The 23rd annual Malaspina Regatta went off a day later than expected, but good things came to those who waited as the race was one for the history books.
A total of 18 boats were registered for the race on Saturday, June 30, but inclement weather postponed the race to Canada Day, July 1.
Unfortunately a number of skippers were unable to commit to sailing as they had previous plans, but Sunday, however, proved to be the right decision, weather wise, and the 15 boats that did show up for the race were met by a steady 10 to 15 knot south-easterly wind — perfect for a great day of racing.
The 10 nautical mile triangular course, which began between Martin and Pearson islands just outside the entrance to Pender Harbour, took the boats out to a mark at Hospital Reef before heading up to Acland Rock off Nelson Island, and then returning to the finish.
All the boats got away to a good start with Peregrine, skippered by David Twentyman, being the first across the start line.
The initial leg saw the fleet gradually stretch out, with the trimaran Drifter, skippered by Ron Badley, rounding the first mark ahead of Wings II, skippered by Andy Paulus, with Avanti, skippered by Dave Zuest, and BC Navigator, skippered by Tom Barker, hot on his heels.
The next leg, which is usually a spinnaker run, proved too much for most skippers who chose to play it safe, and only Frendy, skippered by Charlie Park, and Seven, skippered by Dave Pritchard, raised their chutes.
This proved to be a challenge for the crew of Frendy, who found their spinnaker hour-glassed, and in the strong winds and rough sea state, it took them valuable time to clear.
As the fleet were about halfway down this leg, there was the added excitement of a slow-moving tug with a log boom in tow. This resulted in about half the boats passing ahead while some had to make a slight detour around the end of the boom. Frendy's troubles were not over as they had problems dousing their chute rounding Acland Rock, which resulted in three boats passing them.
The final leg, which is also the longest, proved to be the toughest as the boats tacked back and forth against the tide and metre high waves. Some skippers decided to pass to the east of Hodgson and Pearson islands, hoping to find quieter conditions, while most tacked back out into Malaspina Straits.
The first boat across the line, for the second year in a row, was Drifter. The first overall on corrected time was awarded to Paulus, who is to be commended for single-handing his Ariel 48-footer Wings II to victory.
The division winners were: 'AA' – Dave Zuest, 'A' - Paulus, 'B' – Pritchard and 'C' – Keith Muir in Matilda. See all the results in the sports ticker on page 56.
It was by all accounts the best race in the 23 years of the Malaspina Regatta and it was the only time that there has been a postponement.
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