Tacoma Pink Boat Regatta

Your Questions Answered

What Happens During The Pink Boat Regatta?

The Pink Boat Regatta is a timed, 3-hour sailboat race in which participants sail in a specific order around a pre-determined course which includes “buoys” as turning marks of the course. On race day, these are actual, physical permanent or temporary marks which act as an official part of the race course. The goal of the regatta is to make as many laps, or “round as many buoys,” as possible, during the 3-hour time period. The most buoys rounded, wins! It’s also a highly decorated event - literally. While competing to win, participants can also choose to compete for the “Pinkest Boat Award.” This encourages fun, visibility, and a clear message that we are coming together on the water for a cause and a cure. Get creative! Costumes, boat decorations, paint, props - anything goes, but please no balloons, our sea life is precious!

But how is this fair when some boats are faster than others?

Every boat has been assigned a “handicap rating” based on the individual design of the boat. In this rating system, faster boats will ‘owe’ time to slower boats in order for the race to be as fair as possible for all participants. For example, the Farr30 Nefarious has a rating of 54 while the J109 Tantivy has a rating of 69, a 14-second difference. This means for each nautical mile Nefarious sails against Tantivy, in order to win they’ll need to do it 14 seconds faster. If both boats were to cross the finish line at the exact same time, Tantivy would win the race because Nefarious would still “owe” Tantivy 14 seconds per mile. We apply this same rating to the number of buoys ‘rounded’ on race day, thus ensuring the race itself is fair and competitive.

Okay. So it’s a real sailboat race. How does it raise money for breast cancer research?

THIS is where the magic happens. We allow the “purchase” of buoys as soon as a participant is registered for the race. Every $100 donated towards a participating boat adds 1 ‘buoy,’ or point to that boat’s race results on race day. If I sign up for the race on April 23rd and just one person donates one buoy, or $100, per week to my boat, I’ll have raised $2000 and have ‘rounded’ 20 buoys before the race even starts on September 9th! If 49 other boats do the same, The Pink Boat Regatta will have raised $100,000 for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation before the race has even begun. Pretty amazing.


What if I’m just finding out about this event, and I want to participate, but it’s only a week away?

We want everyone to come out, sail, and have a great time regardless of how much money they’ve raised. That’s why in addition to the rest of our awards, we also included an “actual buoys rounded” award which goes to the top three finishers on race day based on sailing alone. We’re sailors. We’re competitive. We still need to be able to win at sailing alone.


What happens afterwards?

An awards party will follow at a location to be announced. Buoy ‘purchases’ and thus, the competition, will continue at the party until it’s time for the awards. This is a fun celebration featuring live music, no-host food, beer, wine, and an opportunity for winning crews to come up on stage and collect awards, meet fellow participants, tell stories, and help us make the last stride towards our 2020 donation just by showing up. So please come! This party is for you, sailors!