May Race Series Sets Sail

May Series

Gig Harbor Yacht Club’s May Sailboat Race Series Starts Tonight

Harbor Races Set for May 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 – First Start at 6:30 p.m.

Sailors and spectators alike love the Thursday night sailboat races in the harbor. So how perfect for all that the popular May Series starts this week.

Tonight, May 2, is the first race of the Gig Harbor Yacht Club’s May Sailboat Race Series, so it’s time for skippers to get rigged up and for spectators to find their favorite viewing location.

Here at the boatyard we know of one boat that is ready to fly around the marks. Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard’s own Thunderbird, Yardbird, is rigged and ready to take tonight’s competition by storm.

Boatyard Crew to Race Yardbird

That’s as per usual, of course, would say her regular racing skipper, Chance Busey, assistant marketing director at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard. He enjoyed a lot a success racing Yardbird last year and will be joined in the series opener by Boatyard Manager Hartwell Champagne.

Busey, shown in the photo at top racing Yardbird in 2018, likes to exchange a little good-natured smack talk with fellow sailors to get the competitive juices flowing:

“We won the first race last year and are prepped and ready to do it again this year,” said Busey, putting other sailors on notice the morning of the season opener. “We also don’t intend on running over any blackberry bushes or round marks the wrong way.”

Hmm, apparently, an avid Gig Harbor racer — and he knows who he is, Busey smack-talked — sailed over a huge blackberry bush in the water last year. A very unfortunate and thorny sea anchor to get tangled up with during a race — and, “they didn’t realize it until they got back to the dock,” he added.

May SeriesMay Series

No such water hazards for our bird, which soars out in front of the competition, of course. To get her ready to fly this racing season, Yardbird was on the hard last week for a few service tune-ups. The boatyard crew cleaned her bottom and buffed out her hull, painted a fresh new boot stripe and lightened up the 26-foot boat by removing bow and stern pulpits and stanchions.

Read more about the history of Thunderbird sailboats, built first here in the harbor, on the Gig Harbor BoatShop website.

May Sailboat Race Series is a Harbor Tradition

So, Yardbird is race-ready, along with all the gibes (and jibes) needed for this fun Thursday night harbor tradition, which welcomes all racers. All types of boats and levels of racing experience are invited to participate in this low-key sailboat racing event, says Tom Gray, yacht club sail chair.

“If you are new to racing this is a great way to learn in an informal, friendly environment,” he said in the yacht club newsletter. “Even if you are not a competitive racer we would love to have you cruise around the harbor buoys with us.”

May Series

Local sailors enjoy a Thursday night harbor race in this file photo.

It’s all about fun and getting as many boats as possible out on the water on Thursday evenings, Gray says.

“In the May Series we track time and score the races; however, racing will continue in the harbor through the summer as long as we have a few boats that want to race informally,” he added.

To top off the tradition, racers meet up at Spiro’s Pizza & Pasta restaurant at 3108 Harborview Drive after each race for a no-host glass of cheer and food, Gray tells participants.

For more race information and entry rules, go to May in the Harbor Series on the Gig Harbor Yacht Club website. A Notice of Race/Sailing Instructions, entry form and all the details are on the website. For questions, contact Tom Gray at

Clean MarinaClean Boatyard

boat prep



Leave a Comment