Friday, May 29, 2009

Let the Season's Battles Begin!

Pictured above is Ketchup (in last year's Shark racing), which is still helmed by George, but his crew Toby and Jen, also pictured, now are racing on their own Shark, Nuisance. The first GNS race saw Toby & Jen without a 3rd crew on Nuisance, finishing ahead of George! Now George is well known as one of Montreal's finest. But, holy moly, if not blood, could ketchup get spilled here? Could there be a new Top Dawg contender in the fleet? Can Toby and Jen continue their ascent and topple Crisis and VO2 Max? Will George and a new crew be able to recover. Could perhaps a dark horse like Eclipse harass them all? Oh yeah baby, the season has begun! - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

The first official race of the season on Lac St. Louis began things in a big way this week. A big turn out, particularly for so early bodes well! A short course was set, so the racing was made all the more interesting as it got tight within the groups of rivals hashing it out.

As usual, first fleet off the line were the Etchells, but what a different ending. Holy moly, the racers oft-considered the best of the fleet were bested by the racers often bringing up the rear! Way to go for Michel Litee and Martin Pham who placed 1st and 2nd in the 5 boat race. Great to see the fleet mix it up, but I'm dying to know what happened? How did the teams on Quill and NoName become the victors on what must have been a memorable race? Well it turns out that Vivace came to the start very late but decided to practice anyway. Good on them. However, beating Brian and Luc would still have me cracking open a bottle! Congrats.

The centreboard division was pretty interesting too. Usually we see very few dinghies in chilly water, this early in the season. On this race though 3 Lightnings and three 29ers were out. Has anyone ever seen that during club racing? Fireballs were scored separately, but just one was out on the course, that of Pierre Carpentier. Pip, pip to him and crew for getting out.

Just two PHRF 2 boats out, the J24 Bay Gull, and something not often seen, a Laser 28 on the GNS course. Wouldn't it be great to see more RSt.LYC boats! Welcome to the crew of Jammin'.

The big start of PHRF 3 was next off the line, and the battle of the titans in the Shark class officially got underway. 8 Sharks raced, and the winner by 12 seconds was Crisis, over VO2 Max, followed by #324, which I believe was Toby and Jen sailing without the benefit of a third crew! 3rd despite being short-handed! Toby and Jen are the former crew on the Shark, Ketchup. That is some pretty big talent taking the top three, and I'm curious if that is the gang to topple this season? The race's next Sharks over the line were pretty indicative of boats I think could upset the standings. Two Sharks following shortly after and seconds apart were the Rahn family on Eclipse, and then George on Ketchup. Ketchup is often first boat over the finish line, and the Rahn family on Eclipse has victory flags too. So, we have already, an exciting series beginning for top spots. Also on the course were Sudden Impulse, Kaos, and Chimera, and I should be chasing their sterns in my Shark next week. There are several more Sharks preparing to race out of BYC too. The fleet has grown substantially this spring.

Richard and Erica's Mirage 24 had a very accomplished race breaking up the Shark fleet and finishing just a nose behind Ketchup in 6th place.

5 Tanzer 22s raced, led by Sine Wave first, just edging out Encore Une Fois by 9 seconds. Next T22s over were Evergreen and Sorceress duking it out with only 2 seconds separation. A big welcome to Shelly Dorfman's T22 crew Goin' Strait, as they made the move from white sail to spinnaker sailing.

9 boats raced white sail. Familiar boats took the top spots, beginning with Jon Austen's Tanzer 22 in both elapsed and corrected time. In 2nd, David Baby's always beautiful Corvette. A Tanzer 26 #615 took 3rd. Who's sailing that one? The White Sail fleet was also treated to a boat out of LRYC that joined the fun.

Rivalries, upsets, close racing by boats throughout in front, mid and backpack, large turnout of boats, and participation from 4 clubs. Oh, this could be a special season!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

New 49er Mast Here

Montreal sailors Dubreucq / Parekh begin sailing with the new 49erC rig.

After a few hours of painstaking assembly and tuning, Matt Dubreucq and Trevor Parekh have gone for their first two test sails with the new 49erC all carbon, three piece rig. Unfortunately, both test sails were under 3 knots, but the performance gain is evident, even in marginal conditions. You can honestly feel the difference in as little as 1 or 2 knots of breeze.

The new rig is a little taller, a little lighter and a little thinner. Given that it is carbon, it demands a more even bend profile than the previous rig. Additionally, the sail is cut a little differently, so more even bend will flatten the sail more effectively.

The new masts are now class-legal and after the OSGP, the racing in Canada will allow the carbon rigs.

Contact Mackay, Ovington, Bethwaite or fleet rep Trevor Parekh to purchase a new mast and sails. It would be a good idea to ship together with other teams to save on the shipping costs. Mast, main and jib are about 32 Kg, with the longest mast section measuring about 18’.

We will start posting notes and numbers on this site as soon as the info is available!


Trevor Parekh
CAN 945, 946

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lasers and dinghies very visible as season begins

What a huge success the Laser camp was this past week end. Great start to the season. I think we can say that dinghy sailing is back in Montreal. Check out the # in Louis' note! The Lasers are leading the way, and I noticed during last night's first official race on Lac St. Louis plenty of small boats from single handers, maybe a Fireball out of the corner of my eye, to skiffs and cool, the Lightnings return to the course!

