Each week members of the Pacific Northwest Model Yacht Club toss boats they’ve worked on for months into lakes to race. On May 11, 2013, nine members met up at Lake Samish to catch some breeze in the sails of their T37s. The boats are 37 inches long, 5 feet tall from bottom of keel to top of mast, and weigh about 4 pounds.
Beyond racing, building the boat is a special part of the experience. Ron Knight, whose boat is named Seahorse, is making one with his grandson. Each man made his boat from a wooden kit created in Everson by Will Lesh at Tippecanoe Boats. They each have added their own personal touch my naming their boat or going as far to deck it out in UW Husky colors.
Lesh started building the kits seven years ago and has sold almost 2,000 so far. The community of model boat builders that own his particular design extends to 65 different countries.
As the men set up their boats and do last minute tweaking, Lesh starts a timer for them to start at a line in the lake. Chatter fills the air until the race starts, and all of them become silent, focusing on making tiny adjustments to the sails or rudder to catch the best line. Most of them have sailed life-size sailboats, but this hobby isn’t as risky, and they say it’s just as fun.