Sloop Tavern Yacht Club’s annual race for liveaboard sailors delights, as always.

The Keala crew’s sailing slippers.

In late October, Sloop Tavern Yacht Club hosted its annual Race Your House. Race Your House is one of my favorite events of the year because, instead of the usual suspects we see at most regattas, we get to see the incredible assortment of boats people call home. It is a time to race in your most comfortable sailing attire, and our whole crew enjoyed the comforts of home and raced in slippers aboard my Jeanneau 44i, Keala, a welcome change from the boots and foulies of J/80 racing.

Other competitors in the 2023 edition of Race Your House ranged from full-keel heavy displacement cruising yachts to the Santa Cruz 52 Escargot, and the fleet was divided into six classes, which included flying and non-flying sails, and multihulls.

For me, as I know is true for other liveaboards, Race Your House truly starts the night before, packing up the boat and clearing the counters to transition from liveaboard cruiser to race boat getting ready to heel. Though it takes some work, it’s a rewarding exercise, and a good practice for those of us who do try to go sailing on our houses somewhat regularly.

This year, Al Hughes was the PRO on his house, the Mary H. The course had us going first to Meadow Point, then across the sound to a temporary mark near Port Madison, back across the sound to the green entrance buoy at the ship canal, and then to the finish.

After the start, the fleet split, with boats heading out or going in to bang the shore at Golden Gardens. As one of the boats going in to play the usual game of chicken with the beach, it is an entirely different experience when it’s your house on the line!

After rounding Meadow Point, the fleet turned and headed across Puget Sound. The first few classes made it almost 90% of the way there before the wind shut off. The rest of the fleet got stalled out a bit earlier, but continued plodding slowly toward the north end of Bainbridge.

Mmmm… race-baked cinnamon buns.

When the wind shut off and all the boats were drifting together around the temporary mark, there was an opportunity for some on-the-water socializing, and even some sharing of snacks. We passed on the last of our cinnamon rolls, baked below on the first windward leg, with friends on a nearby race-house.

The temporary mark turned out to be a big restart, with the fleet tactically drifting around the mark and trying to dodge the rest of the boats in tight quarters with little steerage. Thankfully, the wind eventually returned, and the houses were off to the E mark at the entrance to the ship canal.

For the ride back towards Shilshole, we enjoyed one of the best parts of this race — being on boats with full galleys. Cooking underway has become a tradition for us during Race Your House. This year, we made pierogi and grilled onions for the return trip. That’s some tasty racing!

After rounding the E mark, it was just a short couple of tacks back upwind to the finish to complete another successful Race Your House. It truly is one of the best days of sailing each year, a chance for us to see what our houses can do, and blend these seemingly divergent aspects of boat life into one fun day on the water shared among friends.

Race your House results here.