Stevie Dickinson rules the waves to clinch Edward Cross Long Distance Race crown
Stevie Dickinson and crew Wesley Tucker came from behind to win the 77th Edward Cross Long Distance Race convincingly yesterday.
The pair coped best connecting the dots in the light and shifty conditions to lead the 15-boat Comet fleet across the finish line in St George’s Harbor in a time of 2 hr 39 min 16 sec.
Dale Brangman and 14-year-old crew Tajahri Rogers placed second in 2:42:17 and Alan Frith and Phil Worboys third in 2:42:43 to complete the East End Mini Yacht Club’s clean sweep of the podium.
“I’m sort of excited about this one because we worked really hard for it,” said Dickinson after notching a record 21st triumph in the 18-mile offshore classic. “It was a good, tactical race and I think I gybed more than anybody.”
The experienced skipper hailed Tucker who held his end of the deal.
“Wesley done an excellent job,” Dickinson added. “This is the first time in about 20 years that Wesley has sailed the long distance race with me. We used to be a team and this year we decided that this is what we are going to do.
“I told him if we win this year he is going to skipper the boat next year.
“Next year if he’s alive and I’m alive, I’m crewing and he’s steering.”
Dickinson led the fleet coming off the start at the favoured windward end of the line, but was eventually passed by rival skipper Kelsey Durham and crew Jordan Viera after the fleet split on the North Shore.
However, Dickinson’s gamble to stay in the middle of the pack paid off as he regained the lead after he and Durham crossed on opposite gybes near Tyne’s Bay and managed to cover the fleet the rest of the way to clinch his first win in the prestigious regatta since 2017.
“Some of the fleet went inshore and others went out and I was in the middle just trying to control both sides of the course, which was the most important thing,” Dickinson said.
Victory was all but secured for Dickinson who had extended his lead considerably by the short reach between Fort St Catherine and the Town Cut, leaving fellow East End Mini Yacht Club skippers Brangman and Frith locked in a battle for second behind his transom.
Brangman, the 2019 Edward Cross Long Distance Race winner, ultimately came out on top of a tacking duel with Frith on the short beat to the windward finish line to finish runner up.
“I’m very happy especially after the start I had,” Brangman said. “Stevie and I were fighting for the favoured end of the line and my timing was off and he ended up pushing me over so I had false start.
“I had to turn around and come back and fight from there and overall I am happy with my finish and my crew Tajahri did an excellent job as always.”
Frith was unavailable for comment as he did not come to the dock at East End Mini Yacht.
King Edward VII Gold Cup skipper Durham finished fourth with last year’s champions Maxwell Curtis Jr and crew Stefan Furbert rounding off the top five respectively.
East End Mini Yacht Club sailors stamped their authority on the regatta as they claimed the top six places on the leaderboard.
“It was a clean sweep of the podium and I would just like to congratulate the East End Mini Yacht Club sailors who were also the top six boats to cross the line,” Heath Foggo, the club’s commodore and past race winner, said.
West End Sail Boat Club skipper Antoine Wingood was forced to retire after his boat suffered damage while Malcolm Smith, the multiple sunfish world champion and Pan American Games silver medal winner, did not start after pulling out of the event at the 11th hour.