Hi Ralph,

We had a great weekend with 16 laser sailors... quite a sight on Lac St-Louis. We had sailors come in from the townships, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières and Montreal. Dave Pelling gave a much appreciated talk on the new rules on Sunday. The weather was with us with light air on Saturday to practice boat handling and a good blow on Sunday to keep everybody honest. I'm still sore (and expect to be for a couple more days...)! Laser sailing is the best :--)


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Montreal High Performance Camp 2009

3 female teams and two male teams participated in the MHPC this year. They were the lucky beneficiaries of a lot of attention. Two speakers, sports psychologist, Dr. Wayne Halliwell and skiff sailor Trevor Parekh, and three coaches, Canada Sailing Team members Gordon Cook, Matthieu Dubreucq and Tyler Bjorn. That is a lot of expertise focused in their favour. Two teams were from the Montreal area, and three from Ontario. I believe the video's music is from IAM.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Laser Masters' North American Championship 2009

Pierre Jasmin is best known and celebrated for being one of the dominant players in the popular and competitive Montreal Etchells class. He is also sailing in the growing Laser class here in Montreal. So far, 15 sailors are pre-registered for the Laser camp beginning tomorrow at PCYC. There are a lot of compelling reasons for racing a Laser. A big one is that every level of sailor can find a place to compete from casual beginner to the highly skilled like Pierre, and to elite international levels. Well, clearly Pierre loves to compete and he sure is doing well. Here is a report from his experience at the recent Masters' Laser North American Championship in North Carolina. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Salut Ralph, sorry for the late report, just got back yesterday and I usually don't travel with any electronic communication device. I guess this is in line with starting things late in life... like Laser Masters sailing, which I only started last year. It has been, and still is a steep learning curve for me, having not sailed dinghies in nearly 30 years. Believe me it is great fun, and an incredible incentive to stay fit. It is amazing to witness the Masters scene, guys (and gals) in their 40's, 50's, 60's and even 70's sailing these little boats in strong winds and having a blast. And quite frankly the camaraderie after the races is next to none.

As you heard I was at the Laser Masters North Americans in Wrightsville Beach, N-C last weekend and competed with 98 other Masters in what was for me my second major regatta. I also attended the Canadian Laser Masters in Halifax last year and got a whipping mainly in very heavy air, and I guess I just wasn't ready for sailing well in those conditions. Well, this year I got ready to kick butt, went to Cabarete in February to attend a Laser Masters training clinic for a week. I also trained hard at staying fit during the months of winter.

I had set my personal goal at finishing mid-fleet and sailing better (i.e improving my starts in big fleets and sailing fast through waves with better technique). Indeed I succeeded at everything I had intended... or almost! Ten races were scheduled over three days, but only 6 got off. Three races in 5 - 10 knots with lumpy seas the first day, three more in 10 - 15 knots (max gusts 18) with sea swell and chop in confused directions. The third day was abandoned due to a high thunderstorm threat. Great racing with nearly 100 boats on the line made for exciting starts. Quite a few general recalls with the RC resorting to the black flag rule to get the fleet off the line. Amazing traffic at the first weather mark reminding me of a slow motion NASCAR race, a long line of boats with inches between them.

I ended up 56th overall!, oh well... not quite what I had in mind (but I did beat 42 other boats!). I was OCS in the first race!! Not easy to live with that result for the remainder of a series (but thank God for "drop races"). My best result was a 22nd, my worst was 72nd! (in another bad race I was DFL at one point after having fouled someone at the weather mark, completed my 720 in moderate breeze, capsized twice, but I did manage to work my way slowly back up the rear and passed nearly 40 boats to finish 61st).

Oh and I guess I had the butt kicking thing kind of backwards!

But to my defense, I must say that those guys (and one gal) are good. I spoke to many competitors, to find that a lot of them are ex-Olympians, ex-various-class champions, ex-national team members and/or have been sailing the Laser for 20 to 30 years and they live near an ocean somewhere... My turn will come when they sail against me on Lake St-Louis in 5 to 10 knots... maybe I shouldn't try that either!!

Seriously, it was a great learning experience, a great sailing venue. Anytime you have the chance to sail in the ocean, take it. It is another world out there and those, like myself, who sail mainly on lakes, have to get out of our comfort zone and sail elsewhere. Picking up Laser Master sailing at 51 is possible, and I have only my faithful Etchells crew Louis Beauregard to thank for that. It is the best sailing move I have done in recent years and I encourage anyone with any hint of the urge to do it, to stop thinking about it and join in. The way I look at it is that I still have quite a few years ahead of me to keep learning to sail faster judging by the age of some of the guys (and that gal again) that beat me.

Best regards, and sail fast, Pierre J.

Thanx to Pierre. Oh and by the way, there is no such thing as a late report. The only time line we try and respect here is the starting gun, cuz everyone knows top dawgs like Pierre will be right on the line.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

High Strung Pic

Recently I posted a crop of a photo featuring the foredeck crew on David Cobbett's High Strung. Sorry, I don't have a name. Here is the photo untouched. It's High Strung at the recent J24 World Championship in Annapolis. The photo was taken by Sail22

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fast Ride: Vid of SB3 in Dublin Bay

I've been doing a bit of epoxy work on the keel to hull joint of the Shark. While on the hard, I couldn't resist going up the hill to catch a view of the first practice race for the Good Neighbours Series. Racing is starting this week on both Lac St. Louis and Lac des Deux Montagnes. I should be in the water after this week end. While I don't have shots of the practice racing, here is an inspiring pedal to the metal ride to motivate us.
- Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Womens' Racing at HYC

Wow, this is hot! HYC has a womens' sailing group. Super idea. The more and more racing is done on an equal plane the more challenging, fun and exciting it becomes. I don't know if that is the total plan, racing in womens' regattas, but its a sure bet they'll have a blast.

