PUT-IN-BAY - Light winds and tight competition got the Inter-Lake Yachting Association's 111th annual Sail Regatta off to a good start yesterday, even though a smaller fleet than usual was on the starting line.
"It's always a real nice sailing race at Bay Week when the wind doesn't die," said Matt Kern, whose Pearson 26, Discover, beat Darryll Headley's Mehitabel by a narrow margin in the Jib-and-Main division Class B.
"We were watching Mehitabel the whole time," Kern said. "We rounded Starve Island Reef light with them; then they took off real fast. That boat is scary downwind."
"But when we rounded Ballast Island, we put some distance on them and were 35 seconds ahead at the finish."
"We had good conditions, but most of all we had a good crew," he said.
About 87 boats raced in the first event of the three-day series, in addition to a 38-boat field competing in the Tartan Ten North American Championships, held in conjunction with the regatta.
"A lot of people would love to come here, but it's really hard to find crew," said Jim Davis of North Cape Yacht Club.
''I think that has a major effect on the number of boats that participate."
Orange Crate, co-skippered by Davis and his wife, Chris, placed second in JAM B, where only 48 seconds separated the first three boats.
Preliminary results had Orange Crate first, but later calculations showed that Dragon Lady had actually won.
"We thought she had us by 15-20 seconds and that turned out to be right," Jim Davis said. "They were about six minutes behind us and they owed us seven minutes [on handicap] so we couldn't sail against them, but they had good competition with us all the time.
"We probably lost 20 seconds in mistakes today, letting boats get past us on the downwind leg."
Jeff and Marilyn Mackay's Wizard, of North Cape, was the top boat in the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet division Class C.
Ronald Hamilton's Powder Hound took second and Racer X, co-skippered by Matt Dubois and Roger Pollock, was third.
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