Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ketchup bloodies the fleet for real in Good Neighbours Series B, Race 3

Toby Jennings, crew of Ambitious, was on a business trip through China and Australia for the race described below. Will he be pleased or jealous that we're doing well despite his absence!? Is Toby's skipper jealous of his competing adventures? Whoah, this is a sailing blog, not a soap opera!

The results from the last race of the PHRF 3 fleet in the Good Neighbours Series B are quite interesting. The race held July 24th started in light winds that strengthened for the last two legs. Quite a few competitors had close, edgy racing.

George Stedman or (Toby on the helm, not sure) and the crew of Ketchup, a Shark, won and led flawlessly for most if not all of the race. Ambitious, our Tanzer 22 held 2nd in the light winds for a good part, but then traded positions with Tof Nicoll-Griffith's Crisis team.

A little getting out of sync with the shifts, and then the wind build up revealed the better strategic skills and boat speed of Crisis, a Shark. Yet both teams had foul-ups, that resulted in exchanges of leading position. Crisis sneaked inside Ambitious on a windward mark rounding but chafed the mark. While removing the pole, and doing a penalty turn, Ambitious regained it's ahead position.

On the final upwind leg, while near the windward mark on the starboard layline, a tangled wrap of genoa and spin sheets around the winch did in the team on Ambitious who worked feverishly to free it, but required two fouled up tacks. Basic lesson: keep the lines clean and stowed! Hyper-feverish labour kept us ahead of the approaching fleet. Crisis, already ahead again, increased its lead, substantial by that time in the building wind.

Ketchup, Crisis, and Ambitious finished 1,2,3 with no possibility of further exchanges. However, excellent battles must have been going on in the fleet. I was concerned about Shelly Dorfman's T22, Goin' Strait, a mere 9 seconds behind at the finish. However, it turns out their focus was on fending off a snarling, biting pack of 4 other boats. Goin' Strait was a little ahead, but not only did they have to fend off T22s but also the Sharks which they had to give time under the respective PHRF handicap ratings. Goin' Strait, did get its 4th, even on corrected time. Don McDonough's team on Kaos beat Peter Rahn's team on Eclipse (both Sharks) by a knife's edge, one second! Less than 2 seconds later, Jake Fichten's crew on Sine Wave, fighting off Chris Paynter's Evergreen (both T22s) crossed the line, followed by the Moore's Mirage 24, Ariel, Beverly Gilbertson's T22, and William Shishakly's Shark which busily sailed short-handed.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lac St. Louis Champs: beginning indicators

Dusk falls, and the breeze takes its leave at the conclusion of a Good Neighbours' race.

Here we are near the end of July. That is roughly halfway through the 2007 sailing season. Montreal Sailing is curious. Who are the titans at the wide end of Lac St. Louis for 2007? Pierre gave us an idea of how it is shaping up on Lake of Two Mountains. So it seems a good time to take stock of the racing on LSL thus far. I found it difficult to figure out who’s on top of dinghy sailing. The keelboat classes seem to have more revealing results posted. Who are the skips getting the guns and flags so far? Lets begin with the top 3 statistics of the larger fleets in the Good Neighbours' Series A.

PHRF 1&2

  1. Dick Steffen
  2. Pierre Jasmin
  3. Michel Litée


  1. Tof Nicoll-Griffith
  2. George Stedman
  3. Jake Fichten

White Sail

  1. John Macleod
  2. Helmut Langeder
  3. Jon Austen

In Sailweek, excellent racing was to be had by good turn outs in each race, but relatively few boats competed in all or most of the series. The results come from a pretty intensive week, which not many managed to sail completely: PCYC Annual Regatta, then 3 consecutive weeknights, followed by the BYC Annual Regatta. Here is a listing of individual race winners:

PHRF 1&2

  • Pierre Jasmin
  • Luc Gloutney
  • Uhu
  • George Stedman
  • Jake Fichten
  • Ralph Stocek

White Sail

  • Helmut Langeder
  • Stargazer XX
  • Moonraker
  • Le Loup Marin

In PHRF 3, our boat Ambitious was hot and cold with a bullet, but DFLs too. We excel in the light stuff, and come apart as the wind picks up. Jin Frati has given our eager ears some advice to improve control of the boat. We have made some changes, but have a long ways to go. There are better boats in the fleet that didn’t get a gun, but placed high.

Ketchup, skippered by George Stedman is having the most consistently top places this summer. During Sailweek, Ketchup won the PCYC Annual, the evening race July 12th, and took 2nd on the other evening and 3rd at the BYC Annual. This is the boat to beat! Looking at the individual races it’s clear Tof Nicoll-Griffith’s Crisis team is also tough to keep up with. The two Sharks don’t always end up on top, with other Sharks and Tanzers mixing it up. Nevertheless, odds are they are most frequently the main threat on the water.

