by Tom Wicks
Under sunny, blue skies and fluky winds (3-9 knots) on the Rappahannock River October 1-3, the 26th annual Hospice Turkey Shoot Regatta (HTSR) returned to its traditional two-day race format.
The HTSR benefits Hospice Support Services of the Northern Neck and Riverside Hospice. The competition is for mono hulls 18 feet or longer, with designs older than 20 years. This year’s 88 entries ranged from Typhoons to a 43-foot Mason.
Finding the stronger wind and avoiding slowing river currents were the keys to success both days, according to principal race officer (PRO) Jerry Latell. It was a challenge to set up fair courses for the racers on both days given the light and shifting winds.
The first race, Saturday, was a traditional round-the-buoy race, with each division of similarly rated boats starting together. Fleet A (faster boats) sailed an 8-mile course and Fleet B sailed a 5-mile course, 65 of the 73 boats that started finished within the time limit.
Sunday’s Pursuit race, where the slowest boats started first with fastest last, began with 8-9 knot winds and then dropped to under 3 knots on much of the course. For a long while it looked like no boat would finish….
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