October 5, 2022
The Beneteau First 36.7 is not a new design. The hull was drawn by Bruce Farr at the close of the last millennium and was pointed at the dying days of IMS racing. Who knew that when the boat hit North America in 2001 that it would become one of the largest One Design Fleets of the last generation; at the high water mark the class registered 47 boats for its North American Championships held at the Buffalo Yacht Club in 2007.
One of the enduring elements of this boat/Class is that it is one of the larger one-design classes that still use symmetrical kites. To date over 800 boats have been made with over 300 in North America and rest scattered across Europe and Australia. There are clumps of local classes still racing One Design events and adhering to The Class Rules developed in North America. The strongest of these groups is Chicago where recently 20 Beneteau First 36.7s were raced as a One Design Class in the Chicago to Mackinac Race.
Crews and kites
Recently Toronto’s National YC bid for and received the go ahead to host the 20th running of the Beneteau First 36.7 North American Championship, held September 9-11. There were 12 boats registered 2 US boats and the rest of the boats from various clubs on both sides of Lake Ontario, that by the way represents over 100 sailors.
Racing was held in Humber Bay about 1 mile southwest of Ontario Place. Conditions were light, often with breeze slipping below the 5-knot minimum to race, there was current as well, with at times over a knot setting against the windward mark Needless to say, there were frequent antics and audibles and a little bit of fibreglass between the top mark and the offset.
As regards the race for the podium on the last day (Day 3) it really boiled down to three boats, Finale, Painkiller and Zingara. Zingara had developed a healthy lead after day 2 and as long as she didn’t have three deep races a good finish was assured, Finale and Painkiller with excellent sailors aboard were duking it out for 2 and 3.
But, the legendary Alice Martin and her wily tactician Chris Pool had solved Humber Bay going straight bullets the last day, Team Zingara a little chagrined were privately grateful there was no day 4.
The really cool story of this regatta was the Tale of Tavares and “Finale” who finished 3rd and easily the most improved boat over the three days of racing.
After some coaxing and prodding from Team Zingara early in the summer, Tavares set about converting his boat from cruising mode to racing trim, built a formidable crew with the help of veterans Dave Jarvis and Al Stokes. By the time the NA’s came Tavares was ready and improved with every leg of the course.
Full results HERE
PRO Dave Sprague and his race team were able to get the full schedule of 11 races off with nary a complaint…simply amazing.
A great event with fantastic hospitality courtesy of volunteers and staff National Yacht Club Thank You! Next year’s championship will return to Chicago…see you there.
Richard Reid, Zingara CAN141
Personal Postscript: As for Team Z, we decided to go with our regular Wednesday night crew and see if we could prevail, many of us have been sailing together on this boat for over 15 years, and we still love it! Kudos to my Team of Willy, Gordo, Von, JK, Craiger, Tim, Snoop and Grasshopper couldn’t have done it without you!