Smith and Dickinson among challengers
Next week’s National Heroes Day celebrations will also coincide with the 75th annual Long Distance Comet Race, hosted by the West End Sailboat Club.
Although the first Long Distance Race took place on May 20 1944, the race was subsequently moved to what was the Queen’s Birthday Holiday, and is now National Heroes Days, which falls on Monday this year.
That first race in 1944 had 12 boats in the fleet, but this year, the 75th Annual Edward Cross Long Distance Comet Race has surpassed that number and will host 16 boats. The race will start from West End Sailboat Club at 11am and travel down the North Shore, ending in St George’s Harbour at East End Mini Yacht.
Participants in this year’s Race will include last year’s winning skipper Malcolm Smith, sailing for WESC, in his boat Summer, as well as the most successful skipper in the race so far, Stevie Dickinson, from EEMYC, in his boat Kittyhawk.
Dickinson has won the race 20 times, beginning in 1976 as a 16-year-old in his original boat Scorpian.
The experienced sailor won the race in six times in Scorpian before he purchased the Kittyhawk from Alton Milton, one of the original members of East End Mini Yacht Club.
Alton Millet won the Long Distance Race ten times in the Kittyhawk from 1955 to 1983 and Stevie Dickinson has won the Race 14 times in the Kittyhawk from 1992 to 2017.
In addition to the race itself, all three clubs who participate — West End Sailboat Club, Mid Atlantic Boat and Sports Club and East End Mini Yacht Club, are hosting a number of events to celebrate the 75th anniversary.
In honour of those who got the clubs up and running, some of the older members have been asked to participate in the management of the race this year.
Colin Pearman, a long standing member of the WESC. will be the official starter of the race. Pearman participated a number of times in the 1960s.
In fact, in 1964 he sailed in his boat the Oriel, which he built himself. Warren Foggo Jr, father of Heath Foggo, of the EEMYC, was another Comet sailor, who built his own boat and also built Comets for others.
Foggo will present the awards at the prize presentation, which will take place at East End Mini Yacht at the end of the race, about 3pm.