Distance Races and World Championships

Published on July 27th, 2014

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
The 1982 J/24 World Championship in San Francisco was a long time ago, but I can still recall two things about it:

– John Kolius won, with a boat named Cheap Sunglasses, and John knows how to have a good time when he wins.
– The regatta had a distance race.

All but one race at the 1982 J/24 Worlds were breeze-on windward/leewards, with the distance race extending out beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, into the fog, with the wind getting light and the current getting strong.

It was a bit of an adventure, particularly with the current. There was zero visibility, and thankfully, we could hear the waves when we got close to shore. I suspect the distance race was eventually phased out in the class, likely with encouragement from the top racers, who prefer their race conditions to lack surprise.

It is now near standard for one design World Championships to have only windward/leeward courses, so it caught my attention – and brought back fun memories – when I saw that the Shark World Championship in Toronto, ONT on August 23-29 will have a distance race.

In fact, the class rules for this 24 footer designed in 1959 by Canadian George Hinterhoeller requires a distance race for their World Championship.

It is anticipated that as many as 70 boats will compete in Toronto, which would make it the biggest Shark Worlds ever. In addition to entries from throughout Canada, the regatta expects to attract entries from Austria, Germany and the USA.

Racing will take place just south of Toronto Islands. Here are their course rules:
– The number of races to be sailed shall be a minimum of four (4) to maximum of ten (10).

– A distance race shall be scheduled to be run once four or more course races (W/L type) are completed provided that the distance race shall not be sailed on the last scheduled day of racing.

– The length of the distance race is recommended to be not less than 13 nm and no more than 22.7 nm. It is also recommended that the distance race start with a windward leg of minimum .86 nm

For more information on the 2014 Shark Worlds: www.sharkworlds2014.com

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