July 25, 2017
Rob Dunbar sent us this wrap-up of this year’s ARK Regatta held at the Bedford Basin Yacht Club on July 8 and 9.
Every July dinghy sailors across Canada, the United States and this year as far away as China congregate at the Bedford Basin Yacht Club to showcase their skills which may very well be the beginning of an elite sailing career. Or at the very least provide young sailors (8-18) with the opportunity to experience an event they will never forget. That is one of the beauties about this regatta. At its inception during the 1970s which has always been held at BBYC, the ARK regatta was a qualifying event for the summer Olympics however as other events took over that role this provided ARK with the opportunity to promote junior sailing to all skill levels and still compete in a CYA sanctioned regatta. Bravo Zulu!!
On the first morning of competition the rain pounded down enthusiastically resulting in a lengthy postponement. Some jokingly said “……we should all get together and start building an ARK”. When the rain stopped plans for construction were halted and a platoon of skippers, crews, coaches, parents and volunteers set out to rig and launch 119 boats.
With rigged boats and restless crews waiting for the wind to fill in it was finally launch time. With masterful precision 70 boats were launched side-by-side from the concrete ramp. With pre-raised sails, all boats were launched from the ramp and essentially sailed from the beach which left me in awe. Next up was 49 Opti-International boats to launch which brought nostalgic tears to my eyes as It gave me flashbacks to my own childhood. For it was on this same body of water, the Bedford Basin, better known for the convoys of Allied ships in route to Europe where I was introduced to sailing.
Light sir sailing was the rule of the day which requires steady attention to strategy. A winning skipper pays close attention to: lifts and headers, sail trim, slow tacks, and even more deliberate movement in the cockpit so as not to destroy any kinetic energy. It’s these kind of conditions, that instill a solid foundation to anyone’s sailing skills and once that is mastered it’s much easier to navigate in heavy air.
After a successful day of racing the boats are de-rigged for the night and the rigging and launching process is repeated in the morning. Wow!! That’s a lot of work but it goes off with great precision like the Royal Nova Scotia Tattoo. With a slightly higher wind the intense racing continued on all 3 courses reminiscent of the America’s Cup.
The overwhelming need for proper organization of both on-shore and on-water logistics dictates that the organizing committee work diligently for many months prior to the regatta. It’s not a simple case of inviting people to the club for some races. Rather, the needs of all competitors must be anticipated which often include: transportation, proper nutrition and sleeping arrangements, boat maintenance if needed, and other items that are far from the public eye like obtaining insurance and site clean-up after the event. Logistics dictates that the organizing committee work diligently for many months prior to the regatta.
A regatta of this magnitude calls for meticulous planning by the regatta committee dedicated volunteers and of course none of this could be accomplished without sponsorship support. When it comes to getting quality boat parts Atlantic Canada The Binnacle is at the forefront. On a personal note, I’ve been shopping at The Binnacle both in person and online for almost 15 years and I often refer to them as a sailor’s Mecca. http://ca.binnacle.com/.
Until Next Year
Photo Credit: R. Dunbar