Chester Race Week Sees Strongest Race Participation in Years

Chester Race Week (CRW), Canada’s largest keelboat race, came to a close after four days of racing around Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia on August 19.

With 125 boats sailing 97 races in 12 separate classes, 2023’s CRW boasted registry numbers not seen in over half a decade or more.

The on-water chair for the annual regatta, Patricia Nelder, said this year’s CRW saw yet another year of exciting races, good entertainment and happiness from both the spectators and sailors.

“Everyone seemed happy. Our participants seemed very happy,” said Nelder. “The onshore stuff, from what I understand was absolutely fabulous.”

The festivities on land at CRW were awash in live music, with headlining bands like Hopping Penguins, Merimac, The Mellotones, Dark & Stormy and Rec Room Jams as well as solo performances from Guy Paul Thibault, Terry Jagger, Joe H Henry and Shawn Hebb.

The Bluenose II, a replica of the original Bluenose schooner, arrived to kick off the races in a proceeding Nelder described as “magical” for herself and many of the racers and spectators.

“They are so good with their timing. She put up her sails and right at 10:00 o’clock, she sailed through the harbour and let off her cannons, which I thought was just spectacular,” said Nelder. “It was absolutely gorgeous to see her.”

A highlight of every CRW is the Bluenose class one-design race, which saw 32 of the vessels competing over 12 races. Lisa Ross, a Lunenburg, N.S. native and two-time Olympian in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, featured in the races aboard her Bluenose Hot Sauce. Ross and Hot Sauce showed off her Olympic acumen by coming out on top of 31 other competitors.

Nelder wanted to recognize the hard work of all the volunteers, without whom Chester Race Week would not be possible, as well as the continued support of their sponsors who help make the event what it is every year.

“It wouldn’t happen without the volunteers that we get that come out every year to make it happen,” said Nelder. “They are very much an important part.”

Atlantic Boating Magazine and its affiliate company, Ocean Yacht Sales, are proud to have sponsored and supported Chester Race Week once again this year. The race results for 2023 are available at www.chesterraceweek.com.

Photos by Tracey Wallace

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