All A-bustle in Oysterville!

Aug 16, 2012 | 4 comments

This, without a doubt, is the busiest weekend of the year in Oysterville.  Not at Thanksgiving, not at Christmas, not on the Fourth of July is the town so full of friends and family as this weekend in August.

It’s the weekend of the Oysterville Regatta.  It isn’t a public event or a festival or anything like that.  It is a private affair, organized each year by the descendants of early oysterman Meinert Wachsmuth.  Many of the townsfolk participate in the event and we are all invited to the banquet following.  It’s a weekend we look forward to all year long.

It was on Regatta weekend two years ago that my second-cousin-once-removed, Anna Hook, married Rob Spooner down by the bay in front of the Red House.  As they said their vows, the sailboats provided a stunning backdrop, though I must say those in attendance were probably not giving the regatta much thought.   On this anniversary weekend, the Red House is again full with a Hook Family Reunion, of sorts. No doubt they will be paying more attention to the race this time around.

Sailors from at least five households in Oysterville participate in the regatta these days.  They sail Laser Class Sailboats – a far cry from the oyster plungers used in the nineteenth century races.  In those days, the Regatta was sponsored by The Oysterville Yacht Club and people came from as far away from Portland to watch the races and attend the ball which followed.

Wallace Stuart was recognized as the best sailor in the early regattas and the current-day trophy — designed by Tucker Wachsmuth and given to the winner — is named after him.  (Stuart was the brother of Adelaide Stuart Taylor, after whom Adelaide’s Café and Bookstore in Ocean Park is named.)

As much as we are looking forward to the regatta festivities, we are worried about the weather.  Neighbor Les Driscoll is predicting showers plus thunder and lightning on the weekend.  As far as I know, the Oysterville Regatta has never been called off because of weather.  We have our fingers crossed.


  1. Nada Harrison-Moore

    I love your historical articles. I have been a fan since you taught my Amy. Keep it up!

  2. Stephanie Frieze

    I think the weather will be fair if we are to believe KING5. And at least it will not be as hot as Portland or Seattle. Have a grand time!

  3. Sally Robert

    Hi Sydney,
    I was happy to meet you at Bailey’s last month. I wonder if you could tell me the name of the sailboat or plunger in which Peter Wallace Stuart won so many Oysterville Regattas. I was interested to learn that the current trophy is named after him. Thanks for keeping Oysterville history alive! Aloha nui, Sally (cell 254-8131)

    • sydney

      Good to hear from you, Sally! In an article he wrote in 1905 and reproduced in a 1966 Sou’wester, Wallace Stuart (who was at that time spelling his name Stewart) wrote: “…the writer will always consider the DAUNTLESS the fastest sloop that was ever built in the bay.” It was built by Louderback of South Bend, but whether or not it is the one that Stewart raced is unclear. If I learn more, I’ll let you know!


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