Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cool stuff under the Christmas tree?

Dunno if anyone got anything as outrageous as a boat under the Christmas tree. However, I bet some of you got some sailing gear! I got a gift certificate to the local chandlery. So, I am getting more excited about a new track and windward sheeting car, I really really want for next season. I also got this super pullover sailing top. It has fleece on the torso, and that spongy, stretchy material that remains close to your skin on the shoulders and arms. It will definitely keep me comfy warm, and is very cool.

Pic was found by Tillerman and posted on his blog, Proper Course. I wouldn't be surprised if this winter a few of you will be sailing further south than Santa is in this image. If so, send us your reports! - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'A Holiday Wish', by Steve Martin

Link to A Holiday Wish by Steve Martin

Happy Everything everybody. This is a personal faux-pas for me, as I normally refrain from non-sailing material. However, I wanted to send my warmest wishes to all my sailing friends and readers, and that is genuine, even if I do have a cynical side!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

View of a local DN

Here is a view of the DN. This past weekend, it was one of the boats sailing on the clear ice just formed on Valois Bay. Imagine that big full batten sail powering a boat that weighs roughly 1/4 that of a little Fireball, and sailing against virtually no resistance. I also appreciated the beautiful wood hulls, particularly in the knowledge that they are not affected by the rot of liquid water. Those shrouds are super floppy, which allows the composite masts to bend dramatically to leeward as well as back. No kidding, the masts look like bananas when under sail.

Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Project "Mets les voiles sur ton avenir!"

I found this on the FVQ website, and it looks like a worthy project. The idea is to use a sailing experience as a means to increase academemic perserverance. I would have loved such an opportunity as a teenager! There is an english translation on the FVQ English site - Ralph, Montreal Sailing.

Ce projet est une initiative de persévérance scolaire menée par le Carrefour jeunesse-emploi Bourassa-Sauvé (CJE) en partenariat avec l’école Amos et la CS de la Pointe-de-l’Île. Les ateliers s’étaleront de février à mai 2010 avec comme point culminant un périple de trois jours en voilier sur le Fjord du Saguenay en collaboration avec l’école de voile Damacha.

Ce projet rejoint et s'inscrit dans celui de VENT DEBOUT parrainé par Damacha Yachting.

Les sept (7) participants ciblés par les intervenants de l’école d’Amos, doivent être âgés de 16 ou 17 ans, habiter Montréal-Nord et présenter des problématiques sur le plan de la motivation scolaire.

Accompagnés par un conseiller en emploi du CJE, le conseiller en orientation de l’école Amos et guidés par la capitaine du bateau, Marie-Emmanuelle Côté qui donnera une formation au moyen de trois (3) rencontres de trois (3) heures chacune, les jeunes participeront à toutes les étapes de navigation au cours desquelles chacun des jeunes sera tributaire des autres. Le séjour en voilier (3 jours) sera l’aboutissement de ce projet visant à prévenir le décrochage scolaire.

C’est donc dire que la formation est un moyen efficace pour stimuler la motivation et l’investissement personnel de chacun dans le projet et il vise à travailler l’estime et la connaissance de soi.

Pour plus d’informations sur ce projet, vous pouvez contacter
Rond-Point jeunesse au travail/ Carrefour jeunesse-emploi Bourassa-Sauvé
Courriel :

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sailing season begins again, DN Season is now!

6 DNs were out on Valois Bay today, launching off from the Venture Sailing Base. The wind went from nothing to wispy but the ice was magnificent. So smooth and clear, that even the lightly moving air was enough to move the boats along at about 8 to 15 miles per hour from time to time.

I met André Baby who has had many of these boats. I also saw Hans Huber, who sails his Flying Dutchman and Laser out of Venture Sailing Base. Hans built his own Flying Dutchman, and has built a number of these DNs as well. I expected to see a very simple craft. The DN however, is a very competitive one-design racing boat, so I should have realized that they have evolved over the years. Several different iterations were represented amongst the fleet sailing. The most significant differences I picked up on were the runners and masts. The runners (skates for us not initiated) have become longer, and thus faster. The older shorter, but taller ones cut through snow a little easier. The masts have evolved from stiffer aluminium to super "whippy" carbon and fibreglass composites.

Hans offered his DN so I could have a go. I figured I couldn't hurt it in the light air so gratefully accepted. It took a while of pushing out from shore to find a bit of moving air, but once I turned upwind, I was surprised to find the boat pick up on its own, and into the hull I slid. You lie on your back, just inches off the ice, so you instantly feel the speed, and how sensitive the boat is. I managed to get up to about 8-10 miles per hour, much faster than the speed of the wind. Then, I got nervous about how far out I could go from shore. Farther out was open water As soon as I jibed, I stopped dead. Then I had difficulty getting moving again downwind. Apparently, you need to push the iceboat along to build up some speed before powering up enough to get underway. I didn't have the spiked shoes they were wearing, so had trouble getting moving on the slippery ice. I'm told that the DN will bend the apparent wind enough that at speed they can sail as close as 20 degrees off the wind. You instantly realize the tremendous power these ice boats have with virtually no resistance when the ice is smooth and clear.

Great fun!

Ice spreading out from shore. First DNs spotted!

Ice sailing is starting early this year. I was driving by the Venture Sailing Club Saturday afternoon, and spotted two DNs venturing out. The ice is only partially filling the bay along the shore, so the sailing area is definitely limited. However, there was some beautifully clear blue ice! The Montreal Ice Boating Association is now posting regularly here as the ice conditions are developing.

Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Canadians Win Melbourne

Michael Leigh and Paul Tingley have both won 1st overall in their respective classes at the 1st stop of the ISAF World Cup, Sail Melbourne, the Asian Pacific Regatta. Both sailors were challenged by close contests. After yesterday's racing, Leigh had slipped from 1st overall to 2nd, 4 points behing U.S. sailor Clayton Johnson in the Laser full-rig.Then, in the final medal race, Leigh took 4th, enough to triumph. “I couldn’t have asked for a better medal race,” said Leigh. “I kind of figured that Clayton and I would have a little bit of a pre-start match race, we were playing cat and mouse out there. But once we got underway he went left and I went right and I just had him at the top mark.” “It was tight the whole way and came right down to the final downwind, there was nothing between the ten of us the whole race,” he said.

In the 2.4mR class, Paul Tingley won the final medal race, giving him the regatta. Said Tingley. “The wind was a little more consistent and it was more about boat handling out there, going into the race I kept it simple, I knew if I could win the race the overall win would be mine as well.” “I started at the pin end and had good speed off the start, I made sure I protected the left and covered Michael (Leydon) throughout the first half of the race until I had a good lead,” he said.

Picture and story on Sail Melbourne.

Ralph - Montreal Sailing

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Canadians leading 2 classes at Sail Melbourne

Picture of Mike Leigh from CYA website article - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Canadians are having an outstanding regatta down under. Sail Melbourne is the first stop of ISAF's Sailing World Cup Series.

Mike Leigh is holding down first overall in the Laser full-rig with 6 of the 11 races completed. He has 2 bullets, a 2nd, and a 3rd place giving the appearance of being the dominator. However Clayton Johnson of the U.S. is just two points behind. Third is Andy Maloney, 9 points back.

In the 2.4mR class, Paul Tingley is in first place overall, with one bullet, and one point ahead of Peter Thompson of Australia. Thompson has had a lot of race wins, but two mid-pack finishes have allowed Tingley to hold the lead.

Conditions have been quite varied. The first day saw wind in the upper teens with large waves. Day 2 was light winds, quite flat water, and very tight racing. The light breeze was shifty, but lasted long enough to be predictable.

Day 3 saw both strong and light wind that was shifty and puffy with the left usually being faster, but then the right sometimes being better. Day 3, the most demanding of conditions was described as follows:

“It was very shifty out there today,” said Johnson. “It seemed like the left was very good on the first beat of each race but then the right came on in a huge way. These shifty and puffy conditions are a bit of fun as long as you stay calm and don’t get frustrated by what the wind is doing. At one stage it was blowing about 20 knots in the first race and then died down to about five so transitioning well was really important,” he said.

In the Laser Radial women’s fleet American Paige Railey said “Pretty much wherever I went today the wind didn’t. In the first race I managed to start at the wrong end but fought back well to win, at one stage there were less boats behind me than in front. Then in the second I managed to bang the wrong corner each time and slipped back a bit. It was a bit weird out there today, one side was favoured on one beat and then the next one it was the other side, at one stage I headed out by myself and got a huge shift and ended up reaching into the windward mark,” she said.