Another angle on who’s hot is to see who placed at the top in Series A, as well as who got the bullets during Sailweek. That would give a respectful nod to

  • Jake Fichten
  • Pierre Jasmin
  • George Stedman
  • Helmut Langeder

I’ll also look out for Tof who missed the odd race here and there, and Rob Levy once things are more indicative in the Fireballs. So, there you have it, the Montreal Sailing early nods for LSL Champs. Perhaps some time, we can see them all square off against each other, and the L2M competitors! In the meantime, we’ll check in from time to time, and see who the shifts favour!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Storm yesterday but Sailweek continues tonight

Click the title for results from Tuesday. Wednesday evening's race was canceled due to the electrical storms prowling about. So tonight should be a big night! Everyone will be attempting to keep overall positions or settle scores! Others know it is a beautiful day, and the wind is going to be great. It'll be a perfect day for sailing.

Looking at the results, a few things caught my eye. Shelley Dorfman was hot Tuesday picking up 4th in his T22, "Goin' Strait" love that boat name. I believe Barry Goodz was also crewing on Goin' Strait. Richard and Erica Moore are having a great season on their Mirage 24, Ariel, #123. They picked off boats that should have had the advantage on Tuesday. Thinking of some of the battles in that race, and the results... I'm thinking, sail clean, stay out of trouble, and you could do well boys and girls.

A Laser 28 which I don't recall seeing, won the PHRF 1 class, #209, "Above". Perhaps the owner is of a religious persuasion? Congratulations on the victory and Godspeed! The Etchells crowd were also broken up by a pretty J80, Fast Company. Watch out, the McBrides are BACK!!! Nicholas Mabboux also broke in with his J24. Another pretty boat has appeared on the water, a J100! Wow, the water must have gotten deeper. The first Etchells across was Quill, #613. Bravo, Michel Litee!

Rob Levy continues to master the Fireballers, but Paula Stone moved to mid-fleet, enjoying the lighter wind game.

In the white sail class, Roy Carter had his heavy Alberg 37 moving very fast despite the light winds, and finished very well. It was impressive to watch. Watch out when the wind picks up. Who was the white sail winner, #50640? Is that Dan's big C&C?

Clearly, Tuesday night was an upset in each of the classes as different winners and competitors were coming to the fore. I'm sure, even the usually dominant sailing forces welcome the competition, and will be looking to reassert their rule over the unruly pack tonight.

In my PHRF 3 class, watch out for MegaloDon amongst the Sharkies, and Sine Wave in the Tanzer 22 class. They tend to move to the front when the breeze is sufficient for their talents.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sailweek: July 10th

Nick, a competitor, sailing buddy, and being a very funny guy, pleaded with me not to blather on for too long on Montreal Sailing about last evening's Good Neighbours' Race. Okay, okay, I won't. I admit to not having the same broad, even-handed analysis of Pierre. Suffice to say, it was my first victory in a very long time, and we were overdue! It was a beautiful mild summer evening featuring my favoured light winds, coming a bit unusually from roughly a southerly direction. Here come the war stories:

Last Thursday, the race committee patiently hung out while I crept across DFL in dying winds. They were not going to make that mistake again, and laid a very short course. The light wind meant it was advisable to stay close to the starting line if one was to get a decent start. The PHRF 1&2 boats got a little too enthusiastic about that strategy, and many ended up over early. A general recall put them to the back of the starting line up.

Next were the PHRF 3 boats. Many of us rode the line to stay close for the gun too. Fortunately, we were all clear. A group of us rode the line a bit early, and that meant we were heading for the pin. The RC end was more favoured, but the group mostly got nice clean air starts. Sine Wave (T22) might have had a little turbulence from Ambitious (T22) squeezing from leeward, and tacked off. That tack put them in a good clean position on the favoured tack. Two Sharks tacked away a little bit later, and Ambitious pinned a third, until we decided to go too. It was a good start to the race.

Ambitious had good boat speed upwind, but two Sharks, Ketchup and Crisis had equally good speed and kept apace. That is not supposed to happen! The T22 is supposed to be quicker in light winds and has a corresponding handicap penalty. Clearly George Stedman and Tof Nicholl-Griffith are exceptional light-air sailors.

