Flagpole race wide open, says Dickinson
The first major piece of silverware of the Comet Class season is up for grabs tomorrow in the Flagpole to Flagpole Race from Hamilton Harbour to St George's Harbour.
The annual race will feature sailors from host club East End Mini Yacht Club, Mid Atlantic Boat Club and West End Sail Boat Club.
East End Mini Yacht Club stalwart Stevie Dickinson is the reigning champion and is back to defend his title with crew Pat Young.
The pair have already enjoyed success this year having won the Mid Winter Regatta and are firm favourites to retain their crown.
Even though Dickinson “feels pretty good” about his chances of defending his title, he is not taking anything for granted in a race he believes is wide open.
“I think there are quite a few guys who can win it, so you cannot take anything for granted because anything is possible,” Dickinson said. “These guys have improved and just keep getting better and better.
“But Pat and I feel pretty good and have been sailing pretty fast, and we are definitely going to try to be in the mix because you don't go into a race and plan on coming second.
“You have to be positive about these things if you are planning on winning, and if you don't then at least you tried.”
Among those who pose a threat to Dickinson's title defence is Gladwin Lambert, from West End Sail Boat Club, who is coming into the race with some momentum after winning an interclub regatta in his previous outing.
“I had everything together last Sunday and I just have to continue that,” Lambert said.
“I'm feeling pretty good, especially the way the boat is sailing. But, even though you have a fast boat you still have to go the right way so hopefully things work out on the day.”
One skipper that Dickinson doesn't have to worry about is Rockal Evans, the national Comet champion and 2020 Olympic hopeful, who sets sail on the Spirit of Bermuda for Newport, Rhode Island tomorrow.
The triple-masted sloop is making its third straight appearance in the Newport Bermuda Race that gets under way on June 17.
Tomorrow's Flagpole to Flagpole Race will be contested in light to moderate westerly breezes, conditions that should make things interesting for the racing fleet as they make their way towards the East End.
“When it comes to a long distance race, you have to get off the line and position yourself well and depending on where the wind is just sail as fast as you can,” Dickinson said.
Tomorrow's Flagpole to Flagpole race is scheduled to begin at 11am.