July 15, 2016
This year’s North American 5.5m Regatta attracted three US boats to face off against their three Canadian counterparts in picturesque Midland, Ontario on gorgeous Georgian Bay June 10-12.
It was glorious to see USA 51 Purple Haze, USA 102 Aeolus II and O’l Spice join CAN 31 Summer School, CAN 3 Jill Dansk and CAN 22 Nantoria for a weekend of sailing and socializing.
For the third year in a row Midland Bay Sailing Club graciously hosted the event providing experienced race committee and dockage. The regatta doesn’t happen without the generosity of Bay Port Yachting Centre who launch and haul all the boats for free, even arranging to have three wooden boats take-up in the Travel Lift slings overnight.
The weekend saw many close finishes and thrilling starts including one recall on three boats who forced each other over the line pressing for every inch of advantage.
Wild weather delivered ferocious winds forcing the cancellation of Sunday’s races however eight races were completed in Friday and Saturday competition. Adjusted scores saw Dan Rossi, skippering USA 51 Purple Haze, take the winner’s burgee back home to Annapolis, Maryland.
While competition is serious, the focus and attraction of the North Americans is also on camaraderie as these dedicated sailors save and resurrect these stunning, sleek sailing craft.
Fascinating tales emerge like John Heintzman sharing stories of his family sailing USA 102 Aeolus II, now belonging to and restored by Ann Arbor’s Joe Lambert.
The weekend begins with an informal gathering hosted by Bill and Anne Mills, followed by Friday pub night dinner at the Midland Bay Sailing Club. Matt and Cheryl Thurley’s epic Saturday dinners are legendary and the weekend is capped off with a Sunday meal and awards presentation at the clubhouse hosted by the Canadian crews.
Owning a 5.5 is truly a labour of love and at the NorAms it is fabulous how everyone works together, providing spare parts and expertise to repair broken rigging and major leaks to get everyone back out on the race course.
Visiting competitors are billeted with local Canadian crews and we are sending out the call to all 5.5m owners in North America. We have lots of room so plan to join us in June 2017 for the North American 5.5m Regatta.
Photo credits: Jennifer Harker and David Lister