Seven up for Bailey in New Jersey
Rudy Bailey is in seventh heaven after retaining his Comet Class Yacht Racing Association International Championship title in New Jersey last weekend.
Racing under the West End Sail Boat Club banner in the one design Comet dinghy, the Bermudian sailor and American crew Gabi Neubelt produced six firsts and a third competing in light to moderate conditions on the Toms River on the way to a second straight win at this event and seventh overall.
“Most of the sailing conditions were pretty much five to 13 knots during the course of the racing, which was right in my sweet spot,” Bailey said.
“I just love all that stuff. I may not sail locally very much these days, maybe once a year. But I still enjoy racing overseas against all these international competitors.
“There were five multiple international champions there, so it was a good fleet.”
Bailey and his crew finished 11 points clear of the second-placed team of Talbot Ingram and crew Lee Ingram, of the Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club, after discarding his worst score at the completion of the seven-race series.
Chris Price Jr and crew Amanda Price rounded off the podium in third.
The triumph was Bailey’s second straight with Neubelt as crew.
“She is tough, just like my daughter Danielle,” Bailey said. “I couldn’t have asked for better wind conditions and a better crew. Gabi was dialled in.
“We had some excellent boat handling and there was only one close mishap on the final day.
“Running dead downwind, my crew had to track halfway forward, so my mast all but turned inside out. We had a comfortable lead so I eased off to try and save the mast and it worked.”
Bailey has also won the championship with Neubelt’s sister, Dominique, on one occasion.
The experienced sailor got his title defence off on the front foot after claiming victory in the only race contested on the opening day of the championship that was abandoned because of shifty winds which made it impossible for the race committee to set a course.
“We were out there for hours and the wind was doing crazy shifts and all that stuff,” Bailey said. “The wind just wouldn’t stabilise.”
Bailey dominated the second day, winning all three races, and then clinched the title with two further wins and a third on the third and final day of the championship.
“We only got one race in the first day because the wind was crazy so we did three races on the final day,” Bailey said.
The championship was hosted by the Ocean Gate Yacht Club.
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