  • July 19 - HYC Women's Regatta
  • Aug 23 - Régate des femmes (Oka)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dangers of Cold Water

Here's an instructive video news clip on how little time you have when you fall overboard this time of year.

Brrr. Wear the life jacket.

Friday, May 15, 2009

HYC Delays Launch

A pic and excerpt from the HYC blog, "Sailors' Advisory".

"Regrettably, due to the high water level, the HarbourMaster has decided that launching will only start on Monday, May 18th.

"As you can see from the photo taken this evening the "L" Pier still remains partially submerged. Thus, it provides no protection to the docks within the harbour."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Race Committee Seminar for BYC - PCYC

Another seminar is being held prior to the commencement of racing for BYC & PCYC. See below:

(The Simple Life)

Learn the basic techniques on how to cope with anxiety, panic and all the emotions of Race Committee duty. This is a refresher seminar for all those who will be participating as race committee. We also encourage you to come out and review the new rules that go into effect this year.

Life may not be easy, but it can be simple.

This seminar is being offered to current members of BYC and PCYC and their crew.

Thursday, May 14th at BYC
19h00 – 21h00
Animators: Madeleine Palfreeman & David Speak

L’ art d’être officiel de course
C’est si simple

Apprenez les techniques de base pour faire face à l’anxiété, la panique et les émotions d’un Comité de Course. Ce séminaire se veut un rappel pour ceux qui participeront à un comité de course. Venez également voir les nouvelles règles qui s’appliquent cette année.

La vie n’est peut-être pas facile… mais elle peut être simple!

Ce séminaire est offert aux membres du YCB et du PCYC et à leur équipage.

Jeudi le 14 mai au YCB de 19h00 – 21h00
Animateurs: Madeleine Palfreeman & David Speak

Monday, May 11, 2009

2009 J24 World's: 2 Views of Final Day

I imagine the Montreal entries are nearing the home port of HYC just about now. I haven't any news of their adventure. However, since I've enjoyed the daily summaries of two competitors so much, I have opted to post their entries again, this time of the last day of racing. It was a dramatic one with the podium positions changing in each of the three races, and Canadian Rossi Milev being at the top of the heap after race #1. Above is pictured the winner, Brazilian Mauricio Santa Cruz. I first saw it on Sailing Anarchy. They suggest clicking for the magnified version to observe the helmsman's concentration. Great reminder, the eyes can stray to what are other crew members' responsibilities. Pic is another by Dan Phelps. Reports below by my favoured scribes, Chuck Allen of North OD for Scuttlebutt and Moose McClintock for Sailing Anarchy. Each of their teams consistently chose different starting strategies, and both were more positive about the regatta after a better final day.

Chuck Allen
North Sails One Design

What a Change - Three Races in One day!

(Friday, May 9, 20090 - It was smart of The R/C to go out early on the final day because it was looking grim for breeze in the forecast. So we met at the rendezvous of R2 off Bay Ridge and for the first time they had the fleet follow them south towards Thomas Point Light versus heading north towards the Bay Bridge, which has been light and weird. Sure enough we stopped for a while and watched The Cougar Treat Team try to wakeboard behind their J/24 - they forgot two important things: put a smaller guy in the water and get a bigger engine… fun to watch though! Sure enough… hints of a breeze started to fill in around 165 degrees. The R/C moved a touch more away from the lighthouse and things looked good for two to three races in a breeze of 4-8 knots, basically two guys hiking and our “low setting on the rig” conditions.

Race one was big time middle boat favored as Carrera, Kotoun, and Welles all started in that region. The current had the middle boat poked at least a length up and we figured winning the right side … this boat would be key as you get that quick jump on the fleet. You had to start your approach with no more than 1:20 to go as the boat had to keep digging back into the current and up and then back into the current and up, etc… and if you timed it right you could shoot out like a cannon. Both Carrera and Welles led the way playing the right center, while Kotoun faded a bit on the left center - both boats were one and two up top and then the sailing ‘downwind against the current game’ started, quite difficult as we would find out. It was noticeable that the ARG and CHI Teams were quite practiced at sailing in these real light conditions downwind, as we found ourselves surrounded by a bunch of them. Chris Larson showed nice pace as well in these conditions to finish towards the top. The bottom line was you can round the weather mark and kept going straight into the current and almost one tacked it towards the gates…the boats that did this made out nicely.

Race two was much of the same - the boats that won the right side of the middle boat made out huge! Carrera and Kotoun once again got launched. TMC Racing came out of that area looking sharp as well and these three rounded in the top group. A few boats got out of the left like Larson, Rossi and Mauricio - all boats that were contending for the title. Kotoun and Carrera would lead the charge around the four leg track in the light conditions.

There was time to get one last race in as the 1430 time limit was still a half hour away. We were thinking we were kind of locked in with Mookie and Kotoun for the 5th, 6th or 7th position and the boats battling for the top had to be Larson, Santa Cruz, Carrera, and Rossi. The R/C boats were not as poked or leaning forward in the current and it became very apparent the breeze was starting to show major ESE Signs. You had to start toward the pin or you were done! Santa Cruz, Parker, Welles would all lead this side toward the first mark, it was a five legger that they posted by the way. You could actually gybe back toward the middle if need be this time around but for the most part staying on starboard was your best bet. The whole game was staying to the left side upwind and the top group had little change. Santa Cruz would go on to dominate the race and win just slightly over Larson as Rossi (who had a tough race-falling to forth). Carrera had a killer day but fell just short, placing third overall - nice job. Kotoun held fifth, Welles would end of sixth, while Mookie had tough race and fell to seventh - still a great job for the young J/24 Team. Congrats to Mauricio and Team… great regatta!



