Race official Scott Boye of Friday Harbor did his best to get off as many races as possible in the light conditions and was able to set a fan-friendly course with the downwind gates only 30 yards or so off Roche Harbor’s “G” dock on Sunday. The sailors were challenged by the currents between San Juan and Pearl Islands, as they maneuvered upwind and between the islands, and then came back into the harbor on the downwind leg hugging the Pearl Island side to avoid the ebbing tide.
Between the competitive sailing on a scenic course, the backdrop and support of Roche Harbor, excellent race-officiating and the hard work of other volunteers, this year’s Islands Cup was a crowning success.