Winds made for great regatta

Bragging rights and a bottle of rum were on the line during the Okanagan Race Week.

Bragging rights and a bottle of rum were on the line during the Okanagan Race Week.

The Penticton Yacht Club hosted a Grand Prix Regatta, which took place the final two days of the Okanagan Race Week on Aug. 24 and 25. Penticton commodore Rudy Enzmann said it went really well with A and B fleets comprised of 15 boats.

“We’d like to see more, but we certainly had 15 very competitive boats,” said Enzmann. “Some of the top racing boats in the Okanagan were here. Although we didn’t have the quantity, we certainly had the quality.”

Hosting all clubs in the Okanagan, the PYC held three of four races on Saturday. One race was cancelled due to a time limit. Southerly winds, up to 20 to 30 knots made for great races. On Sunday, they had three races.

Enzmann said sailors love northerly winds, but southerly winds add more excitement.

“What happens is when you start, instead of racing to Summerland turning around and coming to Penticton, you end up racing to a mark we have in front of the Penticton Lakeside Casino and Resort,” he explained. “From there you are basically sailing downwind towards Summerland.”

The further sail boats get down the lake, the waves get much bigger and the velocity of the wind typically increases.

“Southerlies are generally sporadic and puffy,” said Enzmann, adding that it makes for a nasty trip back but the sailors still enjoy it.

Summerland’s Lyle Thiede was the overall winner sailing in Minimus, a 25-foot sail boat.

Thiede said it was as good as it gets since he won.

“Pretty exhilarating racing,” said Thiede. “We usually don’t get those strong winds. Nice to have it during a regatta.”

Thiede didn’t expect to win during the weekend as he usually places between second and fourth.

“I just went out to have a good time,” he said.

Normally held on a different date, Enzmann said they wanted to have it tie in with the inaugural Challenge Penticton.

“We thought it’s a good visual to have the boats out on the water sailing,” he said.