A storm front center came through on day three with a hole of no wind and driving rain. Most fleets were not able to complete a race. Sail Melbourne continues through December 19th.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tips by Andrew Campbell

Andrew Campbell, Laser sailor extraordinaire, and currently pursuing a shot at the 2012 Olympics in the Star, wrote this recent post on his blog. It is instructional tips based on recent Melges 32 Gold Cup regatta in which he served as tactician. Pic from his site by Joy.

- Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Team Ninkasi took a fourth place finish in the fleet of 23 boats at the 2009 Melges 32 Gold Cup last weekend of Fort Lauderdale. Owner John Taylor at the helm took his team through a very consistent series and ultimately was within striking distance of the lead going into the last race. Anthony Kotoun and I switched positions on the boat for this regatta from last year’s roles. He trimmed mainsheet while I was legs-out calling tactics and strategy from the rail. The decision was a success for a number of reasons, but simply put Anthony is the speed-guru on board and I’m more comfortable positioning us for success.
Three points became very clear after a very windy practice session before the regatta, and after a few breezy days during the regatta:
  1. Communication must be Clear and Concise: If the tactician is making a call, grabbing everybody’s attention for a split second to explain what’s going to happen in the upcoming maneuver drastically improves the chances of success. If the trimmer is talking to the helmsman downwind, short and clear words about a) what kind of pressure he is feeling and b) what mode he thinks the helmsman should be sailing make it a heck of a lot easier for everybody to do their jobs.
  2. Consistent Speed is a Killer: Most of what made Anthony and my switch a success was his ability to keep the boat from getting too slow. In order for the tactician to be able to make good decisions, he has to be able to depend on the boat to continued around the racecourse at a consistent speed. Changes in speeds demand on-the-spot changes in tactics. When the tactician can concentrate solely on tactics and let the mainsheet trimmer concentrate solely on mainsheet, then the boat is better off around the racecourse.
  3. Cooler Heads Prevail: Continuing on the theme above, placing everybody in positions where they can excel is the key to any sailing program, or any business for that matter. When people are in positions where they are already performing at their highest level as opposed to positions where they are improving their skills, the team around them will be better because of it. When players are in the wrong positions, stress is amongst players in the correct positions because the weaker player is thus holding back the entire team. Let the training happen somewhere else besides at the regatta. Having the correct players in the positions where they’ll do their best will enable cooler heads to prevail in heated racing situations.
  4. Front Row is a Bonus: In a fleet as strong as the M32 is right now, being in the front row off the starting line is a bonus you cannot live without. Simply put, if you start in the front row you will likely be top 10 with average speed. If you are not in the front row, you will guarantee yourself a bottom 5 mark rounding. You must be able to hold on starboard or make your own decision about tacking for at least a minute in order to have a decent first mark rounding. This weekend we had two rough starts and two finishes outside of the top ten. There were some very good sailors on board boats that finished 1st in some races and last in others. Our fourth place finish at the end of the series was testament to a good weekend on the starting line.
On-the-water time is almost over for 2009, I will have an annual report out shortly. Time is at hand to make a final push into the 2010 Star Worlds coming up in Rio de Janeiro in January.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Share the Hype

Evert Bastet, Olympic medallist and one of our greatest sailors, carries the Olympic torch in Hudson recently. See the article on the CYA website.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

2.4mR US Nationals and Open Worlds

Here is a wonderful report from Jenny Davey who was in Florida for the recent 2.4mR Big Show. Not only does she tell us the details of the regatta, but also gives us some insight on a class of boat unknown to Montreal sailors until now. My apologies for getting it online late. The job for money has been getting in the way! Thank you so much Jenny!
Ralph, Montreal Sailing
I've just returned from the 2.4mR US Nationals and Open Worlds held at the Edison Sailing Center in Fort Myers, Florida, November October 28 – November 6. I drove down with some boats and a couple of my PCYC/AQVA pals: Scott Lutes (Martin 16-turned-2.4mR sailor) and fellow coach Matt Palardy. Scott bought his 2.4 this spring after getting hooked when he chartered one at last winter’s Miami OCRs. We met up in Ft Myers with some of our good friends from the Nepean Sailing Club: Aaron Wong-Sing and Christine Lavallee (both Martin-to-2.4 converts) and Peter Wood, (long time NSC AbleSail volunteer and recently interim Exec Director of the CYA) who all keep their boats in Ottawa. AQVA has a great relationship with the Nepean program, and we look forward to developing the 2.4 fleet in the Montreal-Ottawa valley.

A quick intro to the 2.4mR, for those not familiar: The 2.4mR is the Paralympic single-handed boat and the class that brought Canada its first-ever sailing Gold, thanks to Nova Scotia’s Paul Tingley in Beijing! The 2.4mR, which evolved from the Mini-12, is a small (4.16m LOA) keel boat with a main and jib that uses a whisker pole on the downwind. It is in fact a construction class boat, but with essentially one class designer - Sweden’s Peter Norlin - it is often mistaken as a one-design.

The Martin graduates quickly learned that a start line with 45 aggressive 2.4mRs is very different from a start of 10 or even 20 Martin 16s. Scott, Aaron and Christine all learned a LOT - as did our 'veteran', Peter – but his years in many other fleets did serve him well in tight situations. The fleet was deep - take note that this was the ‘Open’ Worlds, meaning that sailors with disabilities and able-bodied athletes competed alongside each other on the same start line. I would guess the breakdown was about 60/40 able-bodied to disabled, including several Paralypmic medalists, as well as world, country and class champions from a variety of boats, accessible and otherwise.

Racing in Fort Myers was tricky. The US Nationals consisted of three days of light, shifty winds and temperatures that hit the mid-30s each day, burning into the low 40s with humidity factored in. The Caloosahatchee River is shallow – one boat actually ran aground on their way home from the racing area one day – with winds that swirl every which way depending on the temperature, sea breeze, and the clash of Gulf and Coastal weather systems. The compass pretty much hit 0-360 and everything in between while we there. Throw in the tides on top of it all, and sailboat racing gets interesting!

Scott had several strong races in the US Nationals: 13, 18 and 19 (on 39 boats) to finish 28th overall. Aaron and Christine were 34 and 35 respectively. We’re all learning quickly that some more work needs to be done to make each boat more ‘sailable’ by making adjustments to the layout inside the cockpit and some of the rigging systems in play so each sailor’s boat is perfectly tuned to their unique abilities. Imagine taking virtually every control you have on a Shark, cramming them all onto one slim dashboard in front of you, and you basically have the inside of a 2.4. This is already a lot to handle, especially at starts and roundings, so if you then imagine any sort of limitation – say decreased trunk stability, or diminished strength arm strength if you reach above chest level, it quickly becomes apparent how a carefully planned, intuitive layout is critical. However, we learned a lot by peeking into other boats and asking lots of questions!

The Worlds were more difficult all around for everyone: More boats, more intensity and more consecutive days of racing in extreme heat (yes, we were even bitching about the heat and sun after a few days). The whole fleet was more aggressive, sometimes with 2 or 3 Generals in a row, and the Black Flag soon became a fairly common sight. It gradually became more evident who was in really peak physical and mental condition as the days wore on - many of the top finishers were carded and/or full-time athletes. The last couple of days were really windy, ending with steady 18 knots gusting 20-25 on the final day. After 11 races, the event was won by USA Paralympian John Rufs, followed by fellow American Carl Horrocks, with Canada’s Paul Tingley rounding out the top 3. From our crew, Scott finished 36th on 44, Peter 32, Christine 39 and Aaron 41 (he couldn't race the last day due to equipment breakdown). Christine may have been the big winner though, as she came out of the event with a new boat, bought from none other than designer Peter Norlin himself!

A few interesting notes on who was in the top 10:

  • 5 athletes with disabilities (4 who ride wheelchairs) 
  • 5 able-bodied
  • A female sailor
  • 3 Top-5 Beijing ‘08 finishers
  • A 75-year old sailor
  • A 27-year old 49er campaigner
  • 5 countries represented (3 Canadian finishers!)

I got the chance to work with Paralympic coach Craig Guthrie (who coached Paul Beijing) and I learned a lot myself. The Canadian Sailing Team crew of Craig, Paul, Bruce Millar were great to our rookie gang and helped us each and every day. Craig even came over to our house to spend an evening discussing goal-setting, rig tuning, and tactics (in exchange for access to our washing machine and some dinner!).
I'm really proud of our gang and look forward seeing how they fare at the Miami OCRs in January.


