Sad news from New Brunswick this morning, where renowned Canadian sailor Richard Oland was found dead in his downtown Saint John office. Richard was the 2010 CYA Gerry Roufs Trophy winner for offshore racing. I had the pleasure of witnessing Richard's 2010 win at the St. Thomas Rolex Regatta on board his prized Vela Veloce, a Reichel-Pugh designed, Southern Cross 52 he had built and commissioned in New Zealand. Always a gentleman, Richard and his crew had an excellent year on the Caribbean circuit in 2010; they would eventually go on to win many other premier regattas on the east coast that year. Condolences to the Oland family; Richard will be missed.
The 2011 Transpac Race is on! The faster yachts will start today, following the slower yachts that started on Monday; hopefully, they will find more breeze that the prevailing conditions this past week. Most have been struggling with light winds and have now found themselves further north than the traditional route to Hawaii. The Open 60 O CANADA, formerly Derek Hatfield's Spirit of Canada, is one of the racing yachts on the start line today; the boat is skippered by 2 time Canadian Olympian Richard Clarke supported by an entire Canadian crew. Tyler Bjorn, Clark's Olympic Star Program crew will be doing mast and grinding. Also aboard is legendary navigator and physician Dr. Kevin McMeel who has done too many Transpac races to count. Boat Captain, and veteran big boat sailor Andrew McCorquodale, who is also pursuing an Olympic 470 campaign, will be the bowman and John Curtis, 2004 Olympic Tornado crew, will be doing his first Transpac helping keep the boat moving fast. Race progress across the Pacific can be followed on Yellowbrick at the official Transpac race website www.transpacrace.com
Across the Atlantic, the Maxi yachts are making good progress with Rambler posting average speeds of 20 knots. Rambler is followed by Ken Read at the helm of Puma's Il Mostro. Not far behind, we find the Open class yachts Maltese Falcon and Phaedo competing in the David and Goliath contest. At press time, we hear that ICAP Leopard has sustained some damage on their sprit. All the details on www.transatlanticrace.org
Over 20 boats are in and sail measurements are taking place for the J/24 Canadian Championships (http://j24canadians2011.wordpress.com) at the Port Credit Yacht Club; the regatta is being held this week-end in conjunction with the Lake Ontario Racing Council PCYC Open Regatta. This event marks the start of a very busy racing month at PCYC; the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge follows next week-end. We also offer you this week an update from the active Canadian Albacore Association.
Offshore racing in the Gulf of St. Lawrence should provide for some excitement this week-end for the racers who will cross the start line of the Route Rimouski-Anticosti on Sunday. This is the first edition of what promises to be a great event; the fleet includes Mini 6.5 and and a VOR 60. Results next week.
Two popular Great Lakes racing events are getting ready for the following week-end; Mississauga, ON will host the start and finish of the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge while Chicago, IL will host the start of the Chicago-Mackinac Race. It is expected that over 350 yachts will complete the race at the Mackinac Island where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron join together. Sail-World will be present and cover both events first-hand; I will be providing regular updates from the cockpit of Nick's Cafe as we navigate the Main Duck Island Course for a compete circumnavigation of lake Ontario. Stay tuned for more details.
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