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...