Saturday, the wind blew pretty darn hard for the Hudson Annual Distance Race. In fact, it was the highest blow I have seen so far this season. Windspeed recorded at the airport ranged from 35 km/h to 43 km/ according to Environment Canada (Don't let the file photo above fool you). It was far, far higher on the open water of course, jumping around between 20 and 30 knots according to the more sheltered BDYC. On wider waters like L2M, and in the frequent, powerful gusts it was much higher yet.
The impact of heavy air on the racers was clear to the eye. There were fewer boats on the start line as the most sane stayed away. 88 boats registered, down from the usual 100 or so. Of the boats racing, just 63 finished the race. The carnage was plentiful. On Mainsail, we were probably having our best race ever, since the high winds gave our Shark an advantage. Unfortunately, near the Oka church, our mainsail halyard blew apart, and we were out of it. Paul Baehr's Shark suffered a similar fate when they lost their genoa halyard. Very likely the greatest indignance of all was a severe blow dealt to BlueShark. Jin Frati's Shark had just rounded the final windward mark for the run home when a lower shroud gave away, causing the mast to snap in two! No one was hurt, but Jin of course was in sight of top dawgs as usual when knocked out of contention.
The big winner is George Stedman and his team on the Shark, #422, Ketchup. This is the 2nd recent year that George has won this race if memory serves me correctly. George also won Sailweek earlier this season. George had an amusing comment for readers of Montreal Sailing. He says the race included "The longest 24 seconds I have ever experienced". Ketchup scores victory based on a lead of 24 seconds of corrected time over the next boat, David Lowther's Etchells. Ketchup crossed the finish line 18 minutes after David's Impudence to score the PHRF victory. Hence the long, nerve wracking 24 seconds!
Etchells, J22s, and Sharks dominated the top ten, and here it is:
- Ketchup, George Stedman, Shark, #422
- Impudence, David Lowther, Etchells, #931
- Slim, Allan Gray, Etchells, #1053
- Quill, Scott Lawrence, Etchells, #1089
- Boy-Toy, Bill Lynam, Shark, #729
- Jack, Ron Harris, J22, #1421
- Jazz, Kathy Harris, J22, #693
- Perceval, Serge Thiffault, J29, #92
- Ying Yang, Michael Anderson, Shark, 438
- Still Lost Boys, Paul Laflamme, Etchells, #321