J/24 Worlds wrap up by Moose Mclintock from Dimension/Polyant.

Whenever I watch an NBA game, the common line is "everyone makes a run". We made our run, but just like the trailing NBA team, we came up a little short, maybe using a little too much mental and emotional energy to get into a position to win. We knew coming into the last day the we needed to make up points in a hurry, we were around 6th with a drop figured, this wasn't going to win anything. On the motor out we stopped by the downtown Starbucks for some of our lucky Apple Fritters, had a good munch on the way to the course and talked about what we had to do. Basically, get good starts, manage our area and don't make mental mistakes. Nice plan if you can do it, I'm pretty sure no one else was thinking this.

When we got to the starting area we were met with, as usual, no wind, the forecast was saying a clear sky might lead to an early sea breeze so we held our breath and hoped. The RC moved the course down to the Thomas Point area (which might have been a better option all week anyhow) and were soon rewarded with a slowly filling southerly. With plans to get in as many races as possible, the RC hustled to get the line set, gave us a black flag to try to tame the beast, and we were off. Notable BFD's were the Threebond and Blitz, both boats were players but this took them out of the series. We chose the leeward end as it would take us into the outgoing current quickly, a good plan but a slight clock in the breeze had us looking at mid fleet halfway up the leg. Though we did get some tide push, we were looking average coming out of the corner. Somehow, with a little wiggling near the weather mark, we were able to close on the group and rounded in the top ten. There were plenty of ups and downs with everyone but we were able to claw our way up the ladder a bit and grab a 3rd and viola, we're tied for the lead with Rossi Milev. Sort of a shock after the whole week but we'd take it.

Second race was almost identical for us, start near the pin, see a right clock and fighting our way back from the left side. And a gain, with a lot of wiggling near the weather mark, a fair weather mark rounding right behind Rossi. The long downwind legs against the current made the nerves stand on end, we gained a couple boats but were still looking at low teens as we started the second beat right behind Rossi. We split away from him at the leeward mark and were able to catch a small shift that got us just ahead of him, Bruschetta was going very fast and we barely crossed them at the weather mark. Up front, the Argentine Matias Pereira, who was 2nd in the first race, was leading and suddenly we were thinking we were losing our lead. Fortunately, Bruschetta, Rossi and ourselves split away from the fleet and caught a new breeze out of the current and passed about 8 boats on the way to the finish, surprisingly we had another 3rd just ahead of Bruschetta and Rossi and the total scores were looking particularly tight, mostly because there was a litany of protests and I flags being reported. We now had a couple points on both Bruschetta and Rossi with Pereira, who won the race, lurking a little bit behind.

Our plan for the final race was the same, start at the pin end and figure it out. But just like that NBA team, I think we ran out of gas. A big header as we tried to get to the leeward end left us unable to get to the line, we tacked and dipped a couple boats and suddenly had popped out with clear air and sailing the lift but going right. Ordinarily this is good news but we weren't in the current and the breeze was on the left where we saw both Bruschetta and Pereira on the Carrera leading the fleet while we were looking at mid 30's (but ahead of Rossi, who also got flushed with us). Again, we got into the comeback mode but this time it wasn't going to work, though our deltas were going up at every mark, we just couldn't get back to the leaders and we faded to 2nd overall, just holding off Pereira while watching Bruschetta take the title. Nuts.

Lots of credit has to go the Mauricio Santa Cruz and his crew on Bruschetta, they were always fast, and made excellent decisions around the course when they were doing badly to make instant comebacks. You don't become a 3 time World Champion by being anything other than this so our hats are off to them, truly the best in the world. We were happy but not satisfied with our final placing, we were a bit rusty but Dave Hughes, Steve Frazier (aka Junior Bear Cub), Curtis Florence and particularly Chris Larson, who put the program together, were one of the most enthusiastic and fun groups I've done this with and though we came up short I think we did a pretty good job. The RC had a brutal week of weather to deal with, they did their best but were handcuffed by a lot of circumstances that were out of their control. Fortunately, the final day of clear weather and good sailing in the open waters was far better than anything we'd seen all week so I have to believe everyone was pretty happy with final day. I didn't stick around for the awards, I'm at home as I write this to do the things that I should be doing, helping my wife do everything that I've blown off for the last two weeks. Congrats again to Bruschetta, they were favorites coming in and they delivered.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

2009 J24 World's Official Roundup

I like this photo of 3rd overall Carrera, skippered by Matias Pereira of Argentina. I think it shows the J24 hull quite gracefully. It's another great example of the work by Dan Phelps. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing.

ANNAPOLIS, MD., Friday, May 8, 2009 -- The sun came out at last, the wind finally arrived more or less on schedule and the 2009 J/24 World Championship came to an exciting end with three races jammed into the final day of competition.

With the vital worst-race throwout in play once the sailors had completed the day's first contest, standings shuffled quite a bit, and as 1996 World Champion Chris Larson of Annapolis and his National Sailing Hall of Fame team finished third in that race thet took the lead by the narrowest of margins, tied on points with Canadian Rossi Milev and his Clear Air crew.

With a third-place finish in the next race, Larson and his team, which included Dave Hughes, Moose McClintock, Steve Frazier, and Curtis Florence, pulled ahead a bit more, establishing a 2-point lead over 2006-2007 World Champion Mauricio Santa Cruz and his Brazilian team on Bruschetta, who now found himself winning the tiebreaker with Milev and setting up the final race as a real nail-biter to see who would emerge at the top of the highly competitive 76-boat fleet.

