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Bailey’s title bid wrecked by Irene

Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc on Rudy Bailey’s Comet International Regatta title defence in Maryland last month.

The veteran sailor finished fifth in an overall fleet of 17 boats in a regatta reduced to three races because of the approaching hurricane that ravaged the US East Coast.

Bailey left the island confident of defending his crown against his North American rivals. But in the end it wasn’t to be as American Wick Dudley won the shortened regatta.

Bailey’s best showing arrived in the opening race when he finished third.

The Bermudian led most of the way but fell off the pace after the wind dropped out, leaving him virtually dead in the water as Dudley came from the back of the fleet to take line honours

“He just sailed around me with the brand new wind from behind and all I could do was watch,” Bailey said. “I led right up to about 300 yards from the finish line and then the wind dropped out.

“I was so disappointed with the conditions, it was extremely light and shifty.”

With the threat of hurricane Irene looming, organisers had contemplated cancelling this year’s Comet International Regatta after an evacuation notice had been issued.

“Because of the storm we had to evacuate. But instead of cancelling it altogether we tried to get in as many races as possible and we were lucky to get them in,” Bailey said.

“As soon as we completed the three races they (organisers) had a quick prize presentation and then everybody packed up and bailed.”

If it was any consolation, the veteran sailor was overly pleased with the performance of nephew crewman Antonio Bailey.

“Antonio was with me last year when we won but I think he sailed better this year than he did last year,” he said. “It was disappointing that we weren’t able to get the whole regatta in. But at least we did get to sail.”

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Published September 09, 2011 at 9:14 am (Updated September 09, 2011 at 9:14 am)

Bailey’s title bid wrecked by Irene

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