Nigel Cochrane Reports from San Diego International Masters – Canadians Perform

SinC San Diego International Masters

November 2, 2022

Photo: McLaughlin takes a start

Three Canadian teams led by Nigel Cochrane from Vancouver, Bill Abbot from Sarnia and Terry McLaughlin from Toronto participated in the International Masters Regatta hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club last week. The regatta was extremely hard fought right to the end; best showing was McLaughlin’s second place.

Results can be found HERE

Below is Nigel Cochrane’s report:

If you ever get invited to the SDYC International Masters…Go! Just say yes and go right away as you never know who is going to turn sixty the year following and you may never get invited again. It was an honour to be invited and if there ever was an event that it was respectable to come last, this event would be it. I felt like I was competing against the combined power of the US and Canada sailing hall of fame with Augie Diaz, Peter Isler, Mark Reynolds, Terry McLaughlin, and Billy Abbott to name just a few of my childhood mentors.

SinC San Diego International Masters 2 400Tight starts: Nigel just to leeward of Augie Diaz, the eventual winner

The organization and hospitality of the SDYC are top notch and as winner Augie Diaz: “I have competed at many great clubs around the world and I have never been to a club that I would rate over the SDYC”. Amen to that. With this event being the warmup to the Lipton Cup later this fall there is a sailing fever in the air and everyone felt the pressure to perform. 

The hosts towed a large dock down to the racecourse where we switched boats between races. Everyone sailed each boat exactly one time and there were almost as many volunteers (45) for the event as there are racers which made everything just come together very smoothly.

Left: Bill Abbott at the wheel; Abbott took 3 bullets in 11 races / Right: At the offset mark

SinC San Diego International Masters 4 400SinC San Diego International Masters 5 400

The J105s are very evenly matched with just a couple of exceptions but each one had its own distinct personality. There were not any slow boats just a couple of fast ones. Winning in a boat that another skipper had a poor finish was real pay back for the boat reps. Having 50% with tillers and 50% with wheels put the pressure on us to adjust between races and it was certainly fun watching Billy Abbott on a wheel – he looked like he might turn the wrong way at any moment. 

Much kudos and thanks to everyone at the SDYC especially JR and his team. I understand that I may have accidently reduced the two cases of bribery wine to Vince Brun for the invite to just one. Get your bribes in early before word gets out and it gets bumped back up to two. The initial party to commence the regatta was a “Taste of Point Loma” – local restaurants with food stations under tents on the lawn, sold out to 650 people plus competitors – an amazing party and a highlight of the event.

SinC San Diego International Masters 7 400The McLaughlin team: Terry McLaughlin, Fraser Howell, Sandy Andrews, Rod Wilmer, Andrew Van Nostrand, and Allan Megarry at SDYC

My personal highlight was port tacking the fleet in race number one right off the start. My dad would have been proud of that classic Rikki move. There were some pros sprinkled throughout the fleet and after a couple of mess-ups at various times I noticed there was a big difference being yelled at from a pro sailor than from a Corinthian.

Much thanks go to the Royal Vancouver YC executive and membership for supporting international keelboat racing. This is a new initiative at the club and one other clubs, if they are not doing so already, should follow. Past Commodore Bob Matthews came down with us to cheer us on and float the idea of a west coast series of international club events. We need more club sponsored events in keeping with this this kind of competitive level and hospitality. I also want to make a special shout out to my crew members: Russell Booth on bow, spinnaker trimmer, Damien King, middle John Polglase, jib trim Gary Minielly and tactician Darren Burns.

Keep sailing fast but more importantly enjoy your time on the water with your teammates. Life is short, enjoy the moments we have together and especially when they are on the water.

-Nigel Cochrane

SinC San Diego International Masters 6 400Photo: Each boat switch moved the skip’s name too

Nigel Cochrane has represented Canada in two Olympic Games – Seoul and Barcelona – and coached three different countries: USA, Canada, and Spain in Beijing, London, and Rio. In addition, some of Cochrane’s most cherished accomplishments include a 4th place finish at the 470 World Championships in 1988, a Gold medal at the 1991 Pan Am Games in Cuba, and a Gold medal at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle.





Watch the recap of the 2022 International Masters Regatta here:


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