Crew members of the Wild Thing hang over the side of their boat during the Port Angeles Yacht Club’s “beer can” races in the Port Angeles Harbor on Friday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Crew members of the Wild Thing hang over the side of their boat during the Port Angeles Yacht Club’s “beer can” races in the Port Angeles Harbor on Friday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Yacht Club brings back ‘beer can’ races’ in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Yacht Club’s members are once again enjoying weekly low-pressure sailboat races now that the club has resurrected its “beer can” races in the Port Angeles Harbor.

This is the first summer in several years that the Port Angeles Yacht Club, which has a long history of sailboat racing, has offered the races and members are looking for some more competition.

“What this is is just people having fun,” said Bill Roberds, a member of the Port Angeles Yacht Club.

“We get some boats together and it’s an opportunity to get out on the water and practice your skills. This is where you really learn to sail.”

On Friday half a dozen crews participated in the races, with two of the faster boats taking a longer route.

Two sailboats participating in the Port Angeles Yacht Club’s “beer can” races compete in the Port Angeles Harbor on Friday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Two sailboats participating in the Port Angeles Yacht Club’s “beer can” races compete in the Port Angeles Harbor on Friday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Most boats raced from the Yacht Club to a Coast Guard buoy in the harbor before heading around an oil tanker and returning back to the Yacht Club. The two faster sailboats raced to the Rayonier property east of Hollywood Beach.

Roberds said when the club held the races in the past it would get a dozen or more racers, something he would like to see happen again.

Roberds said he often looks out at the marina and sees many boats that are rarely used, he said.

“We’re trying to get a lot of these people who have these boat to come on down, we’ll help you get a crew together, and we’ll go out and play,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what size boat you have, a big cruising boat or a race boat, it doesn’t matter. We’re just here to have fun.”

Jared Tait, left, and Keith Dahlin sail in the Port Angeles Yacht Club’s “beer can” race Friday in Port Angeles Harbor. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Jared Tait, left, and Keith Dahlin sail in the Port Angeles Yacht Club’s “beer can” race Friday in Port Angeles Harbor. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

The races operate under a handicap so that everyone has a chance of winning, he said. Some boats can finish the course in about an hour and a half while others can take three hours.

“It gives the slower, bigger boats more time,” he said. “There’s a rating system where they have a chance of winning.”

Others at the club said anyone who is interested in sailing is welcome to join in on the races and that — for those who know what they are doing — there is a club boat that is available.

The Port Angeles Yacht Club, 1305 Marine Drive, opens its doors at 5 p.m. each Friday before people head out onto the water.

Though the races are called “beer can” races, there’s no alcohol involved while they’re on the water, Roberds said. The name refers to how laid-back the races are and pays homage to when sailors would drink beer while racing.

“In the old days they would race around and drink beer,” he said. “That pretty much sums it up.”

He said sailboat races in many cases can be intense and serious. The races at the Port Angeles Yacht are anything but serious, he said.

When racers return to land by about 7 p.m., they enjoy hotdogs and some drinks.

For more information about the races, stop by the Yacht Club at 5 p.m. Fridays this summer or message the Port Angeles Yacht Club on Facebook.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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