It's officially boating season in Seattle.
Crowds packed both sides of the Montlake Cut on Saturday to watch the 31st annual Windermere Cup Regatta and enjoy the Seattle Yacht Club's annual Opening Day Boat Parade. Both marked the opening of boating season in Seattle.
The Windermere Cup, sponsored by Windermere Realty, featured 21 crew races with over 1,000 participants aged 14 to 70. It is considered one of the most prestigious regattas, or boat races, in the world.
Teams from all over the U.S. and the globe competed for spots in the lineup. This year, the men and women's High-Performance Rowing teams from Shanghai, China, earned the coveted finalist positions in the Windermere Cup, which is the last race of the day.
Both teams faced the UW Huskies in the final cup, with two crews from the UW competing in the women's race and one in the men's. The race involves rowing 2,000 meters through Lake Washington into the Montlake Cut.
It proved a tight competition at first, but the Huskies ultimately emerged victorious in both races, with the women finishing at 6:07:030 and the men at 5:27:480. The Chinese team trailed behind by 30 and 27 seconds, respectively, in each race.
Both the UW men and women's teams have won the Cup all but eight times in the past 31 years. The UW also swept the other nine collegiate races of the day.
Immediately following the end of the Windermere Cup, a cannon blast indicated it was time to raise the Montlake Bridge and start the real party of the day, the Seattle Yacht Club's Opening Day Boat Parade.
More than 300 boats in 23 classes sailed through the Cut, some decorated with official flags and banners, and others with that according to this year's theme, "The Emerald City Aahs." The latter usually involved some mix of classic Seattle scenery and images from the famous "Wizard of Oz" film.
With all the excitement and fanfare involved, the day proved a successful one for athletes, sailors, and spectators alike. The Huskies will compete next on May 13 in Rancho Cordova, Calif. at the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships. And as for the boaters, we'll see you out on the water!
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