From Orcas Island to the world stage
Published on September 14th, 2021
Orcas Island Yacht Club might not seem like much from the outside. There’s no grand bar or restaurant-style dining space, no trophy case or fancy soap in the bathrooms (aside from what the folks on the reciprocal moorage level behind), but this tiny club in the Pacific Northwest is being represented on the world stage.
From this club in the San Juan Islands, Chris and Justin Wolfe will represent the US at the 2021 Offshore World Championship, a three-stage mixed doublehanded event in Italy. The Wolfes began their sailing career 20 years ago in Seattle when Justin was looking for a crew for the local Thursday night Jack and Jill races. As he puts it, Chris was “the best Jill around.”
Their first vacation together was a cruise through the San Juan Islands, and after years of keeping their J/120 in West Sound, they bought a business and became full-time residents and members of the Northwest racing scene in 2017. In the past few years, their list of sailing accomplishments has grown.
They founded the Pacific Northwest Shorthanded Sailing Society and have proved together that double-handed sailing on larger boats can be done safely, skillfully, and successfully. This spring they won the PNW Offshore up the Washington coast in their J/111 Raku and have been successfully campaigning their J/70 Mossy with the rest of the J/Pod crew in West Sound.
The Offshore World Championship was put off due to COVID in 2020 and changed to an application process rather than race-to-qualify style for 2021, but the Wolfes have been preparing and trying to qualify since 2019.
Through coaching with northwest talents like Jonathan McKee and Ron Rosenberg, along with their already impressive race portfolio, the Wolfe’s were selected to represent the United States in a series of races totaling over 750 miles of offshore sailing.
With all teams racing the one design Fígaro 3s, the 2021 Offshore World Championship is more of an ironman event than a marathon with just 24 hours between each of the three distance races extending from September 15 to 24.