Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tornado sailing at 22knots +

Here is a Tornado sailed out of PCYC by JP Mercier and Bruno Nolet. It was made last year. JP lamented the loss of cats from the Olympics. Now, it looks like a pretty good bet that catamarans will be returning to the Olympics, in a mixed class, in which each team is composed of both male and female. High speed sailing even if Lac St. Louis is giving moderate wind!

Monday, October 18, 2010

District 2 Laser Class Championship Results

Info and Luka's photo from the District 2 site.

After 7 races, including 1 drop, here is how it played out:

  1. Jean-Pierre Kiekens
  2. Pierre Jasmin
  3. Denys Deschambeault
  4. Gary Orkinen
  5. Raymond Pase
  6. Philippe Dormoy
  7. Sally Sharp
  8. William Kelly

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin & Club Captain's Broom Race - October 16th

Hudson YC members are still racing. Most of us are packing up, but there are still diehards out there this coming week end. Here is a post from HYC's Sailors Advisory:

Pumpkin Race

Join us this weekend for some of the last official races of the season, and fun for sailors of all ages.

In the morning, come out for this seasonal family favorite.  It's a fun race with a twist that throws your normal strategy to the wind.

After starting and before finishing a boat must pick up at least 1 pumpkin by any method provided all crew members remain on board (might be a challenge for certain individuals based on recent experience even without Pumpkins). After the finish bring your catch into the club and enjoy some lunch while the results are calculated. Each boat's corrected time will be adjusted according to their haul of pumpkins.

Skippers and pumpkin briefing at 09:30, first gun at 10:30

Club Captain's Broom Race

In the afternoon, all boats are invited to come out and "sweep the lake" as our Club Captain hosts a mystery course that will be revealed at the skippers briefing.

Skipppers briefing at 13:00, first gun at 14:00

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Season's Last is a Blast!

Toby Jennings at left, and me still smiling post-race

The Lac St. Louis season closer, the Pas De Deux, is a fun race. That is dictated several times by the various documents for the race For example, written prominently under the map, "As this is October not July, there will be NO PROTEST HEARINGS arising from this fun race!" There you go, that is clear enough. Well, we aimed to comply, and sure enough, did these two kids ever have fun!

The breeze was strong, the race long. We would go the distance of Lac St. Louis, starting by Pointe Claire, going west to Baie D'Urfé, back across diagonally, southeast to the middle of the lake, then turning north towards Pointe Claire again, and finally east again to the finish. Wind at the airport measured 20 to 32 kph, and I estimate high teens to mid 20's in knots with more severe gusts for the wide part of the lake. Only two persons are allowed to operate the boat, but I did see quite a few more people doing a good job as rail-meat. Hmmmm... With the breeze piping, the waves hurling, Toby and I were definitely the over-powered flyweights of the competition. But what a blast! We were dressed well and it was a good thing. The water was cold, and any work at the mast made the fingers numb in short order. Fortunately, this fun race made spinnakers strictly verboten, so it wasn't too much of an issue. We were both wearing layers of sailing gear, nicely dry and breathable, and that was important for this was genuinely a frosty race in a wet boat.

The other aspect of the race is that it is a Pursuit format. Slow boats first, followed by faster boats with start times based on PHRF handicap. We are then all expected to finish at the same time, given no other variables. Well, of course the performance and finish are altered by other variables Some that come into play are related to skill, some to handicap-weather variations. The Shark has a handicap as the slowest keelboat, making us and Sudden Eclipse (the two Sharks from BYC) the first starters. Right on our heels are the Tanzers and such from PCYC, and on up to the Laser 28s and Etchells, along with some towering sails that are part of the RStLYC big boat Armada.

Toby driving home
Our Shark and Sudden Eclipse both got good starts, right on the line at the gun. Sudden Eclipse was to windward, but we both were moving well. We went with our largest genoa, figuring we would struggle upwind, and yield an advantage for the longer legs off the wind. Tough call because the wind had not peaked just prior to the start, probably up and down between 15 to 18 knots. Well, Sudden Eclipse chose the small jib, and they smoothly accelerated away, flatter and higher. While they made good gains, they would not be impossible to catch later we hoped. Certainly, as the wind strengthened we were way overpowered, but it was manageable. That is definitely a safe, strong point of the Shark.

