Race Week organizers are giving up on Point Roberts.
“It is not realistic that we can maintain social distancing mandates, nor even get to Point Roberts in 2021,” wrote event owner Schelleen Rathkopf in a September 13 email. “This reality has shed an unforeseen light on the venue, which I now see is one of the most sensitive cities in the U.S. during a global pandemic.”
After 37 years on Whidbey Island, Race Week was scheduled to make the move to Point Roberts in 2020, with a full week of sailboat racing and events including the Corsair Nationals and the International 6-Meter North American Championships. Canceled for 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions, Rathkopf had initially announced plans to move ahead with the event in Point Roberts in July 2021, but said they would now look for a new home for the popular event.
“My plan is to secure a new venue for Race Week, where we can race all day, and maintain social distance compliancy on our boats,” she said. “And when we hit the docks, we are in a venue that can absorb us, and where we can maintain this compliance. But as soon as these restrictions are no longer relevant, this new venue also has space for us to bring back our big post-race party. This process has started, and there are some great venues out there in the region where we can make this happen.”
The decision comes as a blow to the Point Roberts Marina Resort, which had paid $45,000 to host the 2020 event and had hopes to host it in 2021. “We were told that money was gone and we needed to put up another $45,000,” said acting marina manager Zihao Ding. Marina owners chose not to do so.
As the border closure approaches 200 days, management at Point Roberts Marina Resort are looking at heading into winter
with docks lined with orphaned boats.
“A lot of Canadian customers haven’t been to their boats since December,” said acting marina manager Zihao Ding. “I’m concerned about 400 boats that are lacking maintenance.”
Ding said security staff is always looking for signs that a boat might be in trouble and is willing to make welfare checks and send pictures to owners, “but we can’t just go on someone’s boat without permission.”
While the marina does not have a policy of refunding moorage, Ding said they are also working with Canadian tenants on the possibility of credits for next year’s moorage if they haven’t been able to use their slip due to the border closure.