he Mahone Bay Regatta is an annual event consisting of two races in the waters of the town of Mahone Bay. This year the newly formed Indian Point Yacht Club organized the event. The Chester IOD Fleet was invited to participate and if we could get 5 boats on the line we would have our own start! This we did with “La Diva”, “Mighty Mo”, “Aileen”, “Ghost” and the new” Fibre Glass” boat registered for the Regatta. Sailing started at 1 pm on Saturday August 3rd. The IOD’s were the first one’s off. Under sunny skies, the wind was from the South West at 12 knots which made us have a beat off the starting line. “Mighty Mo” soon took the lead with “La Diva” down to leeward of her and “Aileen” behind “Mighty Mo” with the “New Fibreglass” boat to windward and with “Ghost trailing the Fleet. “LA Diva” elected to go below Scrum Island while the rest of the fleet stayed to windward of it.
As we passed Scrum Island the wind started to go more Westerly. “Aileen” meanwhile went below “Mighty Mo” as we freed sheets and looked for Mark 16 some 4 miles in the distance. The Westerly wind shift benefited “Aileen” and “La Diva” as they could now make the mark without having to tack. “Aileen” showed great reaching speed as she overtook “ La Diva” to gain the lead. With the wind now firmly coming from the West the course turned into a reaching parade. Positions did not change after the first mark rounding and the boats finished in the following order: Aileen, La Diva, Mighty Mo, Fibreglass boat and Ghost. Race number 1 was now in the books! Mike Kelly was kind enough to have us all tie up at his wharf in Mahone Bay which was great as we all gathered there to have a beer and enjoy the after race fun.
Day 2 saw another glorious sunny day with light breezes from the North West. The start again at 1 pm, however as one of our competitors was late we started behind the PHRF class. This actually was helpful as we sailed the same course and as many of us were unfamiliar as to where the marks were they provided a guide to them! It was a spinnaker start with “Mighty Mo” electing to stay low as the rest of fleet went higher and tangled among themselves allowing “Mighty Mo” to lead the fleet out of the harbour. As the boats reached the sea breeze the wind shifted to the South West creating a close reach to the first mark. “Aileen” elected to go very high and using local knowledge tried a different route to the first mark.
However sometimes local knowledge doesn’t pay off and “ Aileen” rounded the first mark trailing the pace setters, “Mighty Mo”, “La Diva” and the “New Fibre Glass” boat by quite some distance. “Ghost” was in the rear of the fleet. Good beats, runs and close reaching ensued with the leading 3 boats getting closer to one another. As we approached the Harbour on the way into the finish under spinnaker the wind dropped and the fleet closed up and was becalmed. Skipper’s frantically looked to find wind and the slightest advantage to get to the finish line which now seemed a thousand miles away. Slowly the boats made headway and gained forward momentum and finally “Mighty Mo” crossed the finish line in first place with “La Diva” close behind. 3rd was the new “Fibreglass” boat and Mike Kelly’s “Aileen” in 4th place and “Ghost” trailing the fleet. It was the end of a difficult and challenging race.
I must also report that 2 boats hit rocks on this race. On the way out Steve Bond skippering the “Fibreglass” boat hit the rocks opposite Scrum Island while “Mighty Mo” hit the same rock on the way back into the Harbour. It is believed no serious damage resulted from this navigational error!
The awards ceremony was held at the end of the day for all participating classes. The finishing order for the combined race results for the IOD fleet saw “Mighty Mo” in First, “La Diva” with Shawn Mulrooney skippering in second and Mike Kelly’s “Aileen” in third place. It was a wonderful and fun weekend. Congratulations to the organizers and the race committee for doing al the hard work to make this happen. The Chester IOD Fleet will certainly be back to enjoy the hospitality of Mahone Bay next year.
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