Downwind, the T22s may have had a slight advantage with the large spinnakers, but the lighter three Sharks were still keeping apace with little discernible disadvantage. Fortunately, for us, Ambitious was able to use a white sailor coming upwind as a blocker, inciting Crisis to jibe away to an unfavoured course. To windward, we were able to pass Ketchup, but Megalo Don's lead persisted around the leeward mark. Don rounded smoothly, and of course his son, and Nick executed quietly and perfectly. We came in on starboard, and had a more frantic time, with me perhaps a little louder than need be! The pole was still going to be in the way of our jibing and rounding! Then I remembered a lesson from guest-crewing on Jake's boat. Toby Jennings flicked the guy off the pole, while still stuffing the big chute, on Ambitious. With no time for foredeck crew to stow the pole, and rounding the mark, David Bowen hoisted the pole to the mast with the topping lift, unclipped to the mast, but held fast by the topping lift jamcleat. We hauled white, and poked the bow around and up. A foot off Megalodon's stern, we luffed up for a second, and then managed to fill the sail to windward. Wild and crazy, but this time it was all good. What a crew, boyz!

At one rounding Chris Paynter's Evergreen (T22) acquired some red paint from a T26 pinching for the mark. At another exciting mark rounding, Evergreen rounded the windward mark along with Sine Wave (T22). With chutes hoisted, Evergreen took up Sine Wave to prevent them from passing to windward. Several Sharks and our T22 were able to point right down the course, and make a lot of ground on them. Megalo Don and Ketchup mixed it up on downwind legs, while Crisis tried jibing away to come in at a hotter angle. Ambitious had a pretty clean run, a little behind, but out of the fray.

After, that final rounding of the leeward mark, the Sharks tacked for the left side of the course. Instead, I thought I'd keep clear on the right. We seemed about 5 or ten degrees higher on average than the previous upwind leg. As it turns out, we were going gangbusters, with the slight current pushing us closer to the mark and fantastic speed. Crisis tacked over too, but Ambitious had its lead by that time. Hitting the layline, we were able to cross Crisis without difficulty, and with the aid of the current, speed to the windward mark, ahead of the fleet.

Ambitious crossed the finish line within a cluster of white sailors and the RC didn't fire the cannon, giving it to Ketchup, sometime later. They thought we were with the white sail class! After everyone finished, we turned back, and crossing the RC's stern, grinning RC folk covered their ears as Alan fired the cannon into our sails. It was boom I'll remember for a while!

Tonight should be tougher, as potential squalls and heavy weather are my weakness. Odds to the Sharks, and to Sine Wave in the T22 class.

Sorry, Nick!

Friday, July 06, 2007

HYC-CVL-CVMO Wednesday night races – Spring series

Here is a report for Montreal Sailing readers from Pierre Marois on how the first series has turned out on Lake of Two Mountains! - Ralph

The July 4th race marked the end of the Good Neighbour Spring series for Hudson YC, CV Laurentides and CV Marina d’Oka racers. Seven races where held on Lake of Two-Mountains in the area between HYC and CVL. A total of 33 boats participated in 3 PHRF classes. In PHRF 1-A, Etchells were racing against J27 and J29, in PHRF 1-B and 2, J22 and J24 raced against Niagara 26 and in PHRF 3, Tanzer 22 raced C+C 24 and C+C 25. There was tight competition in each race and many different winners in all classes. For the series standings, 2 drop races were allowed out of the 7 results.

In PHRF 1-A, “Sherlock”, Cork Winter’s J27 won the series with 7 points (3 wins). “Perceval”, Claude Robitaille’s J29 was second with 9 points (2 wins), and “Chevalier Mythic”, Serge Bouthilier’s J29 was third with 15 points. The Etchells “Quill” and “Still Lost Boys” both won a race in this series.

In PHRF 1-B and 2, “Jazz”, Ron Harris’ J22 dominated the class with 6 points (4 wins). “Red Coat”, Ross Tellier’s Niagara 26 was second with 13 points (2 wins), and “High Strung”, Dave Cobbett’s J24 was third with 13 points (1 win).

In PHRF 3, 16 Tanzer 22’s raced almost as a One Design class (except for one C+C 24 and one C+C 25) and all the races were very close between the top 5-6 boats. Lead changes were frequent as tactics and strategy played a big part in the end results. Many races saw the first 4-5 boats finish within the same minute. In the series standings, “Turbo” Patrice Delhaes’ T22 was first with 8 points (2 wins), “Penny Wise” Trevor Collins’ T22 was second with 9 points (3 wins), and “Coquine” Pierre Marois’ T22 is third with 15 points (2 wins).

The Summer series (8 races) will start on July 11th and will end with the August 29th race. On that occasion, the “Good Neighbour series” after race party and prize giving ceremony will be held at CVL and all participants are invited. Awards will be given to the top three boats in each class. Beer and Pizza will be served.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Good Neighbours Series 1, last race

John Linton, at right, joined Ambitious for a race recently, since his Tanzer 22 is on the hard, drying out. Left is David Bowen who is also on the Ambitious team.