Peter Vatcher's T22 seemed to get a bit of a late start. Vatcher tacked into the middle a couple of times, but then switched course. They, and many of the bigger boats appeared to choose going way, way out to the south open area. Sudden Eclipse chose to play the shifts of the north shore, and we pretty much conservatively played the middle.

I must admit, heavy air and waves are my downfall. I am much more content in the flat lake water and light winds we get in the more typical hot season. Summer squalls, and frosty fall honkers are not my experience and forte. The long upwind leg taught me why. If I don't anticipate a gust is coming, and get knocked over, it is too late. The mainsheet loads up, and I have my head down staring at it, yanking and yanking away on the jammed mainsheet. My steering goes to hell while I do this hip hop dance in the cockpit. The boat goes on its ear, slipsliding. Then, hull on its side, it moves closer to the wind, while I am pulling hard against the tiller to correct course. Both stages of this gust routine, the knockover, and the over-correction have an effect like hitting the brakes in a car. I did this, while with Nick Van Haeften, at the end of last year's Pas De Deux too, when the wind powerfully made the end very exciting. This year, the whole race had enough wind to continually expose my bad habits. Happily for me, the duration of sustained heavy air was a good thing! It was to be the long leg of practice I needed to finally improve. Well into the long upwind leg, we began developing a more appropriate  racing technique. Toby starts calling the puffs and gusts before they are coming in. Usually by an estimate of how many boat lengths before the slam. Some are just puffs, but that is fine. As he calls it, my finger grips the traveler line, not the mainsheet. I pull the line out of the cleat, before the gust slams us. Then, when the boat slices into the pressure, I start releasing the traveler line and sliding the car and sail to leeward. The boat hardly heels more, the sail flaps less, and the boat stays powered up (not overly) and on course. Holy mother @#$%?! This is working! It is two thirds up the long windward leg, but hey that is okay, because this lesson is huge, and I finally get it. Why has it taken me so long to get it? Ya, I am slow, but after the race I realize there is another reason. This season I had a brand new Harken traveler set up installed. Everything new and smooth: track, windward sheeting car, bearings, line, all of it. Before, the traveler was always a laborious struggle. So, I used the mainsheet, which works, but as said above, is tough and jams with pressure when you need it most.

Another lesson for next season. Even if I don't understand why initially, every aspect of gear should work flawlessly, effortlessly. It isn't just a matter of being a gear-head, or compulsive where it isn't absolutely necessary. To race better, it is compulsory.

Now, about those other PHRF variables. First, the wind. While the Shark is handicapped as the slowest boat, it comes alive with the higher breeze, so today played in our favour against the other small boats. However, we did expect to be passed pretty quickly by the boats with longer waterlines that would be hitting their much faster max hull speeds. While we did stay ahead of other small boats for the whole windward leg, one of the Laser 28s, and one Etchells were closing in. Our sister Shark Sudden Eclipse rounded well ahead, us in 2nd, and the Etchells and Laser 28 hot on our heels, about 30 seconds back and reigning us in.

Then, two surprises, First, right after rounding the windward mark, senior Rahn sends young Rahn to the bow of the Shark, dragging the big whomper 180% sail with him. They manage a sail change pretty quick on the flat downwind course, as we are closing in. Before we can get close enough for our voices to carry over the wind and curse them, their new big sail is set, and they are pulling away again. I dunno how! Obviously there are other variables at play, and I suspect my helming is again part of the answer.

Still, my helming is not so bad as the other big, fast boats that should clean our clocks, don't! It is the next big surprise. The Laser 28 and the Etchells are not making much progress on us downwind. We butterfly our sails, as does the Etchells, and the Laser 28 does a broad reach. The Etchells with the tiny jib has trouble keeping it full, and the Laser 28 is reaching broadly enough, that they also have difficulty keeping the jib full. The butterfly run on the Shark was much more effective, and being watchful on shifts allowed me to keep working a bit of a higher course to make it most of the way to the next mark before jibing. Superman crew-mate Nick woulda been proud!

Eventually, the Laser 28, skippered by Paul Lhotsky works his way by, coming up on a higher course. Luc's Gloutney's Etchells finally gets us at the mark as we come in tight and out broad, while he comes in broad, and exits tight on the inside.

