Sailors of all ages came to the waters of Shilshole Bay for some small boat racing fun.

Corinthian Yacht Club’s Turkey Bowl is always one of the coolest regattas of the year, and it seems to be getting cooler. Seattle’s final dinghy racing event of the season is a unique regatta in that it brings together youth and adult sailors, where all ages and experience levels cross tacks and share the water as equals. Mats Elf, who won the 505 class said, “It’s such a great vibe with the mixed group of racers. You’ve got sailors young and old, some fresh new racers and some of the best-of-the-best in the world.” 

Photo by Ryan Carson.

This year, nearly 70 boats came out for Turkey Bowl in late November — sailing Optimists, FJs, Lasers of each rig size, RS Aeros, C420s, and 505s. 

Racing over two days provided pleasant conditions, especially by November standards. Gentle breezes prevailed, benefitting lighter sailors or those with light-air savvy, and giving everyone an opportunity to practice or show off their roll-tacking skills. The race committee gave each class either six or seven races over two days.

Photo by Ryan Carson.

The six-boat FJ Class showed us what close competition is all about. Five out of six boats took first place in a race, and the boat that didn’t win a race still wound up second for the regatta! 

Photo by Ryan Carson.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dalton Bergan showed typical brilliance and top form in the RS Aero class, winning every race. The duo of Jacob and Danny ran the table in the C420 class, too. Among the Optimists, Andrew Lin sailed to a near-perfect scoreline, taking all bullets except for one second. 

It’s always good to see the big kids bring out the 505s, and they seemed to have an excellent weekend, too. The fleet is seeing an influx of younger sailors, which is awesome, but they couldn’t quite catch longtime 505 skipper Mats Elf, whose consistency left him at the top of the podium.

Photo by Ryan Carson.

The scorelines got a little funky after the third race created confusion and left quite a few 505s disqualified after sailing the wrong course. Mats explained what happened, “We abandoned a race because a leeward mark was missing. For the next sequence, the race committee changed the course and started a sequence again, and many boats thought they were just sailing the original course.” Mats said he was well back in that race, but he’s learned to take notes of the racecourse, and his crew, Brent Campbell, was certain they were sailing the correct course. In a fleet of great sailors, Alyosha Strum-Palerm sailed particularly well — he won the final three races, and would have been atop the table at the end of the weekend if not for that unfortunate Race 3 DSQ. 

Looking back on this Turkey Bowl and all of the racing in 2021, there’s a lot to be thankful for. 

Title photo by Ryan Carson.