PS. If you’re at PCYC (or even Nepean) be sure to look around for these guys and ask to check out their cool little boats!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Ice boat Quebec

Found this clip on You Tube via Scuttlebutt. What a blast. Check out the snow explosions. The local DNs will be out soon enough. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

At the CYA's Annual General Meeting, Curtis Florence was appointed CYA’s Rolex Sailor of the Year. The award was made during the Awards Dinner hosted by the Royal Canadian Yachting Club. Curtis’ two sons, Trey (16) and Jordan (12), were present to accept the award on behalf of their father. Curtis was able to make his gracious acceptance speech via SKYPE. 

Curtis was born in Kingston, Ontario on September 14, 1969 and grew up in Kingsville, Ontario. At the age of 9, he started sailing at Cedar Island Yacht Club and through the years strived to be a great bowman. At high school, Curtis joined the Canadian military. With the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, he served a UN tour in Croatia in 1993. After the military, Curtis went on to work for Casino Windsor for 13 years while continuing his dream of sailing on everything from a Shark to an 80’ Maxi boat. 

Curtis’ sailing achievements are numerous. One of his first big victories was the 2004 Mumm 30 World Championships in Toronto, Ontario. He went on to win the Swan 45 World Championships in 2007 and currently holds World Championship titles in the Farr 30, Farr 40 and Melges 24 classes. Along with his three World Championship titles this year, he also holds the S2 7.9 North American Championship title for the 11th consecutive year. 

Now living in Cleveland, Ohio, Curtis is married to Suzie Florence. Curtis is a true ambassador to our sport and the rightful recipient of this year’s Rolex Sailor of the Year Award for Canada!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Invitation Aux Navigateurs Du Retour Aux Sources

From the FVQ site - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Une famille de Montréal prend une année sabbatique, pour naviguer sur l’Atlantique.

Dans le cadre du 400 ième anniversaire de la ville de Québec et du « Retour aux Sources », Judith Grondin et Marc Chagnon et leurs trois jeunes enfants à bord ‘Malik’ ont largué les amarres le 6 juillet 2008 pour se rendre à Larochelle en France.

La petite famille a par la suite navigué vers le nord de l’Afrique pour retraverser l’Atlantique vers les Caraïbes.

Le premier juillet 2009, ils rentraient à la maison sains et saufs avec tout un bagage d’expériences.

On vous invite à venir assister à leur présentation au Lord Reading Yacht Club., le lundi 14 décembre à 19 :00 heures.

Coût : $10.00 par personne
Un Vin et Fromage sera servi

Richard Larivière 

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Intronisation de Ian Bruce au Temple de la Renomée Voile Québec

From the FVQ site. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Dans le cadre du Gala Voile Québec qui s’est tenu à Pointe-Claire samedi soir le 24 octobre 2009, Ian Bruce a eu l’honneur d’être le premier membre intronisé au Temple de la renommée Voile Québec. Par ce geste, la Fédération de voile du Québec a voulu reconnaître sa contribution exceptionnelle au développement de la voile et son rayonnement non seulement au Québec mais aussi au niveau international.

Ian Bruce récolte les honneurs cette année puisqu’il a aussi reçu l’Ordre du Canada en juillet dernier.

Ian Bruce, co-designer du dériveur Laser, s’illustre par son immense contribution dans le domaine de la voile, notamment dans le design et le développement d’embarcations de haute performance pour les jeunes navigateurs.

En plus du Laser, qui est un bateau de classe Olympique depuis 1996, il est aussi le concepteur de bateaux dériveurs nommés « Byte » et « Byte CII». Ce dernier sera par ailleurs utilisé par les athlètes juniors lors des prochains Jeux Olympiques Junior en 2010 à Singapore.

En plus d’être un concepteur de voiliers renommé, Ian a aussi représenté le Canada aux Jeux Olympiques à plus d’une reprise, incluant les Jeux de 1960 dans la classe Finn et les Jeux de 1972 dans la catégorie Star.

D’un point de vue local, Ian Bruce a toujours été un supporter des clubs locaux et de la Fédération de voile du Québec, mettant à notre disposition un simulateur de voile qu’il a co-développé.

A la cérémonie d'intronisation, Evert Bastet et Peter Mc Bride lui on fait un témoignage émouvant. Ian Bruce a quant à lui fait un discourt qui inspirera sans aucun doute une nouvelle génération d'athlètes.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

2009 Melges 24 World Championships: Larsen and his Canucks

Image by Pierrick Contin from Scuttlebutt website. Story from CYA website.

The Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis 2009 Melges 24 World Championships wrapped up over this past weekend. Fifty-one international teams from across North America and Europe competed in a challenging 11 race series. Chesapeake Bay presented a little bit of everything for the competitors, ranging from soft and variable to the final days racing in double digit wind strengths.

Chris Larson of the USA at the helm of West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes won the event with an extremely consistent score card that included four 2nd place finishes and only a single finish outside the top 8 (a 12th). It is Larson’s team of all-star Canadians that provides a special interest story for us. Larson’s crew included, Canadian Olympic Medallist Mike Wolfs (Star Silver in 2004), Olympian Richard Clarke (Finn 96, 2000, 2004), and amateur bowman Curtis Florence.

The story on Curtis Florence is truly exceptional, his World Championships win in the Melges 24 is added to his 2009 Farr 40 World Championship victory on Barking Mad and his 2008 Mumm 30 World Championship on Optimum, (no class worlds in 2009) giving him a hat-trick of World Championships across these classes. Further the hat-trick was almost a quartet as he finished 2nd at the 2009 J24 World Championships, narrowly missing the overall title after leading going into the final race of that event.

Congratulations, to this team on their recent success, and specifically to Curtis Florence for his exceptional performances over this past year.

Monday, October 26, 2009

THE GRAND UNVEILING: QC Hall of Fame and Quebec Awards of 2009

Here are Voile Quebec's Awards for 2009. If you are like me, you will recognize many, and want to hear more about the others! - Ralph, Montreal Sailing. See website for full details

At the Quebec Sailing Federation Gala, held in Poine-Claire on October 24th, Ian Bruce became the first member to be inducted into the Quebec Sailing Hall of Fame. This gesture recognized his exceptional contribution to the development and promotion of sailing, not only in Quebec but also on the international scene.


The Quebec Sailing Federation nominating committee is proud to present this year’s winners:

André-Dionne Trophy (Volunteer of the Year) Winner: Claire Lemieux
Mme Lemieux se dévoue grandement à la promotion et au développement de la voile au Québec. Son implication au sein de l’école de voile des Blanchons est inestimable et nombreux sont ceux qui ont eu le plaisir d’être introduits au monde de la voile par son biais. Elle se démarque par sa grande efficacité et surtout le fait qu'elle ne compte jamais les nombreuses heures qu'elle dévoue à aider les gens intéressés au monde de la voile.

Trophy Claudrey (Sportmanship) Winner: Martin Lefebvre
Depuis deux ans, Martin Lefebvre est un des meilleurs athlètes en 29er, ayant terminé en deuxième place aux essais pour les Jeux du Canada, derrière les Frères Chouinard. À la recherche d’un nouveau défi, Martin a suivi une nouvelle direction avec le programme RSX. Dans une des classes les plus exigeantes du monde de la voile, Martin a démontré un dévouement et une persévérance qui sont nécessaires pour le succès, en étant aussi un exemple positif pour les jeunes marins. Après les efforts implacables que Martin nous a démontré cet été, nous avons hâte de suivre sa campagne d’hiver.

Race Officer of the Year Winner: Pat Patterson
Pat is a National level race officer. This year he worked at the Canada Games in PEI, CORK, Laser 28 Championships, Etchells Canadian Championships, many Hudson Yacht Club races, and was the Principle Race Officer at FruitBowl. He is passionate about race management. He is knowledgeable, consistent, and always reliable.

Instructor/Coach of the Year Winner: Nicole Bastet
As single-handed race team coach for Pointe-Claire Yacht club, Nicole started this sailing season with 7 first-time radial sailors, athletes from various racing backgrounds. She has since done an excellent job selecting regattas and helping them set goals for the season. Her athletes have improved leaps and bounds, obtaining top results over the course of the year. Furthermore, Nicole is encouraging her athletes to train over the winter and follow the regatta circuit in Florida, while maintaining proper balance with school. Nicole’s devotion to the sport and the way she has inspired her athletes this summer should be recognized.

