Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sailweek Concludes with the BYC Annual Regatta

Early in the morning, heavy downpours looked like they would make the end of Sailweek a pretty drenching affair. The rain stopped before we left harbour, and while it threatened, all we got was great winds, and super racing.

The first race was in very light wind as the breeze was still moving in. Race Committee had to re-start a sequence, and also move marks around while the wind made up its mind. Once things got off, it really was a perfect day.  The second race saw significant wind kick in. I would guess around 10-12 knots early on, and increasing to around 15 knots or so by the last leg. Some of the Tanzer 22s switched to their #2 genoas, which is usually a pretty good sign of winds getting up there. For the third race, the wind shifted more to the right side of the course and subsided to about 10 knots.

The Fireball and Etchells classes had a few boats out to play, and the top teams were correctly the odds on favourites. Joe and Tom (Fireball), and Pierre's Vivace team (Etchells). For a while now Joe has been listed as helming two Fireballs simultaneously. I realize he is a sailor-extraordinaire, but I'm a little doubtful that even he can pull that off. 5 Fireballs were out to boogie in the good winds. 2nd was taken by longtime Fireballers Eric Owston and crew who's name escapes me. . The following three boats exchanged positions in every race. I'd say the stalwarts of the class are doing a good job of getting others to mix it up. 3 Etchells started with a J30 which looks huge next to the Etchells. Good looking boat.

PHRF 3 is where the big battles took place, as the Sailweek and BYC Regatta drama would not be decided until the final race. Top contender, Jin Frati's Blue Shark didn't compete today leaving an epic battle to be fought between two boats. The first light air race was won by the Shark Nuisance. It looks like Pierre Carpentier can win on any day on the water, because even without his regular crew of Toby and Jen he won the first race. I am beginning to wonder if one of the most dominant racing teams out of BYC, and in Montreal, the Shark VO2 Max, have a slight vulnerability when the wind is very light. It appears that in such conditions they may tumble from the heights of winning to a humbling, lowly, mere 2nd place. That is precisely what happened yesterday in the opening round of the contest between the two teams. In very light breeze, Nuisance had VO2 Max gasping for more air. Chapter 2 saw VO2 Max take in all that heavy wind, and turn it into max boat speed. While the wind got a little lighter, it was still plenty enough for some froth on the wave caps, and enough to keep the VO2 Max team on a romp for its second consecutive bullet and the victory of both the regatta and the Sailweek series. It appears to me that VO2 Max is well on its way to establishing itself as the dominant Shark in 2009. Nevertheless the racing is very tight and a number of Sharks are in the running for Montreal Sailing's designation of Top Dawg. Nuisance took 2nd overall again for both the regatta and Sailweek. Hooray for Paul Baehr's team of Sharkies on Sudden Impulse. Paul is always knocking on the door at the front of the fleet, and on this day Sudden Impulse made its way to the podium, taking third overall. That was not to be without some tough exchanges as well.

Sine Wave, the Tanzer 22 bested Sudden Impulse in the first light air race for 3rd and first T22. That is a major victory as Sine Wave might be a heavy boat that tends to struggle in the very light winds, even with the advantage of mastermind Jake Fichten skippering. Nevertheless, even when the winds got strong, the story of the Tanzer 22 class has got to be team on Encore Une Fois, skippered by John Linton. Indeed, this is shaping up to be one of the stories of 2009. This team is out there every race, and works harder than most at getting better and better. Now the results are showing how good they are gettting. Encore Une Fois: 1st Tanzer 22 in the BYC regatta. After the first race, winds were up, and Encore Une Fois got a sail change in before the gun of the next race. Coming in at first T22, the wind then subsided a bit, and the team scurried to put back up their #1 genny, and they took 1st Tanzer in the final race as well.

Our team on the Shark Mainsail had some marked improvement that was a motivating and cheerful occasion for the team. We got much more successful on our sail management, having much more successful mark roundings. The finish line was an exciting place for us and Beverly Gilbertson's team on the T22, Sorceress, with near-ties 2 of the three races. Many regattas are not without their mishaps, and rumour has it that Bill Lynam's Rub-a-Dub-Dub had its rudder break away in race #2.

The white sail division had an entry from the RSt.LYC, the beautiful Corvette, Varuna. They took the bullet in race #1. Then when the wind kicked in, Roy Carter's Alberg 37 came alive to show off its boatspeed and they took race #2. Race #3 shows both boats in a tie for first! Ben Waring's Grampian 26 Sawiki, a frequent winner, had to settle for third on this day.

With the racing done, the really serious winds kicked in. By the time we reached just outside the harbour, we found ourselves dropping sails in about 20 knots of wind, distracted by airborne kite sailors. By the time, the winds reached about 25 knots, we were safely enjoying cool drinks at the club, and anticipating the evening's regatta dinner (all-you-can-eat roast beef with all the fixin's) and party. A pretty fine day.