NORTH CHANNEL – The 2019 North Channel Race Week (NCRW) closed out this past Friday, July 26.
The five day/five stage race started in Hilton Beach and finished on Friday in Little Current on Manitoulin Island. The race spent the week winding its way through the North Channel with placings for each stage in two fleet classes as well as an overall for the culmination of all stages.
This year the race had several local boats returning including Natural High, an Abbott 33 skippered by Andrew Hallett; Skyship, a C&C 32 skippered by Gord Simpson; Echo, a Nonsuch 30 skippered by Gerry Neave; and Caliente, a C&C 36 skippered by John Wright.
Several yachts from outside the region were on the roster this year including a Beneteau First 38 skippered by a John Peterson out of Wisconsin, a Shark 24 skippered by a Ric Doedens from Toronto, and returning to defend their overall race win from last year is Harmony 2, a Hughes 38 skippered by Jack Groom from London, Ontario. For stage five/race five, Kazuri, a Beneteau First 36.7 skippered by Stuart Bletcher also jumped in (Kazuri had just completed the Bayview (Port Huron) to Mackinaw race a few days prior).
The overall winner of the week was Marilea, a Shark 24 skippered by Ric Doedens out of Port Credit.
In the Spinnaker Fleet, Charrette, the Beneteau First 28 skippered by John Peterson consistently led the fleet and first across the line most days. However, once PHRF ratings were applied, results varied in the end. Marilea did extremely well, managing to stay with the fleet despite size, placing well on every leg hence the overall title. In the end, Marilea took the overall title in the Spinnaker Fleet class. Skyship, skippered by Gord Simpson out of the Sault also consistently finished well resulting in a solid second place followed by Charrette in third.
In the JAM Fleet, Echo, a Nonsuch Ultra 30 skippered by Gerry Neave from the Sault placed first in every stage finishing well in front of the closest rivals, actually finishing much in line with the Spinnaker Fleet on some races. Eagles Nest, a Hunter 35 skippered by John Johnson from Blind River took second, with Banana Wind, a Mirage 27 skippered by Jim Machum out of Little Current, taking third.