While others rely on groundhogs to tell when winter mercifully ends, Seattle boaters know that summer is finally here when a sailboat apologizes to a duck. Every Tuesday Seattle sailers decorate their sailboats and dress in costumes according to a weekly theme. Racers head to Lake Union to compete for a coveted duck-shaped decal. The goal: bragging rights and a lot of fun.
Duck Dodge is as much a party as it is a race. It’s an annual Seattle tradition with more than four decades of history. The rules for the racers are simple: “Never make a duck change its course” and “No hitting each other”.
The Race Committee, all passionate volunteers, organize the event. They run 4 starts for “Fast Boats”, “Half-fast Boats”, “Slow Cruising Boats”, and “Dinghy (small) Boats”. The racers zigzag around marks on Lake Union vying for Gold, Silver, or Bronze Duck award decals. Those who win affix the trophy decals on their sailboat mast or boom for some serious sea cred. The race is a spectacle that’s a blast to both see and be a part of.
Following the race, boats gather and tie up alongside each other to enjoy the company, greet newcomers, and relax under summer evening sunshine.
More than anything else, Duck Dodge is a fun, welcoming, and close-knit community of local boat nuts. Every week they leave their stress at the docks and celebrate beautiful Seattle summer evenings with friends and fellow boaters.
Duck Dodge runs May through September, with a Tuesday always just around the corner… So, get in your boat, out on Lake Union and remember to respect the ducks!
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