The Jack Kelley 8+8 – Celebrating 35 Years

by | Aug 1, 2021 | Events, Racing, Signals | 0 comments

The 8 + 8 Cruising Rally was never meant to be the event it is today.  35 Years ago, the sailing club was struggling with a yearly cruising event where the destination was predetermined.  Unfortunately, it seemed no matter the year, and no matter the destination, the wind was always coming from the wrong direction.  So Jack Kelley approached the cruising chair at the time with a very simple, but very brilliant idea…”forget the destination, just sail the wind”.  And thus, the 8 + 8 was born!

Drone picture from the 2020 8+8 Cruising Rally

Fast forward to today, and we are preparing to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the 8+8 Cruising Rally.  It is amazing how the 8+8 has evolved over the years.  It has become more than a cruising event, more than a sailing event…it has become a celebration of life, and friends, and family, and good company.  Every year, we start the 8+8 with a memorial Parade of Boats down the channel where we take a moment to remember the people we have lost.  It’s a beautiful way to celebrate the loved members of our club that are no longer with us on earth, but always in our hearts.

Immediately following the Parade of Boats, we gather out on our big, beautiful lake and prepare for the 8+8.  “It’s not a race…it’s a rally!!!” as Jack was always famous for reminding everyone.  Yes, there is a starting line, and a starting signal, and a buoy to round…and yes, even a finish line.  But the idea behind the 8+8 is not to see the end and get there as fast as possible, the idea is to enjoy the journey.  The 8+8 is a chance to be on the water with good friends, good family, a glass of wine, and a beautiful breeze as you cruise through water.  I once commented to Jack that I think the luckiest people on the water during the 8+8 are the ones moving the slowest.

Nate Beighley & Jack Kelley Celebrate at the 2016 8+8 Potluck

Once the rally is over, all club members, whether you participated in the rally or not, are invited to join us for the 8+8 Potluck at the home of Betty Clark (more details coming soon).  Bring a dish to pass, and a bottle of wine (or as I prefer, I good bottle of Irish Whiskey), and come enjoy the company of friends and fellow sailers as we tell tall tales and not-so-good dad jokes.

Registration for the 8+8 is now open, and more information can be found here.  Information on start times, groups, memorial Parade of Boats and more will be sent to skippers as registrations are received.  To register and pay for the rally registration online, please click here.  If you would like to download the flyer, please click here.  Please note that for boats not already registered for racing in the 2021 season, proof of insurance for participating boat owners is required and can be sent to me (just take a picture and text it or email it to me).

We hope that you’ll be able to join us for this amazing Anniversary Event.  And as always…we look forward to seeing you on the water!  Sail well my friends…and enjoy the journey.


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