Friday, September 28, 2007

Montrealers sailing Shark's Gold Cup

Jin Frati and Paul Baehr are two members of the Shark class who might be the most active circuit sailors in Montreal. Out of town regattas are regular events of summer for their crews. September 8-9 was the Gold Cup in Toronto. Paul's team had a particularly good regatta placing 2nd in race #3, and 18th overall out of a large fleet. Jin's team did not compete the 2nd day for reasons unknown. Photo posted on Shark website by Anil Mungal (Frati steering 804, Baehr 1092)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Montreal Sailing Championship Contenders for Lac St. Louis

Montreal Sailing is honoured to publish the sage knowledge of a contributor who knows the local scene better than most and the history of a generation who currently rule the water.

The crew’s union is willing to weigh in on this heady subject!

The fact of the matter is that the man (or woman) with the stick in their hand, is merely a fraction of the equation of racing success. At best 50% and more often, 33% or less!! Therefore, from the Crews’ Union perspective, it is merely a matter of which tiller jockey is the least incompetent!!

Monsieur Marois has very adequately addressed Lac des Deux Montagnes. The Crew’s Union agrees with his analysis and his pick for the best of LdDM. Ron is a great choice.

So… on Lake St.Louis , we have a few fleets that could put forward candidates for consideration… starting at the bottom of the lake, we have the Laser 28 fleet out of R.St.L.Y.C.

Denise Bienvenue has been a fixture at the front of that fleet, but it is a small and incestuous lot. Denise did sail a Fireball for a short period of time, allowing for some head to head comparisons with other Lake Saint Louis sailors. Denise is the candidate from the L28 fleet.

PCYC and BYC have 4 significant fleets – Etchells, Fireballs, Tanzer 22’s and Sharks.

The local Etchells fleet boasts many of the best helmsmen of the last 35 years!! Dick Steffen, Brian Palfreeman, David Covo and Pierre Jasmin have all had success in a variety of watercraft. The Crews’ Union would give the nod for historical reasons (and in no small measure because of the Steffen sisters – crew extraordinaire) to Dick Steffen as the Etchells candidate.

The Fireball has a proud history and locally has produced Provincial, Canadian and North American Champions – both in Fireballs as well as J24’s, T22’s and Sharks to name but a few. Covo, Blanc, Nicoll-Griffith, Stedman and Osborne are names of the past and Levy and Jospe would be names for current consideration. Levy is the Crews’ Union’s choice, with note that without the likes of Marshall , Kelly, Egli and Waldie – none of these guys would have ever seen a gun!!

The T22 fleet has had it’s share of great skippers – but the nod will go to the Fitchen squad for longevity and great local results. Linton and King Ralph close out the local best of breed for T22’s. The Crew’s Union recognizes that there is a white sail fleet, but from the CU perspective, white sail is the 3 legged race of sailing, only slightly higher than PHRF.

The Shark fleet is like the graduating class of the Fireball fleet. Nicoll-Griffith, Stedman and Osborne are the cream of the local fleet, with Frati hot on their heels. The nod goes to Nicoll Griffith, who has done well locally, and has won at the highest level when competing in National and North American Championships.

So, in the final analysis, there are probably half a dozen sailors that could beat each other on any given day, but would consistently be in that top 6!! At the risk of inflating the huge ego that most helmsmen have, the Crew’s Union votes for Tof Nicoll-Griffith.

Crew’s Union

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Montreal Champ: George Stedman gives the nod to Tof Nicoll-Griffith

"Hi Ralph,
I'm hugely flattered but it would not occur to me to nominate us. After all Tof was 2nd at the N.A.'s in Kingston whereas we dropped to 6th by the last race (out of 36). Thank you very much though. gs
p.s. love your blog"

George is another highly accomplished but modest Montreal sailor. Learning of his nomination, he sent the comment above to Montreal Sailing.
Tof Nicoll-Griffith, is most certainly a master of the art. Both he and George sail out of Pointe Claire Yacht Club. I was having a lot of trouble figuring out how to sail my Tanzer 22 more competitively in stronger winds. I also had a new North #2 genoa that I just didn't understand how to sail. Tof generously joined me on the boat for a couple of back-to-back recent races, and holy cow! We finished half a leg ahead of the next competitor. I feared losing the lesson after he stepped off the boat. However, last Sunday it was blowing the proverbial stink, and with crew regulars David Bowen and Toby Jennings, Ambitious was the first Tanzer 22 in the race using the #2 genny. Only Peter Rahn's Shark finished well ahead in the big blow. I learned a huge amount sailing with Tof, including dip starts, sail and rig trim, and helming higher, flatter and with speed. So, YUP, Tof is a great nomination in my books! 

