The Bay of Quinte YC flies the Canadian flag at the America’s Cup Jubilee Regatta. Sue Pelling joined the team during the Round the Island Race yesterday

Many of the competitors racing at America’s Cup Jubilee Regatta are used to battling it out on equal terms with Olympic medallist, America’s Cup skippers and round the world race heroes. But for one team in particular, the Canadian Bay of Quinte YC, more used to racing round the cans in small keelboats on Freshwater lake in Ontario, it’s their dream come true.

Having challenged for the Cup in 1881, the Bay of Quinte YC accepted an invitation from the Royal Yacht Squadron to compete at the jubilee regatta. Having found out about the invitation, a team was put together and, after two years preparation, the Canadian Bay of Quinte YC is flying the flag for its country. “We found out about the invitation by chance during a club dinner,” said team leader Anthony Gallow, “The commodore just happened to mention it and several members jumped at the chance. We set the campaign rolling, selected a team and signed up skipper John Best, someone who knows more than a thing or two about America’s Cup and Admiral’s Cup campaigns and has many years of Solent experience under his belt.”

Despite the initial excitement and glamour, putting a campaign together for this special event was at times very difficult for the team. As a relatively low profile club, obtaining sponsorship was virtually impossible and team members have had to fund themselves at approximately £2,500 each excluding airfares and food. “One of the most important things we had to do initially two years ago,” said Brian Credico “was to organise the charter of a boat which was one of our biggest expenses. We chose a David Thomas-designed 50 footer (Alpha of Devonport). The other major expense was the crew house in Cowes. We knew it would get fully booked very quickly so we had to make a decision and sign up a year and a half ago.”

Having selected the 13-strong team from the 170-member club, organised the boat and accommodation and fixed up the flights, all that was left to do was team training. “We started almost immediately.” Added Credico, “We laid out the entire cockpit layout of the Alpha on the club lawn and learnt where everything went and where each crew member had to be positioned. We then went one step further by completely re-rigging a 30ft boat in an almost identical layout the Alpha. It was the best thing we could have done.”

Having been fortunate enough to sail with the Canadian team during yesterday’s round the island race, it was interesting to see how team preparation is one of the most important aspects of any campaign. The crew work was spot on particularly during the frantic gybing duels and they even kept their heads in the round the needles helicopter/media frenzy. It was also great to see such a wide age range (30-70) working so well as a team and having a lot of fun too!

The team flies back to small town of Belleville in Canada on Sunday where they’re looking forward to putting their chic crew work in to practice in preparation for their next major challenge!