Photo by Shane Harms
Kari Ingalls and Janet St. Clair, pictured on their boat the "Quack! Quack!", didn't skimp out on the pink

Sail boats get decked out in pink for Pink Boat Regatta, breast cancer

At noon on Sunday, Sept. 9 the Pink Boat Regatta was underway with 45 boats brandishing their brightest pink. Conditions were almost too good with the sun emerging sporadically from overcast skies and wind speeds gusting up to twenty-five knots.

Some boats had to “reef the main sail,” a term used to describe when a crew lowers the sail partway to minimize it’s size as wind speed increases. A “reefed” sail prevents too much heeling of the boat and reduces the risk of capsizing.

The regatta was a four mark course called a “windward leeward” course, meaning it was like a running track going upwind the wind and directly downwind with buoys for markers. The race consisted of a fixed three hour time period where boats gained points for rounding designated markers. The more buoys rounded the more points gained. Teams could also gain points through donations from spectators and crewmembers. Some boats had accumulated twenty to thirty buoys before they even started the race, with each buoy costing one hundred dollars. Donations were received online and at the Coranthian Yacht Club during the race.

In the end Tantivy, skippered by Stuart Burnell, was awarded most points earned (buoys plus notations); Flash, skippered by Steve Travis, had the most buoys rounded; and Life is Good, skippered by Ramona Barber won most overall buoys rounded by a crew with a female skipper.

Other prizes awarded were for “Pinkest boat,” won by Here&Now, skippered by Pat Denney; the “haul out contest,” won by Delirium, skippered by Phil Bylsma; and club trophy going to the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club surpassing the Corinthian Yacht Club, 433.35 to 154.8.

“It could not have gone any better. There were over forty-five boats out there and we are expecting close to three hundred people and we have already made it to thirty thousand,” said Ashley Bell during the race. Bell, an STYC member, acted as lead co-coordinator for the event.

According to, the Seattle Pink Regatta was the most successful yet, raising thirty six thousand dollars for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Tom Watson, founder of Pink Boat INC. sailed the original pink boat, Darwind, all the way from Hawaii to attend the event.

“I’m delighted with the support here in Seattle. One boat dyed their sails pink and another taped their entire hull pink, it was fantastic. It shows people are really getting behind the event and the cause,” said Watson.

Watson Founded Pink Boat, INC. in order to raise one million dollars for breast cancer research. In conjunction with two more Pink Boat Regattas (occurring later this year in San Franscisco and San Diego), Watson plans on sailing around the world, leaving San Francisco in October of 2013, heading southwest toward the Galapagos Islands.

The trip is expected to take around ten months and will span twenty-five thousand miles. If the voyage is completed, Darwind, a 28.5 foot Pearson Triton sailboat, would be the smallest displacement boat to make the voyage and would be a world record.

“The Pink Boat has taken over my entire life. When I first started I didn’t know much about breast cancer research and fundraising, but I’ve learned a lot since the start,” said Watson.

Watson said he is already making arrangements for the long excursion. “I’m scared to death of it, but planning helps. I will take one year of provisions with me at the start, mainly a lot of dehydrated stuff like Mountain house and Back Packers pantry ... the computer and satellite phone will keep me connected and helps a lot –- keeps me sane ... I was surprised at how many people followed me on the blog that means this whole Pink Boat idea is working and making a difference,” Watson said.

Before he founded the organization Watson was working as a software engineer in San Francisco. Watson explained he started Pink Boat because he had relatives that suffered from breast cancer but he also just wanted to help people.

“I went with the color pink because what better way for everyone to recognize what I’m doing ... I’m just trying to make an impact -- raising money for breast cancer is just the first thing, imagine what we could do next.”

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