Clearly putting the fun back into racing
Published on October 22nd, 2013
By Alex Watters
Here in Nova Scotia, as most other areas, we are trapped by the increasingly boring, multi races per day, windward/leeward courses. I’ve been racing for most of my life on a variety of one design and handicap keel boats….to say that the sport has become almost tedious, regardless of the type of floating object you choose to race, is a huge understatement. Then along came an event that changed all that.
It was the Race the Cape on the Bras d’Or lakes (one of the most scenic places mankind will ever find to sail his/her boat). This was point to point racing with legs that ranged from 20 to 40 miles. After each day’s race there was a prize giving, dinner and entertainment that went deep into the night. Five different yacht clubs put this show together. Forty boats raced the inaugural event this year (July 18-22) with very experienced racers down to families racing for the first time. The fleet ranged from our tiny J70 to a Swan 48 with everything imaginable in between.
The courses were unique; on one leg there was a swing bridge, about a half mile before the bridge you passed through a ‘finish line’….time taken….lowered your sails and waited for the bridge to open…putted through and raised sails then crossed the ‘start line’ which started your clock again and sailed on to the finish.
Another leg had miles of a narrow arm to navigate to get to the open ocean. Tall ridges on both sides meant that the wind never blew from the same direction or with a regular velocity for very long. Add an enormous current that increased as you approached the ocean (favourable or we’d likely still be there) made this was a fantastic challenge.
This kind of event makes five days of the same old windward/leeward racing look as bad as it actually is. We had more fun in those five days of sailing than you can imagine; it was like being a kid again. Top quality race management, top quality place to sail, top quality hosts and great competition…it just doesn’t get any better (and not a single W/L).
The organizers deserve praise for creating this cool event!