Greetings, Friends of Sail Orcas!
2020 will be a year that few forget – the COVID 19 pandemic impacted everything, causing closures and
changes everywhere. We were saddened at the loss of Board member Les Zorb just recently, as well. Sail
Orcas programs were also affected, but one bright spot was that we found ways to keep working with our
"You are the only people I see outside of my mom and dad."
Board member Steve Vurno and his son, Kai, volunteered to begin working with our sailing juniors in Lasers
(singlehanded sailing dinghies) in early summer using COVID-safe protocols that included social distancing,
wearing masks, and staying outside. Soon, they were working with 5-10 kids in Lasers, focusing on sailing drills
and running practice races. For these kids (age 12-16), these
workouts are often their only social interaction “in real life” (i.e.,
not on the computer). Typically, our sailing juniors (middle school
and high school sailors) cease practicing in mid-autumn, but 2020
has been different – they continue to practice. This has been a
tremendous learning opportunity for them, as they are embracing
heavy-air sailing that is typical of the weather we have this time of
year. Steve and Kai were also honored recently by Sail Orcas and
Orcas Island Yacht Club for their efforts to keep Orcas kids sailing
safely through the pandemic.
Looking forward to 2021
Sail Orcas is optimistic about 2021, but we are also being realistic. The immediate need in our community
is to keep kids active and interacting in a safe activity during a pandemic, and we intend to support these
efforts. Specifically, we ask for your help to refurbish the Lasers, which are being used multiple times
each week, so that they are roughly equivalent to each other (~$600/Laser, total $6,000 for all ten). We will
get back to a new normal eventually, and when we do, we will need to be ready for summer lessons,
middle/high school racing, and programs that keep our community excited to be sailing in the beautiful
area in which we live. Please consider the work we do when you are planning for your upcoming
Every donation is tax deductible; check should be made payable to Sail Orcas and mailed to PO Box 1226,
Eastsound WA, 98245. Thank you for your support – we are grateful for it!
All the best from the volunteers who make Sail Orcas go.
Summer Youth Sailing Program Announcement
Due to the issues and risks surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic we canceled youth sailing classes for the
summer of 2020. We are totally sad about having to do this but the safety of our
young students and our instructors needs to come first. Please be safe folks. See you next year.
Orcas Vikings Win Island Cup
NWISA District Champ Qualifier Regatta
The 20 best Northwest high school sailing teams from as far away as Hood River, Oregon converged on Orcas Island
April 13 and 14 for Northwest District Interscholastic Sailing Association’s annual Islands Cup Regatta.
The regatta rotates location each year between high school teams from Island, Skagit and San Juan counties. The teams
arrived Saturday morning ready to take on strong winds and a 100 percent chance of rain in the forecast.
Mother Nature did not disappoint. For the next six hours, teams battled each other out on the choppy waters of West
Sound in the wind-driven rain. At the end of Saturday’s racing, Orcas held a slim 4-point lead over Gig Harbor with
a pack of other teams all within striking distance of the cup.
On Sunday, sailors arrived to no rain, and a brisk west wind, racing started promptly at 9:30 a.m. and for the next
five hours the lead changed back and forth between Gig Harbor and Orcas, but in the end, Orcas held on for the regatta win.
"Today was some of the best racing I have seen on West Sound," said coach Burke Thomas. "This was a big win for the Vikings,
and I am very proud how we battled all weekend."
Thomas extended a big thank you to the Orcas Island Yacht Club and volunteers for providing the venue.
Complete scores are at: Results
New Dingy Float Construction
Sail Orcas is excited to announce that our priority mission for facilities in 2019 is to
replace our aging floats at the base of the OIYC pier. This has been a multi-year undertaking that began design and
permitting in 2015. The new, fully permitted floats will feature a nonskid, environmentally friendly grating that will
protect our local eel grass and provide a safe, clean platform for our students and programs for years to come. The
new floats are a major undertaking for us, and this season we are asking for your financial help. Please consider
joining us in making a contribution to the floats.
Your donation is tax deductible; check should be made payable to Sail Orcas and mailed to PO Box 1226, Eastsound WA, 98245.
Alternatively you could use the online donation form and your credit
card: Fund the Floats
NWISA SAIL SANDPOINT COMBINED DIVISION REGATTA
March 9th and 10th
Ten Sailors from the Orcas High School Sailing Team travelled to the SSP combined division regatta march 9&10 in Seattle.
The regatta features a schools A & B divisions boats competing in the same fleet and racing against each other at the
same time, pitting 32 boats against each other on a very crowded start line. Orcas had qualified teams at the regionals
March 2nd into both the gold and silver divisions for the combined division regatta, giving all sailors an opportunity
to race every race.
Saturday saw a 5 knot northerly breeze fill the race course on Lake Washington by 11:30 am,the breeze continued to
build through out the after noon, 6 races were completed in gold and 4 races in silver. The racing started at 11:30am
and continued until 6:30 pm, when darkness and freezing temps forced the competitors off the water. Sunday brought
warmer temperatures but little wind, with just 3 races completed in a very light and shifty North East Wind. Getting
off the starting line in a 32 boat fleet is no easy task and teams that could do that had a huge advantage on the
first beat by being up the ladder from the big wind shadow created by the 32 boats.
The orcas team improved on their starting tactics throughout the weekend and were able to grab a very respectable 4th
overall in the gold fleet and 3rd in the silver fleet. Complete results can be found here:
NWISA NORTH REGIONAL ICE BREAKER REGATTA
MARCH 2 at ANACORTES WA
Eight Sailors from the Orcas High School Sailing Team, traveled to Anacortes on March 2nd to kickoff the NWISA
spring sailing season. The eighteen teams competing at the north regional, were greeted at the 10am competitors meeting,
with sunny skies and a very cold NE 12 wind. The Windward-Leeward race course was set outside
the jetty at Seafarer’s park in Fidalgo Bay, with the pier providing excellent viewing for spectators.
The wind on the race course was streaky, making it hard for teams to get off the start line,the Orcas team had to
shake off a little winters rust in their first race but as the wind built through out the day, the Vikings team just
got stronger, completing 10 races by the 5 pm stop time and clinching a solid regatta win.
Eighty youth sailors from around the region came to Westsound in late October to race in the annual two day team
racing “Trick or Treat Regatta”. Many thanks to the many volunteers from Sail Orcas who help make this a fun annual
tradition. Pictured here is Team Where’s Waldo and a Team of Pirates from the Caribbean.