Thursday, September 04, 2008

Mobility Cup 2008 Wrap Up

Jen Davey wrote this post which appears on the CYA news page. As a source of sailing news, the CYA website has been improving over the years. Since one of the reasons Montreal Sailing was created was the dearth of sailing news, it's nice to see them and other sources like SLVYRA making progress. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Mobility Cup 2008, hosted by the Association québécoise de voile adaptée (AQVA) and the Pointe Claire Yacht Club has wrapped up after a very successful week of racing. 42 athletes with disabilities from around North America, as well as Great Britain and even New Zealand were treated to PCYC’s warm hospitality over the five day event. Despite all-too-frequent light and shifty winds, both the Silver and Gold fleets were able to complete a full series of races, with a drop for each group, thanks to the patience and expertise of Principal Race Officer Madeleine Palfreeman and her skilled team.

Racing was tight in both fleets, and a glance down the list of final results will quickly reveal the depth of competition in both Gold and Silver. The 19-boat Silver fleet was won by Richard Dionne, of Shediac, NB, whose loyal visits to AQVA’s annual regatta, the Coupe du Quebec, surely helped him decipher the classic tricky Lac St Louis shifts. In second place was Tim Ripley of Randolph, New Jersey with Johanne Daly, of the AQVA program, rounding out the top three.

In Gold, Merle Hickey of Calgary opened the series with a commanding pair of bullets, then continued to sail strong all week to finish first overall of the 23 participants. In second place, in a breakout regatta, was the youngest competitor of the fleet, Helen Dam of the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club. At 16, Helen has been training hard in her Martin and her dedication was really on display as she sailed an extremely consistent regatta in extremely inconsistent conditions. Kingston’s Audrey Kobayashi, who divides her time between the Martin and the Paralympic-class Skud, returned from a hectic few weeks of racing to take third.

A couple of special prizes were also awarded at the Closing Ceremonies. The René Dallaire Award for top Sip n’ Puff finisher in Gold was awarded to Chris Loscerbo of Vancouver Island, BC, whose 8th place would likely have been higher had it not been for an OCS in race 5. The Darren Tucker Award for Tenacity was given to Dan LeBlanc, another sip n’ puff sailor from Vancouver, for his relentless determination to finish all races despite several stressful equipment breakdowns and his tremendous attitude towards improving his sailing.

All week, there was a strong focus on coaching with several guest coaches helping on the water and leading animated de-briefs. Paralympian Danny McCoy, former National Team coach Marc Littée, Ontario provincial coach Matt Dubreucq, along with very accomplished local coaches Jamie Allan and Pierre Carpentier all provided excellent feedback throughout the week.

As with all AQVA events, there was a spirited and ever present social side including daily Happy Hours and prize giveaways during de-briefs, a huge BBQ on Tuesday night, and a lovely closing banquet on Thursday that began with a beautiful meal and ended with Karaoke and dancing until the wee hours. The last special prize awarded was the newly inaugurated Sambuca Cup, which went to Danny McCoy for his unyielding dedication towards the cause of fun.

AQVA wishes to thank the many people who made this event possible. At the top of the list is surely Regatta Chair Paula Stone, who worked tirelessly for the past year to make sure it would happen, with support provided by co-Chairs Scott Lutes and Pierre Richard. Thank you to Chief Judge Dave Pelling and Protest Committee Joe Jospe, Tom Egli and Rob Levy. A special word of thanks to our ‘gold level’ corporate sponsors, Pfizer Canada, Dawson College, Constance-Lethbridge Rehabilitation Centre, Sunrise Medical and CN. A huge ‘merci’ goes out to the Pointe Claire Yacht Club, its administration, staff and members who have been very accommodating since day one; as well as to a couple of other yacht clubs on the lake, Beaconsfield and the Royal St Lawrence, who also provided help. Finally, thanks also to the skilled AQVA staff team and the many, many volunteers who helped in the planning and execution of the event. At last count, the volunteer total was close to 100 strong!

Congratulations to all competitors, organizers, and volunteers, and we’ll see you next September in Toronto!

Jenny Davey