Commodore Words
September 3, 2007


Three Ring Circus, Tuesday and Moore Uff Da all won their classes in this year's Pitch regatta, earning the STYC the coveted Kelly O'Neil team sailing trophy!!!  A big HURRAY to these boats, skippers and crew.

Announcment forthcoming as to the event of tipping the 'auld mug' in a proper celebration.

August 16, 2007


I am pleased to announce that, due to Treasurer Chris Halstead's diligent efforts, we now have a Sloop discount at Fisheries Supply in North Lake Union. According to Chris, all you have to do when you check out, and they ask you, 'do you have an account?', is say, 'YES!!, then show your membership card.  Now, if you don't have yours, or perhaps lost it in your crab pot, you may want to contact Secretary Park Densmore to obtain another one.  This is a great member benefit and I want to thank Dan Rees, who caught me at the barbeque at the last Membership Meeting and made this suggestion...hope to see you there again this year Dan!

Happy rest of summer sailing to all the Sloopers around the globe!!!


July 19, 2007

The Sloop Tavern Yacht Club (STYC) wishes to announce its revised results of the 2007 Race to the Straits results.  Please visit for details.

I want to fully recognize the efforts of the STYC Race Committee for their diligence and perseverance in this effort; it was not easy and required much hard work to arrive at clear results, which have been independently reviewed by the following:  Paul Kalina, Bob Foulds, Christopher Butler, Nigel Barron, and Stuart Farrell.

In light of the many changes to the race results, it will be necessary to convene an additional ceremony to award trophies to the legitimate winners.  This will likely be after the summer boating season has ended, and will be announced in the very near future.

Neil Bennett, Commodore

Race to the Straits Scoring Update June 23, 2007

The tide has changed. Since this posting there has been much debate regarding the scoring protocol used for the Race to the Straits.  Significant and relevant questions about the protocol’s ability to accurately compute the results in compliance with the stated Sailing Instructions have been established that require further investigation.

At the time of this writing, several Race Committee and Board members are competing in the Van Isle 360 race (go Tryst! go Icon!). As soon as practical upon their return, a meeting of the Race Committee and Board will be scheduled to review the scoring protocol.  This Board meeting time and place will be posted for STYC member’s information, and of course, all members are invited to attend the Board meeting.

It is possible that changes to the results may occur.  If this is the case, the STYC apologies in advance to those who are affected.  If necessary, new awards will be presented in an appropriate STYC ceremony.

Neil Bennett,

2007 marked the sixth year the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club has promoted and produced the Single and Double Handed Race to the Straits.  Every year has brought more competitors and more fun, and indeed more controversy.  Each year the tides and wind offer a challenge; the competitors become more competitive; the Corinthian spirit of self scoring at ‘the Double Bluff short course gate’ increasingly more important; the results more scrutinized.

In the early years of the race, the race committee started the fleet from the beach at Shilshole, then ‘raced the fleet by car and ferry’ to Port Townsend, with VHF radios held out the window to stay in communication, to finish the race from the beach.  The first year I entered, 2003, Garufa beat Green Card to Port Townsend by 2 seconds across a ‘self designated, self timed flag pole on the beach’ because the Race Committee wasn’t there yet

Each year, the Race Committee considers the scoring methodology to be utilized, makes a decision, and holds its breath.  Common sense dictates that, of course, if all goes well, the handicap calculated reverse start is perfect - the boat race becomes just that, and the first boat wins.  Each year, the Race Committee considers the ‘shortened course option’ which allows, if all instructions are adhered to, an award of an overall winner, despite significantly different weather conditions from one day to the next.  In these years, the STYC utilized a scoring program from its local races. There were challenges, but the race was small, fun and local.

Several years ago the Race Committee researched other options.  It chose a scoring program developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developed primarily for distance races - SORC, Bermuda, SoCal, MexORC, and used by early IOR/IMS races. Its attraction was its feature that it calculated a ratio between long and short course elapsed corrected times so that short course finishers weren’t advantaged by their shorter course, particularly in situations where there are combined short/long course finishes. These races are/were longer than the Race to the Straits, but, it was believed, applicable to the unique qualities of the Race to the Straits.

In the years in which this formula was utilized there were no challenges to the scoring of the race. This year has raised several challenges to the veracity of the Race Committee’s ability to properly score the results; unfortunately, these challenges were not brought directly to the Race Committee but traveled through less direct routes.  Many well intentioned re-scoring alternatives were postulated, however without knowledge of the history of the Race Committee’s efforts and intentions.  There is no question that well developed and thoughtful deliberation is of great value. However, at this time, the Race Committee and the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club believes it has accurately scored the 2007 Race to the Straits in compliance with its published Notice of Race.

The Sloop Tavern Yacht Club believes this despite the instructions for Sailing Instructions Double Bluff course recordings to note ‘boat ahead/boat behind’ that yielded results such as, ‘none’ and ‘many’.  The Sloop Tavern Yacht Club recognizes its responsibility the greater sailing community to make itself available to comment and suggested improvements to the events it offers to the sailing community.    We have long believed that the Double Bluff buoy deserves a mark boat, however in efforts to create a cost effective event (read party first) we have relied upon the racers to embrace the Corinthian skill/spirit of the event.