Club/Sailing School of the Year Winner: Hudson Yacht Club
This is the 100 anniversary of the Hudson Club. Hudson hosted a number of major regattas: The Etchell Canadian Championship, The Soling 1 meter Canadian Championship, The J24 Canadian Championship, Fruitbowl , Labor Day regatta. Any one regatta would be outstanding on its own. All 5 required strong leadership and the support of many many volunteers. By any measure all regattas were a tremendous success; great sponsorship, great organization and leadership, participation by over 100 volunteers, excellent race management on the water, great participation from numerous yachts clubs from Canada and the US.

Event of the Year Winner: Course Jacques-Cartier
96 voiliers, partis de New-Richmond, de Cap-à-l’Aigle, des Îles-de-la-Madeleine et de Matane, ou s’étant ajouté à l’Anse-à-Beaufils, se sont rassemblés dans la baie de Gaspé les 24, 25 et 26 juillet. Ce fut l’occasion de célébrer « nautiquement » le 475e avec des navigateurs de tout le Québec et d’Acadie. La Course Jacques-Cartier 2009 était d’ailleurs un élément majeur du volet nautique de ces fêtes. La Course Jacques-Cartier 2009 est mise en nomination en raison de l’envergure de cet événement nautique et aussi de l’originalité qui consistait à faire converger quatre flottille partant de partout au Québec maritime afin de se rassembler et régater en un même lieu. Par ailleurs la Course Jacques-Cartier 2009 a fait l’objet d’une importante couverture par les médias radiophonique : chroniques régulières à l’émission Magazine de la mer (Radio-Canada) au cours de l’hiver et du printemps 2009, entrevues radiophoniques diffusée par divers médias généraliste ou spécialisés en sport de Montréal jusqu’aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine, chronique quotidienne à Radio-Canada, en direct de son voilier, de l’organisateur durant l’événement.

“Optimist” Athlete Winner: Justin Vittecoq
In his second year on the Hudson Yacht Club Opti Race Team, 9-year old Justin has sailed to the top of the fleet with a busy summer of regional, national and international regattas (and sailing in winds up to 30 knots!) Proud highlights for Justin were a 3rd (1st White) at the Quebec Championship and a 1st White at the Canadian Optimist Championships in Victoria, BC. At the New England Championships in Newport, RI, Justin experienced large fleet sailing (over 320 boats at this event!) and finished an impressive 4th in the White fleet. Justin’s success continues with his national team qualification – he will be on the Canadian Opti Team in 2010! Hudson Yacht Club honoured this talented young athlete with the prestigious Chris McDermott Memorial Award, which acknowledges strength of spirit and commitment to the sport of Junior Sailing.

Young Athlete of the Year Winner: Dominic Racine
Dominique est un jeune "lasériste" apprécié de tous. Discret et réfléchi, il est toujours prêt à aider et à partager ses connaissances avec les autres membres de l'équipe. Sa bonne humeur est contagieuse et son calme se propage à tous. Il est assidu, discipliné, organisé...bref, tout le monde aime Dominic.

EVERT BASTET Trophy Winners: Lauren Laventure et Emilie Tsang
Lauren is not new to Elite level Sailing. Having completed successful Optimist career Lauren took some time off from the Sport. After Receiving a call from Canada Games trials winner Emily Tsang to join her in a run for the Canada Games Lauren did not give it a second thought and returned to her favorite sport. The Dynamic Team put together an intensive training program consisting of both early morning and late evening training sessions. Their hard work not only made for great role Models to the young sailors at PCYC it earned them a memorable showing at the Canada Summer Games with a Bronze finish. This has propelled them into a full on program with goals of representing Canada at the next 29er Worlds and more.

Sailor of the Year Winner: Robert Patenaude
M. Patenaude s’est illustré en remportant la course en solitaire Newport Bermuda 2009. Il est non seulement le premier québécois, mais aussi le premier canadien à gagner cette course prestigieuse, et ce malgré qu’une baleine ait heurté son voilier et démoli le gouvernail.

De plus, Robert Patenaude, qui est docteur et un survivant du cancer, profitait de sa participation à cette course pour faire une collecte de fonds au bénéfice de l’IRIC. La campagne Persévérance a généré des dons de 177 605 $ qui seront affectés à l’appui de la formation de la relève scientifique de cet institut dont la mission est de vaincre le cancer.

Congratulations to all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pas De Deux Concludes Our Season

Race course area

Here is the final instalment of this year’s Pas De Deux Regatta. We have rounded the windward mark of the afternoon distance race, running most of the length of Lac St. Louis. That completes the longest leg. Now, we are running back with the current, on another long stretch. We are in second place in this last race for our Montreal sailing season.

It’s a “Pursuit” race, for a crew of two only, restricted to white sail. Just for fun, no protests thank you. It is very pleasant sailing frivolity concluding a season of hard racing and tough one design. The slowest PHRF rated boats (that’s us) started first, followed progressively by faster and faster boats, that then pursue the leaders. Theoretically, all the starts are timed so that the competitors finish in unison if all other variables... do not vary. Of course they do vary. It is a fun race. Still, the slower boats want to prove they can finish ahead, the faster boats want to show they can catch and pass. A race is always a race.

Rounding the first mark, after an eternity in light, “swirly”, and “gappy” wind, the Shark, Eclipse is well ahead in first place, Our Shark, Mainsail rounds second, and initially, we broadly reach our way back, now more comfortably ahead of the pursuing pack. Emerging from the channel, in between Dowker’s Island and Baie D’Urfe, Eclipse does the butterfly thing, and we find ourselves doing the same as we get to the wide open lake. The wind is slowly picking up. It is a long run, a little tiring. I think I lost my focus at this stage. With the increasing wind, the direction has also changed a little. Though we cannot see the next mark for a long while yet, I believe it is a little to the right of the breeze. I edge up here and there while wing-on-wing. The wind direction had not changed enough to go on a broad reach. The wind does change a little more, gets stronger yet. Still, no big deal. The wind is enough for the Shark to continue putting distance between us and the pursuing Mirage 24s and Tanzer 22s. Robin’s Shark, Erindira is also in pursuit, but I’m eyes forward, steering, and not sure where in the pack behind he lies. The wind, shifting a little more and continually freshening, starts to play games on me a little, and I’m beginning to mentally wander. The sails flutter here and there, the boom threatens to swing on occasion, the boat de-powers. I keep wanting to go more right, but it would still be a slow broad reach. Unbeknownst to me, the Etchells has emerged from the pack, and is bearing down. Nick is becoming impatient with my sloppy steering. Now, thinking back, I realize we were flapping about in the same area where the wind had been twisting about on the upwind leg. I never liked sailing wing-on-wing. The boom always feels threatening to me, and unsettling. The wind is getting stronger. I try to focus on the wind indicator atop the mast, and keep the boat planted downwind.

By this time, my poor tiller work has put Eclipse far out of reach. Eventually, the wind seems to stop fouling my brain, and we move along, but the Etchells is continually making ground. Their jib is very small, and collapsing here and there. Peter tries to push it out with a boat paddle, which is an amusing break on this long run. Neither of our boats work well without the spinnaker, and we don’t have whisker poles aboard. Inevitably, they pass. They ask if we know where the mark is. Cooperatively, I say it is not visible yet, but I think it is a little to the right. Remember, it is a fun race. Even though the wind increases, I don’t notice much as the boat has become more stable running more directly downwind. Now, the objective is to hold third, which seems very feasible. Finally the next mark appears in the distance, and the Rahn’s Shark, Eclipse rounds still in first, but with the Etchells closing on them. Gee, they both seem to be moving pretty well. We round in third, and aha! I begin to clue in and sense how the wind is changing as the boat heels. We move along at a good clip. When we hit the next mark, we turn into a close beat for the final leg, and whoah, the boat swings further on its side. It’s time to wake up and shift gears. White caps are now appearing everywhere on the water. How long had I been sleeping on the helm? Nick is lecturing me about something, or suggesting I get the boat back on its feet, I’m not sure. The wind is changing very rapidly, howling more now, and I know we are way over-powered, but...

This is where it becomes more evident Mainsail is still a boat project. I’m yanking on the mainsheet, but there is way too much pressure and I can’t unjam it. Out of urgency, I become wholly compulsive with that damn mainsheet cleat. I vaguely realize we are pretty sideways. My steering goes to hell, as I sort of lurch up and down, trying to release the main. Nick is saying something, and even though he is distinctly louder, I’m not really aware what his “counselling” is. Then, I realize I better employ other options. I give up on the mainsheet, and uncleat the line for the traveler car. Nothing happens. The mainsail remains high and tight. I am only vaguely aware of my steering now, as I am certain Nick would confirm. I still don’t really know what Nick is saying as my mind becomes very, very obsessed with the mainsheet car. It has become my enemy! By this point, the traveler track is pointing downwards quite a bit, as we heeled to a point that is not fast, to say the least. That gives me another option. I lift my leg up, and stomp down hard on the mainsheet car. Finally, the sticking sonuvab!@#$* slides steeply to leeward under the weight of my heft, and the boat moves forward as it flattens out. The whole process was agonizingly slow, but worse, it replayed itself out as we got hit by gust after gust. Now, there was a fair bit of white water about.

