Thursday, January 31, 2008

Final Day - Finn Gold Cup

Photo of Chris Cook from Miami OCR 2007 by Dan Nerney.

From CYA News, an excerpt on Chris Cook's go at the medal race, reserved for the top ten performers at the Finn world Championship. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Chris Cook, battled gamely all week but came up short in the Medal Race. A tentative start saw Chris dig himself a small hole that he could not recover from. Although "game" as always Chris was unable to claw back and thus dropped one place in the standings to finish 6th overall. Lets keep that in perspective, a 6th at the World Championship is something to be proud of and a solid stepping stone forward during the Olympic Year. Chris proved throughout the championship that he is among the elite in his class and provides Canada with a legitimate podium performer heading into the Games.

The focus for the majority now shifts to the Spring European circuit with the first major stop being Palma, ESP in March. Thats all for now from Melbourne, but stay tuned to these threads as Canadian athletes prepare for the Olympic Games in Qingdao.

Day 2: Miami OCR 2008 - CYA Report

Here is an excerpt from CYA news

The second day at the Miami OCR regatta started off under an onshore postponement due to light winds. The flags eventually came down and racing was underway with windspeeds of 7-10 knots from the southeast.

The first race of the day on the radial course was delayed with a plague of general recalls, which forced the committee boat to bring out the black flag in order to get going. Lisa Ross had a great start and was leading most of the way until the last downwind. She finished with very respectable 4th place. The closest Canadian was Keamia Rasa who ended up in 7th place. In the second race of the day, the race committee wasted no time and put up the black flag right away. Keamia Rasa had a great first beat and ended 3rd at the windward mark, and would never lose that position. Lisa Ross kept herself at the top of the leaderboard with a 7th place finish.

On the Laser course, Robert Davis had a stellar day with a 5th place in the first race, followed by a 3rd in the second race and ended the day with a 1st place.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Last Race of 470 World Championship

Canadian women Luttmer & Provan, and men Locas & Bone (Montrealers) found the best way to finish off a regatta. In the final race of both the Womens' Silver Fleet and the Mens' Bronze Fleet at the 470 World Championship in Australia, they each took first place!

Miami OCR after Day 2

Danielle Dube of Glen Haven, Nova Scotia at the Miami OCR

The second day of racing at the 2008 Rolex Miami OCR resulted in some excellent performances of the Canadians.
  • Paul Tingley of Halifax is in 3rd overall in the 2.4 Class after five races. He has one bullet.
  • In the Laser Standard Class, Robert Davies of Kingston is storming up the standings! His first race was a 12th which he has now dropped. Then 9th, 5th ,3rd, and a bullet in the last race yesterday. He now sits in 6th overall with Evan Lewis of Toronto right behind him in 7th. Geoff Abel and Paul Brikis are trying to find their way through mid-fleet. Andrew Wong of BC had it tough with 2 OCS yesterday. Right behind him is Oliver Darroch of Burlington, ON, sailing his first time in a Laser regatta outside Canada. Oliver had a tough time trying to make his new boat and sail go in sloppy stuff the first day, scoring 18th and 17th. Yesterday, he fought his way up to a 17th and two 15ths. A big congratulations to Paul Throop of Oakville, who, bringing up the rear, went down to sail a full rig Laser for the first time against this tough fleet!
  • From Victoria, BC, McRoberts and Louttit are in 3rd overall in the Skud 18
  • In the Star Class, Cramer & Tyler's results are not being reported in the overall standings for some reason. In individual races, they've scored 20, 17, 20, and BFD.
  • In the Laser Radial Class, Lisa Ross is burning up the race course, in 4th overall. This is a particularly tough international fleet for the numerous Montrealers racing. Top Montrealer after 4 races is Nicole Bastet of Hudson.
Congrats to all, and there are more in the standings too. Click title for full results - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Latest Race Results

Pic by Dan Nerny. Montreal Sailor Jessica Lombard sailing 182395 on yesterday's start line (left) at the Miami OCR. Click pic to enlarge. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

  • Best results at Miami OCR on the first day are from John McRoberts and Stacie Louttit of Victoria, BC. They are in 2nd place overall after a 2nd and 3rd in the individual races. Evan Lewis, Robert Davis and Geoff Abel have done well in the Laser placing 9th, 10th and 11th respectively. Results.
  • Provan & Luttmer have moved into 13th overall in the Silver fleet of the Women's 470 World Championship, Melbourne. Results.
  • Montrealers Locas & Bone have moved into 4th overall in the bronze fleet at the Men's 470 World Championship, Melbourne. Results.
  • Chris Cook held onto 6th overall after the final medal race of the Finn World Championship. Results.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Racing update from Melbourne

