Friday, June 27, 2008

Bleu, Quebec Transat entry breaks mast.

Bleu, the Quebec entry for the Transat Quebec St. Malo France broke its mast in a training excursion off the Gaspe shore on June 12th. With the start less than a month away, getting a replacement 70' mast would not be easy. So, the team has decided it will not be able to make it. All the crew is well, and apparently the boat performed sweetly prior to the accident in strong wind. A failure of the carbon structure is suspected. Now, out of the race, the crew still plan an ocean crossing in September.

«C’est une situation extrêmement frustrante, mais nous devons nous rendre à l’évidence; nous allons manquer de temps pour préparer proprement le bateau et le fiabiliser avant le départ de la course» ont déclaré Éric Tabardel et Damien De Pas.

L’équipe de Bleu regarde maintenant la saison 2009. Elle envisage de participer à la Route du Chocolat au mois d’avril, une première course en équipage entre la France et le Mexique. Outre les épreuves au calendrier de la Class 40 en 2009, Bleu souhaite surtout disputer la Transat Jacques Vabre, une régate en double entre le Havre et Salvador de Bahia au Brésil, dont le départ sera donné en novembre 2009.

Click title for press release - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

F18 Regatta

The F18 class held a one design regatta last week end, hosted by PCYC. The boats are pretty awesome to look at. They had very light winds to contend with. Seems to me a big cat would be just the thing for that. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bougie-Bastien at Kiel Race Week

A lot of Canada's top dinghy sailors are racing right now at Kiel Race Week in Germany. However, today, Montreal Sailing wishes to congratulate local sailor Geneviève Bougie-Bastien of the R.St.L.Y.C. on her campaign. Racing the Laser Radial, she is showing progress in her efforts against the best in the world. Go Geneviève! If the youth sailors training at the TRY regatta out of PCYC today want to see what kind of excitement is possible, follow sailors like Geneviève Bougie-Bastien on the international circuit!

TRY: Training Regatta for Youth

TRY 2008 Kicks off today at PCYC. Optimist, Laser, Byte, 420 and 29er are
among the classes participating in this 4 day Training and Racing event.
TRY is stop #1 on this year's Circuit de Quebec which all operate on a
training format. Is there a better way to learn to sail fast and smart than
meeting other club's racers in a competitive format? We think not.

Other stops on the circuit are EVO in Ottawa, Fruitbowl in Hudson and Sail
East at CVL.

Come and see the action!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Etchells Regatta and huh, J24s? Yah!

Gee, maybe the month of June should be designated One Design Racing Month! Last week end the Sharks had their Coupe du Quebec out of BYC, and the F-18 catamarans came to PCYC. That's not all. June 16th and 17th, the Etchells fleet at PCYC had their Etchells Challenge Cup. Sharing the race committee were 5 J24 doing one design. Wow! When was the last time we had J24s racing one design on Lac St. Louis. Well done folks.

The Etchells fleet of 9 boats had some good competition. 1st overall went to the team on Vivace, recently referred to here in Montreal Sailing. Based on their performance so far in Spring racing Vivace was awarded a "Bone" as a potential Montreal Sailing "Top Dawg" of 2008.

Vivace, skippered by Pierre Jasmin, scored two bullets and a 2nd out of five races in a march towards a total of 8 points. Tied for 2nd overall were the winner of last year's distance in Hudson, Luc Gloutney's Allegro, and Keith Matthew's TBD at 12 points each. Allegro scored a bullet in race 2 which broke the tie! Just one point apart were David Covo's Eminence Grise in 4th overall and Uhu in 5th. Adding to Covo's grey hairs and almost toppling his eminence was... no not the usual Uhu helm, Dick Steffen. Skiff sailor Marc Farmer was helming Uhu on this occasion.

The J24 racing was won by Navtech. Another points tie this week end occurred between Lee Grant's Peacemaker in 2nd and Dave Cobbett's High Strung in third. Stephan Blais on Premature Grey, and Pierre-Eric Docher 's Bay Gull rounded out the 5. Congratulations to all for getting another OD class on the water!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Shark Regatta draws 18 Teams, and Boosts the Class

Sharks look pretty sleek without the antifouling! - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

The Shark class’ Coupe du Quebec regatta this past weekend attracted a pretty good number of boats, 6 more than last year’s 12, fully 1/3 higher. The regatta was a counter for the Shark of the Year contest. Even better in my books, a large variety of sailors both local and from Ontario, gave competition for all levels. That’ll be good for all, the backpackers like me, new entrants, and also the more experienced and hot shots at the top. I think it is healthy to have a class accessible by both high talent and learning competitors.

