Who remembers the Seattle Exchange? It was an exchange between RAYC and the Seattle Yacht Club when one year they would all come to see us for a fortnight and we would entertain them and sail on our boats and about 1 ½ years later we would sail with them in the San Juan Islands. The timing was so that it would be summer in the relevant country.
It was a wonderful idea, started when RAYC Commodore in 1988, Kerry Dobbs, went to Seattle that year. The inaugural exchange cruise was in Seattle in July 1989. The first return exchange, hosted by RAYC, was in early March 1991 and the 3rd time was as early as July of the same year. The 4th was hosted here in nine yachts in 1997. We also hosted in 1999 and 2002, with a Seattle cruise sandwiched in between.
But, after that, sadly it lapsed – mainly due to administration of the event and also the fact that many of us had done the Exchange several times and there was talk of perhaps another venue. But a lot of us still keep in touch with our American friends.
The cruise was of a similar format to our Cruising Races as no spinnakers or flying sails are used. In the San Juan Islands you visit islands such as Henry and Sailspring in BC. Sailing sometimes can be quite interesting with whilrpools, eddies and currents all seemingly happening at once. On one race a skipper radioed in to say: “We have been in the same whirlpool for an hour, my crew have mutineered and I will have to retire from the race.” But the camaraderie is fantastic, especially when all yachts are in a Star Raft Tie so you can walk across boats for another drink! You go up to Canada and visit many Seattle “outstations” on the way.
Full details of the cruises are kept in the Archives. For more information or if you wish to help or donate anything to the Archives please contact Marian Harkness on 09-524-4968