Last Tuesday was the opener to the 2nd Series of the Good Neighbour racing at BYC and PCYC. My, how summer is flying!

It was a light air night. I know many groan at such conditions, but I love it. It is certainly more kind to the Tanzer 22 (and me) than some boats. The wind was steady enough that the velocity was pretty even and consistent from one moment to the next. There were small oscillations, but for the most part it was pretty steady. Of course, as is common, the evening wind got lighter, on the last leg, making it critical to have your best position secure before suffering slowing boat speed on the last run to the finish. In PHRF racing, the faster boats often finish in stronger wind then the slower ones.

I tried to squeeze “Ambitious” up to the boats to windward of me on the starting line. However, with a mess of sails in the way, we were getting strangled, and the pin was looking tough to make. Fortunately, with a hole appearing about 10 seconds later, we managed a quick jibe on to port and slipped through the fleet to the right side of the course, which I preferred. Almost no other boats meant clean, fast sailing! Pretty soon, others were tacking over too as the wind seemed a little better on the right, or shore side for the first part of the race. For most of the race, Chris Paynter and Jake Fichten’s T22s also seemed to favour the right. Two of the masters, Jake Fichten and Tof Nicoll-Griffith took one-two. It must have been a satisfying night for them. For Jake because he excels in stronger wind and sometimes struggles in the light stuff. For Tof, because he got such remarkable boat speed out of his Shark when it should not have been favoured by lighter winds. I was amazed at Richard and Erica Moore who brought their Mirage 24 across for third place, despite the light air not being kind to that pretty boat. They sailed smoothly and superbly!

We had a fantastic Tanzer 22 duel with Chris Paynter’s Evergreen on the last leg. We had been crossing tacks and trading the ahead position for a while. On the last run, the wind moved more so to one side, and we quickly jibed the chute after launching. Evergreen rounded right after and also jibed. Chris managed to throw mushed up dirty air for quite a while before we could get up and over his chute. Our focus on each other meant the lead boats got a much farther lead, but they were already on their own anyway. Once we sailed into clearer wind ahead, both boats on a beam reach, we then turned down towards the finish. Having held on to the windward position, we were able to maintain that lead to the finish, but it closed to half a boat length to keep it interesting! At the cost of some speed, I sailed down a bit to ensure our competitor wouldn’t have wind to pull ahead. It was a fun, tactical night. Ambitious and her crew, David and Toby were overdue for a better night. We finished 4th out of 12 boats in our class.

Eight boats competed in the miscellaneous centreboard start. It is great to see the interest picking up there. Some of us are shopping around for inexpensive Lasers to join in the fun. If anyone is interested in that, get in touch! 6 Fireballs were out for their race.

12 competed in PHRF 1&2. PCYC has been starting the Etchells separately from the Js and so on in club racing, but for the Good Neighbours series, they are supposed to share the start. They started separately, but were scored together. That must have thrown some for a loop! Glad the RC figured it out. It is no surprise that the different starting procedures would get mixed up.

Nine boats raced White Sail with Special Effects the C&C 41 taking the gun. Helmut Langeder brought his Tanzer 22, Breezin’ in for a brilliant 2nd place, well ahead of most of the fleet. Roy Carter’s classic Alberg 37 was heavily penalized by the light winds, but still managed to finish ahead of others before handicap adjustments.

Once again, another wonderful, summer evening getaway on the water, with plenty of fun competition too.

Another photo from TRY

PCYC's 4 day long TRY Regatta generated some great shots from Tof's lense. Here it looks like two competitors are either over early or managed to squirt out and away from the pack.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

29ers at TRY

Here is another pic from the TRY training regatta that just wrapped up. don't they look like they are having a blast!

74 boats were participating, representing 10 clubs from all over Quebec.

The object in the background that looks like a rocket launch is actually a giant condom shielding a church steeple undergoing repairs. It is a favourite landmark of Montreal Sailing.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Try: Training Regatta for Youth, big success

Under the guidance of Tof Nicoll-Griffith, TRY was a big success in its inaugural year. Registration was good (40x Opti, 16x Byte and Laser, 6x 29er and 8x 420). The youth training regatta consisted of two days of coaching and two days of racing. Madeleine Palfreeman guided the racing which had good strong winds to challenge the kids on the water. TRY is a qualifier for Lac St. Louis sailors who would like to compete in the Quebec Games. So now, local readers of Montreal Sailing can note we have two Junior training regattas. TRY on Lac St. louis and HYC's Fruitbowl on Lac Des Deux Montagnes being the other.