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!