Wind levels, unlike most of the season’s heavy air so far, were light and shifty. Only 5 races were completed, three longer ones Saturday, and two Sunday where the wind dropped to near nothing before picking up again to light but sufficient levels. In one race, many competitors were drifting onto the windward mark. Racers went from top positions to mid-fleet. Still, while light, the winds seemed sufficient to have good racing for the most part, and the teams that do well in the class mastered the wind this week end too. 7 local boats competed, not huge, but sufficient. The local entrants comprised a great bunch of people, deep talent, and a respectable total for a one design class around here these days. Class promoters and competitors always want the biggest numbers possible of course. Some were surely disappointed my Shark was not ready, and others not entered. 18 boats IS a very good number, and with a one design regatta just about every 2nd week end within towing distance, Shark sailors who like to compete at home and away pretty well have it the best of all the classes around.

The “Coupe” was won by the team on Shark Poop (love that name) from Nepean Sailing Club. They dropped their worst score, a 12th, and then took the regatta with 2 bullets, a 2nd, and a 4th. Another team, familiar with the podium, took 2nd overall. Their boat, Crazy Ivan, from Britannia Yacht club, led the first day, and also took two bullets, finishing three points back overall. I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie and David from this team. I find it fascinating how some of the most dominating competitors are easy-going, unassuming, generous guys. Truly, such sailors are very good ambassadors for this fleet.

Repeating their success of last year’s Coupe, the highest Quebec position and third overall, was once again taken by the talented team on Ketchup, from Pointe Claire Yacht Club. Other Montreal Sailors also filled out the top ten with VO2 Max from Beaconsfield Yacht Club scoring a bit of an upset, taking 5th overall, by one point over Crisis of PCYC in 6th. VO2 Max is hot, recently recognized with a “Bone” from Montreal Sailing as a team to watch, they are “Top Dawg” contenders in the class. The boat Chimera (PCYC), with top Fireballer, Rob Levy on the helm, Skipper, William Shishakly, and David Bowen working foredeck, did very well to take 7th overall. Eclipse from Beaconsfield, which is a hot boat this year, took 9th, crewed entirely by the Rahn family. Eclipse took a 2nd place on Saturday. Blue Shark and Sudden Impulse took 11th and 17th, which brought the total number of Montreal sailors to 7 teams.

I believe this year the fleet was strong, both in owners sailing, and the calibre of competition the local fleet gave. Even though 1 less local boat competed this year, the Shark fleet seems to be growing a little bit, and numbers may be higher yet for the next time around. Hopefully, I will have my Shark out there before long. Don Mcdonough’s injury to a finger has to heal eventually. Others are rumoured to be considering the class. The Shark class has shown that on Lac St. Louis, it is the one design class representing small keelboats. Lac Des Deux Montagnes has much larger numbers of Tanzer 22s racing making it the better option, but on Lac St. Louis it is divided between Sharks and Tanzers. Those racing most actively have by majority favoured the Shark. Kudos have to go to Jin Frati who tirelessly promotes and sustains the class, Paul Baehr, who is always there, and the others who are very helpful to newbies like myself with advice and even equipment. That helpfulness is an important asset! This was a successful regatta, and bodes well for one design racing of relatively inexpensive keelboats on Lac St. Louis. At the conclusion of the regatta, organizers were talking of bidding for the Canadian, and then the World Championships which would be very exciting. If realized, that would be another great boost and compelling reason to join the local fleet.

Click title for full results - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Friday, June 20, 2008

Montreal Sailing Awards First Bones for Top Dawgs of Spring in the GNS A

It is always interesting to see who is starting strong out of the gate. As we know in sailboat racing a good start is crucial. In a series of races, a top ranking can establish the pecking order early. Will the current leaders be knocked off the podium? GNS Series A ain't over till the bows cross the line 3 more times. At Montreal Sailing, there is always a lot of interest as to who will be the "Top Dawgs", and we like to look beyond the series stats at the individual efforts and classes. Lets give some "Bones" to those who could end up being the Montreal Sailing's Top Dawgs of 2008.

