Skamokawa never fails to deliver a good time. Even on the rare occasion where the wind is light, competitors still end up walking away with huge grins on their faces. Maybe it is the small, informal, “let your hair down” setting of this venue. Or maybe it is the double trap breeze. Or maybe — just maybe — it is the long distance race that gives everyone the thrill of (relatively) uncharted waters upwind, and a rip-snortin’ slide back downwind!
Such was the case this year — the first annual running of the Todd Christensen Memorial Regatta. This regatta was deemed a fund raiser from the get go, with all net proceeds being donated to Hobie youth sailing programs. And competitors showed up in force to honor Todd, and show their support for a program that Todd dearly loved.
The fleet was uncharacteristically blanked on wind Saturday. Despite the best efforts of PRO Jeff Janders to get off a race, the wind did not cooperate. That prompted many of the veterans to quip if they could remember ever being shut out at Skamokawa. Team Shrek, led by Della Hoag and her well-organized shore team, assembled a huge meal of turkey tacos that saw most sailors obviously expecting big breeze the next day judging by the size of their plates!! Following dinner a raffle was held with many rules to the raffle flying around like bats! But no one seemed to mind, and most teams walked away winners.
The big winners were the 10 teams who won wetsuits donated by Zhik!! Zhik donated 5 farmer johns and 5 tops. Other sponsors included: West Coast Sailing, Harken, McLube, Fisheries Supply, Ronstan, and Hobie Cat Co. Thanks to these great sponsors (and the competitors buying tickets) we were able to collect $600 from the raffle!! So be sure to take names and support these guys! All in all, over $1,400 was raised and will be donated to HCANA’s Youth program for grants and funding to support Hobie youth sailing. Thank you sponsors, competitors, and Todd!! Many thanks also to the various volunteers who contributed not only their time but also money in helping us raise these funds! (And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!)
Sunday filled in nicely. RC got in one buoy race in a light breeze before throwing up all the class flags for the grand start of the long distance race. A few minutes later 14 boats were off the line and headed downriver in a building breeze and the end of an ebb tide. First around the turn mark was Lonnie Byers followed by Paul Carter in 17s. John Ped & Alex LeBlond were close behind them, trying to hold off Peter Nelson & Laura Sullivan.
Downwind the 16s pulled ahead of the 17s and John & Alex — our heralded youth team — took both line honors and the corrected win. Congratulations, boys. Peter & Laura stopped for a swim on the reach into the beach while J Rosenbach & Valerie Pioszak showed both speed and consistency with seconds in both races to capture the overall in the 16 fleet. In the 17 fleet, Paul Carter got past Lonnie for the win with Dave Wilder finishing 3rd. The 18s went to Jerry Valeske & Lisa Ballou. Full results are posted.
But the fleet wasn’t done! At the awards ceremony John Hoag showed off the perpetual trophy he and Dean Christensen (Todd’s dad) and Team Shrek put together. It is a marvelous trophy and will be awarded to the winner of the long distance race each year. Skamokawa Vista Park eagerly agreed to display the trophy in their new office. Fittingly, Todd Christensen was the defending champion from 2013 so his name appears first and foremost. John and Alex’s names are now right below.
Putting icing on the cake was that Dean and Lucy — Todd’s parents — traveled from Seattle to the awards ceremony to award the trophy and see it inducted into this local Hall of Fame!