At the same time, it is only fair to note that George Stedman's Ketchup did get the best of Tof's Crisis a number of times this summer, along with whooping the rest of us. Tof Nicoll-Griffith, the latest superb nomination for Montreal Sailing Champion, best of the best! Tof Nicoll-Griffith, son of famous T22 racer Michael, race winner, formerly in Fireballs, now in a Shark, sailmaker, Squadron guy at PCYC, teacher. 

Who would you nominate as the best? Who should be in the fleet competing with the best? We have three nominations for best Montreal Sailor, and a lot of nods to the best sailors. Who is tops at your club? This is turning into the dream fleet here! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Best Montreal Sailor? Top Contenders from LDM

I asked Pierre Marois who I believe is one of Montreal's best sailors, and a true contender for Top Gun, who he would nominate for a Montreal Sailing Championship. His nominee, Ron Harris, sails the boat drawn at left, a J22.

Hi Ralph,

Good question!!!

I don't consider myself a top sailor on the LDM. There are some very good sailors who don't race regularly on Wednesday nights and don't get the recognition they deserve. Alan Gray who sails the Etchells "Slim" from HYC is often on the road to big championship (North Americans, New-England's, Great-Lakes...). He's a very good sailor and has won the Labour Day race many times.

Brian Bowser from HYC is another good example. He races his Grampian 22 once or twice a year (with good results), but he used to race J24 (Heroes and Villains) at national level and he is still a great sailor.

Ron Harris also used to race J24 (Jack) at national level and now cleans up the LDM PHRF 1-B class with his J22 "Jazz". He is the 2006 Club champion at HYC.

At CNDM, Will Hendershot and Alain Vranderick are top sailors. Daniel St-Onge who races his Niagara 26 "Kif-Kif" in PHRF 2 is also hard to beat in his class. Too bad we don't race together more often.

As for CVL racers, I think we are strong in the Tanzer 22 class; Coquine (Marois-Rousseau), Turbo (Delhaes), Tohu Bohu(Ouellet) and are good competition in the PHRF 1-A class with our J29 Perceval (Robitaille-Thiffault).

Personnaly, Ron Harris would get my vote as top LDM sailor. He won many races by big margins on handicap and finished often in front of all the J24 with his J22! Congratulations should also go to his very good young crew.

Pierre Marois

Monday, September 24, 2007

Who could reach the pinnacle of Montreal Sailing?

Here's some excellent thoughts on a Montreal Sailing championship penned by Dan McDonough. The pic on the left is of Cape Cod Frosty sailing in Nantucket. It would be Dan's boat of choice! Having had the honour of being washed out behind George's dirty air, I definitely concur with his contender nomination. Any more nominations out there?

Hi Ralph,
I just read your blog and I think it's a great idea. Personally, I think George Stedman and crew should be on the list. He continues to blow everyone away and makes it look effortless (although I'm sure you knew that already!). I don't think judging is fair, and voting can be biased based on popularity of the sailor. I think it should be in single handed boats (so you can't blame the crew!) and on a boat that no one is good at sailing... like Frosties! This could make for a fun and most interesting showdown between the best on the lake!

Just my two cents!

Dan McDonough
Shark #28, Kaos

Friday, September 21, 2007

Who could reach the pinnacle of Montreal Sailing? Who could be the Champion of Champions?

The end of the season is approaching. Some clubs will be holding championships for their members. After the boats are hauled, ceremonies will be held, trophies hoisted, flags awarded, beer spilled, stories told, as clubs fete their champions. I always enjoy these rituals of sport, and like to have one more time where we keep the season alive and share some laughs and drama. When I’m lucky, I even get the occasional flag, no trophies… yet.

However, as the owner and editor of Montreal Sailing all this is now begging another question for me: Who is the best MONTREAL SAILOR? I want to know.

