New Home, New Name for Whidbey Island Race Week

Published on March 28th, 2019

Seattle, WA (March 28, 2019) – The future of Whidbey Island Race Week in the Pacific Northwest will have a new home when it moves in 2020 to Point Roberts, WA. The event will be called Point Roberts Race Week and the dates will be July 13-17, 2020. Point Roberts Race Week will be a 5-day race event, Monday through Friday, which allows for the weekends before and after for boat deliveries.

“Point Roberts has everything we need to host a world class destination regatta,” says Schelleen Rathkopf, Event Producer and longtime Whidbey Island Race Week Race participant. “It has an exceptional race area for both big boats and dinghies, a deep-water full-service marina and a comfortable Pacific Northwest summertime vibe. It’s the perfect venue for Race Week’s new home.”

The current venue of Oak Harbor Marina on Whidbey Island was no longer able to fulfill the event needs. Among the challenges had been how the only lift has been broken for two years with no plans to repair or replace it anytime soon along with the channel that leads to the marina needs dredging which has prevented large vessels from participating.

The vision is to create the largest sailboat racing event on the west coast of North America that includes sailors from the USA and Canada. In addition to big boat and dinghy racing, race organizers also want to tie in a US Sailing National Championship as well as a youth event which the size of the venue supports.

Plans have already commenced to have Point Roberts Race Week included in VARC (Vancouver Area Racing Circuit) Society in an effort to build participation from Canada.

“This venue will allow Race Week to grow to its fullest potential,” notes Rathkopf. “There’s enough space to run multiple interesting and fun race circles for buoy and distance races for One Design and PHRF fleets of all sizes. The marina can handle the influx of 200+ boats, including the Transpac 52s – even at a negative tide.”

For the first year, there will be three race circles in 2020, each with their own US Sailing certified PRO and race committee: big boats, dinghies, and a cruising class for those who want to enjoy the event with one casual distance race per day. Awards will include daily and overall awards for the top three finishers in each class.

Additionally, Point Roberts Race Week will continue the Whidbey Island Race Week tradition with two perpetual awards that include the Philip Wise Sportsmanship Award for the crew that exhibits exemplary sportsmanship and the Molly Kool Cup Award that recognizes the overall achievement of a female skipper.

The new location is a seaside community that is just 4.9 square miles and overlooks the Strait of Georgia north of the San Juan Islands and south of Tsawwassen and Ladner, British Columbia. It offers a protected 920 slip marina that sits on 155 acres and can easily accommodate an influx of sailboats of all sizes and their tenders for a week every summer in July.

The marina also has a 3,000-pound small boat dinghy lift in addition to a 35-ton travel lift, a full-service chandlery and mechanic shop. There is gas, diesel, propane and water available at the marina in addition to RV and tent camping, laundry and shower facilities. There is also a US customs agent on site to assist with racers coming to Point Roberts Race Week from British Columbia or other provinces in Canada.

“Point Roberts is a perfect fit for Race Week with some of the finest sailing and cruising in the Pacific Northwest,” shares Theresa Coe, General Manager of the Point Roberts Marina. “Our location, open water immediately adjacent to the harbor entrance and fantastic spectator viewing locations make this venue great for the racers as well as families and sport enthusiasts alike.”

The Point Roberts Marina includes Breakwaters Bar and Grill, a full-service restaurant and bar that is fully equipped to handle 500-600 people for indoor/outdoor post-race parties on site. There is a grocery store nearby, and the marina is secure, pet friendly and has ample parking for trailers and cars.

There are 1300 full time residents in Point Roberts and in the summertime, this number doubles due in large part to the number of vacation and 2nd homes located there. Referred to as “Vancouver’s Weekend Playground” by Seabright Farms, the largest developer of new custom cottages built on lots along the south beach shores, Point Roberts caters to those interested in getting away from it all for R & R and memorable outdoor activities and experiences.

Point Roberts sits in a zone known for little rainfall, lots of sun and consistent breeze. This climate combined with the miles of public beaches, the gorgeous natural surroundings, and the marina services, makes it the perfect destination for racers and cruisers alike.

Additionally, Point Roberts is home to Bald Eagle Golf Course, an 18-hole course and has many walking, running and hiking trails within walking distance to the marina. “We look forward to the influx of new visitors, boaters and sailors that will discover our seaside community where you can, bicycle, camp, hike, golf and play freely,” says Theresa Coe. “We love for people to discover our hidden gem.”

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