The next leg is pretty wild as the wind is now hitting peak. This allows the big waterline boats to make a charge at us, and I see a T26 gaining, but being run down by a train of a long boat driven by David Wisenthal. We complete that wild windward ride still ahead of them, and then turn for the final run to the finish. The Rahn Shark gets passed somewhere here by Lhotsky's Laser 28 and Gloutney's Etchells. The Wisenthall TRAIN has passed the Tanzer 26 (Keith Grassie I think) behind us, and is now looming up on us like a skyscraper. We are approaching the next mark which appears like a shortened course finish line, and it is a bit confusing for me. I find out from RCO Madeleine Palfreeman much later that the RC boat has motor failure and so sets the finish line there.

Our butterfly course points right at the RC and we are making good headway. As we near them it becomes apparent the RC boat is not a finish line mark, as is common practice. A permanent race mark becomes visible more to the right and needs to be left to port, and another smaller mark boat is holding a pin flag farther off.  Oh no. I can feel the wind fading and I know David Wisenthaal's Tower-boat is shadowing us. Worse yet, Toby needs to flip the sail over from the butterly to broad reach as we alter course from RC boat to finish mark. This puts our starboard side crossing in front of the big boat's bow. From the corner of my eye, I can see a giant anchor rapidly approaching my head. I try not to freak and focus on coaxing more inches from the Shark, and we cross the finish line coasting with no wind, feet ahead of David's team. If not for the shortened course, he would have had us for lunch. Over the line and out of the wind shadow, I am somewhat aware of the Shark immediately surging back to top speed, as Toby and I are distractedly giving each other repeated high-fives.

PCYC served a great sausage chili and pumpkin pie. Hot food and a pint of cold draft go down so well after cold outdoor sports. Madeleine awarded the 1st place flag to Paul Lhotsky and the Pas De Deux trophy to his club, the RStLYC for its highest accumulation of points based on finishing positions as well as total number in fleet. A real participation trophy for a real fun race. And it was FUN!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Fireball Canadians

Here is a post by MikeM from the Fireball NA website. Thanks to Eric for the heads-up! - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

The Fireball Canadians have concluded at the Pointe Claire Yacht Club in Montreal.  Nineteen boats entered the event making this the largest turnout of Fireballs at any venue in North America this year.  Crews from Nova Scotia, Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia competed

Joe Jospe and Tom Egli are the Canadian champions after a clinic like display of sailing.  Tom and Joe had seven firsts and two seconds on their way to the championship.  Yet despite this impressive result Joe stated that he felt pressured in every race.

Robert Levy from Pointe Claire sailing with transplanted Alberta 470 sailor Jon Driver finished second followed by Guy Tipton and Matt King sailing out of the Shelburne Harbour YC in Nova Scotia were third.

Eric Owston and Hugh Strudwick finsihed fourth and Alberta skipper Debbie Kirkby sailing with PCYC sailor Toby Bryant rounded out the top five

PCYC had 5 boats in the top ten and  the Nepean Sailing Club had three boats finish in the top 10 with Mike McEvoy and Jason Phillips in 7th followed by Rune Lausten and Jochen Mikosh in 8th and Jon Clark and Iain McEvoy in 10th.  The Ontario contingemnt continues to narrow the gap with the Montreal Fleet

The Crew's Union made their customary acute observations of the various activities observed during the event which also doubled as the Screwball Regatta.  This was the 29th running of the event and PCYC is shooting for 30 boats at the 30th event next year. It is amazing what can be acquired at a dollar store and made to serve as a "prize".  Some of the more noteworthy "awards" were a set of dryer balls to a crew noted spending an inordinate time swimming; a strainer to serve as a bailer for the crew of Bruiser whose boat nearly sank on Saturday after a forward hatch cover failed and the tank filled with water; to the "space slime" award to Stephen Waldie for his ability to slime out of some bad situations!

The Montreal/Ottawa Challenge Trophy was awarded to the Ottawa Fleet due to their higher level of participation in the two designated traveling regattas this season

Final results are on the PCYC website

Some photos can be found here 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mobility Cup Regatta Report – AQVA

Jenny Davey, who has had a long-time association with the Association québécoise de voile adaptée (AQVA) treats us to this report on the Mobility Cup, which was held where she has been hanging this summer, Vancouver. Thanks Jen! - Ralph, Montreal Sailing.