Lowther’s Etchells has passed Eclipse and both are moving really fast. I’m looking like a pretty lousy sailor at this point, but at least partly I know I have something of an excuse, I make a mental note for my project boat – this freaking crappy worn-out gear has got to go! We need to throw in a few tacks as we are making our way to the finish line, and I realize the best thing I can do is play the traveler on every tack and gust. Even though the traveler car and track are haltingly slow, and sticky like glue, I start to keep the boat on its feet. I hear Nick utter some words of praise as the boat starts making better progress, and for some reason I can hear his words a little better. I guess my mind is less distracted and can process more now that the boat is doing what we intend it too. Nick is a powerhouse, and didn’t have remotely the same hardship with the big genoa which is likely the only reason the boat was still moving forward. Despite the blow, I don’t think he ever cranked with a winch handle. That is common with a Shark, but at this point it is blowing STINK. Despite being way over-powered, we can see the end and a solid third place. Nick looks back, and holy moly, a big J30 is hurtling towards our little boat, BIG TIME. Now, for some time I can hear Nick gauging the situation as clearly as a bell. One more tack to go, and then its cross the finish line. I don’t look back, but Nick is saying something about the J30 likely has us. He figures if we can just make this tack a really good one and get our timing right, we might squeak across ahead at the pin end. I don’t dare look back. It feels like it’s back to game on, the sails are trimmed perfectly for the conditions, and we are back to making progress. The traveler line is in hand and my foot is on the car. I’ve got the technique of releasing, kicking hard, and helming down pat now, and manage to keep up and through the gusts. I don’t dare take my eyes off the genny’s leading edge, because I know if we lose it in even one more windshift, gust or wave, that big boat will nose its bow through the finish first. My job is clear, keep the boat moving towards the finish line as fast as possible, and let the Nickster call the game, then hope for the best.

Nick calls the timing for the last tack to approach the finish line. Flip, we go, and somehow this time, I’m able to go over without more than a glance at the blasted traveler, stepping onto the car and kicking back with my weight as we change sides. Even though I haven’t stopped looking forward for more than an instant, I don’t notice having to wait for the genoa at all, and it is silent. Nick had it sweep the deck and in perfect position seemingly instantly. The tell tales are streaming, and all seems well. My adrenaline is pumping. But there is this huge sound of big sail flapping, and it doesn’t stop. A quick glance up reveals a very flat mainsail with the car way down and the sheet as tight as the windward shroud. Our main isn’t doing much, but the noise isn’t our boat. I realize it is the J30, and see it’s bow out of the corner of my eye. I don’t dare look more. Gotta keep the boat moving another 40 or 50 seconds. Maybe we still have a chance. The sail noise continues for what seems the same eternity as when we were in trouble before. In reality it isn’t long at all. Still, they must have had a difficult tack, and be struggling forward. I think we are ahead, but as we slice through the wind and hard waves, I realize the finish line is on an angle, favouring the “monster” boat. Our Shark is moving well though and  yahhh, we cross ahead. I think the J30 might have overlapped our stern, not sure, but we are ahead. We keep third!

Extermely light and flirty to extremely heavy and serious, we had a lot of different winds and tests. The race was a blast. But importantly it crystallized the gear and technique changes that still need to be made. Of the various repairs, upgrades, and sails to go fast, the priorities had been uncertain. Not anymore. The track, mainsheet system are all coming out. For next year, we’ll sport a new track, windward sheeting car, and beefy, large mainsheet blocks. To play the game competitively, you must not be preoccupied about how to cope with your gear, even when the conditions get challenging. In fact, obviously that is when flawless gear is the most critical.

Lowther and Hinrichsen are first in the Etchells, The Rahns in their Shark are second, we take third in our Shark, and the J30 closed in for fourth. Not sure what the other results are yet. Madeleine Palfreeman ran a wonderful race and awarded the Pas De Deux trophy to PCYC for the most points of a given club. The RStLYC takes second club overall. Our BYC does pretty well even though we are only two Sharks sailing, thanks to garnering second and third place. A great challenging fall day, and a perfect end to the season.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

FVQ Award Nominees for 2009 Unveiled

The Federation de Voile du Quebec has unveiled its nominees for the many annual awards it gives during the upcoming annual meeting and gala events. Amongst those awards is a new one, the Quebec Sailing Hall of Fame. The nominees for that one as well as the Sailor of the Year, and the Event of the Year are being kept hush-hush. However, all the other award nominees have been posted on the FVQ website. The AGM is on October 24th, and is being held in Pointe Claire. There are also seminars being offered to attendees. Pariculars of the day's heavy agenda and registration form our available on the website.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What Sailing Really Needs in Youth Programs

Montreal Sailing has quite a few readers who have experience with our sailing schools, either as current youth sailors, past students, coaches and instructors, and YC members who have ultimate responsibility for guiding the programs. So, I thought this thread called What Sailing Really Needs developing on a Scuttlebutt forum would be of interest. Below are several of the posts:

Why did the group of St. Thomas Yacht Club sailors do so well at the Collegiate Championships last spring and perform well in almost any sailing endeavor they have taken up? The answer is simple - they sail because they love to sail! This particular group had no organized program and almost no coaching in their Opti days. Sailing was an adventure to them and remains a passion. There was no structure, there were no expectations, it was about kids sailing together and sharing wonderful experiences. People always ask why they have been so successful. My standard answer is ask "Huckleberry Finn".

I believe most U.S. club programs are too rigid and coach driven (ours has unfortunately been pushed that way by parents expecting great things). The answer to keeping kids in sailing is the approach and it has to involve "fun". Before you make radical boat changes and reinvent the equipment ask the kids - “Are you having fun in the sailing program”. The answer may surprise you.

Bill Canfield, St Thomas Yacht Club


Bill Canfield's comments on junior sailing were right on target. What Bill didn't say was that St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) is a very small club, having only a couple of hundred members and yet still produces world class sailors. Collegians Thomas Barrows, Cy Thomson and Taylor Canfield, who won numerous US high school championships, graduated from a school in St. Thomas, VI that had about 30 seniors in the graduating class. Bill has followed in the footsteps of Rudy Thompson, Dick Avery and Dick Johnson in promoting yacht racing that is fun for all participants. Bill, who is a past Commodore of STYC, has been one of the stallwarts of US Virgin Islands racing for the past two decades. STYC has sponsored the International ROLEX Regatta and Caribbean OPTI Regatta for many years which for most participants are the ultimate in fun and competition. In recent years Bill was one of the driving forces in creating the IC24 class which are modified older J24s (with Melges 24 type cockpits) that have revitalized racing in the US and British Virgin Islands. Bill's words should be taken seriously by anyone who wants to make their program better for its participants.

Ed Drury
Former STYC Member
Lessons from 50 Years of Junior Sailing
by Paul Heineken, StFYC Junior Committee Chair

My family says I’m permanently arrested at the sailing instructor level of development. As Co-Chair of the Junior Committee at St. Francis Yacht Club, I have been forced to regress. What follows are my reflections on the locations, changes, experiences, and lessons learned over those five decades:


As a barefoot kid in Pine Beach, N.J., I got a “teaser” ride with a bunch of kids on a Lightning. I loved it, but couldn’t afford the $5 to join the junior program, so for the rest of the summer I watched from the beach. This fanned the fire to sail, and led to the first lesson: Make junior sailing accessible.


During a high school summer, I sold myself as a sailing instructor to a summer camp in New Hampshire. (No US Sailing Certificates then.) After preparing by memorizing the "Golden Book of Sailing,” I got the kids safely sailing Sunfish dinghies. But the key discovery was integrating water games with the sailing. For most 10 year olds, pirate, sponge tag, bucket attack, etc., are far more fun than racing--but sailing well improved each team’s attack. The second lesson: Make it fun.

As a college student, I took a summer job on the south shore of Long Island at a club with a hot new fleet of International 420s, complete with trapeze and spinnaker. That was the easiest lesson. Sailing fast is more fun, (and trapezing beats hiking).

