Race Week be­gins

Peter Wil­liams re­calls Char­lot­te­town Race Weeks of past

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY JASON MAL­LOY

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.”

GUARDIAN PHOTO BY JASON MAL­LOY

Peter Wil­liams is aboard The One at the Char­lot­te­town Yacht Club on Wed­nes­day.

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