Ganges BC Salt Spring Island Sailing Club Hot Rum Race
The annual New Year’s Day Hot Rum Race was another success and kicked off Salt Spring Island Sailing Club racing season. The new Fleet Captain (racing) Greg Slakov had us all guessing with the reverse handicap Le Mans start. It was a little hectic on the club breakwater before the start with skippers prepping their Salt Spring crews. Jeremy Milson’s cool-looking cat rig Nonesuch 22 was the scratch boat and showed us how to get off the breakwater in 1 knot of wind. With a light wind blowing off Salt Spring the fleet tacked back and forth out of the harbour with IMP and CALIENTE swapping the lead. Unfortunately there was a parking lot (no wind area) set up just before the Ganges Shoal mark and the fleet slowed to a crawl. JJ FLASH J 39 accomplished a peel change and flew a light weight headsail to no avail. As we sat there paying our parking tolls the Wylie fox of the fleet, Roger Kibble in ELECTRA, skirted the Sister Islands and either had a current push or a light wind off the rocks but it was enough to get him near the front at the mark. This apparent luck may have been provided having a brand new to Salt Spring sailor Philippe Erdmer on board for his first race with the club. Finally in the distance we could see it coming; the parking pass all sailors wait for, the wind. It filled in nicely and the fleet was off to the mark.
Once around the mark the spinnakers where launched but it had been some time since they had been out of their warm dry turtles. Never have I seen so many spinnakers in the water or tangled on the decks and so many long faces on the hapless skippers. Maybe it had to do with the late night cheers and clinking of champagne glasses. For those of us that actually flew our chutes it was a glorious romp back into the harbour. Even though someone mentioned it was raining it was not raining on our parade of boats. Roger was the first across the line and we all went up to the club house where an enthusiastic team of dedicated club members, led by Jim and Sandi Ballantyne and Susan Paynter, had a lunch prepared for everyone. Jim stood by with the hot rum and made sure everyone’s spirits where well fortified.
By Scott Simmons
If you missed it don’t worry every new years day there will be the hot rum race as long as there is rum the race will go on.