Canada’s largest keel boat regatta to welcome hard-core racers, casual cruisers, classic wooden yacht lovers & tourists



4 days, 4 courses, 14 fleets, 140 sailboats, 1,200 sailors

Canada’s largest keel boat regatta to welcome hard-core racers, casual cruisers, classic wooden yacht lovers & tourists

Tufts University sailing coach returns as big boat fleet race officer, cites high-calibre sailors, challenging conditions, helpful seminars and breathtaking scenery as attractions

CHESTER, NS (July 16, 2015) – The principal race officer of Chester Race Week – Canada’s largest (North America’s 2nd largest) annual keel boat race week – today issued the official Notice of Race marking the kick off for skippers eager to register for the event running from August 12 to 15 in the picturesque town of Chester, Nova Scotia.

Chester Race Week 2015 (CRW), hosted by the Chester Yacht Club, boasts a race course for every skill level and boat class, daily events with live music, two food trucks, and the return of racing seminars from famed Canadian Olympian, Soling World and America’s Cup champion, Andreas Josenhans.

“Recreational sailors and hard-core, competitive racers alike love Chester Race Week because we have diverse courses in a beautiful setting, and the results are so unpredictable – we strive to make racing competitive and fun,” said Elizabeth Shaw, CRW 2015 Principal Race Officer. A Sail Canada-certified National Race Officer, Shaw has served in an elite leadership capacity with national and world sailing championships in Canada, the United States and Australia.

Left: Peter Wickwire of Halifax skippers the International One Design Squall around a mark during Chester Race Week 2014.  Credit: © 2015 Tim Wilkes / Hi-res image files for print and iPad available on request

Left: Peter Wickwire of Halifax skippers the International One Design Squall around a mark during Chester Race Week 2014.
Credit: © 2015 Tim Wilkes /
Hi-res image files for print and iPad available on request

Ken Legler, Tufts University head sailing coach and CRW Alpha Course race officer, agrees.

“Every morning of Race Week I try to set a course that is challenging, scenic and fair while avoiding boats from the other race courses, and the many islands and shoals of Mahone Bay; and if it’s windy, I’ll set reach legs so boats can try for personal best speeds,” he said by phone after a night of racing on Boston Harbour.

A seasoned sailor and race officer himself, Legler says he’s always learning something new at Chester Race Week from Andreas Josenhans.

“Rather than sleeping in each morning, students of this sport, like me, are on the CYC deck each morning at nine to take advantage of Andreas’ racing seminars. Listening to Andreas can give racers a competitive edge in key areas from working with today’s wind and rigging for super-light or super-heavy conditions, to crew communication and local course quirks.”

Course                Fleets                                                                 Race Officer

ALPHA                1, 2, 3 – based on PHRF handicap rating <99    Ken Legler (Medford, MA)

BRAVO               1, 2, 3 – based on PHRF handicap rating >99    Liz Shaw (Halifax, NS)

CHARLIE            Bluenose One Design                                          Patricia Finlay (Chester, NS)

DELTA                1, 2 PHRF non-spinnaker                                    Liz Shaw (Halifax, NS)

                           Classic boats

ONE DESIGN     J/24, J/70, Farr 30, Sonar, International (IOD)    Brian Todd (Halifax, NS)

What makes Chester Race Week North America’s 2nd largest annual keel boat regatta?

Named one of Sailing World magazine’s 14 greatest sailing events in North America, each August, 1,200-plus sailors arrive in Mahone Bay on Nova Scotia’s scenic South Shore to compete in one of 14 fleets racing simultaneously on four different race courses. With an average of 140 fixed-keel sailboats of varying size and shape registered each year, Chester Race Week is Canada’s largest, and North America’s second-largest annual race week based on number of competing boats (South Carolina’s Charleston Race Week is largest with 281 boats in 2015).

Courses range in size from a 0.5 nautical mile windward-leeward course for the Bluenose class in front of the Chester Yacht Club, to the 20-plus-nautical-mile-long, off-shore distance course for big boats. The fleets can accommodate everyone from competitive one-design hulls to classic wooden boats and cruising boats racing without spinnakers.

“We don’t finalize course designs until race day when we know the actual conditions and have confirmed our competitors’ interests,” said Shaw, a Halifax native who takes the customer-service aspect of her job seriously. “We are constantly talking to our competitors so we can produce the kind of competitive courses our sailors want to race.”

Sailors get race results faster with new web-based race management system, e-notices

2015 will see the return of Yacht Scoring, a web-based, race management and scoring system used by some of the competitive sailing world’s top organizations. It was an unqualified success last year, bringing both sailors and race organizers important benefits including:

  • Real-time online scoring so anyone with a web or wifi connection can see results from the water or dock. Race result reporting will be managed by a trained specialist on the water for all race courses

  • Instant, direct communication with skippers and crews before, during and after each race via convenient email notice function. Note: Email notification is a courtesy service. Official notices will continue to come from race committee boats via traditional flag and horn signals.

  • Easier, faster online registration and payment service reduce headaches all around

  • Handy mobile web sites for smart phones via and – type “Chester” into List of Events, then bookmark the Chester Race Week 2015 results site

“With Yacht Scoring each skipper, crew member and family member on shore will be able to get their boat’s exact finish time and ranking via their smart phones before the start of the next race – its debut last year showed that it’s hours faster and more accurate than it used to be,” said Shaw.

“If we have to delay a start due to wind or weather, the Race Committee Boat will still communicate changes to the fleet with traditional signal flags, but skippers and tacticians love the convenience and speed of the new Yacht Scoring email notices delivering the same updates, faster,” she added.

Public welcome to come for the racing, stay for the fun

  • The public are welcome to watch the races from the dock or from inside the Chester Yacht Club, which is open to the public from 9am to 9pm daily. After 9pm, the live music continues inside. Wristbands are available for $20 to those 19 and over.

    • Wed, Fri nights: The Hopping Penguins

    • Thurs: Asia & NuGruv

    • Sat: Party Boots

  • Swim and sunbathe at Freda’s Beach or in Chester’s outdoor, salt-water lido pool

  • Shop, dine and tour the pretty Village of Chester


Media accreditation & contact: Susan Tate, M 902-441-6135, [email protected]

Daily race results: Race results release emailed and posted online daily after last race.

Media boat: A complimentary, hosted media-boat service is available to accredited media from Wednesday, August 12th to Saturday, August 15th.

                 Where: Departing Race Committee float (descend left ramp of CYC dock)

                 21 South Street, Chester, Nova Scotia

                 When: Departing daily at 11:30 a.m., returning to CYC by 3:30 p.m.

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About Chester Race Week

Hosted by the Chester Yacht Club in the picturesque South-Shore Nova Scotia town of Chester in mid August each year, Chester Race Week is Canada’s largest annual keel boat regatta and plays host to more than 130 boats from up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

The regatta was first documented in 1856 and has since been named one of Sailing World magazine’s 14 greatest sailing events in North America. “Race Week” as it is known locally, sees tourists and locals alike taking in the natural beauty of the area by both land and sea. A community-based, volunteer-driven event, Race Week boasts a full schedule of public-friendly events with boat tours, live music, great food, yacht races, plus racing seminars from internationally renowned sailors, tacticians, boat builders and sail makers.

Visit for race and social-event schedules.