Like many sailors, I was looking forward to a full albacore race schedule after a long interruption. This year certainly did not disappoint.
I started sailing albacores 7 years ago, and turned to racing that same summer. It was the perfect outlet for my competitive alter-ego. I was fortunate that my albacore racing started in Toronto, where you would regularly find approximately 40 albacores on a Friday start line. Race trainings were on Mondays, where we would learn about the power of being on starboard, how to roll tack like your life depended on it, and how to play with all the colourful lines till the boat moved.
As I participated in more regattas, I met sailors from the US and the UK, and travel regattas became the main topic of conversation. I eased my way in with regattas close to Toronto, and slowly ventured further afield until I found myself in Shelbourne, Nova Scotia for the Albacore Internationals in 2019, with sailors from Canada, the US, and UK: 94 fellow ‘Athlete- Competitors’ (as we are known in Nova Scotia). This event was a hint of how much fun travel regattas could be. Clearly, 2020 was going to be even better.
2020 and 2021 were so much fun, there’s no space to mention them here, so let’s skip forward to US National Championships 2022 hosted in Rock Hall, Maryland.
The first day was gloomy and windy. On our way out to the race course, our new scenery included a duck blind, crab pots and hundreds of questionable jellyfish. We promptly adjusted to survival sailing for the shifty winds and quickly discovered the effects of current.
The second day was sunny and windy. There were five races, Barney and Ernest won four.
The third day was sunny and un-windy. There is nothing we can be more thankful for than an incredible race committee who knows when not to send the fleet out on the water. The day started with a well supported AP flag until a light breeze trickled our way. We ultimately drifted our way through 2 races before we were back on shore for awards.
Congratulations to Barney Harris and Ernest Ayukawa for the victory! In addition to Barney’s well-deserved win, he went above and beyond, towing 4 albacores to Rock Hall for 3 other teams from the US, Canada and the UK. I am very grateful he graciously lent me and my amazing helm (Stephanie Stalinski) a boat for this event. Thank you to the volunteers, staff and race committee at Rock Hall who made this such an enjoyable experience! This weekend contained many firsts for me. First time travelling to the United States for a regatta. First time sailing a boat decked out by Barney. First time sailing an Ontario Yacht albacore. For anyone who has been racing for 1-2 years, travel regattas are incredible opportunities to develop memorable experiences with new friends and broaden your sailing skills. There will be another full schedule of racing next year and you can find the racing schedule for Canada here, the US here, and the UK here.
See you on the start line!
Planning for the 2023 season is already under way, with the 2023 International Championship being held in Abersoch. If you’re interested in joining this fun fleet, get in touch because there are lots of boats out there waiting to be raced.
1st and President’s Trophy: Barney Harris and Ernest Ayukawa
2nd: Raines Koby and Stephanie Mah
3rd: Marty Minot and Jordan Minot
Bob Harwood Challenger Fleet Winner: Stephanie Stalinski and Mabel Chan
Bill Shore Trophy (Top Woman Helm): Anna Sepko
Roger Thomas Senior Trophy (Combined age over 110, not in top 3): Marty Hublitz and Lars Rathjen
Most Improved Helm: Eva Hogan
Endurance Award: Elvin Aponte and Willy Bresee