Regatta Sailors Rigging up @ The Club

The Gig Harbor Junior Sail and Race Program is holding its first-ever high school sailing regatta, the Race in the Gig (R.I.G.) in the harbor on Saturday, Nov. 7. They will use Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard’s waterfront venue, The Club @ The Boatyard, as home base for regatta participants.

Sailors from all over the Northwest will meet at Skansie Brothers Park next to the harbor-side venue for the day-long regatta, with the first race set to sail at 11 a.m. from Jerisich Dock in Gig Harbor bay.  The R.I.G. Regatta, is a NWISA (Northwest Interscholastic Sailing Association) high school/youth sailing event open to racers in grades 8 through 12.

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Boats are rotating out, or switching between races, at an NWISA Regatta last spring on Whidbey Island. Switching out will take place at Jerisich Dock at the R.I.G. Regatta on Nov. 7. (Photos courtesy of Rhonda Ashpole)

Regatta Sailors Rigging up at The Club @ The Boatyard

R.I.G. participants will use The Club @ The Boatyard at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard during the day-long regatta. Sailors can warm up and get refreshments between races inside the canvas-enclosed venue warmed by fireplaces and ceiling heaters. The large windows in the canvas walls will allow racers to keep an eye on staging activities in the park next to The Club. Regatta organizers will provide a hot meal for racers and coaches toward the end of the day of racing.

“We have had a high school race team here in Gig Harbor for three years and we travel all over the Northwest for regattas,” said Rhonda Ashpole, a race team parent and organizer of the R.I.G. Regatta. “Now it is our turn to host an event and we are excited to use our beautiful harbor and bring 80-100 sailors downtown for a great event.”

Regatta Sailors Rigging up at The Club @ The Boatyard

The Gig Harbor Junior Race team is going into the regatta after a successful summer racing season on the Northwest Youth Racing Circuit (NWYRC), a series sponsored by local clubs and sailing programs.

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Joan Storkman, Gig Harbor race team coordinator, reported that four local racers placed high in overall results from the summer race circuit in the double-handed non-spinnaker class:  Alyosha Strum-Palerm and Kara Ashpole (in photo at top), first place; and Zeke Ward and Jack Corddry (above), third place.

Regatta Sailors Rigging up at The Club @ The Boatyard

About 20 boats will be participating in the R.I.G. Regatta, with sailors coming from Bellingham, Orcas Island, Seattle, Port Townsend and Portland.  Racers will be sailing Flying Junior, or FJ, sailboats, which are 13-foot double-handed (two people per boat) sailing dinghies.  Regatta organizers hope to set the starting mark near Jerisich Public Dock for easy public viewing, although wind direction will determine placement.

Sailors will race short courses in the harbor in “teams” of four from their area or school.  The regatta will follow the current Racing Rules of Sailing by US Sailing and will consist of several races during the day with the last one wrapping up around 4 p.m.

Regatta Sailors Rigging up at The Club @ The Boatyard

R.I.G. Regatta organizer Ashpole encourages youth interested in sailing to take a summer learn-to-sail course offered by the Gig Harbor Yacht Club Junior Sail Program (, or to contact the Gig Harbor race team at

“High school sailboat racing is a unique team experience which builds camaraderie, confidence and also brings in elements of physics and atmospheric sciences,” Ashpole said. Race events are held about eight months of the year and are kept affordable and accessible to a wide range of youth, she added, with teams practicing two or three times a week.


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