By Steve Guntli
Sailors from Washington and British Columbia prepare to hoist their sails for the 17th annual Semiahmoo Bay Regatta.
The regatta is a two-day racing event sponsored by the International Yacht Club (IYC) of British Columbia. The club operated out of Blaine from 1958 until 1986, when it moved across the bay to White Rock. The regatta has been an annual event since 1998; competitors use Blaine Marina as a base of operations.
The regatta will begin with a skipper’s meeting at the Blaine Boating Center at 8:30 a.m. on April 25. The regatta itself is divided into two races. The first, beginning at 10 a.m. on April 25, is a distance race. Sailors will take their boats on an approximately 20-mile course, beginning in Blaine Harbor and wending around Point Roberts, Birch Point and back. The distance race has five divisions, with the fastest vessels going out first. The final division is the cruising division, intended for first-time racers to get a feel for the regatta.
“The cruising division is important because we’re trying to include people who don’t normally do this sort of thing,” said race coordinator Jim Gibson. “And I think it’s because a lot of first-time racers feel trepidation at the starting line. They don’t want to get their boats battered. But we have a good reputation with the skippers, everyone is respectful and I’ve never seen an accident.”
Final results of the distance race will be announced at 5:30 p.m. during a barbeque reception for participants at the Blaine Boating Center.
The second race, taking place Sunday, April 26 at 10 a.m., is a shorter skill event. Participants will maneuver their way through buoys in the harbor.
Entry fees are $45 for IYC members and $55 for non-members. The entry deadline is Thursday, April 23. To enter, visit iycbc.ca