These photos are from the annual Bellevue YMCA Westerners Regatta. This group has been racing Tippecanoe Boats for seven years now. Building the boats and sailing them has become an important part of their program. Parents and children build the kits together and then the whole group meets on a weekend at the beginning of the summer for an overnight at a camp on Horseshoe Lake, near Gig Harbor in Washington. The boats are beautiful. Every one is painted differently, different colors, different designs, some varnished some painted. What a fleet. Almost 100 boats turn up some years.
The races are held in qualifying heats. The first three places of each of the preliminary races get to be in the final race for the trophies. The first place trophy is quite impressive, a 5 inch brass sailboat on a marble base with a plaque reading First Place, YMCA Westerners Regatta with the date. There are trophies for the first six places and ribbons for everyone else. Your local trophy store will have a wide range of appropriate trophies.
There are many ways to run a regatta. You can race from shore out to a line that is being called by a person in a kayak or canoe, who also retrieves the boats and brings them back to the starting line. At Horseshoe Lake the dock forms an enclosure and the boats can be raced either across from one side to the other or from the outside dock into shore depending on the wind direction. Racing across a small pond works extremely well, across a cove, or from a dock into the shore. An ideal distance seems to be between 100 feet and 500 feet, although longer distances would work as well.
Once started the tradition of building and racing the boats carries itself forwards over the years and becomes one of the popular events that each new generation looks forwards to. As each youngster in a family gets old enough to be in the races, they get their boat. When not racing, the boats hang beautifully on the youngsters' bedroom walls.
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Tippecanoe Boats, ltd. 4305 Nordum Rd., Everson, WA 98247 USA phone/fax 1-800-206-0006 1-360-966-SAIL