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Fair weather predicted as Race Week begins

Byron Skubi does a bit of cleanup work after some sanding on the stern area of his boat, Skookumchuck. Skubi said he has raced in all but one of the Whidbey Island Race Week events. “The one I missed was when I was racing in Maui,” he said. - Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times
Byron Skubi does a bit of cleanup work after some sanding on the stern area of his boat, Skookumchuck. Skubi said he has raced in all but one of the Whidbey Island Race Week events. “The one I missed was when I was racing in Maui,” he said.
— image credit: Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times

Final preparations for the 2009 Whidbey Island Race Week are nearly complete.

The grounds around the Oak Harbor Yacht Club have been fenced and barricaded, the new paint on the marina office is dry and the majority of the skippers have their boats ready to go.

Come high noon on Monday, July 13, the waters of Oak Harbor and Penn Cove will be filled with colorful sails and speedy boats as crews take off for the first heat of this season’s race.

According to long-range forecasters, even the sometimes temperamental weather that Oak Harbor natives are used to is expected to cooperate.

Temperatures should be in the low to mid-60s every day under partly cloudy skies, with only a 20 percent chance of rain predicted on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

What could be more ideal?

Race Director Gary Stuntz said 94 boats have been registered for the event and Harbor Master Mack Funk added that 35 to 40 tender boats will also be out and about during the week.

The skippers’ meeting will be held at the Oak Harbor Yacht Club at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 12 to give everyone their final instructions.

There will be two races every day, Monday through Friday, and there are several good places for spectators to watch the boats as they make turns around the buoys with spinnakers furled.

One good spot is along Penn Cove Road and another is at the wharf in Coupeville. For folks who want to take a longer drive, Long Point south of Coupeville provides a good view and usually has fewer spectators.

Wind-powered racing is not the only event during the week.

The Oak Harbor Yacht Club will be serving post-race dinners every evening and on Thursday, July 16, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is hosting the only party open to the public.

In honor of Navy Appreciation Day, the public is invited to Crescent Harbor Adventures on the Seaplane Base for a get together.

The Marina Boathouse Deck party begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free.

A dinner of barbecued chicken and ribs is offered for $15 per person and beverages are available for purchase.

Entertainment begins at 9 p.m. and continues until midnight, and includes reggae music by Andy O.

The Tipsy Taxi will be available from 8 p.m.to 1 a.m., or until the party is over, for free and rides home from Deception Pass to Coupeville for all patrons.

For more information on the party, call the Chiefs’ Club at 257-2891.

The 27th annual Whidbey Island Race Week is shaping up to be another glorious event, and everyone is invited to come out and have a rollicking good time.

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