The 2018 North Channel Race Week, commonly referred to by sailors as the NCRW, will begin this coming Monday, July 23rd, 2018. This is the fourth year for this event. This is a week long yacht race series featuring a variety of boats from not only the Sault Ste. Marie area, but a variety of others from about the province.
The NCRW is a 5 day, 5 race sailing event that winds its way through the North Channel of northern Ontario. The race begins in Hilton Beach from St. Joseph Island on the Monday going to Thessalon. The following day is a run out into the North Channel from Thessalon ending up in Blind River.
Day 3 is a long run going from Blind River to Spragge and finishes at the beautiful North Channel Yacht Club. From there, on Day 4, the fleet crosses south across the North Channel to finish in Gore Bay. The final day five, typically a great spinnaker leg for the boats that fly them, runs from Gore Bay, over top of Clapperton Island, to finish in downtown Little Current.
The race has two divisions being Spinnaker, and Jib and Main sail fleets. Spinnaker fleet involves those boats that choose to utilize a spinnaker, a large parachute style sail, in their efforts. The Jib and Main sail fleet are those that choose to not use a spinnaker, and use only a standard head sail and main sail.
The event uses Lake Huron PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) ratings, which is a handicapping system used for yacht racing in North America. It allows dissimilar classes of sailboats to be raced against each other. The aim is to cancel out the inherent advantages and disadvantages of each class of boats, so that results reflect crew skill rather than equipment superiority.
Natural High, a 33’ Abbott skippered by Andrew Hallett, will be out again to defend the title of overall winner from the 2017 race. Other local boats returning will be Skyship, a 32’ C&C skippered by Gord Simpson, Blue Teal, a 37′ C&C skippered by Bill Pickering, Echo, a 30′ Nonsuch skippered by Gerry Neave, Caliente, a 36’ C&C R skippered by Johnny Wright, and Dyin Easy, a 30′ Sabre skippered by Greg Barrett.
Returning from other areas, yachts include Harmony II, a 38′ Hughes skippered by Jack Groom from London, Ontario, who took the 2016 Overall title, Banana Wind, a 27’ Mirage skippered by Jim Machum from Little Current, Kazuri, a 36.7’ Beneteau skippered by Stuart Bletcher from Bracebridge, Ontario, and Blue Jacket, a 35’ C&C skippered by Peter Zielleniewski from Chelmsford, Ontario.
The race will be updated on the event’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NorthChannelRaceWeek/. The page also features a variety of photos from previous years’ events.
More information on the event’s sailing instructions, entries and other information can be found at the event’s host site from the Little Current Yacht Club: http://www.lcyc.ca/index.php/north-channel-race-week