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