Monday, October 12, 2009

Prepping for the Pas De Deux

Oooo, the Pas De Deux Regatta was fun. Actually, I was having fun even before getting on the water. Being the month of Halloween, even if it was early October, early in the morning it was cold and wet. Indeed, enough to freeze a witch's wart till it would fall off. So, I decided to wear my track suit under my shiny silver rain gear. I pulled a brown tuque over my head, and put on my cool Oakley sunglasses. Geeeez, I looked like a cross between a sailor and the celebrity spoof (pictured at right), Ali G. I practised my rapper stance in front of the mirror for an instant, then headed off for the club. The rain was very light while driving, and by the time I got to the club, it had stopped completely. The temperature was also rising as the morning progressed, and it looked like as long as we didn't peel off our layers we would be quite comfortable.

I was very fortunate to have Nick Van Haeften on board for this race. When it comes to boat speed and sail trim, he's the boss. I call Nick the rock star, because whenever he comes aboard we are elevated from perennial backpackers to top-fleet contenders.

There was a fair bit of activity at BYC, which surprised me given the weather wasn't summer-like. Great, I thought, some racers. But no, People were hauling gear off their boats and getting ready for haul out. Not Mainsail. We had one last race for glory in us. There was John Linton, club champ, a few boats over, with crew like busy work bees crawling all over their Tanzer 22. "Eh whut up!" I inquired. "Not racing? I woulda whupped your butt today. We were gonna make mincemeat outta youz guys!" After a little more brave bravado, and brash trash-talking I felt pretty smug. As easy as it was to talk a game with non-starters, I was hopeful for the day. Although it was light at the moment, the wind prediction was for 10-20 knots from the northeast. That meant Sharks would have an advantage over the T22s, but the Etchells and really long boats would also come on strong.

Also from BYC, and already on the water testing their trim were the BYC Shark sharpies on Eclipse. They came in first, two years ago, and were looking like they were prepping for a repeat. We motored out to the start area, and said hello to the Rahns after registering with Madeleine and the PCYC Race Committee. Quite a few boats were already out sailing near the start line. Lowther and Hinrichsen on the Etchells were out, along with some big boats. Robin had his Shark on the water. There were a number of Tanzer 22s which would be big contenders on the off-wind legs if the stronger wind forecast didn't become a reality.

The selected course to Baie D'Urfe and back, criss-crossing the lake was maintained, and the start sequence began. The Pas De Deux is a pursuit race. Slow boats start first, followed by other classes in sequence of their faster PHRF ratings. We were scratch start, first to go, so we stayed fairly close to the line as the wind was still light. Our final race of the season was beginning.

Well pick it up here agan with another post after Turkey Day is done. - Ralph, Montreal Sailing