Just returned from two great events in France. And in quite a different league than I normally compete. I raced in the Regatta Royale in Cannes in late September and then Les Voiles de St. Tropez in early October, both in a wooden 1930 Fife designed 6 meter, beautifully restored in Antigua. Yes that’s right, a wooden boat !
Although I can’t help myself but compete to win when I am on the water, the greater goal at these two events was to enjoy sailing amongst the hundreds of beautifully restored wooden boats and appreciate the beauty of it all. The fleet ranged from tiny little 25 foot modern wooden boats, to 150 foot classic schooners. Safety was one of the top priorities, and with the larger boats starting last and coming through the fleet, looking backwards was as important as looking forward. Clear air was as important as picking the right side of the course. The winds at this time of the year are mostly very light, or too strong if a front comes through, so it was mostly a light air regatta. The committee work at these events leaves a bit to be desired, and when you throw in the French language, we had a bit on trying to keep things straight, but we managed to start on time and sail the right courses each day, so success.
I hesitate to even mention results, as that was not the main goal, but I will say that we didn’t win. The rating system was pretty bad, with the boats placing in the same order no matter how well they sailed, and pretty big gaps in corrected times. But we did sail quite well, managing to get off the line clean at every start, and being ahead of most of the bigger boats in our class at the first mark. But as the smallest boat, once everyone got on the reaching legs, and there were plenty, the big fellers would just extend away from us. In the end we finished several places higher than we should have, so came away feeling pretty good.
Next up for me is the Caribbean Sailing Association Annual Conference in Antigua at the end of October. I’m currently the President and really enjoy the hard work we are doing to grow sailing in the region where I am from. With the best sailing conditions in the world, I am a firm believer that we we have a bright future and should capitalize on the opportunities ahead, for growing our Grand Prix regattas, developing our basic youth sailing programs, and benefitting the island economies along the way. Hard work, but all good, and nice to give back to the sport that has given me so much.
Then in early November I travel to Cape Town for my last event of the year, the IRC Nationals on the RP52 Cape Fling. With a new set of rudders, and average winds of 30, it should be a blast!