  • Chris Cook scored 7th in today's race of the Finn World Championship. That maintains his 5th overall position, and the right to sail within the top ten for the final medal race tomorrow. There is a spread of points too wide for the leading position, but his ongoing performance shows he's an obvious medal contender in Qingdao for the 2008 Olympics. Consistency is real tough in the wind conditions there and with that class of champs, but that seems to be where Cook can move his game.
  • Locas and Bone sailed to a 5th position in the 470 World's men's bronze fleet's race 10, their best performance. That moves them up to 6th overall in the fleet.
  • Provan and Luttmer sailed to a 2nd and 18th in the 470 World's Women Silver fleet. The 2nd place is their best performance and puts them in 14th overall in the fleet.

Looks like a good day for all!

Canada sends a small army to Miami OCR

Only 4 of the Olympic classes along with the Paralympic classes are in Biscayne Bay right now. Normally, there are 11. The others have championships elsewhere that conflict. Still, the Miami OCR is the only ISAF grade 1 event in the U.S. and a great winter opportunity for Canadian sailors. So, I suppose it is no wonder such a high number of Canada's high performance sailors are there for the racing which begins today. Just being there is an accomplishment already. 31 entries are Canadian. For the youth competitors, we hear Miami regattas can be major parties, but please, keep the coaches away from the more groady places, we're counting on you.

Listed below are Montreal area entrants according to the Miami OCR website. They are almost entirely the young female sailors in the Radial class. Tyler Bjorn (Montreal High Performance Camp) is also there with his usual partner Brian Cramer in the Star class - Congrats to them and all the Canadian entries!

  • Jessica Lombard, Montreal
  • Genevieve Bougie-Bastien, Beaconsfield
  • Nicole Bastet, Hudson
  • Laurence Bonneau-Charland, Ste-Agathes-des-Monts
  • Tyler Bjorn
We note that Andrew Wong made it back from competing down under for the Laser class. Youth sailor Oliver Darroch has a new Laser for the event he'll be sailing for the first time. A lot of the Laser sailors have pretty new rides actually. Anybody have/want a deal on the previous boats?

- Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Montreal and Canadian Sailors at 470 World's

The 470 World Championship continues down under in Australia. They have now divided into 3 fleets. Montreal Sailing faves Stephan Locas and Oliver Bone are competing in the Men's Bronze fleet and placed 11th out of 31 in that fleet. The women have now separated into two fleets. Jennifer Provan and Carol Luttmer are in 17th out of 29 in the Women's Silver fleet.

Cook still solid top ten after Sunday races in ongoing Finn World's

The Finn World Championship of 2008 continues to be exciting for Canadians to follow. In Sunday's races #6 and #7 Canadian Chris Cook takes 26th and 13th, out of 87 competitors. So the 26th becomes his drop score in the overall standings, allowing him to hold on to 5th overall in the standings. If Cook can sail well in Monday's fleet race, he will qualify for the medal race on Tuesday for the top ten competitors. Otherwise, he will sail with the other competitors in a separate final race Tuesday. Providing he doesn't really get buried, the points spread looks pretty good for him. Getting knocked back is certainly a risk with the tough winds and high calibre sailors. At this latter stage it will be a pretty intense fight. Some of the competitors are trying to qualify for the Olympics here as well.

Race #6 was in 12 knots of confused sea breeze. The race had a general recall, then got underway under a black flag. The start line was drawn close to shore and shallow water. Michael Maier capsized and broke his mast on an underwater reef.

Race #7 was started under an Oscar flag (man overboard) with 18-20 knots of wind.

Dan Slater (NZL), in first place overall, but tied on points with Ben Ainslie (GBR) noted "The other guys are coming into the loop too. It isn't just between Ben and I, many are in the game. With another race and then the medal with double points, we still have a long way to go!"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Huge Day for Canadian Sailing Fans

Here is a pic and news excerpt from the CYA website. It essentially covers the same news as yesterday, but is a good read. - Ralph, montreal Sailing

Chris Cook continues his climb up the leaderboard! With a 1-2 on the day Chris has vaulted himself further up the results sheet as we pass the mid-way point of the Finn Gold Cup. Sitting in 4th overall after his outstanding day Chris is readying himself for the challenges of the second half of the event.

