Monday, August 28, 2006

Trying a Shark in the Coupe Du Quebec

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of helming a Shark in the Coupe Du Quebec held at BYC. Also recently, Bob and I crewed in a Shark in the Montreal One Design Regatta. So, now I have done foredeck and helmed. Bob did mid-crew each time. Much thanks to Tony at PCYC for inviting us to crew, and now William for loaning his great boat. Being strangers to the boat, we didn't expect to place well and didn't! But, we were pleased to experience it, and see the Shark class in action. It was definitely worth it! The calibre of sailing talent in this class, both in Montreal and from Ontario is very high. We would have to seriously train for some time just to keep up with this class. As far as the boat itself, well it is a pleasure to sail. Having sailed a T22, some comparisons are inevitable, though it is important to understand that today the two classes really share little purpose of use, or design aspects in common. The Shark's outboard motor goes on and off the transom from storage, so we found it less hassle to paddle a bit, and raise the mainsail coming out of harbour. I actually enjoyed not starting up an iron jenny. The cockpit is rather cramped, since for the boat to be balanced and fast, the helmsman must sit forward of the traveler. I found using the traveler and tiller extension awkward from the forward position. The boom swings low, and thus the potential for accidents a bit higher. The boat is a fractional rig, and does not carry a lot of sail to power a fairly narrow and light hull compared to a T22. So, I found the boat sluggish in very light wind, but an absolute joy whenever the wind was moderate or higher. In heavy winds, the boat sliced through waves easily, and never presented a physical challenge to its crew. In the end, I concluded the Shark is a very safe, easy boat to sail even in difficult conditions, but a much more difficult boat to sail fast and competitively against talented members of the class! That makes the Shark Class a very attractive option for racing, particularly with its large one design racing circuit. Montreal has a good fleet, and active racing extends to many one design regattas in Ontario. Anyone wanting to campaign a relatively inexpensive keelboat in one design racing will find the Shark Class challenging fun. The usual cautions to finding and maintaining an old boat apply, since all Sharks are aged boats now. Certainly, one can find a wide range of boats from cheap fixer-uppers to beautifully-maintained dry sails, and everything in between. Another asset of the class is friendly good members like William, Nick, Jin and others who are happy to introduce people to the boat and keep the fleet healthy. Thanks guys.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

MODR Wrap Up

Today was another day of challenging winds with varying strength and direction on the course. It made for very interesting sailing.

No condition was going to set back 420 skipper Emily Tsang. Out of 6 races, Emily took 6 bullets. Who is this powerhouse sailor!?

Dick Steffen was this weekend's victor in the Etchells class. Dick took 3 bullets and two 2nd place finishes, a 3rd place, and dropped his 6th place finish to win with 10 points overall. This was a pretty strong finish over 2nd place overall, Pierre Jasmin, who had been cleaning up in a lot of the Good Neighbours' Series, and had bested Steffen in the Etchells Cdn. Championship. Nice to see some back and forth making for a competitive class. Brian Palfreeman was in a podium position yesterday, and had won the first race, but David Covo found his mojo and really turned it on today. Once David could drop his 6th in the 4th race Saturday, then stay ahead of Brian today, including picking up a sweet bullet in the last race it culminated in a hard fought, well earned 3rd overall.

In the Fireball class, Rob Levy is the victor. Joe Jospe who always is in the running, picked up several bullets, but Pierre Carpentier and Eric Owston crashed the dynamic duo's party a few times, and managed to slip by Joe who took 2nd overall.

2 Mirage 24s got to match race this weekend, and Erica Moore was the victor, with Robin Shepherdson taking one bullet.

The 29ers had six boats out for the regatta, and one skipper took it all, but we don't have a name.

In the Shark class, George Stedman had a commanding lead after the first day, but had it snatched away today, by Tof Nicholl-Griffith. These are the two skippers who are most frequently at the top, but Montreal Sailing has just got to note: look at Don McDonough go! He had an excellent regatta taking the 3rd podium spot. Don worked hard on his boat this spring, and it shows. He and his crew are sailing very well too. Don didn't have a free ride to the podium though, as William Shishakely bested him in 3 races, and finished only 2 points behind.

In the Star class, every one of the 6 boats had race finishes in the top three at some point. Only one can win of course, and that tip of the hat goes to William Hendershot. Jean Francois Seguin won a tie breaker in points to take second overall, with Andre Gagnon placing third. Jamie Andre de la Porte, and girlfriend Sarita, are both pretty light, but had a pooch on board for a bit more moveable ballast. Hopefully, all three had a great time.

Challenging conditions, lots of good one design sailors, a club that put out a lot of effort for competitors, and what do you have - a weekend to remember, be it to bask in the glory, or learn from the best!

Montreal Sailing also thanks Daniel McDonough for the fantastic speedy work he does posting results on the web as soon as the race committee passes them on. While everyone is enjoying cold refreshments on the deck, Daniel is toiling away on his notebook computer, plugging in the results, so everyone everywhere can check in before the regatta is even complete. I don't think anyone locally has managed to achieve such consistently prompt posts.

MODR results for Saturday

The first day of racing during the Montreal One Design saw nice levels of wind up to about 10-12 knots at times. However, it was all over the place. One Etchells racer cited 60 degree changes of direction. Where the Sharks were at play we had wind shifts of up to 25-30 degrees, but also lots of soft holes and windlines, making it a very challenging course! It's nice to see the Stars there with that massive mainsail. Click title for results page.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Montreal One Design Regatta

Here it comes. The Montreal One Design Regatta is this week end. Everybody of course has a favourite regatta, and depending on the type of sailing you do, some fit the bill better than others. I think the Montreal One Design Regatta is a very important one, and kudos to P.C.Y.C. for continuing to host it. This is the one of only a few regattas in the Montreal area specifically catering to one design classes. There are other one design regattas of course, but not many that gather many of the classes together, and support, no, encourage the development of one design racing. This is valuable support for our sailing community since no other racing is more equal, competitive, and fair than the one design format. Another similar regatta would be C.N.D.M.'s Quebec Open later in September. So we have the possibility of this type of racing in both of Montreal's sailing areas. I hope we can build support for these regattas, as they are an important part of local racing.

Shark World Championship

Here are the final results from the Shark World Championship, last week. Congratulations to the skippers and crews of three boats from Montreal that competed. It was a remarkably well attended event with 52 boats in all. Nick reports they had good speed despite weighing in quite heavy. Some competitors from Austria, Germany, and Sweden made it for the racing too, the remainder Canadian.

4th - Osborne, Van Haeften, Osborne
20th - Frati/Hainault/Barnum
36th - Baehr/Maizel/Shishakly