The RC Laser North American Championship ventured out of the continental United States for the first time. The dates were set for January 28-29, 2017, so it gave those travelling from the north a few days to escape from the cold. One sailor came from Sweden and one arrived by sailboat.
Eight sailors from the U.S. flew in early to see the sites around Abaco. The rest were local Abaco sailors. Wynsome Ferguson with the Ministry of Tourism assisted the competitors with a smooth entry through customs and immigration.
The sailors visited Hope Town, Man-O-War, and Guana Cay. And Friday, a few went to Little Harbour and Pete’s Pub and managed to make it back for the practice race. Competitors and friends gathered at Jim Kaighin’s house for heavy hors d’oeuvres and then went to the art show at Abaco Beach Resort.
Racing started at 10:00am sharp with Tim Sands running the show. It was a beautiful sunny day with NW winds and everyone sailing B-rigs. The crew scored 6 races and split the fleets into gold and silver during lunch.
Jim Kaighin led the gold fleet by one point over Dave Ramos and he was one point ahead of Dwayne Wallas. The points were 6, 7 and 8 respectively. The odd-even format with split fleets kept the scoring close after 6 races and one drop.
Brandon Sands, having boat problems, lost a tie breaker and ended up in Silver fleet.
Racing resumed after lunch with Silver fleet starting first with two back-to-back 2-lap races. Jeff Gale won the first race and Branden won the second race. Dave Ramos won the first gold fleet race, Jim Kaighin won the second race, and Dwayne Wallas won two of the next three.
Everyone agreed to sail a little past the advertised ending time to get six races for a drop. They all looked forward to dinner at the Jib Room for steaks, chicken, and fish.
The forecast for Sunday was for heavier winds and then rain around lunch time. Silver fleet hit the water first with C-rigs. Jeff Gale finished the day with a 1-1-2 and winning the Silver fleet. Branden Sands, from Cherokee Sound, finished the day 2-2-1, and taking second overall in the Silver fleet. Nick Mortgu finished third in the Silver fleet.
The gold fleet only managed to get two races in Sunday morning. As the rain approached, the northwest wind shifted to the north, and northeast and moving the marks caused a delay. A large catamaran near the windward mark gave the sailors trouble with its wind shadow.
Dwayne Wallas unfortunately tapped the rudder of Rocky Cale. Rocky was not able to sail on, and Dwayne had to withdraw, taking him out of the running, but finished third overall in Gold fleet.
They broke for lunch at Snappas hoping the rain would pass, but this was going to be an all-day rain and the afternoon races were cancelled.
Dave Ramos finished second in gold fleet and Jim Kaighin was the overall winner.
There are many people to thank. Tim Sands stepped up as race director running his first ever remote control sailboat regatta and did a fantastic job. Rachel Sands gave up her weekend to set the race marks and retrieve and untangle boats. Ylva Ljungholm came all the way from Sweden, with husband and competitor Anders, to countdown the starts. Lenore Mulock recorded the finishes and Marylee Cale, from Marco Island, totaled the races on the scoreboard.
The top three competitors in silver fleet received handmade dovetail boxes and the top three in gold fleet received half-hull Abaco dinghy models. They also thank the Sawyer family for the use of their dock on the harbour. The Jib Room also stood by as a back-up venue. Thanks also to Bill Albury and Snappas with accommodating us for lunch and the trophy ceremony.
Jim Kaighin Bah 26
Dave Ramos U.S.A. 34
Dwayne Wallas Bah 38
Dave Branning U.S.A. 43
Dave Brawner U.S.A. 46
Rocky Cale U.S.A. 62
Fred DeSantis U.S.A. 68
Roger Baldwin U.S.A. 77
Jeff Gale Bah 41
Branden Sands Bah 51
Nick Mortgu U.S.A. 55
Anders Ljungholm Swe 69
Ken Shaw U.S.A. 69
Dave Mulock Ba 77
Randy Key Bah 88
Charlie Cooke Bah 110