The weather forecast might not be good for Saturday, but that is not dampening enthusiasm for the return of traditional Windermere Cup races for the Washington rowing teams and the opening day of boating festivities on the Montlake Cut.

The entire event was canceled in 2020. The Windermere Cup returned last year — with dual races against California instead of the Huskies facing international teams — but fans were told not to attend and there were no opening day festivities.

So a return to normal was a reason for smiles Thursday, no matter the weather forecast.

“To see the logboom going up and knowing that opening day parade is back, it feels for the first time (since the pandemic) that this is the Windermere Cup that we all know and love,” said UW women’s rowing coach Yaz Farooq at a Thursday news conference to promote the event. “We just can’t wait to get it going.”

Said UW men’s rowing coach Michael Callahan: “I think all Seattle is excited for this one. … This is a Northwest event and it is so signature to this region, headed by the Seattle Yacht Club and this 100-year-old boat parade.”

The Netherlands men and the Great Britain women were scheduled to compete in the 2020 Windermere Cup, but that event was canceled, and are very happy they were invited back — two years later.

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“We gave you a long time to practice, so hopefully you are ready,” Callahan joked with Peter Wiersma, one of the coaches of the Netherlands team.

Said Wiersma: “When you have the chance to come here, that’s one (opportunity) you really go for. … There are a few big (rowing) classics, and Windermere is one of the classics.”

Lauren Fisher, one of Great Britain’s coaches, said there are few rowing events similar in the world. While she and Wiersma are grateful for the opportunity to be here, they are hoping to take down the hosts.

Callahan and Farooq both said they are expecting tough races and Farooq got a close-up view at her competition Wednesday. The Great Britain coxswain was feeling ill, so Farooq — a former Olympic coxswain — sat in the competition’s boat during its practice.

“Strangely enough, last week our coxswain was under the weather with the same stomach bug, so I sat in our boat, and I don’t know what is going to happen (Saturday),” she said. “Let’s just say I thought that British boat was very strong, with great rhythm and great enthusiasm and I think we are going to have an incredible race.”

Callahan said he thinks his defending national champion team is starting to come together at the right time and, “We’re hoping to show that on the water this weekend.”

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“In terms of the Netherlands, it’s one of the great rowing nations in the world,” he said. “We expect a very good race, for sure.”

Said Wiersma: “We see (UW’s) name on the (Windermere) Cup many times and we are very eager to do something about that.”

Everyone is ready for a return to the traditional Windermere Cup fesitivities and the accompanying crowd.

“There are many on our team who have never experienced this,” Callahan said. “I am just so excited for our student-athletes to be able to go down to the log booms and see the whole pageantry.”

Notes

There will be masters, juniors and collegiate races, with the first race taking place at 10:15 a.m. The women’s Windermere Cup starts at 11:45 a.m. The Opening Day Parade starts at noon.

*The Washington men and women both drew lane No. 1 for the Windermere Cup races, putting the Netherlands men and Great Britain women in lane No. 2.