Just got back from the 2010 Mobility Cup, hosted by the Disabled Sailing Association of BC and held at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. I was holding sort of a dual role at this event: I was called in at the last minute to help AQVA with their large contingent of sailors, but having spent the summer working at the Disabled Sailing Association of BC in Victoria, I also pitched in to help the three athletes and new coach Hannah Brady from the BC program.

It was a challenging week of racing for both fleets as English Bay was stingy with her winds – not to mention sun - all week. Thankfully, the competent RC was able to eke out as much racing as possible from the fickle breeze and each fleet completed enough races for a drop – 5 in total for Gold and 7 for Silver.

AQVA put once again put on a strong show. Montreal’s Hafsa Chaar took home the title in Silver Fleet, with 3 bullets over 7 races (her drop was a lowly 3rd!). She sure looked proud hosting the Silver Fleet trophy known as the Coupe Dallaire, named after our own René, as well as the Debbie Donald Memorial Trophy for Top Female Skipper. Hafsa led a string of skilled female sailors at the top of the Silver leader board: finishing 2nd was Clare Adams of Ontario, followed by Sara Cooper of Calgary and Karell Regnier of Gatineau (who sails with our good friends at the Nepean program).

Philippe Lepage of AQVA sailed a consistent event to finish 5th in his first season racing. My Victoria rookies were right behind: Mike Carpenter had a great first-ever regatta finishing 6th and his teammate Mary Causton-Budac (also in her first event) was in 7th just ahead of long time AQVA sailor Pierre Yves Levesque in 8th.

It was thrilling to see the level of competition in Silver Fleet this year! The quality of racing has been steadily improving over the past few seasons as the sailors push each other more and more, and the first start of the regatta was a treat to watch as almost all 17 boats hit the line on time with speed – impressive considering it was a first season, if not first race, for many.

The whaat!?
In Gold, a strong fleet and fussy weather meant tough competition in the 18 boat fleet. The wind was particularly unkind to the Gold fleet, which had to battle hard to stay focused in drifter conditions during long waits between races. 3 of their 5 races were only squeezed in on the last day of the event when the breeze finally kicked in more steadily. Calgary dominated the top of the podium with Merle Hickey taking the Mobility Cup home, 3 points ahead of teammate Robb Lawrence. Upon accepting the trophy, Merle dedicated his win to Marc Landry, our dear friend and fierce competitor who passed away last spring. Christine Lavallee – another Gatineau sailor out of the Nepean Sailing Club – sailed well to clinch 3rd. AQVA sailors Marc Villeneuve and Pierre Richard tied for 4th, with Pierre taking 4th on the tie breaker and Marc rounding out the top 5, in his first season in Gold Fleet. Sip n’ Puff sailor René Dallaire struggled somewhat with equipment and consistency, but had strong moments and eventually finished 15th.

AQVA’s solid performances really speak to the coaching of Jean-Felix LeBlanc and Emilie Leonard, who ran the Race Program at Pointe Claire this season. 

And of course, no Mobility Cup could be re-capped without mention of Dock Bitch extraordinaire, Paula Stone (can you write that in the blog, Ralph? It is her official title!). Paula once again stepped in to volunteer her expertise in boat charter and companion assignments, and let me tell you the regatta would not have gotten off the ground without her tireless efforts.

Way to go AQVA! Now we look forward to the winter 2.4mR events and planning next year’s Martin circuit...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fireball Screwball To Be Canadian Nationals and Feature Coaching

The upcoming Fireball Regatta is the big racing event in Montreal this coming week, and it all starts on Thursday. Here is a call out from Joe Jospe, probably the pre-eminent Ball booster, and the fleet's hottest sailor. As of last week, they have some super initial numbers that look like about 21 teams for the regatta. Joe and the fleet are looking for any closet Fireballers, or so-far undeclared teams from near and afar to get in touch. It looks like it'll be busy! Having a talented Fireball competitor and coach, who also happens to be a Director of the International Fireball Association, coming all the way from England to help everyone improve their game is brilliant. What a great way to make a regatta a more special event. Given the Limey connection, I thought I'd include some pics of an event Joe and Tom Egli did pretty well at, the 2008 National Championship in England.  - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Based on early responses, rumors, and an absence of confirmed denials, we have a preliminary list of attendees for the combined Screwball/ Canadian Nationals coming up in less than two weeks time. If your name is missing from the list below, please contact me as soon as possible to get in on the action. This should be the best attended event this year in North America, and you really want to be there. We really want you to be there. There might even be a boat available to borrow. In addition to what will inevitably turn out to be excellent racing, we are offering much more this year.