Here are the results from BYC's hilltop lookout over the race course. We are looking at race 1 & 3 of the GNS Series A. Race 2 was canceled due to no wind. Hopefully, I'll be able to leave harbour and chase the pack some time too! With a little spare time, or your views, we hope to give more bones for other racing series too. All the racing is as exciting, send me your thoughts!

Dick Steffen's Uhu took the first race, and Pierre Jasmin's Vivace was first Etchells in the second race to give us a tie for first in class. Both were beaten in the PHRF corrected time of the second race, by Moonraker, a Niagara 26! Since Vivace took a higher placing overall after the two races, Montreal Sailing gives a bone to Jasmin's team. However, it is too close to predict who will come out on top here!

In the Shark class VO2 Max, owned by Megalo Don and the Nickster won the first race, Ketchup was absent, but notched one up with a victory in Race 3. VO2 Max took 2nd in race 3. The Rahn family took Eclipse to 2nd place in race 1 and missed race 2. This is also a tough early call, and we will give the bone, to VO2 Max for consistent high performance. There are 5 Shark teams amongst many more, all able to be the class' Top Dawg for 2008. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

Tanzer 22
"Goin' Strait" gets the bone for its victory as first Tanzer in race 1. All the Tanzers were sporting large genoas in race 3 and bailed when the wind blew up something fierce. Congrats to skipper, Shelly Dorman, currently the Top Dawg!

Mirage 24
Ariel, Richard and Erica's Mirage 24 beat all the Tanzer 22s in race 1. With the course heavily skewed and a lot of wind, there was some discussion about boats sailing the correct course, including Ariel. Still amid the confusion, there were no calls or protests against any of those boats. Ariel bested the Tanzers and earns a bone.

Not many sporting Balls typically come out to swim in cold waters, so it isn't a representative competition yet. Irregardless, Joe Jospe, who was out for both races, is an obvious Top Dawg contender. Jospe's team gets the bone for being out in extreme conditions, of not just water temperature, but high wind. He and Rob Levy's teams surfed past all the big keelboats. It is just so obvious that as the season develops, Joe Jospe will be a Top Dawg contender.

White Sail
In this class, it is currently a standings tie. Sawiki, the able Grampian 26 dominated the first race. In Race 3, Le Must, Jon Austen's Tanzer 22 won. I must say, Jon Austen made a brilliant call in his victory. All the Tanzers in PHRF 3 had big #1 genoas hanked on, and had to retire, way overpowered. Jon saw the weather coming and flew the smaller working jib. That can be risky, as it wasn't strong wind at the start, and even when big wind comes, it often lightens up considerably by the end of the evening. It is even riskier for white sail Tanzers who enjoy the big genoa downwind. Jon knew otherwise, foresaw the weather, and for that reason, gets the bone!

There you have it. Let's summarize. Bones tossed high to the best of spring in GNS:
  • Etchells: Vivace
  • Fireball: Joe Jospe
  • Mirage 24: Ariel
  • Shark: VO2 Max
  • Tanzer 22: Goin Strait
  • White Sail: Le Must
Well, well. I'm looking forward to seeing which Top Dawgs get their tongues out ahead for the best licks, and which end up drooling.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shark Coupe du Quebec

Shark Coupe du Quebec

Quebec Provincial Championship

National Shark Counter Series Event

June 21 & 22, Beaconsfield Yacht Club

  • 1800 to 2100 Friday: Registration
  • 0800 to 1000 Saturday: Registration
  • 1000 Saturday: Skippers’ Meeting
  • 1100 Saturday: Warning Gun, 1st Race
  • 1830 Saturday Dinner
  • 1000 Sunday: Warning Gun, 1st Race
  • 1600 Sunday: Prize Giving

A maximum of six races will be sailed over the two days.

No warning signal will be made after 1700 on Saturday and 1400 on Sunday.

Superb Saturday Night Steak and Lobster Dinner

Come sail and party with old friends and make new ones. With a minimum of two former Shark World Champions as well as a bunch of new sailors to the Shark racing community, all levels of competitor will find someone to sail with and against!!

Support one design racing – Support local Shark racing!!

