The Georgian Bay Regatta (GBR) is one of the most unique sailing events in Ontario. On an annual basis for the past 27 years, a fleet of 40 to 50 boats have participated in this week-long adventure of racing and cruising various areas of Georgian Bay. As the itinerary of the GBR encompasses a combination of daily distance races, course races, nightly anchorages and visits to the various ports-of-call on the shores of Georgian Bay, it draws the interest of all levels of sailors to this yearly summer event.
The Regatta began with the Georgian Bay International Challenge Cup in 1986 and continues the tradition of friendly racing and competition that is emphasized as our primary interest over the years. Organized by the Georgian Bay Sailing Association, our goal is to promote the sport of sailing to both resident sailors of Georgian Bay as well as those who have joined us from outside the area. By altering the venues, ports-of-call and anchorages each year, we expose our participants to the many areas of interest within Georgian Bay.
Many novice sailors are leery of the prospects of venturing too far from their home port, but truly wish to witness the beauty of the shoreline scenery that Georgian Bay has to offer and visit the many communities that welcome transient boaters. By traveling within the safety of a large fleet of fellow sailors, many of our initial GBR participants feel a strong sense of security while travelling across the open waters of The Bay.
Each year the regatta changes its location for both the starting and finishing port. This allows the participants, both new and returning, the opportunity to visit the full extent of Southern Georgian Bay’s sailing areas, anchorages and ports along the east and west shores. From Parry Sound on the east side, to Midland Bay in the south and Lions Head on the west, our annual itinerary of daily races encompasses all aspects of the boating pleasures available within these inland waters.
Whether we are course racing in a specific area of Georgian Bay or travelling from port-to-port, the emphasis is an atmosphere of friendly competition and the chance to spend a week with fellow sailors that share similar interests. Many of our participating crews are families that have chosen to spend part of their summer vacation participating in the GBR fleet. We have special awards and recognition for families sailing together.
Our annual regattas are very well organized. Our schedule of daily course races and distance races follow the rules established by the Canadian Yachting Association and Ontario Sailing. All of the boats that register to race have established “racing handicaps”, known as a PHRF rating, that enables the slower boats in each of the four racing divisions a competitive chance against the faster boats. Over the years many of our novice, and even our first-time racers, have finished the regatta with their names on one of our annual awards and division trophies.
This year will see the Georgian Bay Regatta start at the Big Sound Marina in the port of Parry Sound with the official registration and Welcome Dinner on Sunday, July 27th. After a fun week of racing events and social venues, the Awards Dinner will be held at the Midland Bay Sailing Club on Saturday, August 2nd . Many planned anchorages along the eastern shore of Georgian Bay are part of this year’s itinerary.
Written by: Peter Hayden Past President, Georgian Bay Sailing Association (Feb. 2014)
For further details and information pertaining to this year’s regatta, please visit our website at http://www.ontariosailing.ca/Racing/Georgian_Bay_Regatta.php
We look forward to another great week of exciting sailing and the chance to meet all of the participating crew members planning to attend this year’s Georgian Bay Regatta!