In the end, Santa Cruz and the Bruschetta crew, with a third in the seventh race to Larson's 11th and Milev's 14th, came away with a third J/24 World Championship, making him the second-most successful J/24 skipper in class history (Ken Read still holds the record with six titles) and the first non-US sailor to win a Worlds in this country.

Sailing with Santa Cruz were Daniel Santiago, Alexandre Saldanha, Paolo Boido, and Alfredo Rovere, who have been part of his team for six years.

"We have a very good team," Santa Cruz said as he enjoyed the congratulations of his fellow sailors in the Annapolis Yacht Club basin as they lined up for haulout. "The first day, the wind was good, but after that it was very difficult. Today, the Race Committee did a very good job, and we had three good races."

The Bruschetta team came out the box strongly, with finishes of 6-1 on the series' first two races on Monday, and managed to avoid trouble with the starting penalties that plagued others. Tuesday's light air brought them 63 points - ultimately their throwout - but keeper scores no worse than 16th and four top-ten finishes carried them through in good form.

"We had a great day on the water," Larson said. "We didn't have a great start in the last race and Bruschetta did, and he sailed really well. We caught up a lot toward the end, and we won the day on the water.

Larson and his team were among the victims of starting penalties on the regatta's first day, when a sixth-place finish became a 22-pointer with a 20% "Z" flag penalty after the boat was identified as over the line early in a recalled start under the "Z" flag.

Unfortunately, the Wednesday light air crapshoot resulted in a 43rd-place finish for their drop, so Larson and company had to swallow the expensive penalty.

Principal Race Officer Sandy Grosvenor brought the fleet out early this morning and held them as long as possible, starting the third race with only a few minutes to spare before the drop-deadline.

"The sailors cooperated quite a lot by getting off the line clean," she said, describing southerly breeze in the 6- to 8-knot range. Courses were set south of Thomas Point Light, on the theory that the normal spring sunny-day thermal would arrive sooner farther to the south. And the strong ebb current which had plagued the racers and organizers throughout the week actually began to die off during the final race of the series. Not soon enough, however, for some 13 teams who were disqualified under the dreaded black flag used for the day's first race. By the time Grosvenor started the third and final race of the day, however, the sailors went off cleanly without the use of any penalty flag signals.

From the regatta website.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

2009 J24 World's More of the Same Wonk

Mississauga racer Rossi Milev and his team on Clear Air - pic by Dan Phelps

The regatta is done. Milev who was in a podium position for a lot of the regatta got edged out of the overall standings in the last race, but hey 4th overall is a pretty good high too. I have some more pics that are pretty good, including of the Montreal boats. Right now though, I'm still enjoying the daily reports by a couple of guys who were not happy sailors. Written well, and a good, honest flavour of the racing. So, I'll share these from day #4:

Moose Mclintock has a sad tale to tell.
(from Sailing Anarchy)

The old saying is "at least it's better than a sharp stick in the eye" or " better than a root canal". After another frustrating day in Annapolis, both of those alternatives would have been a far better choice than trying to figure out what's going on out here. I sailed the Etchells NA's here a couple years ago, conditions were so bad it turned out to be a non-regatta. I guess this is better because we got a race in today so it's a regatta, and there are tons of people hoping we can get another race in tomorrow so we can get a drop because that is going to be the determining factor for this years worlds.

Today actually showed a lot of promise, there was enough breeze to get everyone on deck going upwind and down (a far cry from the last couple days) and it looked like it would hang for at least two races. Bahahahahaha. No chance.

With a couple delays due to the inability to get the anchor down on the midline boat, we lost about 45 minutes of great breeze. Big shifts (from what would be soon become a continuing onslaught of storm cells) caused two postponements before we finally got a start, which was run under a black flag (surprisingly, since we hadn't even had a start yet, much less a general recall). A heavy ebb current was pushing the fleet over the line but there were only about 5 boats over, including race 3 winner Charlie Enright (since renamed Ricky Bobby, cause if you're not first you're's a movie thing). We were lucky to get a good start just down the line from the midline boat, all the OCS's were over on the weather end of the line so we knew we were OK. Unfortunately, we thought we heard General Recall (like a bunch of other people) and started to turn back before we decided it would be better to keep going since we couldn't see any flags. The left side payed off, we managed to round first just ahead of Giamma Fialle (defending world champion), Pete Levesque with Team Mookie, the Blitz brothers with local Allan Terhune helping out and several of the very fast South American teams. Plus one Canadien.

As we worked downwind in a pile of 4 against the tide, the Canadien, Rex, with Canadien Silver medalist Miike Wolfs helping out, was able to split away from the group and round the left hand gate just a touch before we got to the right hand gate. I looked up to see him rocketing upwind in the current while we struggled against it to get to our gate. Joined by the Chilean EFT Group, Rex smoked up the right side of the course, with Blitz close behind them, while we went left like the first beat, with Mookie and Fiamma right with us. A little back and forth as we neared the weather mark and we were now 4th, Rex led wth the Chileans right behind them and Blitz rounding just ahead of us and Fiamma. We did a perfectly horrible job on the run, losing Fiamma and another Argentine boat to finish 6th. Fortunately for us (and not so much for a lot of the other guys) this was good enough to raise us about 6 places overall. Series leader Tony Parker had a tough first beat but came back to around 20th, only to have to take a yellow flag for an incident with Brit Ian Southworth, this ceded the overall lead to Fiamma with Canadien Rossi Milev (10th in this race) one point behind. Mookie held on for a 9th which leaves them 3rd overall but certainly within striking distance.

