Bailey claims hat-trick of Comet titles

  • Satisfying victory: experienced sailor Rudy Bailey

Rudy Bailey clinched a third straight victory and eighth overall at the Comet International Championships in New Jersey at the weekend.

The experienced West End Sail Boat Club sailor retained the President’s Permanent Trophy with a race to spare competing with 16-year-old American crew Olivia Eagles, who was making her debut in the class.

The pair dominated the regatta, posting five top three finishes, including a first in the second race of the seven- race series.

Such was their lead that they did not have to compete in the final race, which they were allowed to discard as their worst score.

“This win finally gave me my hat-trick [of titles] and I feel satisfied with the final result of hard work,” Bailey said.

“The conditions were extremely tricky. Crazy shifty first day and light breeze while the second day was moderate to strong and still shifting quite a bit.”

Bailey bested a formidable fleet of 23 that included former Olympian, multiple International One Design Class world champion and compatriot Peter Bromby, who finished fifth at the championship.

“It was a sweet victory against skilled sailors and doing it in unfamiliar water, having never sailed there before made it even more sweeter,” Bailey said. “We had six or seven former Comet International champions there and also having an Olympic racer of Bromby’s status made it a very sweet victory.”

Bromby managed two top three finishes, including a first in the fourth race, competing with crew Mick Finegan.

The American teams comprised of Mark Beaton and crew Barbara Colie and Richard Harmon and crew Mark Wissner finished second and third respectively.

Beaton is the sailmaker for the one-design Comet class.

The Comet International Championship, which was hosted by Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club and held from September 7 to 9, featured sailors from the 13 Comet fleets based at five Mid-Atlantic states on the US East Coast and Bermuda.