When caution and optimism cross tacks

Published on May 19th, 2020

While the situation with the coronavirus pandemic in Nova Scotia appears to be stabilizing, there still remained sufficient uncertainty for Canada’s largest (and North America’s second largest) annual keelboat race week to be held this year.

Planned for August 12-15, the 2020 edition of Chester Race Week has been cancelled to avoid jeopardizing the race organizers, the Chester Yacht Club, volunteers and race committees.

Additionally, a recent survey which received over 130 responses from past skippers, indicated challenges for boat owners/skippers to get a commitment of a full crew, and that it would not be a good idea to host an event that was not in line with previous and future events, preferring for the event to err on the side of safety, to cancel early, and to respect the community of Chester.

As for the classic distance races of the Great Lakes, the Bayview Mackinac (July 11) and Chicago Mackinac (July 17-18) have optimism to proceed as does the USA west coast highlight event  – Rolex Big Boat Series 2020 on September 17-20 in San Francisco, CA

“This event is the pinnacle of the race calendar at St. Francis Yacht Club,” says event chair Susan Ruhne. “Since it was first run in 1964, we have only canceled once—for 9/11—and we are working hard to ensure we can race this year. We are asking competitors to mark their calendars and register, and to join us in being cautiously optimistic that we can run races.”

Ruhne and her committee are working diligently to rethink every element of the regatta including judging, race committee, racing, socials and ceremonies. Their goal is to engineer an event that can be competitive on the water while being safe from start to finish.

“Remember,” she added, “entry fees are refundable if we have to cancel!”

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