October 11, 2019
The North American Fall 5.5 regatta was held on 20-22 SEP in Midland, Ontario Canada. Weather was pleasant with moderate temperatures and light breeze predicted for the duration, with a little rain and breeze expected on the final day. Some teams arrived a day early to ready there boats and relax from traveling. For fun, a couple boats joined in on the Wednesday night club handicap racing and finished with impressive results.
Eight boats were in the water and ready to race, but only six teams were available to compete.
Light breezes, clear skies, and pleasant temperatures prevailed. A windward leeward course was set and four races were held. Racing was close at the mark roundings with separation coming from boat handling and tactical maneuvers. Leaders made big gains being first to the lift and breeze. Savage and O’Kelly would find themselves battling it out at the front, with Pride showing moments of brilliance. Nantoria skied their spinnaker halyard on the first race and headed back in to retrieve it. As a result they did not finish the first race, missed the second one, but made it back in time and rallied to take a 1stin the final race of the day.
Conditions from day 1 persisted, but with the added challenges of powerboat wake. The starts were a little more crowded at the committee boat end, and with the pin favorited Savage would set up for a Port start which paid off to establish a lead to 1st. In the second race Pride was shut out at the start by Aeolus. At the front of the fleet O’Kelly, Savage, and Nantoria would be in close quarters at the windward and downwind marks. Position changes would ensue, with O’Kelly taking the lead over Savage. For the final race of the day, winds lighted and waves from boat traffic heighten. Keeping the boats moving was key and Savage appeared to have mastered this to establish the lead and wrap up the day.
The weather forecast was correct with heavy rain in the morning which soon letup with overcast and moderate breeze. For the last day a distance race was planned in hopes the breeze would hold to get all boats in around early afternoon to wrap up the regatta and allow pack up if the boats. The course was a large triangle, with the first leg being a tight spinnaker reach proving some exciting sailing. Arriving at the next mark and clearing Flat Point, crews found more breeze and a tight jibe angle to the next mark to get around Snake Island. About 3/4 down the leg the lead boats couldn’t hold their spinnaker and were pressed down. Pride on the other hand had dug in early and closed the gap on Savage and O’Kelly. The final leg was a beat to the finish across the whole of Midland Bay. Boats that went left closed the gap on the lead boats who chose the middle and right side. O’Kelly established her lead soon after rounding Snake Island which Savage could not get back. Nantoria, who went far left, surprisingly made up a lot of ground to take 3rd ahead of Pride.