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Increase in entries for Charlottetown Race Week indicates resurgence in keel boat racing


'It's a banner year' say organizers of Charlottetown Race Week


For Jonathan Ladha of Newfoundland and Labrador, the best part of Charlottetown Race Week is the very start when the official starter’s horn goes off.

“I think the best part is also the most hectic part and that is right off the start (where you are) in traffic and everybody is yelling at each other,’’ Ladha laughed in an interview with The Guardian at the Charlottetown Yacht Club on Tuesday as he and his seven-member crew prepared their J70 HeadFirst3 for competition.

Charlottetown Race Week celebrates more than 30 years of keel boat racing. This year’s edition goes Thursday to Saturday.

This race isn’t just for fun for Ladha and his fellow crewmates. Charlottetown Race Week is part of the J70 national championships, ahead of the world championships in Marblehead, Mass.

“We’ll have 10 to 11 (J70) boats here and we’re all here to see how we do against each other and also to improve; to get a better result for all of us at the worlds,’’ he said.

The J70s is one of four classes racing in the Charlottetown event — the others include the Farr 30s, J29s and the A fleet. This is also the national competition for the Farr 30 fleet.

Helen Blake, chairwoman of Charlottetown Race Week, said 29 boats and 175 crew members have registered for the event.

“It’s a banner year, that’s for sure,’’ Blake said. “Last year, we had 18 (boats) and the year before that we might have had 15. There is quite a resurgence in competition.’’

Jonathan Ross, a member of the Charlottetown Race Week committee and a competitor in the Farr 30 class, said the event has become an international draw.

“It’s an exciting fleet,’’ Ross said. “There’ll be some professional sailors that are coming in from as far away as Australia.’’

It’s enough to keep everyone at the yacht club busy, event Ron White, the club’s honorary commodore. White helps operate the crane that lifts the vessels in and out of the water.

“Busy is not the word for it,’’ White said, adding that he’s been helping out with race week for the past 20 years. “(The highlight) for me is making sure I get the boats in without doing any damage to them.’’

Blake said the Farr 30 nationals typically take place in Vancouver, B.C., so having them in Charlottetown shows the P.E.I. capital has landed on the sailing map.

“This is the first time it’s been on the east coast so we’re quite happy to have it here,’’ Blake said. “It’s quite an attraction. It’s really good for the profile of the Charlottetown Yacht Club, the city of Charlottetown (and) the province.’’


Thursday, July 12

- 11 a.m., First race warning signal

- 7 p.m., Sailors reception at Merchantman’s outdoor patio (open to public at 9 p.m.)

Friday, July 13

- 11 a.m., First race warning signal

- 4:30-6:30 p.m., Competitors après sailing barbecue on the deck

- Show your race week bracelet at Peake’s Quay

Saturday, July 14

- 11 a.m., First race warning signal

- 2 p.m., Haul out starts

- TBA awards ceremony at Charlottetown Yachy Club hall

- 9 p.m., live entertainment by “The Wrecking Crew’’ at Charlottetown Yacht Club hall

Dave.stewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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