by Katie Nicoll
Overcast skies, wet weather, and strong winds greeted the 147 yachts on the first day of racing at Chester Yacht Club when they hit the starting lines at noon for racing. Hosted by the Chester Yacht Club, Race Week is the largest keel boat regatta in Canada.
Wet and Wooly ride before the start - Chester Race Week
Opening ceremonies included greetings from Gerald Keddy MP for South Shore, St. Margaret’s and other local dignitaries. With the boom of the cannon and the wail of the piper, the Club burgee was hoisted by commodore Don McAlpine and chair Dr. John Curry to declare Race Week 2011 under way.
The winds were strong from 15 to 25 knots out of the south east making for great courses set by Principal Race Officer Andreas Josenhans. Sailors found the conditions challenging wiith seas that were running three to six feet, the boats were being tossed around.
There were several collisions with serious damage to the boats that will not be able to compete in the remainer of the regatta, a demasting, plus a few equipment failures. Several boats had to retire from the racing because of the conditions and some sails exploded.
The Club hosted a huge pig roast in the evening which was a sold out event enjoyed by the racers and visitors alike. The feast was followed by a rambunctious party with the 'Mellotones' providing the entertainment until the wee hours.