From here thngs got interesting as the aforementioned storm cells started moving in, hitting the last thirty boats running into the finish about 100 yards from the line. Chutes down, genoas up, puffs, lulls, collisions.........thankfully we had the option to watch the whole thing rather than experience it. From here we saw a couple thunderstorms roll overhead with multiple lightning strikes, several downpours and 360 degreee windshifts. Despite their best efforts, and a painful running comentary, there was no way the RC was going to get a race off so we're looking at a 9:30 start tomorrow to try to get at least one race in.

So things should be pretty settled on "moving day", typically the day before the final push when you get sorted on who's who and where they are. The only real snag to all this is the potential for a drop. This would help us, Tony Parker and particularly Mauricio Sant Cruz immensely since we all have one case of brain cramp making us look particularly bad. On the other hand, there are some very consistent players (who are all in the top couple) who will make out no matter what so it's still a crapshoot (and I mean that in the literal sense of the word). I know I have sailed in Annapolis in good weather and fine breeze. This week that's just not happening. The forecast for tomorrow is light, potentially not sailing. It's not the town's fault, sometimes you just have bad weather. That is the story this week. There aren't a lot of happy campers but we all have to deal with it so I guess you'd say it's even across the board. Personally, I'm blowing out of here ASAP when we hit the dock to grab my ever patient and long suffering wife (with me as a husband, there's plenty of suffering) and go watch Volvo 70's in Boston. On the other hand, I hear that place sucks for wind too.

Wow-Four races in Four Days-Boring!
Chuck Allen, North Sails One Design, posting in a Scuttlebutt forum

(Thursday, May 7, 2009) - Everyone begged The R/C last night at “The Tent” to go out early today: PLEASE/PLEASE/PLEASE… the answer was “NO” right back. The forecast was best set for an early departure today and they chose to race at the regular 11:00 am time. It was obvious what was going on today: one race at best unless they started around 9 - when there was plenty of breeze. I am talking to everyone and they were saying the same thing, it is not like it was a team or two that needed to get to a throw out- quite a bummer of a day to tell you the truth.

Sure enough the R/C could not start on time again today with their patented “we will start on time after a short postponement…”- what does this mean? The other thing that is bogus is they have a rendezvous area for check in, etc… then they ask all the boats to follow them for a couple of miles to the race area-common… the regatta is in jeopardy of not making a five race series? How about going to the place where you want your line set and do check in there? They had trouble setting the line again and it was postponed-seems like wasted time and it is the talk of the dock.

They finally got the race off after a couple of AP’s and a restart - right into the Black Flag, which makes sense, catching a few boats - who were nice enough to bail back and exit the course. Most the boats that did well on the first leg started by the Mid-Boat, as it was poked in the current at least two lengths up - sure enough Larson, who rounded first won that area. A bunch of boats started at the pin end thinking the current would get them there in the river going towards the first mark, but ended up over standing because it was ripping that way big time; we were included in that group - rounding quite deep - time to grind back again.

They had changed the race course to a four legger from the previous fives hoping to get more races in but it was dying quick and you to act fast. Kind of a parade downwind with 85% sailing on port but upwind there was a front coming through over Annapolis and the breeze clicked 10 degrees to the right, we had picked up a solid ten bots and were back towards the high teens. The last downwind was getting really light and it went hard ESE where some boats finished and then swung hard NNE, where some boats finished by gybing. And get this - the breeze kicked in hard North and around 30 boats had to finish going upwind - brutal. Squalls rolled in after, including lightening and right after that the breeze was sucked out of the area - bummer if we wanted to have another race-no go!

Early dock call tomorrow with an expected 9:30 start time - looks to be light air-we’ll see?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

2009 J24 World's Continue and Ontario Team Scores

Two Ontario teams are big winners today with the conclusion of race #4. Scott Weakley and the team aboard Rex charged ahead on the last downwind leg to take the bullet, about an hour ago. They overtook earlier leaders and notables American Chris Larsen and Italian champion Andrea Casale, others couldn't catch them, and they crossed well ahead. Weakley's team is out of Mississauga.

Andrea Casale's Fiamma Gialla now holds down 1st overall. Another team from Mississauga, Rossi Milev's Clear Air team has moved into 2nd overall. 3rd overall is held by Tony Parker's Bangor Packet. A bad thunderstorm came through, then the sun came out but the wind became unstable. Racing is over for the day.

Crazy wind emptying and filling randomly plus the crazy current yesterday resulted in my favourite quote coming from Moose McClintock: "WTF!!!! Annapolis at it's best." McClintock also reports that 2 boats were found to have lead shot epoxied into their keel sumps during measurement. I trust they weren't the Montreal entries.

J24 World's Underway in Tough Conditions

Foredeck crew on David Cobbett's "High Strung". Image is a crop from a photo from Sail22's Flickr page.

The 2009 J24 World Championship in Annapolis has so far been agonizing for many competitors. Frail or no wind and a strong current have thrown a lot of teams off, and flipped standings during the races. In drizzling rain, the race committee has managed to get three difficult races off in three days.

Top Canadian team is Rossi Milev's Clear Air from Mississauga. They are in 3rd overall! Doing a super job is Thomas Etienne Barbeau's team,, from Quebec. Despite a 20% penalty on their score in race #2 under the Z flag rule, they sit 19th overall currently. A very large number of boats were swept over the start line prematurely by current. 79 boats are racing. scored 7th in the most recent race. High Strung and Peacemaker from HYC are also competing.

