May 24, 2018
By Rick Thompson
The year 2018 marked the 66th year of Bermuda International Race Week. Much has changed over the years, but one thing constant has been the participation of the International One-Design fleet. This year, 13 boats were on the line for five days of racing, with competitors from Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Bermuda, and Sweden. Racing started on Sunday, but Mother Nature unleashed high winds and rain that delayed the start for the IOD’s until mid-afternoon. Two races were held, and the Bermuda team skippered by Martin Siese rose to the top. The locals were followed in the standings by former world champs John Burnham and Peter Rugg, of Fishers Island, USA, and three-time Bermuda Race Week champ Peter Wickwire of Chester, Nova Scotia.
Peter Wickwire (3rd from r) of Chester, NS and Team Chester
The second day of racing arrived with beautiful blue skies and gentle breezes, a refreshing pattern that held for the rest of the week. After three more races, the positions at the top had not changed with the Bermudian team still in pole position. However, two British teams began closing in on the leaders. Oli Dix, of Royal Thames Yacht Club, and Mark Wincer, of Haven Ports Yacht Club, sailed consistently and moved into contention as well.
Day 3 showed that experience and consistency mattered, and Wickwire surged to the top, well in front of Burnham and Rugg in second and Siese in third. Along with Wickwire, the top scoring teams of the day were John Corby, a Daring Fleet sailor from Cowes in the UK, and Timmy Dittrich, from Marblehead, USA.
With four races left over two days, there was still opportunity to make gains, but Wickwire emphatically closed out the regatta with three firsts and a second to secure the Vrengen Cup for the week’s best score—his fourth such victory.
It should be noted that competitors changed boats each day to give as level a playing field as possible for the participants.
This year saw a couple of value-added events for our guests coming to Bermuda. On the Saturday proceeding the racing, Bermuda hosted the “World Triathlon Professional Competition”. The triathletes swam in Hamilton Harbour, cycled and ran around the city. Our participants who arrived on the Friday had a front row seat in viewing this exciting event.
In addition to the Triathlon, we all were treated to a slide presentation by John Burnham of “IOD Sailing, 80 Years Young!” on Thursday evening at the RBYC. It was standing room only and a terrific presentation.
This annual Regatta would not be possible without many organizations, their staff members, and hard-working volunteers who made it a success. The week was sponsored by Bacardi, hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, and officiated by chief race officer Somers Kempe, a top-notch multi-national jury, and volunteers on and off the racecourse. Critical to the events’ continued success is the generosity of the boat owners and competitor hosts, as well as the Bermuda IOD committee members who maintained the boats and provided the organizational support needed by the competitors.
As the afterglow of success for Race Week starts to fade in our memories, all can look forward in the knowledge that this regatta will happen once again next year. Same time, same place!
Team Chester racing 1,3,4 Credit: Tom Clarke
Team Chester portrait Credit: Anne Hyde