Conditions were picture perfect today with 8-10 knot seabreezes prevailing throughout the two races. Although the variability in the conditions remainded a factor Chris sailed two conservatively agressive races to put himself in the thick of things. Race one was as close as one can come to a perfect 10 - from a dominant start to some experience in managing the fleet from the front Chris sailed an outstanding race. Race 2 was much the same, a solid first leg, was followed up with a devasting performance downwind to see Chris round on the heels of only Ben Ainslie of GBR. Hanging tough for the remainder of the race Chris scored a solid 2nd place and moved himself into striking distance for a podium performance.

With much challenging sailing still to come Chris looks forward to taking a shot at winning the second half of the event, and battling it out with the Worlds. More to come so keep your eyes on this thread to follow Chris throughout the remaining races of the Worlds and in his preparation for the Olympic Games.

Stay Tuned to the CYA Website for reports throughout the event.

Official Results

Event Website

Victoria Linton takes the helm

We've had some great photos in the thread about our kids in sailing. Here is another fine shot, this one of John Linton and his daughter Victoria, aboard their Tanzer 22, Encore Une Fois.

Encore Une Fois was drying out and having its bottom redone from bare glass to new epoxy, which kept it on land for most of the season. I was fortunate to have John and his wife Kim crew on our Tanzer 22, Ambitious. Kim in particular, flew the chute for us quite a lot this summer. Before we know it, Victoria will be one of the up and coming sailors.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dinghies Down Under in the Thick of it: Melbourne Report

Montreal Sailors Bone and Locas are well back about two thirds into the pack from the leaders at the 470 World Mens' Championship. Racing is currently in the qualifying rounds. Once completed the competitors will be divided into bronze, silver and gold fleets. Currently, after 5 races they are sitting in 67th position out of 94 boats. Their best races so far have been the first and most recent, the fifth, where they placed 17th both times. Provan and Luttmer are in 48th place overall out of 58 boats in the women's 470 World Championship.

Canadian Chris Cook is showing all his potential right now, as he is commanding difficult wind conditions to place high in the overall rankings at the Finn Gold Cup. After 5 races he is sitting in 4th place!

The CYA reported on his first day, and Sail Melbourne featured Cook in its reporting today. Day 1 saw lots of wind shifts catching competitors left behind on the wrong side, or stuck outside a wind line. Cook fought back from bad first legs in each of the first two races. With windward mark roundings of 40 to 60 boats, Cook clawed back to 15th and 19th at the finish line. Here is an excerpt from the excellent CYA report:

"The conditions presented many challenges, race one was held in 7-10 knot SSE breeze with 30 degree shifts and varying wind lines creating havoc on the course. Chris looking solid out of the blocks saw the right side of the course cave in on him and struggled to round in the top 30, solid performance for the remainder of the race saw Chris pull out a 15th place finish including a fantastic final run that was only a couple lengths short of a top 10 finish.

"Race 2 saw increasing breeze, but no less variability with winds peaking at around 15 knots but for the most part ranging between 11-13 knots. Undone by the right in race 1, Chris along with some formidable company including GBR's Ben Ainslie and current World Champion Raffa of ESP, worked the left side of the course, there was no joy for that group and he battle to sail a keeper was on. All three athletes ultimately made it back into the top 20, but not without some mounting frustration."

In Race 3, the sole race scheduled for yesterday, Cook pulled off a 5th place finish. Now, today, Cook started with a bullet! In the second race of the day he followed up with another blazing ride for 2nd place! This time, the day's wind stabilized around 8 knots, not rising over 11. In the first race of today, Cook and Dan Slater of NZL got good starts under the black flag, while Ben Ainslie collided with another boat, and did a 720 penalty turn.

A report by Corinne McKenzie on Sail Melbourne goes on to say:

"Meanwhile Dan Slater and Chris Cook where leading the fleet to the top mark. The Canadian took command on the run and increased his lead with skilful boat handling. Under the watchful eyes of the Jury he went on to win the race. Slater collected his first penalty for kinetics at the end of the first run allowing Cook to sail further in front. Zach Railey (USA) who had a disappointing regatta so far was glad to recover his good form from the Sail Melbourne regatta, to place second in front of Slater and Ed Wright (GBR). World ranked # 6, Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic recovered from a 20th place after a yellow flag at the start of the first run to finish in 5th place. “I gained 10 places on the 2nd beat and another 5 on the last downwind leg”, explained “Bambi”.

