Thursday, August 25, 2016

Challenging Chester Race Week

J/29 crew loving Chester Race Week (Chester, Nova Scotia)– Sailors are a resilient lot– they race hard when conditions allow, and when they don’t. After hours on the course looking for wind, Chester Race Week organizers finally cancelled races for Bravo, Delta, and One Design fleets, sending wind-weary sailors back to shore on the final day of Chester Race Week. The only fleets to get races on the final day were Alpha and Bluenose.

“This was a tough week for everybody, weather wise,” said Chief Principal Race Officer Brian Todd. “Huge thanks to our race Course PRO's– Ken Legler, Oliver Bone, and Daniel Conrad– and their mark boat crews who all worked so hard to ensure the best racing possible given the challenging, constantly changing conditions. In the end, that’s why we had to cancel some courses.”

The regatta did not start out that way.  It was quite the opposite end of the spectrum.  With nearly gale force winds in the first two days, there were plenty of broken boats (sails, masts, etc) that forced retirements and, in fact, so much wind that some boats didn’t even venture forth to go sailing.  With breezes hitting 30+ kts, many of the J/Teams reveled in the conditions and took full advantage of it.  Later in the week, as the breezes subsided and went all for naught on the last day, you would’ve been hard pressed to find sailors that didn’t enjoy the breadth of weather thrown at them!  “It sure beats fog and no wind” was a familiar perspective!

Winning the J/35 class was Andrew Child’s HELOC with a scoreline punctuated by all 1sts & 2nds.  Not far behind was Thane MacDonald’s J-HAWK with 9 pts and closing out the podium in third place was the dynamic duo of Gary Bennett & designer Rod Johnstone on J’AI TU.

The J/120 Class, Stu McCrea’s DEVIATION taking class honors with nearly all bullets to count in their six-race/ one toss series.  Taking second was Ron Stewart’s SLICE from Stratford, Prince Edward Island; they were followed by Richard Calder’s BRILLIANCE, just one point back.

Similarly, the J/29s enjoyed very tight racing between the top three boats.  At the end of the five race series, Don Williams’ PARADIGM SHIFT and Terry Schnare’s HEAD GAMES were tied on points at 6.5 pt each, with PARADIGM SHIFT taking the tie-breaker.  Third only three points back was Paul Dexter’s PAINKILLER.

The large J/24 class saw a runaway, taking their “Get out of jail free” card and running around the table like no won was there!  Winning 6 of 8 races, Dave Wedlake’s BARELY LEGAL dominated class, winning by 7 pts.  Chasing them hard around the course and even taking a win off BARELY LEGAL was Chris Veinot’s HYPEWAVE, ultimately finishing in 2nd place with 15 pts.  Third was Ross Romney’s RUSH HOUR with 21 pts.

Over in the PHRF handicap world, on the Bravo 1 Class, it was Bruce Moore’s lovely J/30 RATTLE & HUM that was first JBoat and 4th in class.  Second J/crew and 5th in class was Bill Adams’ J/70 RE-DEMPTION, sixth was Dale Robertson’s J/80 GOAT WHISPERER, 7th place was Jesleine Baker’s JUST ADD WATER, and 8th was Sam Lamey’s J/27 INCORRIGIBLE.

The Alpha 3 Class saw local hotshot Colin Mann sail his J/92 POOHSTICKS onto the top of the leaderboard after closing their six race series with four bullets in a row!  Second was Rory Macdonald’s J/105 McMAC, 5th place was Jim Mosher’s J/105 MOJO, and 6th was Richard Gerstenberger’s AXIS.

The J/88 DEEP BIGHT, with Jim Snair as skipper, was sailing in perhaps the most mixed, bizarre combination of boats in the entire regatta- from two large Beneteau cruisers down to a Viper 830 and Fareast 28R!  In the end, Snair’s J/88 placed fourth.  Sailing photo credit- Allen Clark/   For more Chester Race Week sailing information