Official Opening Day of Boating Season on Lake Union this Weekend

The historic Virginia V was laden with guests as it sailed through the Montlake Cut as part of the Parade of Boats last year. The 2012 Seattle Yacht Club Opening Day of Boating Season is Saturday.

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ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The historic Virginia V was laden with guests as it sailed through the Montlake Cut as part of the Parade of Boats last year. The 2012 Seattle Yacht Club Opening Day of Boating Season is Saturday

Crew races, dragon boats and one of the world’s largest boat parades celebrate the arrival of spring and summer boating season at Seattle Yacht Club’s Opening Day celebration Saturday.

Thousands of spectators in boats along the log boom and on the shores along the Montlake Cut turn out for the event, a local tradition that traces its history back to a boat parade along Seattle’s waterfront in 1895. It’s now in its 92nd year along the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Dragon-boat races start the day for spectators, followed by the annual Windermere Cup crew races, this year featuring teams from the University of Washington, Gonzaga University, Oregon State University, Loyola Marymount and other Northwest university teams. Foreign visitors include rowers of the Argentina National Team and the University of Otago, in New Zealand.

The boat parade starts at noon from the Seattle Yacht Club with about 250 boats of all sizes and vintages, ending with the Chief Seattle fireboat with all hoses spraying. Many boats will be decorated according to this year’s theme, “Porthole to Paradise,” encouraging all to imagine cruising to wherever their personal paradise may be.

For shoreside spectators, viewing is on the banks of Montlake Cut near the Montlake Bridge and any vantage point overlooking the area. Early arrival is recommended for parking, suggested in University of Washington lots along Montlake Boulevard. The Montlake Bridge is closed to vehicular traffic from before noon until approximately 4 p.m. Saturday.

Time: Dragon-boat race, 10:05 a.m.; crew races, 10:20 a.m.; boat parade, noon Saturday.

Location: From Seattle Yacht Club through the Montlake Cut and under the Montlake Bridge, Seattle.

More information: www.seattleyachtclub.org.

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