Sketched June 25, 2019

You may have seen Lake Union fill up with sailboats every Tuesday evening during the summers. 

The gathering isn’t random. Since 1974, the Duck Dodge sailboat races have brought together boating enthusiasts who challenge each other to a friendly competition while enjoying a good time on the water. Once billed as the ultimate “beer can regatta,” Duck Dodge has the reputation of a sailing block party.

On a recent June-gloomy evening, the vantage point from which I observed the classic summertime event couldn’t be any better. No, I was not aboard one of those sailboats. I was standing firmly on the upper deck of the grand old Arthur Foss tugboat, which is permanently moored at Lake Union Park.

Ralph Pease, a retired Argosy Cruises employee who was there for a preview of Tugboat Happy Hour, pointed to the buoy closest to us and described the path the boats follow around the lake. “The only rule is that if you hit a duck, you are disqualified,” he said.

Though you can watch Duck Dodge from other spots around the lake, Tugboat Happy Hour on the 1889 Arthur Foss can make for a special weekday night with a spouse, friends or out-of-town guests. Northwest Seaport volunteers will serve you food and drinks and tell you all about Seattle’s maritime history while you enjoy the fabulous view from a legendary vessel.


If you go: Tugboat Happy Hour costs $25 and is held from 5:30-9 p.m. every Tuesday from July 9 to Aug. 27 aboard the historic Arthur Foss tugboat at Lake Union Park. For more information, visit