Salish 100—the largest organized small-boat cruise in North America—is coming under the umbrella of the Northwest Maritime Center (NWMC) and complementing the center’s diverse array of programs.
Created by the Port Townsend Pocket Yachters club, the Salish 100 (S-100) joins the Race to Alaska (R2AK) and Seventy48 human-powered race as three of the most unique and vibrant water-borne events in the Pacific Northwest. Salish 100’s second annual cruise will take place July 10-17, with more than 135 boats voyaging 100 nautical miles—the full length of Puget Sound—from Olympia to Port Townsend, Wash.
Volunteers from the Pocket Yachters will continue to help organize the small-boat cruise during this year’s second running, but the NWMC’s Daniel Evans, Race Boss for the R2AK and Seventy48, will assume oversight of the Salish 100. Marty Loken, founding organizer, said he and other volunteers look forward to the new relationship with the NWMC. “We’ve had the best kind of partnership with the Maritime Center for years,” Loken said, “starting nine years ago with our annual Pocket Yacht Palooza, hosted by the NWMC. Success of the Salish 100 has outstripped all expectations, and we think the Maritime Center is the perfect home for the event, assuring it’ll continue to be properly supported and organized into the future.”
Jake Beattie, executive director of the NWMC, is thrilled to see the popular small-boat cruise become part of the Northwest Maritime Center, whose vision is to create powerful connections. “You can’t sail, row or paddle 100 miles without learning more about boat-handling and the marine environment,” said Beattie, “along with your own personal limits, how to deal with different wind and weather conditions and the natural world of Puget Sound. The Salish 100 isn’t a race, like some of our other events, so it’s a perfect complement to the R2AK, Seventy48 and the NWMC’s other on-the-water offerings.”
Co-sponsors of this year’s Salish 100 will include the Port Townsend Pocket Yachters, Small Craft Advisor magazine, Duckworks Boat Builder’s Supply, Kingston Mercantile & Marine, The Artful Sailor, Gig Harbor BoatShop, and the Ports of Olympia, Kingston, and Port Ludlow.
The fleet of small boats taking part in the S-100 will range from 11-foot, 11-inch SCAMP sailboats, to dozens of rowing-sailing Whitehalls, wherries, sharpies, melonseeds and flatiron skiffs, to a variety of smaller production sailboats including Montgomery 15s and 17s, West Wight Potters and others … along with dozens of home-built sailing-rowing boats designed by John Welsford, Iain Oughtred, Chesapeake Light Craft and many others. (Participating in the S-100, in fact, will be designer John Welsford—coming all the way from New Zealand.)
Along the route, small-boat skippers from 14 states and two foreign countries will experience everything the Salish Sea has to offer: currents racing through narrow channels, tide rips, sandbars, rocky shores, wonderfully protected anchorages, wind conditions ranging from flat calm to small-craft warnings, encounters with wildlife (last year a pod of orcas glided through the fleet near Bainbridge Island), and some new friendships that will last a lifetime. Many of the participants venture from inland states to experience saltwater boating—tidal ranges of up to 14 feet—for the first time. Others drive thousands of miles to attend. (Last year young Rachel Doss covered 2,200 miles to take part aboard her 13-foot Guppy sailboat.)
“The Maritime Center is the perfect landing spot for the Salish 100,” says Daniel Evans, “Its culture, current events and mission to provide maritime experiences throughout the region dovetail beautifully with the celebration, camaraderie and skill found within the Salish 100 fleet.”
Registration for this year’s Salish 100 is full, but for more information or to get on the mailing list contact the NWMC at email@example.com. Boaters can also check out the Salish 100 Facebook page, where participants share photos and their experiences before, during, and after each cruise.