We have so many clubs in Montreal. We have a number of different one-design classes in Montreal. We have a variety of PHRF classes racing separately. We have sailors sailing areas in Montreal that can be exclusive from each other. BYC and PCYC in the eastern, wide part of Lac St. Louis, and the narrower, west part of Lac St. Louis are filled by BDYC and IPYC. Senneville, RStLYC, Venture, and CNDM race alone. HYC and CVL race in the northern Ottawa river part of the LDM area. Rarely do the different racers from different parts of the region of Montreal meet.

The HYC’s Distance Race on Labour Day weekend offers one of the few great moments sailors from the different areas mix it up. However, Hudson’s LD race, as wonderful and fun as it is, cannot be considered a measure of who the top dogs are. There is a huge variation of boats in that beautiful spectacle. Size and speed give an advantage to the quickest. With 100 PHRF boats or more on the line, the faster boats are away in clear air quickly, while the rest are mired in disturbed air for most of the race. The top finishers are accomplished, among the best, but not necessarily the best, and others are part of the same esteemed celebrity gang of Montreal Sailing.

So, who are the best Montreal Sailors? And, who is the best of that crowd – truly, and with less debate, the TOP DAWGS!

Pierre Marois has given us great reports from Lake of Two Mountains. So, we have some idea of the best sailors there. I gave a report on the halfway point of the season on Lac St. Louis. The Good Neighbours C Series will soon give the latter season results. One Design regattas, PHRF regattas could be weighed for the best competition. Sailors who have missed local racing, but done well in major events out of town could be looked at. Young sailors are doing dinghy events and working towards possible slots on the Canadian team going to the Olympics. There are ways we could look at people to debate who is the BEST MONTREAL SAILOR.

Who do you think should be on the list? Once we have a list, how do we figure out who is the best of the best? Should we vote? Should we create a panel of senior, respected judges? Should we have a final, fierce, no mercy, drama of a final regatta, where the winner is the new King of Montreal? WOW! Should it be in the competitor’s own boats, or in a numerous one design class? Should it be by invitation, or open with a final race for the gold like in an Olympic format?

We race for fun, and we race to compete. We should fete the top of the heap in Montreal too. It is the normal climax of sporting behaviour. There, it’s out there!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Screwball Results

19 boats registered for the Fireball 2007 Screwball Regatta, the best numbers in my recent memory. That is tremendous to see such a revival in dinghy racing! Congratulations to the organizers. Click the title for full results and then click Screwball in the left column. Below are the top ten.

  1. P.Crump/A.Davies
  2. D.Kirkby/R. Levy
  3. G.Lamont/P.Kelly
  4. G.Stedman/N.Mocchiutti
  5. J.Jospe/T.Egli
  6. R.Thompson/Francis
  7. E.Owston/P.Lawee
  8. P.Carpentier/T.Bird
  9. M.McEvoy/J.Kennedy
  10. O.Blanc/D.Johnston

Monday, September 17, 2007

Balls on the Line

The Fireball World Championship recently held in Switzerland. Montrealers were there.

No results posted yet for the local Fireballers' Screwball Regatta, but there are plenty of great shots from the World's. I imagine it was a little easier to get in the front row in Montreal, but with some of the best Montreal sailors in this fleet, plenty exciting.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fireball World's, Chilly bowl, Screwball, So much goin' on!

There is a lot of sailing going on this week end and a month before the season is finished. My reality is I'm working for my living this week end and so must miss the Chili Bowl. Also this weekend, in fact this very minute is the Fireball class' Screwball Regatta. So, I think it is timely to have a look at some of the superb photography taken of the Fireball 2007 World Championship which just concluded in a stunningly beautiful Swiss setting. Joe Jospe and Tom Egli (pictured at left) were two of the fortunate Montreal Sailors and Canadians attending. I'll try and post more of the great photos for any of you, who may be working like me, or just need a quick fix before getting another chance on the water. Sail hard!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

CVL-HYC-CVMO « Wednesday nights series » 2007

Summer series and overall results

Huge thanks to Pierre Marois for keeping us up to date on who's hot!

The CVL-HYC-CVMO Wednesday nights series consist of 15 races divided in 2 series. It brings together all the racers from these 3 Clubs every Wednesday nights from May until September. The summer series (8 races) ended with the August 29th race. The best 4 results where taken from the 6 races sailed.

In the PHRF 3 & WS class, Pierre Marois’s T22 Coquine was first with 3 wins and a second place. Trevor Collins’ T22 Penny Wise was second, Chris Campbell’s T22 Shigawac was third also with 3 wins. Fourth went to Ken Hodgson’s T22 Sloop du Jour.

