Race Week begins
Peter Williams recalls Charlottetown Race Weeks of past
Peter Williams reflects back to Charlottetown Race Week’s beginnings as final preparations are done for this year’s competition
Peter Williams reflected back to Charlottetown Race Week’s beginnings Wednesday as final preparations were being done for this year’s competition.
He was the skipper of the Prince Edward Island boat in the Challenge Labatt Canada, a sixleg race, which started in Toronto and ended in Charlottetown, in 1984.
“We were one of the top boats when we got outside the harbour here,” the Charlottetown resident, but “the wind went totally flat and little boats caught us and passed us.”
P.E.I. finished fourth out of 10 boats representing the different provinces.
“Some people who were around . . . saw how big this was, how excited people were and sailing was starting to grow around the Northumberland Strait, so they decided to have a race week,” Williams said.
He noted Charlottetown Yacht Club commodore Doug Hambley was a driving force on the organizing committee.
“Kudos to them,” Williams said, “because there’s a lot of work involved in it.”
The tradition of sailboat racing in Charlottetown began more than 140 years ago. According to club member and historian Harry Holman, the Hillsboro Boating Club operated a popular regatta in Charlottetown as far back as at least 1874.
The first Charlottetown Regatta and Race Week provided an opportunity to attract people from across the region to the city for a few days of racing.
“It was good fun, met a lot of great people. It’s all about the people at the end of the day,” Williams said.
He has been part of winning teams in the past. While he hadn’t committed to a team for this week, he expected he would be on a boat when the races start today.
“It’s become a tradition,” said Helen Blake. “You look forward to the week.”
The Charlottetown resident said sailing is a family-oriented sport enjoyed by a wide-range of ages. She started in the junior program and remains involved in sailing and the yacht club.
“We’re all family,” Blake said, as boats were being scrubbed and others were being put into the water on Wednesday. “It’s a busy day today.”
Peter Williams is aboard The One at the Charlottetown Yacht Club on Wednesday.