We welcome any suggestions as we begin the development of the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions for the 2008 event.  And, speaking of which, mark your calendars for May 3 and 4 (and January 1 to make your slip reservations at Point Hudson).

I can be reached at

Neil Bennett,
Sloop Tavern Yacht Club

First Snooze and Cruise of 2007, Sloop Tavern Style

June 23 & 24, 2007

Hosted by Ken Chin, 2006 Commodore’s Cup Winner

10 Slips reserved at the Port Orchard Marina


April 2007

Hard to believe its Spring - where are those warm winds that lure us?  How much fleece will we need to wear next Monday night at the first Ballard Cup race?

The Sloop pulled off another fantastically successful Blakely Rock Benefit Race (BRBR). Thanks to all the incredibly resourcefull board members and volunteers, and the Ballard business community, we raised almost $6,000 for the Ballard Senior Center.  Go to the BRBR section to see the whole story. Personally, this was a very satisfying actitvity -yeah, it took a lot of time away from other things I could have been doing, but in the end, it left a warm spot in my heart, which is really what it should all be about, right?

What's up now?  Well, Nigel, Christopher, Paul and Park are organizing another killer Race to the Straits...I'm out of town and can't be there for the great currents and predicted winds that would have won me (and Garufa) another first to finish, so the window is open - get out there and have fun!

Your Board works hard to make the Sloop what it is for you!  We can always use your help in making this one of the best yacht clubs on Puget Sound.  Volunteer for anything and I bet there is at least one free beer in your future.

Last, due to work demands, Dave Marod has had to step down as Secretary - never fear, Park Densmore has stepped to the mast to swap spots for the rest of the year-so, those membership and race books as well as membership cards will be in the mail REALLY SOON!!!!!!

Thanks again for being members - see you all on the water soon!

For those of you who are curious...Late January 2007

One of our members, Lisa Winterhalter is also a CYC member.  She asked us to help her support the CYC Windajmmer, so we are!!!  By all means, getting out on the water is what the Sloop is all about,so get out and support Lisa; and, maybe recruit another boat from your class to race with us!

Incoming Commodores Words. Early January, 2007

Use your words.  Put simply, this means speak what you are thinking.  First of all, I want to reiterate what I said at the wonderful Sloop Tavern Christmas party, while honoring outgoing Commodore Kirk Utter, “we are (the membership), in forever ‘indebtitude’ to his efforts, and we wish him fair winds and following seas in which ever course he steers.”  While Kirk has been at the helm, the Sloop has grown in activity, membership, and service to community.  Damn big flip-flops to fill.

So, helm’s a lee, we are tacking and all of the Board members will be trimming strings:

• Kirk will be continuing to serve as Past Commodore and Membership Chair while Dick Roberts will continue to serve as race committee chair.  Dick and Kirk will work closely together to coordinate these two important positions;
• Nigel will be serving as Vice Commodore and coordinating most of the racing events;
• New board member Park Densmore will be very involved in assisting me in promoting the Blakely Rock Benefit Race;
• New Secretary Dave Marod will endeavor to capture the board minutes with the same vigor as Nigel;
• Paul and Christopher will be working closely with Nigel to produce another outstanding Race to the Straits;
• Dan will be continuing to build on the outstanding success he has already achieved in his cruising fantasy;
• Stu will continue to represent the voice of reason and assist us in our handicapping needs;
• Chris will continue to nurture the money tree that allows us to do everything that we do.

What I hope to accomplish this year is continued membership growth, continued growth in yacht club activity, and increased service to community.  I have some ideas, some of them may be good and some of them probably bad.

First of all, in the area of membership growth, instead of getting taller or wider, let’s think about becoming more diversified.  While researching the history of ‘the Sloop’, I read that we are all about ‘being a special place that has attracted sailors with a sense of fun and adventure.’ So, who are you docked next to? Give them Kirk’s number, or better yet, get their number and give it to Kirk.  Any idea to introduce sailing to those who don’t, or to bring new members into the club is worth exploring.

We offer some great races and activities that truly attract the widest range of sailors I have ever seen! Let’s do more. Let’s make a scene – Poulsbo should offer us reserved rafting and Port Madison should dredge the entry for us! Port Townsend has raised the bar for hospitality for the 2007 R2S, so everyone get ready and Let’s Go!  I am sure there are  PHRF racers who, like me, are a little behind in re-measuring our sails; we will appreciate the efforts Stu and Bob are making to arrange a date to get this done.  Watch the website for details.

Finally, in service to community, I am incredibly proud of the Sloop’s historical accomplishments and hope to live up to the standard that has been set by every Commodore who has served before me.  We have already received two major donations for our raffle, which tells me we have achieved notice in the community.  I am looking forward to hosting this race and working with the Ballard Senior Center to learn a few new jokes.

Garufa and I look forward to seeing you on the water….


Additional words…

As my first role as Commodore, I wrote a letter to a reciprocal yacht club who had filed a complaint against one of our members regarding the members alleged behavior at their dock.  As it turned out the member was no longer a member so there was nothing really to do, other than assure them that STYC members really are nice, and generally courteous.  Please remember that every time we hoist the burgee, we become ambassadors of our club.  This is our opportunity to demonstrate the foundations of the Sloop and seamanship in general.  It’s as important as not tacking too close and heeding the hail of obstruction.  And, as the saying goes, ‘what goes around, comes around’.