Staying the course: Bermuda's Cooper, left, and Royal Thames Yacht Club skipper Arnold compete for the podium.

 

Photograph by Colin Thompson

 

Battling Wickwire Retains His Title

 

Peter Wickwire retained his Bermuda International Invitational Regatta title in the Great Sound yesterday.

 

The Nova Scotia helmsman entered the final race of the tenrace series in the International One-Design racing sloop with a three-point advantage over Pierre Crosby and managed to put further distance between himself and his nearest rival after the latter was black flagged for going over the line early on a general recall.  The battle for supremacy came down to a classic match race, which Wickwire ultimately came out on top.

 

Wickwire seized the right of way behind the line during the pre-start and shut the door on Crosby who strayed onto the course early near the pin end and was disqualified.

 

"We stayed to the right of him the whole time to maintain starboard advantage and we never got overlapped," Wickwire said. "We just kept forcing him down the line and then he ran out of runway.

 

"We forced him over in the last few seconds and maybe he wasn't aware it was a black flag. We were also right there [at the line] but we managed to get our bow down."

Crosby's misfortune handed Wickwire the overall title on a platter.

 

However, Wickwire still had some work to do to win the B series, which he achieved after leading all but one leg in the final race to pip nearest rival Paul Zupan of San Francisco and complete an impressive double.

 

Wickwire crossed the start line at the committee boat end and made huge gains in the stiffer breezes on the right side of the course to round the top mark in second behind leader Henry Arnold of the Royal Thames Yacht Club.

 

Wickwire snatched the lead away from Arnold on the first run to the leeward mark and kept the chasing pack behind his transom the rest of the way to tightean his grip on the Vrengen Gold Cup.

 

"To get a win in the last race was just exciting for us," Wickwire added.

 

Sailing with Wickwire this year was crew Rick Echard, Matthew Cairney, Peter Soosalu and Greg Lawrence.

 

"We had a spectacular team and exactly the same as last year except for the addition of Peter Soosalu who sails with me in Nova Scotia," Wickwire said.

 

Colin Thompson

 

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