"The right side of the course was often the best choice. It was how Ben Ainslie won the second race: “I started on the pin end again but crossed to the right. I went on the right side again on the second beat and gained a few places. It looks like the right is often the way to go. It is surely a hard place to sail and the wind is not obvious to read.” Chris Cook repeated his first race tactic to finish second in front of Gasper Vincec (SLO). It was the first top 10 result for the Slovenian who has been struggling so far. Emilios Papathanasiou crossed the line in 4th place.

"As Australia will turn in “holiday” mode tomorrow to allow everyone to properly celebrate “Australia day”, the sailors and officials will have a day off. Racing will resume with two races on Sunday. Tonight, the sailors were treated to a taste of Australian “wildlife on the Barbie” with Emu, Kangaroos, Barramundi and other local delicacies."

CYA Report
Sail Melbourne

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Olympic Qualifying

I am always grateful for the contributions readers make to improve this sailing news blog, or provide more content. Pierre Marois (T22), the Star sailors Alain Vranderick and Philippe Hofer on one design, Tof supporting Lasers and Bytes, all the suggestions from many regarding Top Dawgs of Montreal Sailing, and more. Most recently the Walraven and Paul Davis. It improves the value for all of us immeasurably. Along with the BFD note, Paul Davis, an Olympic medalist, provided a little background on some of the pre-Olympic showdowns we have been covering:

In the RSX class for the Olympics, Canada had qualified as a country competing in the previous World Championship. This most recent championship decided who the individual competitors would be. "The top finishers, Nicola Girke and Zac Plavsic won the trials by being the top Canadians in these events" Our sincere congrats for them, and also a pip, pip, 3 cheers for Quebecer, Dominique Vallée, CarolAnn Alie-Rosenberg (3X world champ!), Shelly Foster in the womens' and David Hayes and Quebecer, Alain Bolduc in the mens'.

In the 470 class, readers of Montreal Sailing might be aware that BYC members Oliver Bone and Stéphane Locas will be representing Canada in the mens' 470. Therefore, the 470 World Championship of 2008 in Australia (action begins with practice race today) is less stressful for Bone and Locas. What it is, is the biggest showdown left before the Olympics, and an important opportunity for these sailors to hone their game against the best. There are a lot of veteran and current stars in both the mens' and womens' 470 to get humbled by.

As for the women's 470, Davis notes "the women have yet to qualify the nation, but in (hopefully) doing so in Melbourne they will also earn the right to be selected to compete in the games." It isn't perfectly clear from the regatta website, but it looks like something in the order of 17 of the many countries in Australia for the 470 World's, are vying for only 5 remaining places of qualification in Olympic sailing at Qingdao. Canadians Jennifer Provan and Carol Luttmer (sail 630) are making their bid here.

Go Canucks!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

BFD Baby

My thanks to the Walraven and Paul Davis who both fired off quick emails to enlighten me on the meaning of "BFD". I have never seen one used in the gratifyingly civil parts of Montreal sailing. It apparently stands for "black flag disqualification". No doubt most readers of Montreal Sailing are perfectly aware of this. Unaware of the acronym, though vaguely aware of the rule (30.3), the only black flags I have been cognizant of up to now are
  1. Flag bearers of anarchist groups at May Day parades. Viva Zapata!
  2. The hard core punk rock group, Black Flag from California (who's groupies dance in a curious fashion quite similar to black flag sailors on a start line; see image)
  3. The New Zealand black fern flag flown in the America's cup. "Ka mate, ka mate!"
Apparently, the fellow in the plaid shirt is one of the more assertive members of the Crew's Union. Since that extremist faction of Montreal Sailors frighten me, and I am dependent on them for much of my sailing inspiration and bloodthirsty persistence, he shall remain anonymous.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Asia Pacific Championships Evidence of Canadian Strength in Sailing

Bernard Luttmer from ISAF bio - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

197 Lasers from 53 countries have just completed ISAF Grade 1 racing in Melbourne, Australia. Canadians competed in Lasers, and also the Tornado and Finn

Two Canadians made it to the final medal round reserved for the top ten sailors in the Asia Pacific Men's Laser Championship. Michael Leigh finished up in 5th overall, and Bernard Luttmer took 8th overall. David Wright took top ten positions in 7 races, but had to drop an OCS, scoring 14th overall. Abe Torchinsky scored a bullet and 4 top tens for 19th overall. Michael Kalin took 5 top ten positions and 25th overall.

Lisa Ross took 12th overall in the Women's Laser Radial, Youth sailor Isabella Bertold took 3oth.

Chris Cook finished back in the pack overall with 3 DNF scores, one DNC, and also one I haven't heard of before, a BFD (?). Then in the ninth race, he won!