The summer before medical school I landed a job as the head instructor at Royal Bermuda YC. A summer in Bermuda, accompanied by my Finn Dinghy, was a wonderful experience. Competing in the Finn Gold Cup against the likes of Paul Elvstrom was icing on the cake. That lesson: Keep the instructor happy. And let him or her race every now and then.


On the Charles River in urban Boston-Cambridge, MIT had a great racing program—sailing tubby Tech Dinghies. As a busy medical student and resident, this was the only sailing I had time to do. Soon I learned that the slow Tech made the “small pond” much bigger, and proved the next lesson: Competition is what makes good racing, not the boat.

My move to San Francisco occurred at the birth of the local Laser phenomenon. Don Trask built Lasers and junior sailors sailed them to their limits. John Bertrand, Jeff Madrigali, Paul Cayard, Craig Healy, and many others pushed each other such that the whole group excelled. They went on to win world championships, proving the next lesson: When kids are ready, challenge them against the best.

The stock Windsurfer was an active one-design racing class for all ages and sizes. One often saw 60+ boards at events on the Bay or Delta. The windsurfer was widely available, inexpensive, and easily transported. It got many people onto the water that had never sailed a boat. Local shops ran training programs for kids and adults. Racing was made fair by defining weight classes. The next lesson is obvious: To be accessible, entry level sailing must be affordable.


The most competitive kids from all over the Bay Area took advantage of the StFYC’s Junior Program because it offered the only full-time coach and the best racing opportunities. The team traveled to regattas near and far, with logistical support and coaching; it had great success. The lesson: To succeed at the top, there must be a good coach.

Meanwhile, the technology of windsurfing evolved. Boards and sails improved tremendously and high-end racing flourished. But the simplicity of the entry level one-design Windsurfer was lost, and fewer kids and beginners entered sailing through that platform.


Other yacht clubs with good beginner programs built stronger upper level programs with coaches and traveling teams. The kids that started with them stayed. High school sailing teams aligned their kids with the club near their school. The high school regatta schedule filled spring and fall weekends that had been used for open (Laser) competitions. The number of highly competitive juniors joining StFYC dwindled. The lesson: Successful junior programs build from beginner to advanced levels.

The FJ proved satisfactory for high school dinghy racing, but was not a great springboard to other sailing platforms, e.g. Lasers, skiffs, windsurfers, or keelboats. Parents didn’t purchase other classes of boats because the FJ’s were available at their club and filled most of the kids’ sailing time. Entry into Lasers or even windsurfers became too expensive, and parents participation in high school sailing was more as “little league parents”, than as sailing role models. The lesson: Successful junior programs have actively involved parents.


By 2000, the Optimist Dinghy arrived on the Bay. It offered an international class that was inexpensive and far more forgiving in Bay conditions that the El Toro. Where previously most StFYC beginner instruction took place at Tinsley, beginner Opti sailing expanded at the City Front. Upper level Opti kids began traveling to highly competitive regattas. The Opti was a great overall change, but by creating a racing format for very young kids, it discouraged other kids who were just too young or who had grown early and were too heavy to be competitive.

The 29er skiff created another opportunity. It is a high speed trainer for the Olympic 49er, a boat that relishes the Bay’s conditions. For kids 12 and over who have grown too big for an Opti, it offered a fun, fast platform and great competition. I’ve had the joy of racing a 29er with both of my kids, and with a number of other juniors, and witnessed how it reinvigorated their interest in sailing. This lesson hasn’t changed in 50 years: There is no substitute for FAST and FUN.

The Present

The big initiative is to build windsurfing instruction into our junior camps. The new international trainer board is the BIC Techno 293, a smaller and lighter version of the Olympic RSX. It is excellent in a wide variety of conditions and is equipped with interchangeable rigs of multiple sizes. By providing an accessible and fun learning platform it builds on the advantages of the Opti and the old stock Windsurfer. It will also take advantage of the Club’s uniquely windy location. There is no reason that the Bay Area should not be producing Olympic caliber windsurfers, and this program will help us do it.

The Future

Fifty years ago, sailing wasn’t accessible to me, and today that is true for most local kids. Under the Club’s new lease, it’s obligated to extend junior opportunities to non-members through community outreach programs. With the generous support of the StFYC Foundation, a variety of options are planned, including the following: 1) day sails on the Blue Water Foundation’s IOR sloop, 2) scholarships to our City Front programs, 3) enlarged and diversified HS sailing practices, and 4) beginner windsurfing clinics.

Having learned all these lessons, the plan now is to put it all together. Look for more kids on the docks and around the junior room. It’s the future of the Club.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Strong Winds and Competitive Racing for J24 Canadians at HYC

The blog, HYC Sailor's Advisory posted this report by Marian Kuiper on what appears to have been quite a blow out of a regatta. So we'll enjoy this and return to other themes in the coming days. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Hudson Yacht Club and its dedicated volunteers hosted the Canadian J/24 Championship, September 17 – 20th, and it was a deemed a huge success by the participants!

Thanks to our many kind sponsors, HYC welcomed sailors from all over Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, with generous hospitality and terrific give-aways! Registration included breakfasts, lunches and a tote bag loaded with tuques, USB keys (to be loaded with regatta photos), duct tape, tools, rope, sunscreen, beer tickets and more!

On Thursday, after a busy day of registration, measurement and launching, the crews were welcomed with a delicious chicken and ribs dinner from Village Churrasco, and lively entertainment by popular local band, The Moonlights. An impromptu performance of French ditties by the BayGull crew capped this very fun evening!

Friday’s racing proved quite challenging for the fleet, as winds increased throughout the day, gusting up to 27 knots by mid-afternoon. Our highly-qualified Race Committee executed four races, while keeping a watchful eye on the hard-working crews. Several boats suffered considerable damage, including Nepean’s Blue J, whose mast broke during an upwind leg. Gorillas in the Mist, from Halifax, suffered a twisted keel after going aground in a valiant effort to assist a Laser sailor in distress, far off the course. Luckily, no one was hurt under these trying conditions, though our very own Hypnautic did lose one man overboard. After several rescue attempts in the choppy waves the young sailor was rescued and was more upset with losing his new regatta tuque than finding himself in the frigid waters! The winner of the first day’s racing was Navtech, from Quebec City, and was presented with the Western District Trophy and a pair of Sperry Topsiders for each crew member! An impromptu Friday evening of go-carting continued to hone the competitive spirit, for those who still had any energy left…

Whereas Friday challenged the body, Saturday racing challenged the brain. Three races were held in light, oscillating, frustrating winds, but lots of sunshine. Drivers Wanted, from Toronto, was the day’s winner, and also won Sperry Topsiders! This was followed by a Saturday evening dinner at the historic Willow Place Inn, where sailors experienced local charm and delicious cuisine.

Sunday’s conditions were perfect with steady winds averaging 10 knots under sunny skies. Two races were held, and so with admirable proficiency the Race Committee’s goal of 9 challenging races was handily met!

Sailors appreciated the tough competition, as 16 boats vied for top finishes. After an exciting weekend of great racing, the first place boat was Drivers Wanted, Port Credit Yacht Club. This top team was also presented with the Gerald Long Memorial Trophy for Top Canadian boat and the Bacardi Cup for the Canadian Championship Winner. Right behind, in second place, was Navtech, Quebec City. In third position was Sticky Fingers from Halifax. Full results can be viewed at:

Following the prize-giving, a raffle was held for another 20 pair of Sperry Topsiders, or winners could choose from a table laden with gifts from Quantum, Fogh Marine and the Boathouse. Crews were also presented with a package of terrific glossy photos from May’s Studio.
The Committee had made the difficult decision to postpone this June regatta to September, but this turned out to be an excellent move! We had four days of challenging sailing and great weather, with over 75 sailors in attendance (and all quite well-behaved!J)
The Regatta Committee would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all the terrific HYC volunteers and generous sponsors who helped make the Canadian J/24 Championship a great success!!

Marian Kuiper

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pas De Deux Race to Windward

Sharp Sharks Eclipse and Mainsail from another recent race thanks to photograper Heather Deeks

Our beginning of the Pas De Deux included only three boats. Three Sharks to be precise. There were a lot more boats, but they would not be crowding our start line. The race is a "Pursuit" format and each boat gets its own start time, slowest first to the quickest much later based on PHRF handicap. All boats then are expected to finish in unison if other variables do not interfere. On the Shark, we are scratch boat, first to start. So, as you can imagine, there was a heck of a lot of wide open horizon on the line to choose from.