Click title for NOR and for more info.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ouch! GNS A #4 causes pain

A significant wind blew up for the 4th race last evening. Before it subsided, there were boats feeling the pain. The Fichten's Tanzer 22, Sine Wave lost its mast which broke in two. That's no small feat for the sturdy masthead rig, but it does happen. A white sail racer got swept to about 20 or so yards offshore perched on rocks. The crash boat managed to pull it off. Jin Frati's Blue Shark lost a lower gudgeon and upper pintle for the rudder and had to retire. The wind did slow down as the evening progressed, though remained at strong levels. No results posted yet.

Here is a cool note on the previous Tuesday's GNS A, race #3. The Fireballs started 15 minutes after the Etchells, 10 minutes after White Sail, and 5 minutes after the Sharks, Tanzer 22s, etc, in PHRF 3, yet finished before all of them. One would've thought they would have been scooping fish in their sails, with that big blow, but they whooped the entire total of fleets!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bone & Locas Raise their game at Euro Championship

Oliver bone and Stéphane Locas radically improved their standings at major regattas with a great performance at the 470 Class European championship. Thanks to a bullet in the 3rd race, the team of Montreal sailors made it into the gold fleet allowing them to continue sailing against the best for the remainder of the regatta. They then continued to post generally much better finishes than in the past. At the conclusion of the last major regatta before their Olympic show, they scored 26 overall. 91 teams were competing. The highest finishes they achieved were the 1st, and a 7th and 8th.

The last race presented tough conditions beyond the high calibre gold fleet to compete with. From the website:

"The weather is extremely unusual in Riva today. After a heavy fall of rain yesterday, with snow on the mountain tops, the wind today is a fierce Force 7 with much colder conditions than would have been expected at this time of year. Several of the crews sailing in today’s medal race looked rather anxious as they took to the water for the vital final medal races."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Race #2 & 3, Good Neighbours Series A, 2008

Two Fireball teams showed remarkable skill completing last Tuesday's race in big wind. This pic is from the Fireball 2008 World Championship in Thailand and was posted by Joe Jospe on the Fireball website. It is of Rob Levy and Stephen Waldie. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing.

Race #2 of the series was canceled due to no wind. I was doing race committee, and was a little concerned that a wispy wind might arise with a fluky directionless character. After the first race's travails, I didn't want to suffer as the previous race committee and racers had. However, with the able David Speak on board, I didn't worry too much. A light wind did touch down in an isolated area, but around 7:15 we sounded for a cancellation. Sure enough, as we got back to harbour sometime later, a very, very light breeze filled in. However, though a race might have been possible, we figured it would have finished in the dark for many of the sailors. The cancellation seemed like the right call.

Race #3 turned out to be very different. It looked like a very nice easy wind, and a civilized race would be in store for the evening race last Tuesday. A major blow had passed through in the afternoon, blowing three tractor-trailor trucks over on their sides on the Champlain Bridge, but then subsided. I was on shore atop the BYC hill observing as my Shark is finally in the water, but now I'm working on rigging.

The starts went off without a hitch , and the boats had a good first leg. PHRF 1&2, and White Sail got off clean. In PHRF 3, two Sharks led the windward drive, but 3 Tanzer 22s and a Mirage 24 were still within potential striking distance. By the time they were rounding the windward mark and popping chutes, it became apparent the conditions were changing. Two Fireballs and a 470 started next.

The wind picked up dramatically, and within a short time was a full blow. It was quite a ride for many. The overpowered 470 wisely retired, but amazingly the two Fireballs, I believe Levy and Jospe finished the course. In PHRF 1&2 a huge upset, Moonraker, the Niagara 26 finished 1st in corrected time, beating the entire Etchells fleet! Clearly, Moonraker can kill in the big wind. The top three Etchells were skippered by Jasmin, Litee, and Steffen. Kudos to Austen who before the race, anticipated the possible big wind, and unlike the other T22s put up his #3 working jib. He indeed not only finished but won the white sail race. Capricorn, the Alberg 37 took 2nd, ahead of a Grampian 26. Not sure which of the BYC Grampians it was. Jon Austen said he had a blast in the heavy air with his favoured jib. In PHRF 3, all three Tanzer 22s were flying their big #1 genoas and retired from the race. Before doing so, Linton's T22 had to release their spinnaker to avoid a wipe-out. Paynter's T22 lost a genoa block, and couldn't competitively control the sail. Gilbertson's T22 was missed upon return to BYC harbour. It turned out her motor had failed, and she had sailed to the visitor's dock. Ariel, the Mirage 24 also retired. That left the 2 Sharks, Ketchup, and VO2 Max hurtling around the course. There were respectful comments regarding "Spiderman" and his crew, Toby and Jen, on Ketchup increasing their lead when the winds went from medium to heavy velocities to take the gun.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Montreal Sharks at Canadian Championship

