Dickinson is my only challenge, says Bailey
Sailing supremo Rudy Bailey predicts this year’s Long Distance Comet Race will be a two-boat battle between himself and arch rival Stevie Dickinson.
Over the decades the two men have dominated the event and this year promises to be no exception as Edward Cross Cup holder Bailey and Dickinson seek to add to their remarkable legacies in the biggest race on the annual Comet schedule.
“It’s only one boat I’m racing against and we all know who that is,” Bailey said. “Stevie is the one I consider as my challenge and as far as I’m concerned the rest of the guys are just out there participating. I consider Stevie as the guy I need to beat. He’s got 15 (Long Distance titles), I’ve got 11 and none of the other guys are close to where we are.”
Even though Bailey has yet to make an appearance in a Comet race this year he is confident of putting in a solid showing during the June 17 race from the Great Sound to St George’s Harbour via the North Shore.
“I’ll just show up for the Long Distance Race with whatever rust, mould or mildew I have and either win or lose,” he said. “I’m going to show up and go out there and try and defend my title.”
When asked why he had yet to compete this year, Bailey replied: “I have a lot of personal stuff going on and I’m not actually in the sailing frame of mind.”
Bailey has tentative plans to compete in the Long Distance Race with either daughter Danielle or sibling George.
“It’s either going to be with my daughter or George who sailed with me last year,” he said.
As well as capturing an 11th Long Distance title, last year saw the Somerset resident excel on the international stage where he won a fourth North American Comet Championship and third Comet International Championship in the United States.
The veteran sailor has opted not to defend his North American title this year because of conflicting sailing commitments in Ohio but will defend his Comet International Championship.
Bailey said he preferred sailing abroad these days because it provides him with new challenges.
“I like racing locally but I want to go overseas to further myself,” he said. “I don’t want to waste my time just doing the local stuff. I prefer doing to international stuff to show what I’ve got.”