MacMillan Cup – October 24, 2015
McMillan cup is a high profile regatta featuring teams from two divisions fighting to qualify for Kennedy Cup, the American National Championships.
The Keelboat Team journeyed to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis to do battle in the Navy 44s. With the team spread thin across the three regattas and volunteering commitments, a mixed team of rookies and vets set out on Friday for a training session before racing. Boat speed and handling came together nicely and spirits rose in anticipation of the racing.
Saturday morning opened strong, with great upwind speed clinching a second place behind Navy. Despite a valiant effort by the team, spinnaker troubles and tactical errors led to challenging races for the rest of the day, with a fifth place, a fourth, and a disappointing seventh to close. Nevertheless, Queen’s was in Fourth place overall at the end of the day, and first in their division. The debrief on Saturday night focused on ensuring conservative tactical plays, improving downwind boatspeed, and continuing the trend of great pace upwind.
With their game plan in mind, the Gaels braved the rain and set out Sunday morning and scored a solid second place, maintaining speed and composure in the lightening breeze. The second race of the day opened strong with a daring yet near-perfect start, but a strategic error upwind led to a frustrating position at the top mark, and Queen’s found themselves at the back of the pack. The team took stock and rallied, and fought back two boats to get themselves to seventh place. Tense but tenacious, the windward warriors steeled themselves for the last race of the day in light and shifty conditions caused by the breaking clouds creating an opposing thermal and massive right shifts. Off the start, Queen’s audaciously split from the rest of the fleet. Committed to the left corner, the decision paid dividends as the breeze turned off in the side of the course. The top three boats left the rest of the fleet in the dust, and Queen’s sailed a conservative race to finish in third place. The results tallied, the Gaels finished fourth overall and qualified first in their division, earning the honour to represent Canada at Kennedy Cup this November.
Thanks to the US Naval Academy and their volunteers for hosting such a great event!