What is Duck Dodge?
Throughout the summer, every Tuesday night, the sailing community of Lake Union gathers for their weekly sailboat race, "
Duck Dodge was founded by Ron Lloyd, Mike Rice, and Bruce Gilbert back in the 1970's. Originally titled, Tenas Chuck Duck Dodge - and then changed to Lake Union Beer Can Regatta, this epic tradition has lasted over 5 decades and has produced some incredible Tuesday evenings for Seattle and the Pacific Northwest at large.
The goal is simple, win the race and dodge the ducks! The Duck Dodge name comes from this principle in fact - racers must never make a Duck change its course.
If a racer does disturb a duck, they must complete a 720 degree spin and apologize to the duck before continuing on its journey.
The race is broken down into 4 heats.
7:10 - Cruising Boat/Slow Boats
Each week has a different theme. The first theme of the year is committee appreciation, but you can see wild themes like: toga, star wars, game of thrones, and Mardi Gras over the course of the summer.
The best boat for each theme from each heat gets "The Black Duck". It is the Black Ducks, along with the winners of each heat, that receive the grand prize of a sticker! But the real prize is the friends we make along the way, right?
The Race Course
Shortly before beginning, the race course will be displayed on the side of the race committee boat. The Duck dodge race starts just South of Gasworks Park, right by the committee boat. Racers immediately head to South Lake Union and then flip 180 degrees and navigate towards the I5 bridge. Just before the bridge, they again turn around, skirt around Gasworks Park to the Aurora Bridge and hit the homestretch of the race. Once they are directly underneath the bridge, it is a mad dash back to the committee boat!
Essentially, the race is a counterclockwise sprint around Lake Union, but remember - you must dodge the ducks!
There are 12 simple rules to this event!
Rule 1: Starboard Tack has Right of Way.
Rule 2: Rules of the road apply.
Rule 3: No hitting one-another (With or without boats).
Rule 4: Take all marks to PORT unless noted on Race Course.
Rule 5: No hitting one-another.
Rule 6: Bribing the committee is against the rules (while anybody is looking).
Rule 7: No hitting one-another.
Rule 8: There is no rule number 8 (This one is our favorite.)
Rule 9: No hitting one-another.
Rule 10: Follow all the rules
Rule 11: No hitting one-another
Rule 12: Never make a duck change its course (Dodge the Duck)
Here is how you can register:
Sail by the committee boat before the start. Tell them your boat name and sail number. Be sure they acknowledge you. That’s it! There are no customs unless you go really way off course.
The Raft Up
This is really what Duck Dodge is all about. At the end of the race, all of the participants gather together near Gasworks Park to continue the fun. Rafting is for the "party" at the end of the racing and is performed on either side of the committee boat.
This is where memories are made and friendships created. All boats who want to join in are welcome, although there are a few rules.
The raft-up breaks at 10:00 and a loud horn announces the end of the festivities. You can often see folks scrambling back to their boats and untying in a hurry after the horn sounds.
Want To Participate?
Send an email to email@example.com to get more information and learn how you can participate! Or, rent a Hot Tub Boat and get a front row view to the most epic sailboat race Lake Union has to offer!