No change in Comet date, says Lambert
Next year’s Long Distance Comet Race will go ahead as planned, organisers have confirmed.
There had been doubts whether the 76-year-old offshore race would be held on its traditional date because of the America’s Cup J Class Regatta taking place on the same day.
However, Gladwin Lambert, the Comet Class president and former West End Sail Boat Club commodore, confirmed that the race involving the double handed, one-design Comet dinghy will be held on the June 19 National Heroes Day holiday as usual.
“There is no America’s Cup match racing in the Great Sound and with the J boats racing offshore I see no reason that we should cancel our race,” said Lambert, whose late father Canute won the inaugural race from Somerset to St George’s on the original racecourse.
“We really want to show the respect that the largest sailing event worldwide is taking place in Bermuda and because of the scheduling we see no reason why not to race on that day. I think it can help to enhance our spectators because it’s another regatta on that day to entertain people.”
Lambert revealed that next year’s race will involve overseas Comet sailors.
“We already have confirmed two overseas skippers,” the two-times Long Distance Comet Race winner said. “We have had overseas sailors take part in the race, so this will not be the first time.”
Mark Hass, of the United States, is the first and only overseas skipper to date to win the prestigious race having done so in the early Nineties.
Lambert said the race is open to all local sailors from across the various classes based on island.
“We have 28 boats on the island that are ready to go and last year we got about 18 boats to race, so there is some extra boats around,” he said. “We could see sailors from other classes in Bermuda taking part in the Long Distance Race, which is also something we have had in the past.”
The next Long Distance Comet Race, hosted by the West End Sail Boat Club, will start in the Great Sound and conclude in St George’s Harbour. The inaugural race, held in 1944, and saw the fleet sail through Ferry Reach. Only six of the 21 boats that started finished the first race, which was won by Lambert’s father, as a result of heavy weather. Racing for the Edward Cross Cup began in 1945.
The late West End Sail Boat Club skipper and carpenter crafted the 22-inch trophy, which bears his name, himself from cedar. Stevie Dickinson, the East End Mini Yacht Club skipper, has won the race a record 19 times, including the previous four.
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