by Anne Sanderson
This year’s Fall Round the Island presented both the participants and Race Officer, Stephen Jones, with some challenges even before leaving the dock. Light winds, fog and light showers all prevailed. The wind direction dictated an in-harbour start, a rare occurrence in many years.
Speed was not a factor on the start line as the winds had almost completely stalled during the starting sequence. Stephen and his team prevailed and were succesful in getting all divisions started. Heading towards the eastern gap, there was a large collection of sailboats that seemed to be parked along the north of Toronto Island. Upon closer inspection, as the racers proceeded through the harbour, the boats were identified as RCYC’s fleet, who were also participating in their final race of the season.
The two fleets converged as they entered the eastern gap with each boat struggling to find wind to move them along. Numerous calls of “starboard” and “room” were heard as both fleets began their slow crawl through the eastern gap. It became a race of patience for everyone and as the rain continued to fall and the lack of wind continued, the call of retiring began to be heard on the radio. RCYC decided to finish each boat individually and drove their committee boat and mark boat through the fleet providing each participant with its own finish signal.
Stephen and his crew had had moved Grand National to the first available mark of the course, located at the entrance to the eastern gap, to shorten the course. Anchored, they waited for the fleet to arrive. Those still in the race eventually reached Grand National, and were awarded with a sound signal. Engines were then turned on and the fleet proceded back to NYC. The end of a good season!