Andrew Wong had a great regatta in the Laser Radial Class. He made it to the top ten in the medal round and finished 7th overall.

Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle took 13th overall with 5 top tens and an OCS in the Tornado class.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

RSX World Championship Sends Canadians to the Olympics

Quebecer, Dominique Vallée finished 7th in the Silver Fleet at the RSX World Championship in Takapuna, New Zealand. The top Canadian woman, Nikola Girke qualified for the Gold Fleet finishing 37th overall and will be the Olympic contender for Canada. Two Canadian men qualified for the Olympics as well by racing well here: Zac Plavsic placed 28th, and the very young David Hayes in 45th.

Congrats from Montreal Sailing!

Sunset Over Dowker's Island

Sunset by Dowker's Island - pic by Jean Letourneau.

One of the easiest things a Montreal sailor can do is leave the dock, and watch a great sunset. Most often, for most of us, it is post-race. Try not rushing back to dock and the cold drinks and supper. Instead, once in a while, take a few frosties in a cooler, and stay out... for just a little while. Give the tiller to the keen, talented crew, take the chute down yourself, and sit on the deck facing your crew. Sail with a wide, easy slot, and CRUISE. Particularly after the intensity of a race, the feelings of peace and tranquility are strong as the boat easily moves along. All right, if it's the dead middle of summer, and the evening winds have subsided, pick your evening. Fireballers, and such smaller dinghies have little idea what they are missing! For indeed, this is the sense of freedom many of us work so hard for. Yet, sometimes we seem to experience little of its quality. Race for the exhilaration and the mastery, then...clear your head and get free!

If you have such an experience or photo, send it in to Montreal Sailing!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

29er High Performance Training in Montreal

29er Pic from website

Montreal Sailing likes to be all inclusive of your "this and that" when it comes to racing sailboats. Lately, we've spoken, with enthusiasm, about the simple, affordable, fun and intense competition going on in Canada of classes like the single-handed Laser. So, for a bit of balance, here is a reminder of another possibility for high performance youth sailing. The 29er Montreal High Performance Camp will return this spring, May 8-11th.

The website describes the clinic as follows: "The 4th annual Montreal High Performance Camp. This camp is the ultimate way to jump-start your season. It combines intense water sessions, fitness training, rig tuning, boat set up, technical theory and rock-solid coaching to help you get to the top of your game when the 2008 sailing season starts.

"The camp will follow the same format as always with 4 days of intense coaching.

Included will be:
4 continental breakfasts
2 dinners.
4 Full Days of Coaching
2 Guest Speakers"

Tyler Bjorn and Matthieu Dubreucq have been the instigators in previous years. See the website for more info. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Town hall meeting on water

Image from Jean Letourneau's website, anchored by Grand Ile.

Francis Scarpaleggia, Member of Parliament for the riding of Lac St. Louis, and the Liberal Party Water Critic, is hosting a public meeting on water. A guest panel will address the topic, including:
  • water levels in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River
  • the impacts of climate change on Canada's freshwater
  • and the state of our local watershed.
The meeting will take place Thursday, January 31, 2008, 7:30 p.m. at the Beaconsfield High School Auditorium, 250 Beaurepaire Drive, Beaconsfield. Prior to commencement, a short film on water, "Le Fleuve aux grandes eaux" by Frédéric Back will be shown at 7:00 p.m.

Guest panel includes:
  • Dr. Chandra A Madramootoo
    • Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
    • Mcgill University, Macdonal Campus
  • Benoit Paré
    • President
    • Comité ZIP Ville Marie
  • Tom McAuley
    • Engineering Adviser of the Canadian Section,
    • International Joint Commission
  • Jacques J. Trottier
    • Manager, Water (Treatment and Studies)
    • SNC-Lavalin
Scarpaleggia has a number of docs on his website on the topic. Madramootoo has done extensive work on water table management, water quality vis-a-vis agricultural irrigation and drainage. He has also addressed the local concerns of phosphates as has Scarpaleggia. Madramootoo's work takes him near and afar, including Lake Champlain and Sri Lanka. Zip Ville-Marie's website is also worthwhile and Montreal Sailing notes that Claude Martin, vice-president, Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons - Québec sits on ZIP Ville Marie's Board. The International Joint Commission website is where you can find docs regarding their International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Study, water level regulation, hydro power damming, and the impacts of activity on water quality. Montreal sailors amongst various individuals and groups have made submissions to their consultations. The IJO is still in discussion stages with various governments about final recommendations that will be followed by public hearings.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Canadians Crowding Around Top Ten Down Under

David Wright in #521. C. Wright, photo

After 6 races here are interim results from within top ten only. Click title for full results including other Canadians:

Laser Standard
  • 6th Bernard Luttmer
  • 8th David Wright
  • 9th Michael Leigh

Laser Radial
  • 5th Andrew Wong

Other Canadians are also having excellent races. Lisa Ross is in 11th overall in the womens' Laser Radial. Abe Torchinsky has a bullet and mostly top ten finishes. Michael Kalin has top ten finishes in five out of 6 races.

