Arts & Entertainment Community Sports

2023 LeMans race was short but sweet thanks to thick fog, still conditions

Posted on November 20th, 2023 By: Chapin Day

A fog-shrouded start and winds that varied from light to nary a breath foreshortened Saturday’s annual Le Mans Yacht race, but not before the nearly two dozen yachts provided a dazzling display of sails and seamanship for spectators ashore.

Onlookers who tried to watch the start from Gig Harbor’s north end saw nothing but a wall of fog as the 10 a.m. start horns blared. A short while later, further south along the harbor, a reluctant sun burned off enough overcast to illuminate the vibrant bouquet of spinnakers and other sails filled by a faint following breeze.

Gary Cousins of the Gig Harbor Yacht Club sounds a horn to launch the LeMans race. Photo by Chapin Day.

The colorful procession flowed through the harbor entrance and on toward the glassy waters of Colvos Passage to a hastily devised finish line north of Camp Sealth on Vashon Island, effectively shortening the originally planned roundtrip course from 10 miles to just five.

Sailboats compete in the 2023 LeMans race in Gig Harbor Bay. Photo by Chapin Day.

The race, sponsored by the Gig Harbor Yacht Club, has been a tradition for more than 50 years. Race skipper, club member and race organizer Jaime Storkman summed up the event after motoring back to his yacht’s Gig Harbor slip.  Despite the flukey conditions, he said: “We had a good day, a very good day.”

Click on any photo below to see a gallery of images from the race on Saturday, Nov. 18.