Published on May 5th, 2017
by Dayna Nelder, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Our International One Design fleet from Chester, Nova Scotia, has been busy building a reputation in Bermuda. Ted Murphy and crew followed Peter Wickwire’s historic three-peat win with a win of our own at 80th Bermuda International Invitational Race Week on April 30 to May 5, 2017.
The week was made even more memorable with the America’s Cup boats foiling around and through our course in the Great Sound. This year’s BIIRW was hotly contested, with sailors from Bermuda, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States attending the regatta. Only five points separated the top three, with the regatta coming down to the last race. Giles Peckham of Cowes came second, and Patrick Cooper of Bermuda finishing third.
Nothing compares to the sight of IODs barreling towards their leeward gate with the cutting edge of sailing, foiling across their course. It is amazing to think that after eighty-one years of innovations the IOD is still able to make its presence known among these multihulls. Racing in the vicinity of the AC yachts was an awesome contrast of how far sailing has come in the last century and not to mention, a bit distracting! The foiling harmonics are incredible.
Our crew hails from the Chester IOD Fleet. We raced with an all-Nova Scotian team starring our local sailing legend, Jeff Brock, on tactics. The rest of our amazing crew was made up of Jonny Seller on main trim, Dave Wedlake on headsail trim, Jamie Blunden on the bow, skipper Ted Murphy, and myself on panel. Our skipper fell in love with the IOD after racing on the first IOD, Aileen, a few years ago. Our crew found success and managed to secure a qualifying slot to represent Chester this year at BIIRW.
The Bermuda IOD fleet truly knows how to put on a great regatta for its fellow sailors. Thirteen fleets from around the world came to compete and we were all lucky enough to have a place to stay and every day were we able to sail a new boat! During registration there was a boat raffle and the number your skipper picked decided your lot for the week.
After the first day of racing we had our new rivals boats’ memorized for the rest of the week and every day we would look for them on the water to make our moves. Some boats are inherently slightly faster than others, and the pressure is on when there is only a point between your crew and the winning crew and you had their boat the day before and you know how it performed!
The top three competitors spent the first four days trading top finishes. Every race was a grueling quadruple windward-leeward, with lots of time for late shake-ups.
It was the team from Bermuda with skipper Patrick Cooper that set the standard by getting straight bullets the first day. We realized that playtime was over; it was time to get to work and start chipping away. The second day we spent exchanging first place with the skipper Giles Peckham and crew from the Cowes Daring fleet. On the third day, the Cowes crew made it known that they were here to win and followed through with firsts all day. But our time came on the fourth day, when we were able to push for straight bullets.
It came down to the last race to know who would win the overall spot. The pressure was certainly felt and one false move, one missed shift, you could lose your slight edge. The last race featured a number of lead changes in a tricky course close to shore. In the end, we got a 3rd, to Cowes’ 2nd and Bermuda’s 6th, meaning we won the whole week. The first prize was not just bragging rights but for our name on the Vrengen Gold Cup. Let me tell you, the taste of champagne from a cold gold cup in beautiful Bermuda was well worth the bruises and blisters!
Cheers to all of our great competitors, and we hope to see you in Chester for the IOD North Americans in 2018 and the Worlds in 2020.
The full results are available at: https://www.iodfleet.bm/index.php/events/biir/29-biir-2017-results-overall.