In the PHRF 1-B & 2 class, Ron Harris’ J22 Jazz continued his winning way with 5 wins in 6 races to take first in the class. Second place was taken by Ross Tellier’s N26 Red Coat and third place went to L.Grant’s J24 Peacemaker.

In the PHRF 1-A class, Claude Robitaille’s J29 Perceval was first with 3 wins and a second. Paul Laflamme’s E22 Still Lost Boys and Cork Winter’s J27 Sherlock finished second and third respectively.

For the overall results, the best 8 results where taken from the 13 races sailed. A total of 39 boats participated in the 3 classes.

In the PHRF 3 & WS class, the T22 Class took the first eight places in the standings. Pierre Marois’s Coquine was first with 13 points (5 wins). Trevor Collins’ Penny Wise was second with 15 points (3 wins). Patrice Delhaes’s Turbo was third with 24 points (2 wins). Michel Ouellet’s T22 Tohu Bohu was fourth also with 24 points. Fifth went to Ken Hodgson’s Sloop du Jour with 33 points and sixth to Chris Campbell’s Shigawac with 37 points (3 wins). Bernard LeDuc’s Maverick was seventh with 39 points.

In the PHRF 1-B & 2 class, Ron Harris’ J22 Jazz dominated racing with 9 wins and is first in class. Second place was taken by Ross Tellier’s N26 Red Coat with 20 points (2 wins) and third place went to Jim Cobbett’s J24 High Strung with 23 points (1 win). L.Grant’s J24 Peacemaker and Cyril Vittecoq’s J24 Varmint were fourth and fifth respectively also with 23 points!

In the PHRF 1-A class, Claude Robitaille J29 Perceval was first with 11 points (5 wins), Cork Winter’s J27 Sherlock finished second with 14 points (3 wins) and Paul Laflamme’s E22 Still Lost Boys was third with 17 points (2 wins).

Congratulations are in order for all those who participated in the organisation of these series with RC duties. And a very special “thanks” to Pat Patterson from HYC who did fantastic works all season with the RC boat and the race results.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hudson Labour Day Regatta

Thanks to Guylaine Bossé for the photo. she was crewing on Keith Grassie's Tanzer 26, and snapped us in the final run towards the finish. Since we were competing, they didn't mention the genoa sheet in the water. In front of me, left to right, I was privileged to sail with David Bowen, June Beverly, and Lin Jones.

The results for the Long Distance Race at Hudson on September 1st have been posted. 99 boats sailed this year through very difficult light winds. It was the most shifty conditions ever with puffs and holes everywhere. Boats sailing near each other were sometimes on very different angles and speeds. It seemed like the boats that I noticed making the best progress (like Toby Bryant in the bright orange "Ketchup", which is easy to spot) were ones that managed to get over towards Oka beach early. They were a mile ahead before long. The left side going through the bays gave huge lifts, but it still didn't pay as well in the winds which were roughly from the north. It seemed like we were tacking every minute in huge shifts from the wide part (Lake of 2 Mountains) of the river, through the bay, into the narrow part of the Ottawa river, and right up to the Hudson Yacht club. Once past the club, the winds were more of a consistent velocity and shifted less. As always, people hit or get stuck atop a rock. This year, I felt pain for a Star perched up high in the bay where CNDM is situated. It was exactly the spot I had been years before. Here are some notable first finishes amongst the classes that had numerous boats.

  • Luc Gloutney, Etchells, overall and class 1st.
  • D. Godin, Niagara 26
  • L.Grant, J24
  • Toby Bryant, Shark
  • Phil Wilcox, Tanzer 22
  • Art de Vries, Mirage 24
Hearty congratulations to Luc Gloutney and crew who have worked hard to get to the top, very deserving! The largest class on the water was by far the Tanzer 22 with 29 entries. It is fun to see all the different boats people cruise and race with. I find myself competing primarily with boats in my own class (T22) as it is numerous, and I know how we are doing boat for boat. We finished 8th out of the 29 which is the best showing ever for Ambitious in this race. As usual, the Hudson Yacht Club is to be commended for hosting a wonderful event, and a great dinner and party post race. A lot of people find the best times of the season includes the rafting up in the harbour, and cockpit hopping for parties!

Click the title for the full results.