Oak Harbor hosts San Juan 24 championships / Sailing

The 2018 San Juan 24 North American Championship, hosted by the Oak Harbor Yacht Club since 2011, returns to the waters off Whidbey Island this weekend.

Races begin at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 14 and 15, and finish around 5 p.m.

The boats will race in the areas of Penn Cove and Saratoga Passage, depending on wind direction.

Three local boats will be among the 15 vying for the North American title. Renaissance, piloted by Dave Steckman, is back after placing fourth in 2016 and 2017. Separator, skippered by Steve Hucke, and Toto, skippered by Allan Wilson, will compete in the championship regatta for the first time.

Last year’s winner, Ekono Juan, guided by three-time champion Ryan Forbes of Orcas Island, will attempt to defend its crown.

The field will also include boats from Seattle and Bellingham.

The San Juan 24, built by the Clark Boat Company in Kent beginning in 1972, was popular in the 1970s and ‘80s.

A large concentration of the boats still exists in Puget Sound.

Prior to settling in Oak Harbor, the national championship was held in the Great Lakes and all along the West Coast.