Calling all crabbers! Registration is now open for the 4th annual Puget Sound Speed-Crabbing Derby, the world’s first and only speed-crabbing event. This unique derby, which benefits Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), takes place on Saturday, July 9 at the Port of Everett. Teams of two, three or four crabbers race against the clock to harvest and submit the 10 heaviest legal Dungeness crab they can catch in the shortest amount of time. Last year team Carpe Cancer claimed the title of Puget Sound’sGreatest Recreational Crabbers. Twenty-seven teams weighed in with more than 450 pounds of Dungeness crabs. Event organizers hope to double those numbers this year.
The derby is free for all crustacean chasers. In addition to fun and friendly competition and all-important bragging rights, there are some seriously sweet prizes up for grabs in the prize pool including a Brutus plus 40 Electric Pot Puller (value $600), two nights stay at the Inn at Port Gardner (value $300) and a Deadliest Crab Pot with Neptune Triggers (value $200). Even more importantly, the event allows passionate crabbers to strike a blow for cancer simply by indulging in their favorite pastime, pulling pots and spending a day having fun on the water.
Speed Crabbing 101
Teams are individually timed from the start signal until they finish the race by crossing the finish line. Teams that come in early receive a weight bonus; teams that finish late receive a weight penalty or worse, are disqualified. The team with the highest overall score wins the derby and is named Puget Sound’s Greatest Recreational Crabbers. There’s even a special Lunker Award given to the individual who hauls in the single largest crab of the derby.
Speed crabbing is a game of chance and skill and almost anything goes in the quest to win, but scuba diving, free diving, fishing poles and collusion between teams are strictly verboten. Bait and lubricating beverages are left up to the teams to decide, but Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations must be followed.
To be Puget Sound’s Greatest Recreational Crabbers teams must demonstrate great teamwork, speed, and expertise in crabbing technique. Derby co-founders Eddie Adams and Adam Sinnett have some tips for success: “Start with short soaks and set your pots from deeper to shallow while you target the crab. Think about 30 minutes to start, if the crab are there, you’ll know it. If not, move on. Once you’ve found a good spot concentrate your efforts on that area and increase your soaking time to about an hour. Getting a good weight bonus is key to winning the derby; it’s most often the deciding factor.”
Speed Crabbing for a Cure
Crabs and cancer, get the connection? The word cancer is Latin for crab and the Puget Sound region is home to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, one of the world’s foremost cancer research facilities. SCCA brings together the leading research teams and cancer specialists from Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine – one extraordinary group whose sole purpose is the pursuit of better, longer, richer lives of our patients.
Thanks to the generosity of the derby’s sponsors, participants are automatically helping fight cancer. Every pound of crab weighed in the competition is multiplied by the sum of the sponsor pledges and donated to SCCA. For those teams who want to do more, there’s also an optional team-powered giving competition with a separate set of prizes awarded to the most charitable teams.