Three teams of Montreal Sailors went to the Shark Canadian Championship last week end. A big congratulations to Tof Nicoll-Griffith's team on "Crisis" of PCYC who placed 5th overall in the fleet of 28. Also doing very well was Paul Baehr's team on Sudden Impulse who edged out Jin Frati's popular Blue Shark team by one place overall, in 16th and 17th overall. Sudden Impulse and Blue Shark sail out of BYC.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Locas & Bone Win 3rd Race at Euro championship!

Stépane Locas and Oliver Bone have had a very exciting start to the 470 Class European Championship. After the first three races they sit in 12th overall out of 91 teams. They have posted an 8th, 13th, and yes, a 1st!

Ralph - Montreal Sailing

Saturday, June 07, 2008

High Winds Expected For Maud


Those competing in the Maud cup single-handed race may be in for a wild ride today! I'm thinking particularly of those normally flying big genoas on masthead rigs. Here is the Environment Canada marine forecast from this morning.

Strong wind warning in effect...
Winds variable less than 10 knots becoming southwest 10 to 20 this morning then increasing to 15 to 25 late this morning. Risk of gusts in thunderstorms early this morning. Visibilities fair to poor in fog until this morning. High 28.
Outlook for Sunday...Winds southwest 10 to 20 knots increasing to 20 to 25 in the afternoon.

Sailflow is forecasting 14-16 by this afternoon.

Remember, it isn't safe or competitive to be overpowered, and unlikely to change sails in a single-handed race! Click the link for sailing instructions.

- Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Friday, June 06, 2008

The local scene is heating up with GNS A, #Race 1

The racing has begun! Racing began officially with the first Good Neighbour Series A race on May 27th, and I joined the fun with last night's Award Series. The weather is supposed to be hot, hot, hot this coming week end, and the racing is quickly raising the mercury too.

The first race May 27th was a drag race up and down the course with the wind coming from the side of the course. Gawd, I'm soooo glad I wasn't doing race committee! I feel for whoever was. A course that ends up being wrong for the wind direction is a nightmare for amateur race officers, and may cause paralyzing dismay! Nevertheless, even drag races can demand certain talents of skipper and crew. Poor boatspeed cannot be made up for with a well calculated couple of tacks. So, with applause, here are the toppers from different fleets for May 27th.

The Etchells in PHRF 1&2 were a little spread apart with Dick Steffen's team first over, followed by Vivace, Pierre Jasmin's team, and then Keith Mathews. They had a pretty good turn out for the first spring counter race with 5 boats, including Brian Palfreeman and Luc Gloutney's boats.

Two J24s and Moonraker, the Niagara 26 were also fighting it out as the PHRF 2 contestants.

In PHRF 3, it was obvious that stronger winds played a role with the finish stats as Sharks dominated. Way out in front of the Shark pack was Don Osborne and Nick Van Haeften's Shark, finishing about 2 and a half minutes ahead of the nearest boat. Wow, hail the Big Wind Meisters! No wonder they have re-named their boat VO2 Max! Following in succession were the Sharks Eclipse, Blue Shark, and Kaos.

A big bravo goes to Erica And Richard Moore who led the Tanzer brigade around the course in their Mirage 24! It must have felt very good to have that wind in their sails, and tame it to come out ahead. 4 Tanzers participated in the windy drag race. In order they were Jake Fichten's Sine Wave, Evergreen, Sorceress, and Encore Une Fois.

In the White Sail fleet, Sawiki, the Grampian 26 quickly asserted its oft-position as pack leader, followed by a Bruce Vinebeg who is now sailing a Northstar 26, and Ptarmigan, the classic and pretty C&C Corvette. 7 boats raced.

Hey, two game Fireballs made it out onto the cool and breezy waters. Just one finished, but they both got a fun head start on the fleet.