Lake Sakakawea Sailboat Racing & Regattas

The  2015 Fort Stevenson Regatta has been rescheduled due to the miserable weather. The date is this weekend, August 29th. Skippers meeting, 9 a.m., Race start at noon.

The third annual Fort Stevenson Regatta will take place Saturday, August 22nd, 2015.

  • 9:00 a.m.  — Skippers Meeting, DeTrobian Marina
  • 12:00 p.m. – Race start

Please enter your boat using the registration form below.

Thanks to Stephen Holmes of Garrison for donating the trophy.


I’ve been pretty lax about updating the website, but for all who stumble through here, the 2014 Fort Stevenson Regatta is still happening.  Here’s the tentative details.

Social & Rules Refresher: Friday, August 22, 7:00 pm:  De Trobian Marina

Skippers Meeting: Saturday, August 23, 9:00 am: De Trobian Marina

Race Start:  Saturday, August 23, Noon, Mouth of De Trobian Bay

Garrison Beach Party:  Saturday Night, De Trobian Marina


Race Format and Important Details…

We’ll once again be looking at a two-race series with a course length somewhere close to 8-10 miles. It will be a timed race with finishes adjusted by PHRF handicaps.  We expect there to be some transient space available in both the De Trobian and Garrison Bay Marinas, but it will not be gratis this year.  Those who want to stay in the park should make arrangements through the Fort Stevenson office – (701) 337-5576.

The Garrison Beach Party…

It will once again be the Saturday entertainment for those who stick around. Tickets and food will be extra,  I will try to have a few bracelets available for sale on the docks for those interested.

Kite Sailors Welcome…

We’ve had couple Kite Sailors reach out and express interest in joining our little event, and all we can say is awsome!  The more the merrier.  We’ll be working with some of the Kite Sailors in the in the coming weeks to create a race event or exhibition area in conjunction with the regatta.  If you’re interested, sign up through the Enter the Regatta link and we’ll make sure your contact info gets filtered to the right folks.

If you want a bit more information on the Kite Sailing scene in ND, check out this blog:

Get in the Regatta Here!

Check out some of the pictures taken…

Taken by Kasha Diehl aboard the Oriental Musician.

The Fort Stevenson Regatta became a battle of attrition Saturday with the hot weather and light (if any) wind conditions forcing most sailors to (wisely) abandon the race in favor of soaking in the lake or moving more quickly under power towards air conditioning.

After a delayed start due to a passing thunderstorm, the fleet of 20 boats got underway with a comfortable 10 mph West wind, but on rounding the 1st mark at Prairie Dog Island, the wind all but evaporated. Midway through the second leg it was decided that all boats that had yet to abandon the race would have their time recorded at the second mark, thus cutting the race short one leg.

Here are the official, yet informal results.

  1. Sovereign, Captain Mike Quinn — 2:02.00
    • 1a.   Tornado Cat, Captain Bruce Smith — Time Unknown, but past the second mark when the race was shortened.
  2. Czechmate II, Captain Dan Vondrachek —  2:45.02
  3. Oriental Musician, Captain Dennis Wolsky — 2:54.00
  4. Cal 27, Captain Warren Graves — 2:57.07
  5. Serious Relaxation, Captain Tom Lynch — 3:03.34
  6. Chaud Rouge, Captain Curt Kumpf —  3:04.20
  7. Hunter 260, Captain Curtis Smith —   4:17.55

A good time seemed to be had by all, and there seems to be much enthusiasm among the group to make this an annual if not more often event.  We look forward to seeing everyone on the water next year!

If you’re participating in the Regatta and have crew and friends that will be around Saturday after the race who plan on heading over to the Beach Party for food and music, we can pre-order our bracelets so they are available at the Friday night clinic or the Captains meeting Saturday morning.

Price is $10, and that gets you access to the party and music, food will be available at an extra charge from various vendors.  Please use comments below to give us an estimate on how many bracelets we need to have available.

