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Saint John, New Brunswick
LOCAL STORIES

"I'd rather be Sailing"
Sailors from the U.S., Nova Scotia and New Brunswick descend on
Saint John for a four-day regatta, as jealous judges look on.

By GRANT ELLIS
for The Telegraph Journal
Photos by David Nickerson

   As the sailors pulled in their spinnakers, and headed for shore on a sunny beautiful Saturday afternoon on the Kennebecasis River, the Royal Kennebecasis Yacht Club finished their four-day regatta.

   The race commemorated the club's 100th anniversary, and according to race organizers it was the first keel boat regatta New Brunswick has had in decades, and the largest regatta ever held at the RKYC.

   "For the St. John River system this the biggest regatta it's had," said Gary Sullivan, race committee chair. "The racing's been great.

   "We've had every possible condition, from no wind, to almost too much wind."

   Unfortunately, on Saturday the conditions were leaning more toward the no wind side.

   While a l0-knot seabreeze kicked up off the ocean and got the race off to an exciting start, the wind died about half way through the contest.

   The light breeze was enough for the 24- to 40- foot fiberglass boats to cruise leisurely to the finish line.

   The regatta was comprised of one race on each of the event's four days, with two divisions: racing class and cruising class.

   The only difference between the two classes is a spinnaker, a colourful third sail used in the racing class for extra speed.

   After the captains chose their division, each boat was assigned a handicap based how how fast the boat should be.

   Theoretically, this levels the playing field, but it also makes for a somewhat confusing race.

   The boat Sidewinder was easily first across the finish line in the racing class on Saturday, but still finished second on the day.

   The overall winner of the regatta was 3/4 Rigg, Mr. Sullivan's boat. Unfortunately he had to watch from the officiating boat as his wife and uncles sailed to victory.

   Actually most of the race officiators had boats in the race under the authority of friends and family.

   "What do you think watching your boat race by without you feels like," said Bob Harrity, chair of the Regatta 100 committee, as his boat, Mariah, races by.

   "Angst," answers fellow sailor Doug Gould.

   "I think we would all just rather be sailing," said Mr. Harrity.

   Mr. Gould often waxed poetic about his love of sailing.

   "It's just like driving a transport truck with no brakes down the Cabot trail," he said.

   Crews and boats from the North Eastern U.S. seaboard, Nova Scotia and around the province converged on the RKYC for the event.

   Thirty-two boats registered for the regatta, but only about 27 raced.

   New Brunswick businessman Max Baxter came in second in the racing class in his boat, Sidewinder. The boats Smoke and Quest finished first and second respectively in the cruising class.

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