Canadians dominate Albacore International Championship
Published on March 27th, 2015
The signs indicated that Canadian George Carter was due to win the 2015 Albacore International Championship, held March 23-27 at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron in Sarasota, FL He had placed third in 2011 and then second in 2013 on the road to winning this year’s biennial championship.
With Brazilian crewman Almir Tavares, Carter put together the most consistent finishes, including four bullets, to win the 12 race championship by 22 points. They played the middle for two days in the Gulf and worked a side the two days raced in the bay among 44 boats from Canada, the US and the UK.
North sailmaker Geoff Moore credited Friday night sparring in Toronto with Carter for the second place finish won by him and Canadian crew Christine Short. Moore moved to Canada from the US, and this was his first Albacore regatta and the first time he and Short had raced together. They won second place by 11 points.
No team comes close to the number of top 5 finishes in the history of the Albacore International Championship as that of third place Americans Barney Harris and David Byron. Sailing together since 1995, they won the last four Championships and placed in the top five in the last 9 Championships. After a slow start, they found their legs and placed in the top four in each of the last six races. It is clear whence David got his sailing genes. His 75 year old mother, Daphne Byron finished in the top ¾ of the fleet, completing every race.
If there was an award for personality, it would go to first woman helm, Judy Armstrong. Judy with husband Paul as crew, placed a very respectable 7th overall. When the sailor from northern England was asked if she sailed on the North Sea, she replied, “No, I sail on a poodle.” Further conversation eventually revealed that the “poodle” was Scaling Dam Reservoir in North York Moors National Park. She said she doesn’t like chop since the reservoir is flat but she didn’t have much trouble adapting to the choppy Gulf of Mexico. This was the third US regatta for the former 470 Olympic campaigner. She was pushed hard throughout the regatta by second woman helm, Christine Kelly.
Neville Herbert and Mark Fowler had 3 bullets, the most of any crew besides the winners. When Neville was asked if he sailed in the North Sea, the sailor from southern England replied, “No. I sail in the Solent. In the south. The reason you can’t understand Judy is because she is from the north.” The Herbert/Fowler crew pulled off a picture perfect port tack start in the last race. They crossed the whole fleet and led all the way to the finish.
This is a boisterous, fun loving fleet whose desire to sail increases with the velocity of the wind.
Report by Charlie Clifton.