So if you’re not sure what PHRF racing means, here’s the simple explanation.  Some boats are faster than others are, some are better equipped.  PHRF is a system intended to make sailboat racing among many different types of boats a competition of skill and tactics, rather than one of boat type and equipment.  It’s not perfect, but it’s what we have.

Here’s how it works with an example using two boats, one named FasterBoat and the other named SlowerBoat.

FasterBoat’s PHRF Handicap: 120

SlowerBoat’s PHRF Handicap: 180

Theoretically, if FasterBoat were to match race SlowerBoat in a 1 mile race, FasterBoat should finish the race 60 seconds in front of SlowerBoat (The difference between their handicaps, 180-120=60).  So, if FasterBoat finishes only 50 seconds in front of SlowerBoat, SlowerBoat actually wins the race by 10 seconds because of the PHRF Handicap adjustment.  And, if FasterBoat finishes the race 70 seconds in front of SlowerBoat, it wins the race by a 10 second margin.

Lots of Boats and Many Miles… How it works.

All it requires is a little extra math, and having someone time the overall time to compete the race for each boat.  If the race is 10 miles long, the handicap is applied over a multiplier of 10.  In the example above over a 10 mile race, FasterBoat would need to beat SlowerBoat by 600 seconds or 10 Minutes (60 second per mile handicap difference multiplied by course length of 10 miles)

When we’re dealing with multiple boats, we simply take the actual race time and subtract the PHRF Handicap adjusted for the course length.  When everyone’s finished, we have an adjusted time for each boat that determines the winner of the race.

All Boats are Welcome…

There has been a few questions about being able to race if your boat does not have a PHRF rating… the answer is always, please come out and race anyway.  If you’re boat is close, we’ll figure out a handicap for you, if your boat is small and fast, or small and slow there’s still a course and a community of like minded folks who will enjoy your company.  We hope to see you Saturday!


For those who are able to come over Friday night or are already there, we’ll be holding a race clinic that will go over some of the rules, tactics and any other questions that folks might have.  Members of the Race Committee who are able to attend will be involved as well as (hopefully) Bruce Smith, a former Sakakawea sailor, and Minneapolis resident with a lot (understatement)  of race, sailing, and general boat experience.

Tentative time for the Friday event will be 7:30 pm  at the DeTrobiand Marina gathering hall… coolers are welcome!

Just because your boat isn’t on the list, doesn’t mean we don’t want you.  When it comes to finding your boat a handicap… we’ll figure something out.


There’s a bit more to racing than this, but knowing the difference between a starboard and port tack is definitely the place to start.  And there’s no sense in trying to explain it when a picture is way more instructive.

(click the image for the full view)

Overnight Slip Rentals…

Chad Trautman, Park Manager of Fort Stevenson has some transient slip rentals available for the weekend.  Space is limited, so we recommend getting in touch with him quickly if you’re interested in having a sheltered place to stay close the race headquarters!

Fort Stevenson State Park: (701) 337-5576

The Garrison Beach Party…

This years regatta is being thrown together on the fly… and that means as little planning as possible, especially for the extra-curricular activities. The Garrison Beach party is a great compliment to our event because it takes a lot of the hassle out of food and entertainment.  If you hang around Saturday night, here’s what you can expect.

The Beach Party Details…

Events take place all day Saturday and include:

  • Carnival Style Entertainment, Concessions, & Music.
  • The event does require a ticket, we’ll be getting exact details on the pricing, but expect about $10 per person for entrance, food and other activities may be extra.
  • The main events take place on the East side of Fort Stevenson, a short walk from the DeTrobiand Marina.

The first sailboat regatta on Lake Sakakawea in over 10 years will be held August 24, 2013.  Headquarters for the race weekend will operate out of the De Trobiand Marina at Fort Stevenson State Park.  We will be using this website to make announcements, register boats, and update everyone on the weekends events.

Enter Your Boat Here!

We will use a PHRF race format to equalize the fleet as much as possible; the race tone and feel will have a fun-first focus with the goal of bringing the sailing community together for a weekend and seeing where it leads.