45th annual Buzzards Bay Regatta
Published on August 6th, 2017
One hundred forty-one entrants set out for the 45th annual Buzzards Bay Regatta, held August 4 to 6 in South Dartmouth, MA. Racing in 13 classes spanned from kiteboards and one design dinghies and keelboats to PHRF handicap spinnaker and non-spinnaker fleets.
Including the three Kiteboard classes (twin tip, open foil, and Neil Pryde’s new convertible CR:X) was a tacit acknowledgement of the direction in which the sport is moving, as well as being the most obvious indication of organizers’ efforts to freshen BBR and to re-establish it as the pinnacle of east coast mixed discipline regattas.
To ensure a smooth collation of kiting into the Buzzards Bay Regatta class roll, organizers partnered with Pryde Group North America’s One Design Manager Brendan Healy to create a ‘kiting module’ that was seamlessly incorporated into the event.
“We were glad to be asked to participate,” said current Viper World Champ and J/70 class stalwart Healy. “BBR is a true classic, and introducing kites to the event will no doubt go a long way to ensuring that the board shorts crowd and the red pants crowd get comfortable co-existing on the water at events and supporting all disciplines of this great sport we share.”
Action in the classes that wallow in the water rather than soaring above it was equally exciting, with the J/70 class using the world famous Buzzards Bay Southwest seabreeze as the backdrop for their second annual Corinthian National Championship. After a hard fought ten race series, Marion, MA’s Brian Keane and his well-traveled SAVASANA team narrowly edged out Heather Gregg and Joe Bardenheir on MUSE, followed closely by the polished HOSS team, led by Glen Darden.
Other one design fleets included the Marshall Sandpiper, a 15-foot catboat built right in South Dartmouth for over 50 years, The venerable 505 (“Overbearing in Victory, Surly in Defeat”, as their class motto read for many years) the VX Evo (a speedy singlehander with asymmetric kite from the drawing board of Viper designer Brian Bennett), Laser Masters, and the original retractable sprit boat, the J/105.
Mother nature did not fail to deliver on her side of the bargain, with the fleets reveling in Chamber of Commerce conditions Friday, having storms pass both north and south Saturday, and ending the weekend on Sunday with a stiff Sou’wester and flat water.
North Sails OD warlords Tim Healy and Will Welles ran a well-attended practice session on Thursday, with Welles lamenting the fact that pros were locked out of the event. “Buzzards Bay is one the greatest places on earth to sail. Truly God’s country,” he commented as the setting sun cast long golden streaks across the harbor, full of one designs, classic Concordia yawls, and sleek modern race boats. Truer words have never been spoken.
Source: Forrest Williams, Event Chair, Buzzards Bay Regatta 2017