"We should begin by reviving the Laser Class"

Right on!

PCYC will offer Race Team Training to under 18s who own a Byte or Laser. I
bought one for Kai and I am looking for others to join up.

Remember also there is active fleet of Lasers at Venture.

Push it !


Yah man, we are hyped here at Montreal Sailing, and interest is developing. Tof's youth program at PCYC is bound to be high quality. I have been at Venture too to meet the fleet, as has Alain, and I hope to once again have a boat there. HYC has some Laser sailors I've chatted with. At BYC, there are a lot of Lasers, but I don't know most of them. CVL has some high performance youth on the regatta trails. There is some great potential here!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Amongst Canada's Best Sailors are Single-handers Focused Down Under

The Finns in action in Melbourne

If you wanna race against the best, in the most exciting, competitive class in Canada and internationally, who are ya gonna call?

Well, I think the answer is not exclusive, but becoming increasingly evident. It is Canada's most formidable sailors in the Laser classes. These successful racers are placing well in all the big international regattas. They are Canada's very strong Olympian contenders in the upcoming games. This thought came to mind while reviewing the early results of Sail Melbourne Asia Pacific Regatta 2008. Here are the Canadians competing down under at Melbourne:

Lisa Ross is currently in 10th overall, with a 4th in the most recent race at Melbourne. She is ranked as the 26th best Laser Radial sailor in the world according to ISAF. Her best showings this past year would have to be the 8th overall in the North American Championship, and 4th at the Radial Midwinters East in the U.S. Both are grade 1 events.

A competitor to keep watching is youth sailor Isabella Bertold, currently in 34th at Melbourne. she is the 4th highest ranking youth competitor in the current Melbourne standings.

Right now, Michael Leigh is the top Canadian in the Men's Laser Standard, in 6th overall, with a 2nd place in the 2nd race. At the Sydney International Regatta just last month, Leigh won the event. That was an ISAF grade 1 regatta. Last summer, in the Medemblik regatta (NED), he took 3rd, the Euro championship at Hyeres, he took 3rd overall, 32nd at the ISAF World's, then 3rd at the Qingdao Olympic Test Event.

Bernard Luttmer is currently 8th overall after 4 races in Melbourne. he also has a 2nd place in one of the races. In the last year, Luttmer sailed 6 grade 1 events and scored 14, 2, 14, 5, then at CORK Luttmer won the show, and at Sydney Int'l Regatta he grabbed 3rd overall. Wow.

Michael Kalin sits in 17th overall at Melbourne with a best so far of 5th. He has been buried at times, but is showing great strength now with a 9th overall in Sydney, and 4th at CORK last summer.

Abe Torchinsky started Melbourne like he was on fire, placing 3rd and 1st in the first two rounds. The next two races he was caught out and sits in 25th overall. Torchinsky is achingly close to making the medal rounds of grade one regattas.

David Wright is currently ranked as the 35th best in the world. At Melbourne, his first race was an OCS, but he has come back forcefully with 7th, 2nd, and 4th in the following races!

Aside from the Laser sailors above, Chris Cook had a tough time with 2 DNFs to start Melbourne in the Finn Class, but has blazed back with a 22nd, then a 3rd.

Andrew Wong sailing a Laser Radial is doing superbly placing 6th overall in Melbourne. Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle got nipped by a an OCS in the Tornado Class but are sailing very well with their best so far being a 6th in the first round.

The results indicate that any of the Canadians above, in Melbourne, could be medalists in the Olympics. There is a chance for huge success in Canadian sailing with these competitors. I doubt many Canadians realize what a strong team of Canadian sailors are likely to go to the Olympics this time round.