There have been some great reports of the racing, and I'd like to share some of them with Montreal Sailors. Writing about sailboat racing is challenging. Getting a feel for the action is complex as is the game itself. Here are excerpts from Chuck Allen of North Sails posted in a forum of Scuttlebutt:

“Starting will be Difficult!”
"(Sunday, May 3, 2009) - One thing we learned today: Starting is going to be really hard, there are a ton of good teams here in Annapolis for Worlds and it was quite obvious at the practice race today. Showing 30-60 degree wind direction with an incoming tide, basically pushing the boats over the line, and on top of that our wind shots were coming up 25 degrees left of the posted 065 on The R/C. It started to stack up hard toward the pin boat and sure enough a general recall would follow with over half the fleet OCS, maybe knowing it was “a practice start” helped too… I am thinking The R/C may have made a mistake when they announced “we will not call boats back on the next start because it is a practice race…” and guess what happened next? That is right each team jockeyed to keep their bows out and the fleet was over by an average of two lengths, there were some squads that totally launched, the R/C went through their procedures: calling bow numbers, etc… nope-the fleet was off like a heard of donkeys (yes the J/24 is a slow boat).

"Communication seems to play a factor… on the first start we found ourselves sandwiched between a Japanese and Uruguay Team, I know how to talk to The JPN’s as we have Dice-K pitching for The Red Sox and we talk about this while hanging out, but The URU’s-I have no idea how to approach them, we’ll figure it out. The communication on board our yacht needs some polishing: the gun goes off, bad start by us, tack onto port, only to see our options close out, “three guys coming-duck them, cross this boat and we have to tack now” was the rhetoric... Second time around we decided to make sure we were one of the boats to have our bow poked so we could pace with some teams, make sure our mast butt was dialed etc… At the top mark it was Enright, The SWE’s and Kotoun leading around the track, with a five leg course and leeward gates closer to NapTown one could only assume the fleet might dwindle (oh-and it started raining harder), as predicted many boats rounded properly then bore off only to set again and head for The AYC."

"Wet and More Wet…"
"(Monday, May 4, 2009) - Day one brought the second straight day of rain with two races scheduled and the breeze holding in the 90 degree direction. It was one of those mornings when you wake up, hear the rain coming down on the roof, look out and say: “I think I’ll put all my gear on now” before rolling out the door and it was definitely a full layering day as Martha Parker has taught us up in Newport-she would have been proud! Quick stop at ZU’s for the morning round and down to The AYC, only to find most boats closed up with a bunch of cold looking sailors peeking out from down below; the Volvo guys would be laughing for sure. Queue up the sails and get ready to round SSA into The NNE Breeze-couldn’t wait-but it wasn’t that bad.

"The R/C started on time and all was looking really good - the problem is that once the five minute gun goes off you are kind of committed to your side or that half of the line because the starting line is ginormous! We found that taking constant wind shots and heading towards our “predicted” end was the move as well as staying above the line and out of the wind shadow of 82 boats was key.

"Sure enough the first gun goes off we won the top third end only to see around 25 boats get poked from the left side-great learning experience as we noticed the water was flatter to the left, which made it easy to put the boat in “stick” mode versus hobby horsing out on the right like we were doing. The left side also showed nice numbers so it was climb back time, as we rounded in the 30-40 range, we held to the downwind right passing a few and made sure to keep to the upwind left where all the gains were made as it phased 15 degrees toward that side sure enough a few boats here and there and we climbed back into the top ten only to see a last minute hard right at the finish bring in five or six boats across our bow. Our main goal was to go with Chucky’s saying: “You can’t win it on the first day, but you can sure lose it”… I stole this from The Masters-BTW… This race was led by pretty much the same boats around the track: Skelly, Larson, Kotoun and Healy, which all finished in the front group.

"Downwind lunch time and there was plenty of it as they set really long courses-too long actually… Followed by a couple of phased right starts pulling a good portions of the boats over and guess what happened-you got it: Generals, “I” Flags, “Z” Flags, etc.. and yes The Black Flag! On the “Z” Flag start they called a General, which meant they caught boats and sure enough at the end of race two a bunch of bow numbers were read back over the radio-there were a lot. The race itself showed a nice first beat with lots of port sailing, again you had to come off the left end as it was really favored. Our friend Mauricio led at the top with Healy and Welles following close behind until the next second weather mark. After this the race became a drag race and really not a World’s Level Race, one gybe to leeward gates (where we expected a change of course-nothing). And get this - you could actually tack onto port at the leeward marks and make the finish-you got to be kidding me! Anyway, they got two in today in wicked rainy conditions and we are not surprised to see Santa Cruz and Kotoun leading the pack! The “Z” Flag added some numbers to really good sailing teams!

"Looks to be light tomorrow (Tuesday) with NNE breeze and hopefully just clouds, I just took my gear off!"

No Wind - No Racing on Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Three Races in Three Days…"
"(Wednesday, May 6, 2009) - The conditions have been just awful for a World Championship, as there was no racing yesterday and we barely got one in today under the time limit and waited around to see if the southerly flow would fill, faking us out for a couple of hours. Today was raced in an average of 3 knots with the same amount of current pushing towards the weather mark. I thought for sure there would be a general with the current pushing us over but only two boats were called, one being Anthony Kotoun, who was running second going in.

"We (skipper Will Welles) started up toward the middle third as there was around 5 knots of breeze rolling down from the top right center. Chris Larson was able to tack and cross us so we had to wait a little longer to tack to port and our lane to clear. Larson, Welles, Skelly and The PUR Team led the charge on port and up the right side. The left was caving hard and it appeared this would be the lead group with maybe two to three boats coming from the left. Sure enough the left saw a bit more current and a increase in breeze-all of a sudden we were all in the sixties-bummer brah!

