Despite some contrary weather just days before the opening of the 39th Annual Regatta Time in Abaco (RTIA) about 30 sailboats sailed through the Sea of Abaco with two taking home the top overall trophies in the RTIA Class and the PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) Class.
Taking top honors overall, based on their finishes in the five Regatta races, was Abaco Glow – a 30 foot Pearson built in 1973. During the week of racing Abaco placed first in all five races giving them the hands down top spot in the PHRF Class.
Having sailed in many RTIA’s since 1991 Andy Burke, owner of Abaco Glow, said the racing was great. “After the first day we had nice wind every day – It was beautiful; Saturday was a great day to cap it off.”
He said it “feels great to win it all and I wish some of my old crew were here, including one of my younger brothers who has been coming for years – he sailed in the first two races but had to go back home. We had a pick up crew the rest of the week who did an excellent job and really enjoyed it.”
He said everything was run well noting that it “would have been nice if we had a few more boats.”
In the face of some challenges, including grounding in the first race and a torn sail in the last, Moose Down pushed passed the competition and won overall in the RTIA Class. Throughout the five races Moose Down earned a first place in their first race, second place in race two, first places in both race three and four and finally a fourth place in the final race.
“The races were great,” said Rick Moore, owner of Moose Down. “We had some light spots early but they filled out nicely and we had 10-14 knots the rest of the time.”
He felt the committee did a “fabulous job with all the races on time and ready to go; it was just perfect.”
“We have all raced down here eight or ten times and winning this regatta was on our mission,” he said. “This is the first time we ever won it.” He added that having a good boat is important but having great people sailing it is better.
He complimented the RTIA Committee saying “I think the idea of a race with a day off is fabulous with time to spend on these islands – such beautiful places – we couldn’t be happier.”
John Novak’s boat, a Corsair 28 named Overdo, took top prize for the week in the Multihull Class.
Abaco’s own Andrew Wilhoyte and his boat Tanglefoot, a Morgan 35 in the RTIA Class, pulled off a second place overall finish with two first place wins throughout the week. In the Mother Tub Class the Abaco Rage won first place in the first race at Green Turtle Cay.
Looking back on the Regatta, Carol Ewing, Race Committee Chairman, said “We’re hoping for a bit of a resurgence, maybe a new look to what we’re doing.” While satisfied with the outcome of the RTIA this year she said that maybe the race committee can do something a little bit different, perhaps offer some different venues to make it a bit more exciting for the sailors and to try to bring in some new sailors from different places and build on the race.
She noted that the wind was very light at Green Turtle so the race was shorter than normal, then it built as the week went along and they had really good weather particularly on the last day. “The weather for the Hope Town race was the best we had for the whole regatta,” she said.
“Despite a passing storm just days before the beginning of RTIA which caused a few cancellations the turnout was still good. We have some real ‘racing types’ who will come regardless of the weather.”
Mrs. Ewing said the turnout was good and that this “is probably the most experienced group of sailors we’ve ever had. The PHRF group had good sailors and the mother tubs also had some really good sailors. We had good sailing all along, didn’t have to wait for people a lot. Overall this is as good as or better than all the races we have done.”