Oak Harbor man sails away with championship

Tim Houck holds the trophy he won for capturing the national title in Megabyte racing last weekend in Seattle. - Kevin Endejan
Tim Houck holds the trophy he won for capturing the national title in Megabyte racing last weekend in Seattle.
— image credit: Kevin Endejan

Oak Harbor can now lay claim to having a national champion of its own.

Last weekend 45-year-old Ted Houck won the inaugural 2002 National Megabyte (sail boat) Championship at Shilshole Bay in Seattle.

“We ended up having a really good time,” Houck said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Houck was one of seven competitors who competed for the national title over a two-day period. Out of six races Houck maneuvered his 14-foot, single man, single handed sailboat to the highest finish among his competitors.

“I was hoping to possibly win, I certainly thought I had the capability to win,” a modest Houck said. “Any of a group of four guys could have won. We have had some pretty tight races and competition.”

Almost everyone competing in the event was from Washington except for one racer who came from Calgary, Alberta, B.C.

Houck felt the poor weather that plagued the Northwest in the weeks before and the youth of Megabyte sailing may have been responsible for the small turnout.

A Megabyte is a fairly new design of sailboat that has only been around for two years. After its creation in 2000 by designer Bruce Farr, it was named “boat of the year.” Farr is better known for designing larger ships, like the Farr 40.

Due to the small size of the vessel it’s necessary that its occupant be heavy enough to handle the boat.

“Weight has a lot to do with how well you do,” Houck said. “It’s designed for guys who are over two hundred pounds.”

Houck has sailed since the age of eight when he grew up near the coast of Delaware and loves every minute of it.

“I like being out in the water and feeling the wind and the spray hit my face,” Houck said. “When the waves are big enough you can surf right down them.”

When he’s not flying commercially for United Airlines, or spending time with his family, Houck competes in four to five events annually with his Megabyte.

He’s is not sure if he will defend his national title next year because the event will be held on the East Coast. However, he does plan on competiting in the Canadian Championship to be held in Vancouver during June and the North American Championships in Seattle next September.

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