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North American Invitational in Chester a Success!

posted Sep 7, 2014, 2:37 PM by Danielle Lawson   [ updated Sep 8, 2014, 10:58 AM ]
Bobby Constable's team from Nantucket took the trophy for the North American Invitational.  According to all accounts it was a fantastic event in a beautiful location.  More pictures and comments can be found on Facebook.
  Here is the regatta round-up by Rick Thompson...

The first North Americans IOD competition to be hosted by the Chester IOD fleet took place on August 29th – August 31st in Mahone Bay and the harbour of Chester, Nova Scotia. Eight teams came from the IOD fleets across the United States and Bermuda with representatives from North East Harbour, Marblehead, Nantucket, Fishers Island, San Francisco and Bermuda. The Regatta got off to a good start with a welcoming cocktail party on the Thursday evening prior to the start of the regatta. This gave everyone the opportunity to socialize, relax and enjoy the sights of Mahone Bay.  Many old acquaintances were renewed and new acquaintances established.

The boat draw took place at the skippers’ meeting on Friday morning prior to racing. In this competition the skippers and crews get a different boat every day during the three-day regatta. This ensures no one gets a perceived advantage of getting a superior boat for the regatta or a slow one; it effectively levels the playing field. The first day of racing saw heavy winds of 15 – 20 knots with gusts to 25 knots. These conditions restricted racing to the inner harbour of Chester where the seas were flatter. This also made it easier to set courses and reduce strain on these beautiful wooden boats. Race Officer Jay Hooper wisely instructed against the use of spinnakers for the day.  The former IOD World Class champion team of Peter Rugg and John Burnham from Fisher’s Island got off to a great start. They favored the left side of the course and ended the day with two firsts and a second to take a two point lead over the Nantucket team of Bobby Constable. The San Francisco team of Paul Zupan trailed in 3rd place by a further four points with a total of 10 points.

Day Two brought reduced wind strength of 10 – 15 knots for the day. This enabled the fleet to fly the fleet’s distinctive red and white spinnakers for the first time.  Racing took place in the waters of Mahone Bay beyond Quaker Island with windward-leeward courses. The mark boat was kept busy moving marks to ensure a non-bias course setting for the three races that were held that day.  In the first race Craig Davis of Bermuda was leading the race only to have his spinnaker halyard stuck while trying to bring it down at the leeward mark. Bobby Constable took full advantage of this mishap and won the race. In fact he won all three races that day putting him ahead of the Burnham/Rugg team by 2 points with 2 races to be sailed on Sunday. In 3rd place now was Jay Nadelson of Chester who finished 3rd in all 3 races.  That evening after a long day on the water the competitors, host and friends enjoyed a relaxing meal at Nicki’s Inn in Chester where the racing of the past two days was the hot topic. There were many positive comments about sailing in the waters of Mahone Bay as this was the first time in these waters for all participants with the exception of the Chester Team.

The final two races on Sunday August 31st were held in the harbour of Chester so as to give residents a good look at the teams competing on the water. This was to prove a match-racing duel between team Burnham/Rugg and team Constable! The first race was critical for the Burnham/Rugg team as they needed to beat Constable to have any chance of winning the regatta. They successfully pushed the Nantucket team over the line at the start making them return to restart the race. A tacking duel then ensued. However the Fisher’s Island team got caught in traffic and lost their advantage over the Nantucket team and try as they may did not catch them as they slipped a further 2 points behind Constable.  The final race saw very tight racing with a number of lead changes. However, on the final downwind leg Burnham/Rugg were able to catch Constable and were leading him past the finish line when Constable jibed and a fowl ensued. The final results of the race were not to be known for some time as the protest committee was brought into the equation. After a long wait the decision was made that Bobby Constable was disqualified and John Burnham won the race. Despite this decision the final results did not change as both teams had a throw out. The final outcome was that Bobby Constable won the regatta beating the John Burnham and Peter Rugg team by only 1 point. There was indeed great racing from both these teams during the regatta. Third palace was a tie between Peter McCausland of Nantucket and Craig Davis of Bermuda.

The warm glow of the North Americans regatta is now behind us but the memories will stay with us forever. Thanks to all the competitors for participating in our inaugural event. The camaraderie and friendship exhibited by everyone was reward enough for us and we look forward to seeing everyone back in Chester once again. Until the next time.

Respectfully submitted,

Richard Thompson

Chester IOD Class Captain