GETTING READY FOR THE MELGES 24 WORLDS IN VICTORIA
June 2, 2018 - Victoria, BC, Canada - The sailors from all over the world arriving to Victoria, Canada for the first ever Melges 24 World Championship held here, were welcomed by the local hospitality of Royal Victoria Yacht Club and the Victoria International Marina, where the Melges 24 Worlds are held from May 31 to June 9, 2018. The brand-new marina literally opened its doors in the first place to the Melges 24 family before even moving in itself.
The brand-new venue
"We are in full ready-mode with the slips scrubbed, supplies stocked, and every last surface polished to a delightful gleam. The brand-new marina is ready to cater to the sophisticated, international audience descending upon Victoria in preparation for the regatta. We're also excited to share the gorgeous Pacific Marine Lifestyle with the Melges24 community. It is with tremendous pride that we are now hosting our very first esteemed regatta so soon after opening," said Steve Sinclair, the Director of Operations of the Victoria International Marina.
Check-in, briefing and social
May 31 and June 1 in the marina were full of action, while the teams were arriving to check-in, do their final registration, filling in the forms, checking equipment, measuring sails and boats and weighing crews. The piers in the marina got their first ever customers and marina got filled up with more than 40 Melges 24 boats. Organizing Committee led by Terry Stamper with a big bunch of dedicated volunteers did an amazing job to get this all running very smoothly and easy for the sailors.
By the evening of the second registration day both the organizers and sailors were quite ready with the procedures and were anxious to start racing in Victoria Waterfront, for the title of the Melges 24 Canadian National Champion. The Skippers Meeting for the Worlds' pre-event was led by the Championship Coordinator of the International Melges 24 Class and the PRO of the event, John Abel, who was thankful for the tremendous devotion of the event host Royal Victoria Yacht Club, and co-hosts Canadian Forces Sailing Association with great assistance from the Diamond Sponsor Victoria International Marina. The Sailing Instructions of the regatta were discussed, highlighting most important topics in the document.
Mariah D. McCooey, the Harbour Master/Port Manager for Victoria Public Harbour and Victoria Water Airport, welcomed the event to Victoria Harbour and highlighted the Victoria Harbour transit regulations due to the fact that it is a Marine Aerodrome with as many as 120 landings or takeoffs each day. Additionally, a significant amount of commercial traffic regularly enters and leaves the harbour.
Duncan Stamper, Vice Chairman Americas of the International Melges 24 Class Association, was thanking the sailors for coming to Victoria because without them it wouldn't be such an international event. He was grateful to the sponsors for their amazing support and welcomed Melges 24 sailors from all over the world in his home town and wished the racers good sportsmanship and fair sailing in a battle for the title of the Melges 24 Canadian Nationals and Worlds. "We hope that you have fair winds, good racing and enjoy your time here with us in Victoria!" he said. The evening in the Victoria International Marina was time to catch up with fellow racers over tasty bites and local thirst quenching drinks.
Melges 24 Canadian Championship, considered also as the Pre-Worlds, started Saturday morning with too little wind to race and the AP flag was hoisted in the marina. After some cooler days the summer is back in Victoria and with the lack of wind the fleet of 41 Melges 24 teams from four nations - Australia, United Kingdom, United States and Canada - relaxed in the shadow of the postponement. However, after two hours the waiting was over, AP flag lowered and the fleet was heading to the race course A near to the Esquimalt Lagoon. The wind was building up to five knots and it was too tight in the starting line to keep it clear resulting to the General Recall. The second attempt to start Race 1 was more balanced and also clear to send them off.
The first race day had wind in the 4-6 knot range from the South; the current was also starting to build into a flood. The local racers from RVicYC dominated in the first race, and lead the fleet to the right side of the course looking for better pressure and current relief. The current can be a big factor when racing in the Pacific Northwest, and a few boats struggled to gauge the lay line to the weather mark, making for some position changes at the mark. The race committee didn't hesitate to drop a change mark to account for the slight change in wind direction, and keep the racing fair. The second race saw the weather mark positioned closer to Albert Head, some boats now flirted with the middle and slight left side of the course upwind. The downwind legs of a race are always the most picturesque, and in the Melges 24 fleet are absolutely the most thrilling. The fleet with bright coloured spinnakers looked stunning, set to the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains. Victoria is a very beautiful place to sail and the first day of racing was sure to impress.
Top 5 of the Day One at the Melges 24 Canadian Nationals:
USA201 - Dale Serbousek - Bellingham YC - 5-2 - 7 pts
CAN151 Sunnyvale - Fraser McMillan - Royaly Victoria YC - 3-8 - 11 pts
CAN415 Full Circle - Robert Britten - Royal Vicotria YC - 1-11 - 12 pts
USA851 Monsoon - Bruce Ayres - NHYC - 13-1 - 14 pts
CAN222 Light Scout - Kirk Palmer - Royal Vicotria YC - 2-12 - 14 pts
Photos of Day One by Thomas Hawker
Tomorrow the forecast looks to have a noticeable increase in pressure, and the Melges 24 sport boats will really light up downwind reaching speeds comparable to most speed boats.
There are many great places to spectate the racing from land, today anyone enjoying Esquimalt Lagoon or Sax Point park would have had a great show. If the race committee sets the course off the waterfront, Dallas Road and Clover Point are the place to be to watch the racing.
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