This leads Montreal Sailing to ask a local question! Regular readers of this blog might be able to guess my preoccupation. Why are we not following the lead of yacht clubs in Nova Scotia, Kingston, Toronto, Vancouver, and developing high performance single-handed sailing in our sport. Why don't we even have more single-handed just for fun for all ages. It is the most affordable for all, day sailors, and high performance oriented alike. Old and young can enjoy it, from Optimists to catboats. They are the most accessible of boats. Those wanting to travel to events out of town can do so far more easily than with a keelboat. Of course, no panic over crew makes things simple. I think the total focus on the Club 420 for teaching, and the huge expense of membership dues on these boats has been perhaps a bit too narrow of focus. In my mind, the opportunity to develop a wider, more fun base for sailing, as well as grow high-performance sailing is in Lasers, and any other one design single-hander we want to have fun in .

For racing in Montreal and the contribution it could make to the quality of our programs, including future keelboat fleets, for the future of the sport, its accessibility, our numbers of competitors, and buddies to kibbitz with after the races, we should begin by reviving the Laser class!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Dominique Valleé Racing the RSX World`s in New Zealand

Dominique Valleé, member of Quebec and Canada's Sailing Teams, is having an excellent regatta at the RSX World championship in New Zealand. She is currently in 19th overall in her division and the top placed female from North America. Currently the competitors are still racing in different divisions that will decide a finalists fleet. After waiting for light winds on the first day, the second day saw winds of 9-13 knots. Sounds like good preparation for the Olympics where light-air sailing is expected.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Preparing for World’s Down-under

This super photo, and news excerpt from the CYA website - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

With 9 of the 11 Olympic classes contesting their 2008 World Championships in either Australia or New Zealand during the first 3 months of the new year, Canadian Sailing Team members have been busy preparing themselves to take on these challenges. Venues for training have ranged from the more typical winter local of Miami to the growing favorite of Cabarete to the more distant but appropriate for 2008 venues of Melbourne/Sydney/Auckland.

The 2008 Worlds for the majority of the Olympic classes hold extra significance as they also represent the final Olympic selection opportunity. For the Laser, Radial, RS:X Men & Women, the classes has met the ISAF qualification criteria thus leaving the selection of Canada’s representative in the balance at the Worlds. For the 470 women, Tornado, Yngling (2008 Worlds Miami) and Star (2008 Worlds Miami) the 2008 World Championships represent both the final opportunity to qualify the class but also the individual athlete selection event. In the Finn – Chris Cook, 49er – Gordon Cook/Ben Remocker and 470 Men – Stephan Locas/Oliver Bone the worlds hold a different significance, these team members have been selected to go to the Olympics by virtue of performances in 2007 and are using these championships as preparation opportunities for the big show in Qingdao.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pic: Locas & Bone at ISAF World

From the 470 website - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Heroes of Montreal Sailing, the Beaconsfield Yacht Club, and Montreal racers, Stéphane Locas and Oliver Bone are captured in this pic at the 470 Class World Championship which was part of the ISAF World's Regatta this past summer. They did quite well placing 29th out of 85 world class competitors and Olympians.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Results: Orange Bowl, Coral Reef Yacht Club

A lot of Montreal sailors and Canadians went south for the Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta, the 27, 28, 29 & 30 December 2007, in Miami, Florida. Canadians Greg Clunies finished 5th and Robert Davis 7th overal in the Laser Class. 630 young sailors from 17 countries competed. Here are some of the results for sailors Montreal sailors know.

Radial Laser – 138 Boats
Emilie Mademann, Hudson Yacht Club, 59
Olivier Corbeil, Club des Voiles des Laurentides, 80
Marc-Olivier Laurin C.V.L. 85
Laurence Bonneau-Charland 87
Phenix Cloutier Memphrémagog 111
Thomas Revak HYC 117

Laser Full Rig 40 boats
Robert Davis (Paul’s son for his Montreal sail customers) Kingston Yacht Club 7
Martin Robitaille Club de voile des Laurent 31

Thursday, January 03, 2008

One Design Racing: Make it Cheap, Easy, Fun

Hi Ralph,

You’re right about the Star, we do enjoy our one-design racing. Apart from more obvious aspects of one-design racing, one cannot ignore the camaraderie within the fleet, which helps build a strong sense of belonging to the fleet. We’re lucky to have a pretty good group at CNDM, and there is a lot of info sharing, tuning tips, and good natured ribbing that goes on after each race. In building the fleet, we were conscious of the social aspect of sailing which needs to be an integral part of the activity in order to keep people coming back. Basically, it’s gotta be fun. A simple example is our post race gathering around beer and chips. Every Wednesday, a crew is designated to bring beer and munchies for every one. After every body has pitched in hauling the boats, we gather around the beer and chips to share stories.