Easy start? "Shoulda, coulda, woulda" been! We ended up caught to windward of the formidable Shark Eclipse, getting crowded towards the RC stern. Eclipse shut the door, and just a few feet from the RC. We slowed and nipped behind Eclipse's stern with inches to spare, swinging to leeward of them, and crossed a few seconds after they did. The whole start line available and we were caught unaware of where Eclipse was! Erindira, a very nice looking Shark must have started further down the line, nice and clear, all by themselves. Actually, being a pretty ordinary helmsman, it still was a pretty good start for me. The wind was light at that stage, and I have a habit of struggling to get boatspeed in these situations, and cross too late. So, at least we were starting on the gun. It is safe to say, a match racer I am not.

Off we go on a long windward leg to this autumn day distance race. From the start we work our way beating upriver from Pointe Claire to the mark between Baie D'Urfe and Dowkers Island, a long leg. I try to keep the boat powered up, which is tough given the light winds. Eclipse to windward and ahead is pointing higher and has good boatspeed. I am not able to see at the time why we are not able to keep up, but it appears that trying for speed instead of pointing was not the best idea. A lesson to make a mental note of: I need to work harder at feathering up on every opportunity, while still not losing speed. I am still having a lot of trouble feeling and steering in the groove on the Shark. Nah, the trouble is the moss growing on our hull sans anti-fouling!

As we progressed, it was more of the same as Eclipse pulled away for the first third of the leg roughly. Then the wind began slightly improving, while still very light. Eclipse kept its lead but was at least not increasing it anymore. However, after passing LRYC, the Tanzer 22s and Mirage 24s were slowly gaining. Then, with the approach to Dowkers's Island getting closer, Peter Vatcher's T22 actually got ahead, and the Mirage 24s, Chinook and Ariel were seriously threatening. The leg had been a fascinating wind challenge. Many instants saw Eclipse and our Mainsail pointing dramatically different angles to the course. The wind was snaking its way down the course without any sensed timing, and usually not varying for long. Holes where the boat slumped dramatically would appear, and then the wind would fill it. Another lesson I observed at this point. Adjusting the sails constantly for the conditions is even more important in this type of stuff. Nick was regularly rounding the sails for speed, and trimming in for pointing as the wind teased us. We didn't even have to talk aloud about what was happening, very cool.

It was sorely tempting for me to tack on quite a few occasions when stalling and falling off, but the way forward was a game of good steering and sail trim. Still, the surrounding competition required some different action. Peter on the T22 Wayward Wind was gliding away to the left. He always does so well in distance races. The Mirage 24s just kept steaming on closer. John and Esther (linchpins of PCYC) on Chinook were just plain faster and kept closing uncomfortably towards our stern, while the Moore's on Ariel (always a threat) worked the shoreside on the right. Fortunately, an opportunity finally arose. Two courses were possible, tacking towards shore, or to the left side more towards Dowkers Island. We tried to play some shifts, and made some minor progress. Then, hey, considerably more wind appeared on the left side, and that is where we went. Close to shore definitely looked lighter. The left side also should have been shielded from current as we would be  behind Dowkers. Voila, for those, or whatever reason and luck, we made tracks away from the threats that had been surrounding us. We approached the windward mark alone, and the wind was building. Eclipse was still well ahead, but at least the other boats were not an immediate threat. Rounding the mark, we began the next leg downwind. Not too shabby. Even the clouds were parting and the sun coming through. We were still holding down second place. Of course, now all the longer faster boats had started long ago, and the pursuit was well underway! In that chasing fleet was notably the Etchells with Lowther and Hinrichsen, and a J30 that should come on gangbusters if the strong wind forecast materializes. We would have to hold off the approaching fleet for a long time to come yet.

More in another coming post - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pas De deux 2009: The Race gives pause for thought on one design

I had a good feeling about the Pas De Deux this year. The boat is still a work in progress, and probably has a pretty green bottom right now. Still, I've always had fun in this race, I enjoy seeing my friends from the good, and neighbouring club, PCYC one more time before the season ends, I've done well, and I have fun in this race. It is a real change of pace, after a whole season of going up and down short sausage courses, hauling spinnakers up and down, stressing at mark roundings, and trying to perform in a tough one design class. The Pas De Deux is at the opposite end of the racing spectrum from something like the Etchells Canadian Championship at HYC, or the Shark Coupe Du Quebec at BYC. The Pas De Deux really is fun!

Hooray, the Pas De deux is one of a series of autumn PHRF distance races that score higher in the fun category. The "One-design-istas" perceive fun as a contradictory codeword for boring, but I like 'em. I prefer to appreciate them as more civilized, gentler, social outings. Hudson's annual Labour Day week end is the first, followed by races like the Chili Bowl, the Turkey Bowl, the Thomson Long Distance Race and on this day the final race of our season, the Pas De Deux. Indeed, the sailing instructions even stress there are no protests. This is a race for two crew only. The term giving title to the race is defined by Wordnet as: (ballet) a dance for two people (usually a ballerina and a danseur noble). Nick was my, ahem, danseur noble for this occasion. Or, would that be the ballerina.  Well, I have referred to him as a Top Dawg of Montreal Sailing, no joke there. I know he was the very best sailor of the entire fleet that day. Back to the race, it is white sails only, and in the pursuit format. So, boats all have different starts beginning with the slowest rated by PHRF to the quickest much later. Theoretically, all boats should then cross the finish line at the same time, all other variables being equal. Hmm, funny how the two most competitive keelboat classes in Montreal are the first and last starting classes, the slowest and fastest boats.

On the slowest end are the Sharks which now have the larger fleet, and the most competitive, active, and frequent one design circuit in central Canada. On the fastest end are the Etchells, the sweetest looking, fastest sailing, purest raceboat class in Montreal. Obviously, there are other wonderful, great one design classes sailing in the Montreal area. Those on Lake of Two Mountains in particular may disagree. It is just curious how most have migrated to the slowest and the fastest boats. Perhaps the reason is that they are also the least and most expensive active classes in Montreal. Sailboat racing is expensive, very expensive. Some want the most affordable possible. Others want the most top-end possible, irregardless of cost. Hence the herding to both extremes of many competitive sailors.

I realize there is a lot of generalizing, and potential for other opinion in my meandering thoughts here. I might be more spontaneous than thoughtful. The other points to be made would be interesting. Go ahead and comment or write me if you can illuminate! We'll even talk about the Pas De Deux race soon...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Prepping for the Pas De Deux

Oooo, the Pas De Deux Regatta was fun. Actually, I was having fun even before getting on the water. Being the month of Halloween, even if it was early October, early in the morning it was cold and wet. Indeed, enough to freeze a witch's wart till it would fall off. So, I decided to wear my track suit under my shiny silver rain gear. I pulled a brown tuque over my head, and put on my cool Oakley sunglasses. Geeeez, I looked like a cross between a sailor and the celebrity spoof (pictured at right), Ali G. I practised my rapper stance in front of the mirror for an instant, then headed off for the club. The rain was very light while driving, and by the time I got to the club, it had stopped completely. The temperature was also rising as the morning progressed, and it looked like as long as we didn't peel off our layers we would be quite comfortable.

I was very fortunate to have Nick Van Haeften on board for this race. When it comes to boat speed and sail trim, he's the boss. I call Nick the rock star, because whenever he comes aboard we are elevated from perennial backpackers to top-fleet contenders.

There was a fair bit of activity at BYC, which surprised me given the weather wasn't summer-like. Great, I thought, some racers. But no, People were hauling gear off their boats and getting ready for haul out. Not Mainsail. We had one last race for glory in us. There was John Linton, club champ, a few boats over, with crew like busy work bees crawling all over their Tanzer 22. "Eh whut up!" I inquired. "Not racing? I woulda whupped your butt today. We were gonna make mincemeat outta youz guys!" After a little more brave bravado, and brash trash-talking I felt pretty smug. As easy as it was to talk a game with non-starters, I was hopeful for the day. Although it was light at the moment, the wind prediction was for 10-20 knots from the northeast. That meant Sharks would have an advantage over the T22s, but the Etchells and really long boats would also come on strong.

Also from BYC, and already on the water testing their trim were the BYC Shark sharpies on Eclipse. They came in first, two years ago, and were looking like they were prepping for a repeat. We motored out to the start area, and said hello to the Rahns after registering with Madeleine and the PCYC Race Committee. Quite a few boats were already out sailing near the start line. Lowther and Hinrichsen on the Etchells were out, along with some big boats. Robin had his Shark on the water. There were a number of Tanzer 22s which would be big contenders on the off-wind legs if the stronger wind forecast didn't become a reality.

