Windermere Cup Regatta crew racing will start the day at Montlake Cut. Look out for a bridge closure — and a boat parade.

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Opening Day of boating season, a first-Saturday-of-May Seattle tradition since 1920, celebrates spring with a festive boat parade Saturday, May 7, along the Montlake Cut. Warm, sunny weather is expected for a day of crew racing and a parade of decorated vessels of all types and sizes.

Windermere Cup Regatta crew racing starts the day, opening with a new event this year, The Battle of the Brave, Seattle Fire Department’s team Red vs. Seattle Police Department’s team Blue in a 1,000-meter race through the Montlake Cut.

Races by a variety of crew teams follow, featuring the UW Husky men’s and women’s teams taking on challengers from Russia, Cambridge University, Stanford University and the University of San Diego leading up to the Windermere Cup championship races.

Windermere Cup Regatta / Opening Day of Boating Season

Regatta: 10:20 a.m. Saturday, May 7, Montlake Cut, Seattle


Boat Parade: noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, Montlake Cut, Seattle


Immediately after the Regatta, a cannon blast signals the start of Seattle Yacht Club’s Opening Day Boat Parade. A Seattle Fire boat, King County Sheriff’s Office marine-unit boat and Husky band boats kick off the procession of hundreds of yachts, powerboats and sailboats decorated with “A Great Escape” theme, including guest yacht clubs from Canada and Seattle’s sister city of Kobe, Japan.

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Thousands of spectators line the shores along the Montlake Cut, the narrow canal that connects Portage Bay and Lake Washington, gathering early with blankets, lawn chairs and picnics for best viewing spots on the banks near the Montlake Bridge and any vantage point overlooking the area.

Along with other traffic considerations, the Montlake Bridge will be closed from approximately 9:20 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the festivities. Parking is available at nearby University of Washington lots E12 and S1.