The 2011 Albacore International Championships in Toronto drew many previous class champions, national and world champions from other classes, and a several Olympic sailors. A number of husband/wife and father/daughter teams competed as well as several all junior teams. The competitors were challenged with a full range of conditions over the weeklong event, from light winds and flat water to winds over 20 knots with swells and chop.
54 boats from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom competed in the biennial event which ran from September 16th to 23rd. It was hosted by the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (who were the first hosts of the championships in 1971), the Toronto Outer Harbour Clubs (Mooredale, Outer Harbour Centreboard, St. James Town, and Westwood), and the Toronto Island Sailing Club. Racing was held south of Toronto Island in open water beyond the shelter of the Leslie Spit and the island.
On shore there were plenty of activities and everyone enjoyed the daily socials and many dinners hosted by the four community clubs (Mooredale, St. James Town, Toronto Island, and Westwood) and the RCYC.
Two practice races were held on Friday afternoon in light winds. The competition began on the Saturday with the first two days also being the Canadian championships. With the addition of competitors sailing only the Canadians, the fleet grew to 72 boats. This made the 2011 Canadians the largest one in over a decade.
With an easterly wind and open water, the competitors encountered significant swell and chop. Starting the first race on Saturday was challenging for the race committee, as a combination of aggressive starting and current caused close to half a dozen false starts and recalls. The first race only got off after approximately one quarter of the fleet was disqualified under the black flag. Two races were ultimately held that day in the easterly wind that built from about 9 to 12 knots over the course of the day.
Sunday again saw waves and an easterly wind that began relatively light and built to about 15 knots by the end of the day. Three windward-leeward races were run, which allowed many boats to drop their black flag disqualifications. The awards banquet for the Canadian Championship was held that evening at the RCYC on the island. A highlight of the night was a look back at the 50+ years of the Albacore by a number of major contributors to the class throughout the decades. The top three in each fleet for the Canadian Championships were:
1st: Evan Bower and Nick Williams, Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club.
2nd: Daniel Race and Eliza Hyde, Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club.
3rd: Timma Flanagan and Rachel Harris, Queen City Yacht Club.
Challenger, 'B' Fleet
1st: Jan Carpentier and Julia Mallegol, Mooredale Sailing Club.
2nd: Frank Newton and Stephanie Cimon, Mooredale Sailing Club.
3rd: Chris Bennett and Ralf Fischer, St. James Town Sailing Club.
Champion, 'A' Fleet
1st: Barney Harris and David Byron, Potomac River Sailing Association
2nd: Neville Herbert and Stephen Penfold, Tewkesbury Sailing Club
3rd: George Carter and Almir Tavares, Mooredale Sailing Club
Full results of the Canadian championships may be found at http://albacore.ca/caa_files/2011canadiansfinal.html
The Internationals regatta continued on the Monday, again with chop and moderate winds from the southeast. One Olympic race and one windward leeward race were run that day. The winds lightened up and were from the southwest for the two races held on Tuesday and for the first time there was flat water. The left side of the course generally paid that day.
Wednesday was a lay day. People took advantage of this to relax and explore Toronto and Niagara Falls. The Toronto Island Sailing Club organized the party that evening on the Island.
Winds were again light from the southwest when racing started up again on Thursday and two windward-leeward races were run. The final day saw the winds and waves return with breeze over 20 knots and 6 foot swells. It began to rain as the first race started and turned into pelting rain as the race proceeded. Unfortunately, due to deteriorating visibility and the risk of thunderstorms the Olympic race was shorted to one triangle and the fleet then sent in.
After six days of racing, 12 races, and a full range of conditions, Barney Harris and David Byron (Potomac River Sailing Association) won their fourth International Championship with 22 points. Ian Brayshaw and Jeff Beitz (Outer Harbour Centreboard Club) placed second with 33 points, having moved up steadily every day from their sixth place finish in the Canadians. George Carter and Almir Tavares (Mooredale Sailing Club) were third with 35 points.
Full results of the Internationals may be found at http://albacore.org/iaa_files/results/2011/2011internationalsfinal.html