At 9 a.m. Saturday morning, Bertram Levy, a short, mustachioed sailor wearing the beret he is known to wear got in line at the Northwest Maritime Center to sign up for the annual Shipwrights’ Regatta.
In front of him were two novice sailors — young men from the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, with zero sailing experience besides a love for woodworking and a desire to get out on the water.
Bertram had raced every year since the thing started 28 years ago. Minutes later the veteran sailor and the two newbies were circled up.
“Meet at the end of the D-dock. My boat is called ‘Able,'” Bertram said.
Anyone who shows up to the Skipper’s meeting gets on a boat in the Port Townsend Shipwrights’ Regatta.
This makes for some interesting crews. Old friends, strangers about to become friends.
But the February race isn’t about winning (for some). It’s more of a race for the locals to beat the person who beat them last year.
It’s also a chance to show off your handiwork. Many of the boats in the race were wooden, the sails and rigging done by local artisans.
On the “Able,” Bertram and his two novices lined up for the race. As the starting horn rang out, the southeast wind blew Bertram’s beret into the water.
No problem. He reached into the sea, and fished it out again.
(Some of these photos and the story of the race winners were published in the Port Townsend Leader.)