MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of the biggest boat races in the country is in town for the next week and a half.
Sailboats started weighing-in Thursday at Lake Minnetonka for the Inland Yacht Association’s Championship Regatta.
It’s been around since the 1890s, but hasn’t been held here since 2001. And this year’s weigh-ins have bit of a Minnesota twist.
The boats — and boaters — are here from all over the country.
“We have approximately 200 boats that will be here over 10 days,” said Regatta co-chair Tony Jewett.
Christine Porter of East Troy, Wisconsin is racing in the event.
“This is kind of the biggest competition of the year,” she said. “This is what we all work up towards. You have a lot of experienced people here, and the fleet is really, really deep.”
For Minnesota, it’s a great chance to show off our fine lakes.
“We’re really looking forward to showing off what is, to us, the greatest lake in the country,” Jewett said.
But before these sleek scows are cleared to race, they have to be cleaned to race — with a power washer.
“That’s actually manded by the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District,” said Jewett, “so we don’t spread the zebra mussels and other invasive species.”
It’s a new twist for an old regatta that’s been rotating through the Midwest for more than 100 years. They’ll race around the lake in four different classes, in matching boats that range from 16 feet up to 38.
“The competition is level,” said boater Scott Baker of Houston, “so everyone has the same boat, same equipment. You know the results are due to yourself, not to equipment.”
The smallest boats have one or two person crews. The biggest boats have as many as seven. The Regatta starts Friday and runs through Sunday, Aug. 21.