Wind, Sun and Fun at the Blanchard Regatta
by Dick Wagner
The Blanchard Boat Company was on top of the heap of fabulous Northwest boatbuilders in the golden years of the 1920s. In the early 1990s, The Center for Wooden Boats began a fall regatta, hoping to encourage Blanchard owners to bring out their Blanchard Seniors,
Blanchard Juniors, Flatties, Stars and others for an archaic wooden boat rally. Early in its history, we named the event for the late Norm Blanchard and the shop on Lake Union he and his dad ran.
This year, the last week of September was as good as it gets for the Blanchard Regatta: nice sun and nice wind. The big boats and the small boats ran separate courses. The gaff sloops Amie and Apache, two Dragons, six Juniors and one Senior were among the boats on the big course. The small boats included about 10 El Toros, two Lightnings and a home-built catboat.
As has been the practice in recent years, CWB did not discriminate against boats made of non-cellulose materials. For the “Classic Plastic” class, we once again invited the San Juan 21s. Eight boats arrived and happily sailed their own course. The San Juan boats were designed and built in Seattle and were some of the first fiberglass boats built in the Northwest.
Norm Blanchard would have approved this gathering and its remembrance of Blanchard-built boats.