Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Montreal Lightning do the Southern Circuit

Regular readers of Montreal Sailing know we have a couple of themes, that are of interest around this time of year. One is that, spring sailing is going to begin pretty soon, and it's time to start working the boat. Audacious dinghy sailors have already been out! I'm keeping watch for Larry's C&C Mega, usually one of the first heavyweights to splash. That is one of my signals to start panicking with late boat prep. But, hey hold on a minute, because we still have an overlap approaching the mark. The winter sailing season is not over yet. We can aptly steal a term from basketball, and say that March Madness is still persisting into April. Look no farther than the upcoming world championship in the J24 class. More teams from Montreal will soon be on their way south.

Perhaps the busiest winter sailing calendar belongs to the Lightning Class. They recently concluded their Southern Circuit Any of us would be grateful to be one of the Montrealers belonging to a class allowing ONE getaway from the grip of winter, sailing in the southern climes where sweater weather is as chilly as it gets, and eighty Fahrenheit is common. The Lightning class has a series of THREE regattas:

1. the Deep South Regatta at the Savannah Yacht Club, Savannah, GA, March 14 to 15,
2. the Miami Midwinter Regatta at the Coral Reef Yacht Club, Coral Gables, FL, March 17 to 18
3. and the Winter Championship at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, St. Petersburg, FL, March 20 to 22.

This year saw a blend of sailors going down from 3 clubs on Lac St. Louis, BYC, PCYC, and RStLYC. Stephen Waldie, pictured right, took one of the three Montreal area boats down for the 2 of the regattas. Waldie was a recipient of the Lightning Boat Grant in 2007. The boat grants are pretty cool for young sailors looking for an entry in high performance regattas.
The Southern Circuit according to Waldie typically has competition including builders, sailmakers, and pros. Furnished to the teams are high quality boats, some travel expenses, and mentorship.

Stephen Waldie: Jess Lombard is the recipient of the Lightning grant this year and will be sailing with all female crew of Stephanie Boucher and Caroline Trottier. (both from Montreal) The boat we sailed was not the grant boat and was generously donated by the Montreal Lightning fleet! Jess was mid and my friend Max Bulger from Boston was foredeck. I am planning to sail that boat over the summer and hopefully train against Jess and the rest of the fleet in preparation for the Canadians and North Americans this summer. I will be the helm.

Waldie has a busy sailing sched: After the Lightning circuit Waldie went on to sail the 29er Midwinters East in Sarasota with regular crewmate David Gelston. Beyond that, Waldie says, We have a lot planned for the spring. I am traveling to the Wilson trophy team race in Liverpool, England in May with the McGill sailing team, followed by the Montreal HP clinic. We will be training in the 420 at PCYC this weekend and over the next few weeks in preparation for England.

Olympian, Olver Bone also made it to one of the regattas, sailing with the famous team skippered by Lightning stalwart Larry Macdonald.

Longtime Montreal Lightning fleet members Michael Holly, Valerie Tardif, and Christine Wheatley raced two of the regattas.

Finally, but certainly not least, the team of Jamie Allan, Marc Littee, Jay Deakin raced all three regattas of the series and placed 10th overall. Racing against legendary names like Terhune, Lutz, Gonzalez, Macdonald, Dieball, and on and on... that's quite a feat.

Beyond high calibre racing, attendees benefited from the usual partying. Apparently "nature" views included not just dolphins, manatees, jelly-fish, loons, and schools of mullet, but also the raw human variety in South Beach.

Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Womens' Match Racing in Florida

I recently returned from a pleasant family visit in Sarasota, Florida. While there, I decided to take a little side trip to St. Petersburg Yacht Club to watch a little of the Rolex Womens' Match. A good view of the racing was afforded from the St. Pete municipal pier. The next round of Olympic yachting will see the introduction of match racing for women, so there is a lot of interest. The boat pictured is the one design raced in this regatta, the Sonar. Though unfamiliar to me, I thought it looked like a simple, smart, business-like racing keelboat. It was also probably the only keelboat at SPYC that I could have afforded. Others, I saw entering and leaving the mouth of the harbour were in the vicinity of 40-50 feet. It was neat to realize the real talent was on small raceboats, more fun to sail, and within the price range of most sailors.

Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sure sign of Spring

This series of 3 photos brought a smile to my face! Thanks Bill for sharing this with readers of Montreal Sailing. Seriously cool (sorry for the pun!). Hoping to get out on a buddy's Laser as soon as it gets to Venture SC. I suspect that opportunity won't be nearly as early as Bill's! Great stuff.

Hi Ralph,
I have been following your blog and noticed that you call the HYC racing seminars a sure sign of spring. Thought I would send along my sign. Sailed Sunday April 5 out of BDYC. The ice went out of our end of the lake Thursday overnight and after a failed attempt to get through the southerly wind driven pack ice in our harbour mouth on Saturday, I made it out Sunday (although I had a rather unconventional start as a gust blew the boat over before I got in). Cold hands but what a rush that first reach was. Great to have the season here again.
Bill Strath
Sailing Master
Baie d'Urfe Yacht Club.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Sure Sign of Spring: HYC Seminar

I am becoming familiar with a spring ritual, the sailing seminars! Today, HYC is holding a rules seminar. In previous years, I have attended race management seminars at HYC in the spring. They were given by Ross Tellier whose professionalism in the class room and on the water is impressive.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Montreal High Performance Camp 2009

The next Olympic quadrennium is on it's way and Olympic hopefuls are now forming teams and starting campaigns for 2012 London. The skiff scene in Canada is stronger then ever with a boat returning from the Olympics (Ben Remocker & Gordon Cook) and placing in the top 15 at the last World Championship. Also 6 boats were at the Miami OCR to compete for a 2009 Canadian Sailing Team spot.

Stepping into a Olympic skiff may be intimidating at first as the information is a little bit harder to find then in the youth classes like the 29er and the fleet is a lot stronger. That is why if you are interested in stepping up to the plate and sailing the real thing, some high level coaching may be a faster way (or you can go swimming on your own) to bring you up to speed in the 49er.

For 5 years now, the Montreal High Performance Camp (MHPC: http://www.montrealhighperformancecamp.com) as been a source of excellence for 29er sailors. This year for the first time it will be opening up to 49ers. I personally think it is a one time opportunity for all the new teams to learn first hand from top coaches/sailors. Gordon Cook will be coaching with me.

Other resources, like team locations, training and regattas, can be found at http://www.49er.ca . This is a new site made for the Canadian fleet. If you are not listed on this please use the link to contact me and I will list your team.

Don't hesitate to contact me, or other 49er teams. Welcome to the Formula1 of the Olympics.
See you on the water!

Matthieu Dubreucq