Monday, September 26, 2005

Good Neighbours: Series C Winds Up

What a blast yesterday’s final two races were for five Tanzer 22s (T22) racing against each other in PHRF 3. Beverly Gilbertson found her mojo, beating the others handily in both races. Bravo to Beverly and her all female crew. They pretty well spanked the other T22s on this day. She had good starts and got away from the other T22s to sail well ahead for all the legs. Another three, the masterful Jake Fichten’s Sine Wave, John Linton’s Encore Une Fois, and my own, Ambitious, had great 3 way battles. Very close cross tacking, maybe a little too close on one or two, some calls for more room at the mark, and lots of battles for the clean windward runs. Laird Glass sailed his T22, Oasis, as he has now jumped from the White Sail division into PHRF 3. Laird and crew Dwight Herpberger found it frustrating to tail the other Tanzers. Being winners in PCYC White Sail previously, they’ll find their groove. Toby Jennings didn’t have crew today so his T22, stayed in its slip, while Toby crewed for Larry Fortin on his C&C Mega. Although the racing was fairly intense with the series winding up, and the winning flags at stake, it also had its humour. On several occasions of head to head spinnaker runs, “moons” were exposed by one cockpit to the next. Perhaps it was a strategy to unsettle fellow competitors. 7 T22s raced Series C.

Well ahead of the Tanzer 22 class in the second PHRF 3 race was Tof Nicholl-Griffith in his Shark. Tof, sailing with Peter Kelly, and one other crew unknown to me, pretty well had to sail his own race the whole time. It must be lonely at the top, but then I don’t really know. Boat speed had him pulling further and further away from the PHRF fleet the whole time. Too bad the other Sharks didn’t come out to play. Among local Sharks, there may be some tight racing next season. Don Osborne’s Megalodon has won some races recently. They seem to be getting their speed now, having sailed in the Shark for their first season now. George Stedman of course, is always at the top. With a lot of other Sharks sailing too, some new, some veterans in the class, it’s a pretty good-sized fleet now, and they’ll be having their own battles within PHRF 3 as well. 4 Sharks raced in Series C, but there are plenty more out there.

I don’t know the results for the Etchells fleet for this last day’s racing in the Good Neighbours Series, but look what Jim Rowlandson’s #745 has been doing lately! Last weekend they took a first and a second place in the day’s two races. In the Labour Day Long Distance Race they took 2nd overall, and with only one other Etchells ahead. This team is really coming on strong now!

A number of Fireballs have been packed up to ride the train to British Columbia for upcoming regattas. It appears that most of this fleet focused on their last regatta, the Screwball, which was held at the same time as two of the Series 3 races. Not many have been seen in the Good Neighbours Series 3. They certainly have some exciting international regattas coming up on the beautiful left coast.

With final results not in yet, we don’t know who is winning the White Sail division. One has to notice though, that Roy Carter’s Alberg 37 team has done very well. The boat, a classic beauty, needs quite a bit of wind to get in its best performance envelope. Yet, despite Montreal being a generally light wind area, Roy and team have sailed very well in the first three races of the series, picking up two bullets and a third place. There are quite a lot of boats that have raced on and off in this division. Series C saw at least 13 at last count. The B Series had 20 boats. It appears to me that if sufficient numbers show up for the individual races on a regular basis, it would be very attractive to have two starts, one for boats under 24’, and one for boats 25’ and larger.

It's been an exciting season, but it isn't quite over yet. Next inter-club regatta I know of, is the Pas De Deux.