The selected course to Baie D'Urfe and back, criss-crossing the lake was maintained, and the start sequence began. The Pas De Deux is a pursuit race. Slow boats start first, followed by other classes in sequence of their faster PHRF ratings. We were scratch start, first to go, so we stayed fairly close to the line as the wind was still light. Our final race of the season was beginning.

Well pick it up here agan with another post after Turkey Day is done. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Friday, October 09, 2009

Pas De deux this Saturday

I love ending the season with these fun races. The Labour Day Distance Race is for many the last blow out of summer. With autumn came the Turkey Bowl, then the Chili Bowl, and this Saturday we have the Pas De Deux. I hope I will see some of you out there too. Now, this is a fun race, and one shouldn't take it too seriously. The thing is, I'm just beginning to feel some teeny-weeny mojo in the Shark class. So, I'm pretty enthusiastic about this race. Maybe, I'll even get to sneak our bow past another Shark. Hopefully, there will be enough wind to outrun the Tanzer 22s, but not so much that the Etchells whoosh by. Since I still have a long way to go before I can overcome these types of PHRF variables with sheer talent, I have decided to invite along a rock star to keep the boat moving. Since the boat hasn't come out of the water since the Shark World's in August, there should be some pretty long fuzzy stuff growing on the bottom of the boat. Hopefully, bigger talent than mine will find some miracle to keep the boat moving. Apparently, my dockmate and guest crew couldn't find a way to stop my "Grovelling" until agreeing to come. Hey, whatever works. I have no shame, and he deservedly gets "Respeck".  It's a little early for a reliable forecast, but here it is for now:

Today, Tonight, and Saturday: Wind light increasing to northwest 15 to 20 knots Saturday morning then diminishing to light Saturday evening.

Game on!
You can find out how to register, and other race and social stuff here . Barring changes, the course is supposed to be as follows:

Start Gate @ SLVRYA#31->#16 (P) -> #42(P) -> #33(S)-> #31(P) -> #32 finish

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

2009 Fireball North American Championships

Joe Jospe once again shows his skills on the water, then on the keyboard, with this report on their last regatta of the season. Quite a wrap-up given the Screwball Regatta this year also served as the N.A. Fireball Championship for 2009. The report in its entirety is on the Fireball International site and the results are here. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

The 2009 Canadian Fireball season ended on a high note when the Pointe Claire Yacht Club hosted the North American Championships in conjunction with the annual Screwball Regatta. We had 19 Fireballs on the course and they were accompanied by 23 Lasers, competing in their district championships. Fireballers from Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and Ireland joined the usual suspects from Ontario and Quebec to battle on the water. To add to the international flavour, we were also joined by two guests from England and a sizable contingent from Barbados.

Winds were lighter than expected for this time of year. The end of September is known for cold, blustery conditions, and those of us with an avoir-du-poids advantage are usually delighted. Not this year. In fact, truth be told, there was more than a little muttering aboard our boat about the “delights” of light wind sailing. We are not big fans.

The Race Committee, headed by Madeleine Palfreeman, did an excellent job in very trying conditions. Friday witnessed shifty and spotty winds emanating from the northeast. Saturday saw light and shifty conditions from the east, while Sunday had more wind, but from the south and it dropped as the day progressed. Our prevailing winds are from the west, so conditions were not of the norm. We will just have to chalk it up to the “it’s never like this around here” syndrome that seems to be the rule for almost every major event, wherever and whenever it’s held.

On a personal note, I have to say that I really like Madeleine. She takes her RC responsibilities very seriously. She deems certain competitors’ suggestions unhelpful in her decision-making. Despite the fact that she ignored me on more than one occasion, I will be thrilled to see Madeleine on the RC boat next year, with her black flag flying and a grin on her face.

The racing was interesting throughout the event. It was encouraging to see a lot of boats mixing it up in the front end of the fleet. Rune Lausten and Jochen Mikosch, sailing in Rocket Science, led for most of the first race, and impressed everyone by earning a second place to start the regatta. Stephen Waldie teamed up with Jason Phillips and they got faster as the event unfolded. Given that they had never sailed together before and were in a borrowed and unfamiliar boat, their 4th place standing overall was quite an achievement. Kristyn Hope and Nic Mocchiutti began sailing together early this year. They’re always in the game and are improving extremely quickly. Pierre Carpentier and Tom Bird finished 5th overall, and their event was highlighted with a well-earned bullet in Race #4.  Final results for first and second overall were not settled until the 10th and final
race. Tom and I managed to sneak by Guy Tipton and Matt King on the 4th of five legs, to a one-point overall victory. It doesn’t get much tighter than that. Rob Levy and Eric Owston settled for a very close third overall. Interestingly, the results show nine boats finished within one point of another competitor. The starts were generally messy and individual recalls, OCS results, and general recalls occurred. It was rare to round a mark peacefully alone. That makes for good, if somewhat exhausting, racing...

...It was a superb event and we are looking forward to an exciting sailing season in 2010.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Review of the Thomson Long Distance Race

The HYC blog, Sailors Advisory recently posted this article. Very interesting debate about how to distinguish classes for handicap racing. It's a conversation that could and does take place at other Montreal clubs too. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing


Originally established in 1966 by the then Commodore Arthur Thomson, the Thomson Long Distance Race has become one on the most prestigious events within the HYC sailing calendar. Like so many long standing races over the years it has evolved, acquired many traditions and developed its fair share of controversy.

Current Issue - Who should compete

In recent years with the development of more specialized racing boats a lot of debate has centered on who may participate in the race itself. This has created a lot of confusion and become an emotional topic amongst our members. As a result the sailing committee has spent considerable time over this season to clarify the situation. To do so we have consulted with the Thomson family with regard to the original intent outlined in the deed of gift, our own sailing community to capture the traditions of the event, and SLVYRA our regional handicapping authority to define classes of boats.

Thomson Family View

We understand from Andy Thomson, Arthur’s son, that the race was originally established in response to the predominance of the centerboard fleet within racing at that time. His father wanted to ensure that these dinghy type boats such as Y-flyers, GP14s, and Lightnings would not be able to compete in a race against the growing cruising fleet of Sharks and Tanzer 22's etc. His father’s intent was to exclude centerboard boats and as such he feels it would be appropriate for all keelboats to compete in the race.

Established Tradition

The tradition reflected by many of our membership is that the race should be limited to cruising boats and exclude high performance racing boats. Indeed the original deed of gift states that it is open only to “boats with cruising facilities”. However no definition was provided nor has a clear consensus been reached upon which to classify a boat that wouldn’t exclude almost every boat in the harbour in some way.

Defining a Cruising Boat

SLVYRA governs for our region the PHRF rating system designed for keel boat racing. PHRF ratings for cruiser-racer boats are based on the concept of a “Standard Boat” the definition of which includes that it is production boat built to a single design, has a ballasted keel, is equipped with an engine propeller and fuel tanks, and has inside fittings and equipment as intended by the manufacturer. These fittings and equipment may include all or part of the following: head, sinks, stoves, icebox, navigation desk, berths, lockers, shelves, drawers, table, doors, curtains, instruments, domestic water, plumbing, wiring, fuel and water tanks, etc. SLVYRA also defines “Bare Boats” such as the Soling, Star, Dragon, Etchells, Six Meter etc which by the intent of the manufacturer are devoid of much of the equipment described in the definition of a standard boat. This is also the case for sports boats (Melges 24, J80) and day sailors (Rhodes 19, O Day 23). As such bare boats, sports boats and day sailors do not fit within the widely held view of a cruising boat.


Having carefully listened to all parties the following determination has been made and shall apply to future Thomson Long Distance Races:

1. Participation in the Thomson Long Distance Race is open to all keelboats with a valid SLVYRA handicap.
2. The Thomson Trophy shall be awarded to the 1st boat finishing on corrected time conforming to the SLVYRA definition of a standard cruiser- racer sailboat.
3. A new award shall be established for the 1st boat finishing on corrected time irrespective of class
4. All previously winners of the Thomson Trophy shall stand.
5. The Club Captain, Senior Sailing Director and Club Measurer shall review on an annual basis the fleet of keelboats at HYC and determine which class of boats shall be defined as non cruising boats.
6. The current list of non cruising boats within the HYC fleet comprises: Etchells, Formula 21, Grampion 22, Independent 21, J22, Rhodes 19


It is intended that these revisions is to formally clarify the situation for all involved and create an inclusive event that maintains the traditions established for the Thompson Long Distance Race. A copy of this review will be placed in the archives for future reference and in conjunction with the deed of gift will be used in the creation of sailing instructions for the race.