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History of CRISR

The first CRISR was raced in 1997 under it's original name, Northwest International Schooner Race.

Exerpted from the Seattle Times, May 3, 1998:

DAY ONE, BELLINGHAM Bay: A soft summer southerly swirls off Rosario Strait and fills the sails of our ships. The schooner Martha heels gently to leeward as her 96,000 pounds of hand-crafted hardwood, paint and varnish ease forward. The gentle tug on her helm suggests that this grand 90-year-old vessel is about to take wing, rise off Bellingham Bay and soar toward Neverland.

So begins the first-ever Northwest International Schooner Race, a five-day voyage from Bellingham Bay through the San Juans to Victoria, B.C., where the boats are to be featured at that city's annual Classic Boat Show. Pointing into that fresh breeze, the schooners Zodiac and Martha sail nearly rail-to-rail past Lummi Island to starboard, Vendovi to port. Between deck tasks, crew members cling to the railings, studying the seascape, awed by the spectacle of two sleek, double-masted sailing ships driven by an invisible force.

Today we are two. By week's end, we will be a small fleet of a half-dozen sailing schooners, gliding across space and time.

But for now Robert d'Arcy, master of the Martha, studies the set of his sails. Dissatisfied, he clambers forward, eyes flitting from main to foresail to jib and back again. We watch as he loosens one line a few inches, cranks in another. He nods his satisfaction and glances across 150 feet of whitecap-speckled saltwater to his friend Tim Mehrer, arms folded, rubber boots planted on the stern deck of the good ship Zodiac.

"This," d'Arcy shouts, "is our wind!"

Mehrer grins and shrugs. "Prove it!" he shouts back.

As schooners go, Zodiac is a monster - 160 feet from bowsprit to stern, nearly twice as long as Martha. She flies two and half times more sail area; her mainsail alone is 4,000 square feet, the size of a basketball court. In heavy winds - say 20 to 25 knots - she will make Martha look like a dingy. But in today's gentle 15 knots of August air, the vessels are virtually neck-and-neck.

The course takes us down Bellingham Channel, where we find ourselves in a tacking duel, zigzagging into the wind, sandwiched between Guemes and Cypress islands. At each zig or zag, we scramble from one task to the other, releasing starboard lines, tightening to port, then back again.

For the moment, Martha is sailing faster, but the bigger ship exploits her geometric advantage, closing the gap by sailing higher into the wind. d'Arcy fine-tunes the rigging, trying to keep his bow as close to the wind as he can without spilling wind from the mainsail.

As we emerge from the channel, the wind fades and Martha shoots ahead. Within sight of the Anacortes ferry dock, we declare victory and drop our sails, eagerly awaiting our opportunity to gloat. But Zodiac takes one last tack to the east, sails a half mile and sounds its horn. Via radio, Mehrer announces Martha has failed to cross the finish line.

Zodiac wins Day One. Martha raises a protest flag.

To keep reading, click here:

Since it's inception, the Captain Raynaud International Schooner Race has been a celebration of classic schooners, the people that sail them, and the maritime heritage of the Pacific Northwest. Originally conceived to commemorate the historical trade routes between Canada and the United States, the first "International Schooner Race" was the culmination of Whatcom Maritine Historical Society's "Wood and Water" event, and raced from Bellingham, Washington to the Classic Boat Festival in Victoria, British Columbia, raced in legs that stopped in various waterfront communities in the San Juan Islands. The rules were simple: Sailing vessels had to be "classic traditional schooner design" that complied with US Coast Guard safety requirements, with no sailing handicaps or class divisions used. It was declared that "Seamanship, tides, vessel design, and the WIND GOD" would determine the winner.

The name of the race was changed to CRISR, in memory of Captain Adrian Raynaud, for its second edition. The rules were expanded slightly: at that time, it was noted that vessels were not to hit other participating vessels, and, "the Race Committee has yet to decide if Barlovento [one of the participating schooners] can use it's spinnaker." The committee also specified, "Protests: These will be ignored, particularly if the cheating party was creative in how they won that particular leg." Clearly, CRISR has never taken itself too seriously.


(This site is still under construction - an expanded race history and results of previous years' races will be posted soon/in the fullness of time/maybe never.)


2023: Overall: Martha.

     Class Super A: 1) Zodiac.

     Class A: 1) Martha, 2) Sir Isaac.

     Class B: 1) Copernicus, 2) Mischief, 3) Santorina.

2022: 1) Red Jacket, 2) Alcyone, 3) Zodiac

2021: 1) Spike Africa, 2) Zodiac, 3) Glory of the Seas

The CRISR Perpetual Trophy, made by Dave Berg. A likeness of the schooner Martha in her 1907 original gaff rig and centerboard configuration.
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