"Downwind into the current proved be slow and torturous… we decided to keep going into the current sailing way passed the gates and it worked out well as we caught a free ride back towards the marks passing a huge clump of boats, our trimmer, Rich Bowen, did a masterful job of keeping the boat going forward and pacing faster than anyone around us. We made a sweet move down at the gates as well nailing another quick seven boats rounding with speed and at last we had daylight and an eye on the next group of ten boats or so-this was the plan get back into the top 25 and minimize our points. We kept on the attack upwind grabbing another five yachts by sailing in lanes of breeze and nailing a quick three more that over stood (because of lack of wind and lots of current). Again, our pace downwind was better than every boat and sure enough we got into the low twenties where we ended up. Who knows the way the event is going this could be a keeper race for us and we just saved forty something points - not bad really.

"The Leader Board was shaken up as Mauricio and Kotoun had deep races. Mauricio was protesting the R/C at the race end - so we’ll see what happens with that. We know the finish boats were dragging but other than that maybe because it was under the class minimum breeze rule-who knows…? Good fun all and all and as we say “It is what it is”! Congrats to Charlie Enright for winning today, The Liebels from Davis Island and Tony Parker for taking the lead. And look who is doing well: Jorge Murrieta, who won The NA’s-very good sailor!

"Move of the day goes to me as I hailed “Mast A Beam” to Frankie Scalisi, who was confused for a moment said “there is no mast a beam anymore” and at that point we had broken the overlap at the leeward gates and gybed around them and beat them to the finish. We all laughed later…"

It's rare to get that kind of reporting of the dynamics developing while racing. It's intriguing reading, instructive to the learning enthusiast, and fun for the knowledgeable starved for the scoop. I haven't read a report with the sailor's perspective that good since Alain Vranderick's writing for Montreal Sailing on his experience in the Star racing the Bacardi Cup. It's great to appreciate just what was happening.

According to Sail 22 about an hour ago, "Teams have left the dock. Light breeze but building. SI's ammended for shorter races. Should be a good day" It's currently overcast with about 4 mph of wind. Possible thundershowers with wind increasing are forecast.

- Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Camp d'entrainement D2 2009

Scene from last year's training camp, 2 able sailors returning to harbour. Click on title to go to District 2 Laser site and registration info. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing.

Commandité par La Microbrasserie La Diable, Mt-Tremblant

Le D2 tiendra un camp d'entrainement ouvert à tous le 23-24 mai au Yacht Club de Pointe-Claire. Venez profiter de ce camp pour partir votre saison du bon pied. Le weekend sera animé par Robin Blanchard. Robin a été coach de l'Équipe du Québec et est certifié par la Canadian Coaching Association. Il est spécialiste du Laser.

De plus, David Pelling (juge & arbitre international) animera une discussion sur les nouvelles règles de course dans le contexte du Laser dimanche midi. M. Pelling est une sommité mondiale en la matière… Olympiques + America’s Cup + Coupe Louis Vuitton font partie de son palmarès…

Lunchs chauds inclus samedi et dimanche midi.

BBQ samedi soir - Bière fournie par la Microbrasserie La Diable

Cout: 140$ pour le week-end (lunchs, BBQ et bière inclus!)



Le D2 tient à remercier le Pointe-Claire Yacht Club pour sa précieuse collaboration. Merci aussi à Pierre Jasmin de la Microbrasserie La Diable, Mt-Tremblant et à David Pelling.

NOTE: Cet évènement est ouvert à tous. Cependant, il n'y aura pas d'encadrement particulier pour les jeunes de moins de 18 ans.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

More Eager Beavers

More eager beavers are getting out on the water to get a head start. BYC Shark sailors, Jin, Paul and Peter got out last Saturday for a good 12 knot wind. Pictured above, Bernard Le Duc of HYC was out as 3 J22s stretched their limbs on a cool day.Beating all of them HYC's Commodore, Michael Laventure was out in mid-April. I don't know if that would be on his Tanzer 22, or more bravely on his Laser.

Okay, that's it. All these Spring dips have me motivated. I'm gathering my gritty papers, paint, and cleaners to head to the boatyard. Launch dates are approaching aren't they!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

le 6 mai - Réglage des voiles (Débutants) MAY 6th - SAIL TRIM (Beginners)

Tof (pictured in red cap) is one of Montreal Sailing's "Top Dawgs". He is giving the seminar described below. Should be a good one!

Ce séminaire s’adresse autant aux gens qui font de la course que de la croisière. Un bon réglage des voiles assure une plus grande sécurité. Apprenez aussi à bien comprendre et maîtriser vos voiles et passer devant. Si vous en avez assez de voir les autres bateaux vous laisser en arrière et désirez ce petit ‘extra’, venez en apprendre plus.

Ce séminaire vous permettra de poser toutes les questions qui vous tracassent et vous aidera à lancer votre nouvelle saison avec encore plus de plaisir.

Ce séminaire est offert aux membres du YCB et du PCYC et à leur équipage.
Mercredi le 6 mai au YCB de 19h00-21h00
Animateur: - Tof Nicoll-Griffith
(North Sails)

MAY 6th - SAIL TRIM (Beginners)

This seminar is geared for both the cruising and racing sailor. Learn the safety elements involved with proper sail trim. Also, learn how to get smart, get cracking, and get ahead. If you’re tired of watching boats go by and wish you had that little extra – come and learn a few tricks.

A seminar that allows you to ask any question that will help launch your summer sailing adventure and have fun.

This seminar is being offered to current members of BYC and PCYC and their crew.

Wednesday, May 6th at BYC
Animator: - Tof Nicoll-Griffith (North Sails)