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We run about 35 races a year, which means we need just almost as as many boat owners to volunteer their boats and themselves as skippers to get volunteers on the start/finish line. For some owners, this is a way to give back to the racing community or take a break from racing while still being on the water. There are also these benefits:

  • Being on the committee boat is a great way to learn how to race better.
  • If you are racing in the Ballard Cup series and you volunteer your boat as committee boat, you receive a score for that race that is the average of your scores for the rest of your series.
  • You get your own table at the Sloop Tavern for the awards ceremony.
  • You can bring your crew or friends to volunteer on the race committee or let STYC assemble the race committee.
  • You can also be Principal Race Officer if you're on our list of PROs.
  • You don't have to be a racer to volunteer. You can simply skipper your boat and enjoy the show, and the free food and drink, while race volunteers make the rest happen.

Here are the general opportunities to be committee boat:

Monday nights

Ballard Cup is probably the easiest and most fun race to volunteer for on Monday nights from mid-April through September. The anchoring and the evening off of Shilshole Marina are predictable. You need to be able to leave the dock at 5:30 pm to be ready for the first start at 6:15 PM. The start sequence take 40-50 minutes, and then everyone can relax until the boats come back.  You'll probably watch the sunset, and be back soon after dark if not before. Everything is taken care of. Just be ready to anchor in 40-50 feet of water and host 8-10 volunteers besides yourselves and any non-volunteering guests.

Weekend days

If you are looking for a weekend day off Shilshole, consider the Iceberg Regatta, Blakely Rock Benefit Race, Single-Handed Race, Fall Regatta, and J&J Race. These all start in mid-morning. The requirements are similar to that of Ballard Cup, except for BRBR there can be up to 150 boats starting and it is a mid-distance race, and for Fall Regatta, there are up to three starts. Both of these races tend to take most of the day and require a lot of volunteers.

If you want a low key and fun weekend Shilshole assignment with not many volunteers, consider being the home committee boat for Race to the Straits or Down the Sound. Both races are reverse start with assigned start times for each boat. So after an initial start sequence, the only thing to do is call boats over early. And both races are mid-distance, so finishing boats is usually relatively easy because they are spread out. It is great fun being the welcome home committee at the end of a long day. Here is one account of being committee boat for Race to the Straits at Off the Coast of Ballard.

Destination committee boating

If you're interested in a trip, consider being the destination committee boat for Race To the Straits in Port Townsend or for Down the Sound in Gig Harbor. You get free assigned VIP moorage at the destination. For DTS, you must be prepared to anchor in 80 or more feet of water, in up to 3 kt of current. These assignments take fewer volunteers as well.

If you are interesting in being committee boat for any of these races, email us at

© Sloop Tavern Yacht Club
Sloop Tavern Yacht Club is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization.

2442 NW Market St #94 | Seattle, WA 98107

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