The History of the Busted Buzzard Race

The Woods Bay Sailing Race. A speech by Barb Sargeant delivered summer 2021 at Kilgour’s pre-race party.

Once upon a time, the Sargeants had a cottage on island B71. One of its many boats was a tiny pram, which barely moved at all. However, we really liked sailing and we took it out occasionally. I had learned to sail at camp through dint of lying about my talent. When the sailing counselor asked for sailors to captain the sailboats in their races, I had crewed a couple of times, and thought it can’t be hard to captain, and so I got a boat and out I went with some success. Given my success, I assumed what was good for me would be good for my daughter, and so, when she was about seven, I stuck her in the pram and sent her off. To be fair, it was a very calm day and she only got about 10 feet off the dock but apparently it caused her a huge trauma and all her problems in life can be attributed to this experience.

The race is on…on a less windy day

As far as I can remember, there weren’t any other boats on the Bay at that time. There must have been but I don’t remember them. One of our regular visitors, Jim Dunn, thought he wanted something more exciting than the pram and he bought a laser. When we moved over to our present island the laser came over with us and we had it here for several years.

We also acquired a fleet of windsurfers and did a lot of windsurfing. When Jim moved to his own island, he took his laser with him. Fortunately, our daughter, Cindy, stepped up and bought a Hobicat for the island. The Zuks, who bought our old island, had a sailboat with a motor so now we had four sailboats (including the pram) on the Bay. Eventually, Cadi, one of Heather’s friends, built up here and her husband, Urs, like sailing so much he bought a Hobi with a spinnaker. So, now there were 5 boats —all completely different. Race possibilities existed but we had no idea how to run a race with this kind of flotilla.

At some point, we began to notice that there were beginning be other sailboats around the Bay. We didn’t know the people that owned them -they belonged to the “newcomers on the Bay.” Could we meet these people? Fortunately, at some cocktail party or other we met Colin. I do remember him telling me he was the world’s best sailor and he certainly could beat me. I was very intimidated. I knew Urs really wanted to race. I must have suggested that there be a race.

The first race was a total disaster. On the day of the race, there was a veritable typhoon. There may have been 6 boats who were going to race.

Of the six only 3 made it across the starting line – they were dumping left and right. I don’t think anyone finished. At that time, the course was set to go in front of the Zuks and to get there you had to do a flying Jybe and the wind wiped out everyone who had even made it that far. I do not believe a prize was awarded and that was a good thing, as I don’t think I had brought up yet. That winter I did look through all my old cups and found a few that would do if necessary. Since they were all sports specific the best one of the lot was a Busted Buzzard.

I thought the first year would be the end of racing. However, the next year, Colin phoned and said we should try again. He, it turned out, had friends who would race and he could handicap the race so that all boats and windsurfers could have a chance.

So the next year he took over and we began to have real races. There were still some problems like the Admiral getting the number of horns for the start right etc., like making enough noise so the sailors will know when to start, but we are slowly working these little hiccups out. There is no point in protesting-this race is the only show in town. There was an actual winner, which I believe was Colin. We awarded the Busted Buzzard Cup. In the spirit of all games that the younger generations play in, we also awarded many participation medals. Since they are all so small there is no room for the names of trophy winners but Colin keeps records from year to year. One day we will get a real cup and put the old winners on. Because we have Colin to handicap even a bathtub with a sail is competitive, we usually have, to wait 45 minutes after everyone has finished for the bathtub to cross the finish line and with the handicap, it can come in 4th.

Please come out and sail with us. If you can’t sail, please come over and join us on the dock to drink and socialize and cheer the troops on.

This is a great time and place to have fun on the Bay.

And whatever you do, stop praying for rain!