Race Results

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Turkey Bowl

The Turkey Bowl was held today in light wind. Brian and Madeleine Palfreeman’s Etchells was first over the finish line. No results posted as of yet. The grand prize of a Turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner is awarded to the winner of a raffle. The number of raffle tickets given to each competitor is higher in accordance with the rank of finish. So first place gives you the best chance, but even the last place boat still could win with less raffle tickets. Beaconsfield Yacht Club organizes this fall race.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Pointe Claire Yacht Club Goes One Design For Club Championship

In order to anoint a Club Champion, PCYC is doing something different this year. On Saturday, October 1st, the four winners coming from each of the club’s PHRF fleets will square off against each other. However they won’t be sailing in their own Etchells, Tanzer 22, Fireball, or whatever. Instead, they will race in another club member’s Tanzer 22. The race will be a One Design Final Competition. This should make it easier to test the sailors’ mastery and mettle. PHRF is fun and helps get more boats on the water, but handicapping different boats doesn’t get it right all the time. This will make it a more pure test, and exciting to observe. The Tanzer 22 Fleet has kindly given their boats for the competition. Owners will be on board, and able to familiarize the competitors with the boats controls and so on. An advantage for this purpose, is that the Tanzer 22 is a simple set up, and won’t represent much of a hurdle for the racers to get over. The plan as I hear it so far, is to have competitors rotate through the boats in a sequence of races to ensure any differences in boats don’t affect the competition. My boat, "Ambitious" will be one of those competing, and I'm looking forward to the experience gleaned from different skippers. Should help my own game too!

Pointe Claire Yacht Club

Tanzer 22 Class Association

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

La magie de La Nocturne...

Club de Voile Marina D’Oka holds the only nightime race that I know of locally. Sure sounds like fun, so it is a surprise to me that more clubs don’t have such events. Bravo for them! That reason alone is enough for me to add their link to the list of clubs in the Montreal area. One is so beautifully sensitized to the movement of the boat and the sound of the water at night. It makes you feel even closer to the sailing experience. On July 29th, 27 keelboats, ranging from 22’ to 32’ embarked on this fun race. The winner was Kif-Kif, a Niagara 26 that I remember seeing all the time during the Labour Day regatta. Second place was awarded to a C&C 27, Julie. Third went to Farouch, another Niagara 26. The starting gun blasted at 8 pm. And the final competitor crossed the finish line at 11:37 pm. Most of the clubs around Lac Des Deux Montagnes were represented. Congratulations to all the participants and organizers.


Friday, September 02, 2005

Pictures of Chester Race Week

Montrealers go to Chester Race Week

Chester Race Week, one of the biggest regattas, biggest parties the Maritimes has seen. We were there. Guylaine Bosse, Laird Glass and Dominic Haines joined me for an extraordinary 4 days of racing in Nova Scotia's Mahone Bay. The Tanzer 22 Class Association designated Chester as one of the stops on the Canadian Championship Series. This is the first time we had raced our Tanzer 22 on the ocean. Yep, it is different! First of all, we’re used to cruising up and down the start line, checking the wind, and looking for the windward mark. That’s usual racing in Montreal on short sausage courses on the St. Lawrence River. Not the norm for Chester Race Week though.

Typically, competitors would need get passed islands and shoals, and on some days, thick fog. Before reaching the first of many marks. At Chester Race Week, there is only one race a day which lasts a good part of the day. This was a bit of culture shock for me. We got very lost! Fortunately, more than half the competitors on our course also got mixed up with the variety of racecourses and similar colour flags denoting them. While we were the only competitors honest enough to report to the race committee that we did not complete the course, the committee scratched the race.

While we did some serious partying in the evenings, the next morning, we spent all our time preparing for the next race. Chart, GPS, pens, and papers. A darn good thing too, the second race was sailed in thick fog. Yikes! Another first for me. A GPS for this type of racing is essential to do well. It's also a little disconcerting to have Benneteau and J 44's barrelling out of the fog at you. A good set of lungs for yelling starboard, and a horn are more essential tools. We did well for us, placing 5th of 14 boats.

The third day was perfect weather, and getting the hang of this stuff, we managed to beat some bigger faster boats again. The fourth day, the Tanzer fleet, including us was smoking most of the competitors. Up at the front, all Tanzers except for a lone Cal 28, the wind pooped on the last leg. The race was scratched. We still managed to return under sail. Too bad, since the Tanzers had an amazing battle, duking it out all the way. Perfect navigation, tactical sailing, and close quarters on a big, long course. Great stuff!

5 Tanzer 22's made this regatta, so it will count towards the Championship. Next year, if we have 6 boats, we'll have our own start line.

Chester Race Week Link