Caylin Cordray Wins the Oyster Cup!

Readying for the 2013 Regatta

2013 Regatta – Getting Set

Caylin Cordray made Oysterville history yesterday!  She became the first-ever woman to come in first in the Oysterville Regatta and to take home the coveted Oyster Cup!  And don’t you know, when Tucker made the trophy presentation (and the crowd went wild!) my camera went blank and flashed a “change battery pack” message.  So, while the apocryphal flashbulbs popped, I fumed.

But… there’s even more to Caylin’s history-making story.  She learned to sail here in Oysterville, loved it, and went back to the University of Washington and joined the sailing team.  I don’t know if it was her step-mother Lina who first got her out on our bay or Lina’s father, Tucker Wachsmuth who organizes and promotes the Oysterville Regatta these days.  But no matter who can take credit for that initial introduction, we are all mighty proud of her.

Among the ten participants, there were three women who participated in the 19th (Modern Day) Annual Oysterville Regatta, yesterday – Caylin, Lina, and Betsy Nordquist who flew in from California for the event.  Another first, as far as I know.  All of them are ‘young’ – at least by my standards – and fulfill Tucker’s wish that the next generation(s) get involved.

Annual Regatta, c. 1880s

Annual Oysterville Regatta c. 1880s

I think Tucker is hopeful that this time the Oysterville Regatta will carry on, unlike the original races of the 20th century.  Those began in the 1870s when the races were held by the oystermen of the area.  They raced their working boats, the plungers, which were a common sight on (then) Shoalwater Bay in the days of oystering by sail and oar.  But, you can be sure, there wasn’t a woman sailor among them.  I wonder what they would think about Caylin’s win.

The other regatta news of note is that Commissioner Frank Wolfe entered the event yesterday for the first time ever and came in fourth, qualifying him to take home the Blue Heron Trophy.  That honor goes to the entrant who accumulates the most points but who has never won the Oyster Cup.  Way to go Frank!  (I hasten to add here that Frank is an experienced sailor from years gone by on San Francisco Bay, but yesterday he sailed in a boat borrowed from Tucker and without benefit of any practice.  Probably not a big deal to sailors, but I thought it impressive.)

The day ended with a banquet (Yes!  A banquet!) in Lina’s front garden catered entirely by Lina-when-she-wasn’t-sailing and her mom Carol-when-she-wasn’t-spectating-hostessing-and-grandmothering.  There were kabobs – shrimp, beef, or chicken – Caprese salad on a stick, every trimming and side dish imaginable and a chocolate cake to die for.  Gathered together were friends and neighbors and relatives, from seniors nearing their eightieth year to toddlers less than two.

The evening was mild – just right for sitting and visiting with folks we sometimes only see at regattas.  There was a bonfire and there was music when, at Tucker’s request, his long-time friend Steve broke out his accordion after the awards ceremony.  As our houseguests (who were gathered into the fold with typical Wachsmuth hospitality) said afterwards, “It was a slice of Americana – the way Norman Rockwell told us Americana is supposed to be.”  Glory be to that!

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