Yacht racing has been a major summer sport in Chester for well over 150 years. Its roots were planted in the mid-19th century when the fishermen raced each other to markets in Halifax or New England. As sailors and fishermen have done forever, they loved to get together and talk shop. Sailing races for pleasure and bragging rights was inevitable. As the gatherings and races occurred more regularly, the Annual Fishermen’s Regatta was born. The regatta was a show case for locally built boats of different designs, as well as for sailing skills.
Adding to the regatta's interesting history will be a special appearance by one of J/Boat's co-founders. Says Chester Race Week Chairman John Curry, "The Alpha 2 White class looks like it’s going to be pretty interesting this year! Rod Johnstone is going to be racing Gary Bennett’s J/35 J'AI TU on that course. Rod is probably best known for inventing the J/24 in his garage. The rest, as they say, is history. All you J/35 owners, if you haven’t already registered, better get on the ball! In addition to sailing in the Regatta, Rod J. has consented to do a “How to Sail your J/Boat in Chester Race Week” session on the Yacht Club steps on Friday morning. There will be a reception in his honour at the Yacht Club from 6 to 8 Friday evening (August 16th) surrounding the prize-giving."
The weather forecast of mostly southerly winds (SE to SW quadrant) of 8-15 kts from Wednesday to Saturday should make for good racing as the partly sunny days could enhance the onshore flow with local sea-breeze effects in the gorgeous bay ringed with islands. Nevertheless, the fleet may experience some showers and thunderstorms for part of the day on Saturday.
Leading the charge in the Alpha 1 Division are the J/35 J'AI TU as well as the J/36 VELOS-ITY (David Morgan from RKYC) against a trio of local Farr 30s. In the Distance 1 class are the J/109 WISC (Paul Rafuse from RNSYS), the J/35 CRACKERJACK (Peter Traves from Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron) and two J/120's- GRAND CRU (Mike Kennedy from Chester YC) and BLACK PEARL (Ross Leighton from RNSYS).
In the Delta Distance Course are the famous J/92 POOHSTICKS (Colin Mann from Lunenburg YC) and the J/80 GOAT WHISPERER (Dale Robertson from RNSYS).
Finally, it looks like the five J/29s may all be sailing in the Bravo 1 course, including PARADIGM SHIFT (Williams/ Matthews), SILVER WOMAN (Andrew Childs), HAKUNA MATATA (J Wood from LYC), RUMBLEFISH (Scott Covey from LYC) and WINTER PROJECT (Brad Fleet/ Ivan Carey from LYC). Also sailing in this class is the J/30 FLUX skippered by Jordan MacNeil from RNSYS). Also sailing are two enthusiastic J/24 teams, WAVE RUNNER (Will Nauss/ Countway from CYC) and ADRENALINE RUSH (Greg Blunden from RNSYS). Sailing photo credits- Heather McGuire For more Chester Race Week sailing information