Having done a bit of reading of one-design fleet development, I know that this is not specific to the Star fleet. All successful fleets out there have put an emphasis on the social aspect of racing. It’s a way for new people to integrate the fleet quickly, and it allows for all those bruised egos on the water to deflate a bit on shore.

The case for Cheap, Easy and Fun sailing

From a broader perspective, I would like to share a few lessons learned from what we’ve seen in our fleet and around Montreal in the last few years. As we go forward in an environment where sailing is competing with more and more options in terms of outdoor activities, we need to focus on making our sport more affordable and fun. In my opinion, this is one of the key successes of the Star fleet. It’s a cheap (at least at club level racing), easy, and fun opportunity for the enjoyment of our sport. And if we want our sport to keep on thriving, I think we need to refocus our efforts around fun and affordable one-design fleets. Here’s our experience from the Star fleet perspective:

· Cheap :

Cheap boats : Just by asking around you can easily find a club level race ready Star for under $5 000.

Cheap sails : With the amount of sailors in the fleet, you can always find regatta sails at a very reasonable price. If you travel to regattas, you just walk up to a pro, and they are happy to sell you their regatta sails at a 40-60% discount. Plus there’s only two sails to take care of, main and jib.

· Easy :

Easy crew finding and training : If you’ve read my blurb on the Quebec fleet website, you’ll understand how myself and William Hendershot started this whole thing. In short, coming from the J24 fleet, we were just tired of chasing after, and training crew for regattas. All this organization of putting a crew of 5 together for racing, just became really tedious after a while. Basically it was no fun anymore. You just have a finite amount of time in a week to dedicate for an activity, and sometimes it just becomes too much work for what it’s worth. With a crew of 2 the Star is great for that aspect. You’re always only one phone call away from replacing your regular crew. Same thing for away regattas. The logistics of a crew of 2 are very minimal.

Easy towing : The Star is light enough that you don’t need a beast of a truck to tow it around. You can easily tow it with a Volvo wagon, which makes it easier to find a car that will double as your everyday car and tow vehicle for your sailboat. If it’s easy to tow, it will be easier to make that decision to go to an away weekend regatta.

· Fun :

Sail a boat that moves : Life is too short to sail boring slow boats. My apologies to the J24 people out there, but sailing the J24 around Montreal in light wind is not my idea of fun. With the typical wind conditions around Montreal (average of 6-8 knots), it’s a lot more interesting having a boat that actually moves in these conditions. The Star is a great boat for these conditions.

Crew involvement : With a crew of 2, there is plenty to do for both skippy and crew, which is not always the case with the bigger boats. It’s really exciting when, as a rookie you start crewing on keelboat, and all you do is sit on the rail and pass the sandwiches around between races. Do that a few times in a drifter and it gets old pretty quick. Having the crew involved in the racing is a lot more fun them, and will eventually help you grow your numbers, as they might eventually get interested in buying their own ride.

Of course our situation and experience is not singular. I’m sure when people from Etchells fleet read this will find a lot of similarities with their situation. The way that fleet just popped up at PCYC is simply amazing and is a testament to quality of the boat and people involved in the racing. But the more we share these experiences...

The case for more dinghy racing

Looking at the Montreal sailing scene, I think that adult dinghy racing is way underrepresented. Sure you have the Lightning fleet at Royal, and the Fireballs at PCYC, but I’m sure that the potential is there for a lot more growth. Last year I left my Finn at Venture. Sailed a few regattas with the group there, and it was real fun .Again, cheap and easy sailing. They rabbit start their races, and set a course around a set of fixed marks. They just go one race after the other. Although not one-design (I was racing against Lasers and Bytes), it was still a lot of fun going around the course with those guys. And if one wants a cheap way of getting on water, the Laser remains a great option for a lot of people. So are a lot of dinghy classes by the way.

Coincidentally, if you look at the Sailing Anarchy website, you’ll notice their unscientific survey of one-design classes. At the top of the list, the MC scow. Willy is trying to build a fleet of those MCs at CNDM, and he’s given me the opportunity to sail one of his boats a few times. Those MCs are quite the ride. Although mainly singlehanded, their class rules allows to hop a crew on board for extra weight on windy days. Talk about user friendly.

I think that if we want to maintain a certain level of participation and fun in our sport, people would gain a lot by looking into these low cost alternatives. Keep the keelboat if you want to go sail around the lake on a lazy Sunday afternoon with the family. But for pure racing fun, we would gain a lot by building fleets of these fun, fast and affordable classes.


Alain Vranderick