The viewing areas along the north and south shores of the Montlake Cut on race day are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You may also watch from the Montlake Bridge. The bridge closes to car traffic at 9:40 - 3:00 PM and you can watch the races from the bridge from 9:40 -11:45, but you need to be off the bridge by noon when the cannon blast signals the beginning of the Boat Parade. That is when the bridge goes up to let the boats through.
The area around the Montlake Cut get very congested on the morning of the races. Consider taking Metro, Light Rail or riding your bike down to the event.
The Windermere Cup races begin at 10:00 a.m. but the Montlake Bridge closes to car traffic at 9:40 a.m. It is best to arrive between 9 and 9:30 a.m. to get a spot on the Cut to watch the races.
After the races, all of the competing crews, with the exception of the teams competing in the Windermere Cup and Erickson Cascade Cup, will wait at the west end of the Montlake Cut in Portage Bay until all the races are over and then they will row back through the Cut to the Conibear shellhouse to put their boats away. This creates quiet a spectacle every year. Afterward there is an awards ceremony on the JumboTron Stage on the North side of the Montlake Cut, west of the Montlake Bridge, where awards are handed out, approximately between 12:30 - 2:00 PM. Many of the athletes gather there after the races.
The Seattle Yacht club partners with the University of Washington and Windermere Real Estate to put Opening Day of Boating Season, one of Seattle’s most-loved Spring traditions.
This year’s theme for the 2020 Opening Day Boat Parade is "Rock Around the Dock". Many changes that have taken place since 1913 when the Montlake Cut opened Lake Washington to Lake Union and the first Opening Day celebration was held. Today Washington is one of the top ten boating states in America and the Seattle’s Yacht Club’s Opening Day boat parade is one of the biggest in the world.
Look for more information on the Boat Parade to come.