Andrew Davies will be providing coaching beginning on Thursday, September 23rd, at 1 p.m. and throughout the afternoon and the weekend. The plan is to go out on the water and participate in drills. Andrew will be on a coach boat, and will be providing feedback to help every boat improve their boat handling, sail trim, starting, and tactics. He will be equipped with a video camera, and we will have an opportunity to review the afternoon’s action later on shore. Andrew has agreed to analyze the action on the water throughout the racing and comment on every boat’s performance after sailing. This is an invaluable way to step our respective games. Andrew has extensive experience coaching at top competitive levels in the Fireball class. He has coached the Swiss and Czech teams and others, in addition to an impressive racing resumé in the Fireball class. Andrew is the Secretary of Fireball International, and always a welcome guest.

The Bar

will be open to celebrate success, good company, or to help forget the inevitable mishap on the water. A gathering of this many Fireball sailors from across the country is guaranteed to be fun.

The Dinner

Our planning committee has put together a delicious menu for Saturday evening. We will be treated to a Greek feast, with a range of choices to suit all. We would appreciate knowing if you are planning on bringing any non-sailors, as space is limited, and we do not want to turn any Fireball crew or friend away.

The Entertainment

Screwball has developed some intriguing traditions over the years. John McGuinness has put together an entertainment plan for the evening that combines music and humour. Stephanie might even have written another musical ode to the Fireball fleet, as she has done for the last couple of years.

The Prizes

In addition to the serious stuff, Screwball is the one event on the agenda where we try and send everyone home with a prize. Our prize-giving ceremony is really quite unique. The Crew’s Union will reward all heroics appropriately. Andrew McCrae and Peter Kelly, a long-time team as prize-givers, have teamed up on the water as well. We can only wonder what the extra time together will yield. Their goal is to send everyone home with a smile and thanks for attending and being part of the fun.
The Dates

Coaching will begin on Thursday, September 23rd at 1 p.m. Racing is scheduled to start on Friday, September 24th at 1 p.m., and continue on Saturday and Sunday. The Notice of Race is available at

See you there.

Joe Jospe

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Let's go racing!

Great day for our fall GNS series beginning in the morning with 3 races. The forecast is: wind light becoming southeast 10 to 15 knots late Sunday morning. Lets all go and have a super day! The first warning signal is 10:00 hours.

Photo by Heather Deeks

Monday, September 06, 2010

Ketchup: Meet Spiderman's Supermen

Sigh, every now and then I forget that a lot of people who read this blog happen to be racing the same races I do. I get much needed blogger's ego building support, which compensates for my sailing performance. But also, if something doesn't seem quite right, or deserving of a different comment, I hear about it. And I am very happy that I do! Etienne Portelance noticed that the recent picture of Ketchup and crew was not the same victorious crew as the race I was reporting on: "It's the wrong crew on the boat!!!" True enough the photo was from the previous week end, and George was sailing with Jake and Peter. Etienne and Courtney were the supermen on board when they won the Hudson Distance Race in the big blow this past Saturday. Etienne also helped me out by finding a dead link in the directory at left. I appreciate the heads up. Several regular readers have said they would like more frequent posts too. Every now and then, a guest article saves the day for me! Here comes Etienne to the rescue with some more feedback on Hudson's big race, and the guy some of his old buddies call Spiderman. (Hey, maybe someone else can explain the spidey reference some time!) - Ralph, Montreal Sailing

Hi Ralph, here is a short article on Ketchup (to be pronounced Catch-up) George and me.

I met George 14 years ago. I sailed against him before sailing with him. I sailed on a Fireball he had sold and wondered at how he could make it go so fast as nothing worked very well.  Then he came up with this big orange boat with faded color.  A Shark was OK as a second boat, one to have picnic with the family, but certainly not a racing boat.  He had an emotional attachment to it as the boat had been in the family since it had been built. 

14 years later, the Shark Canadians are in Beaconsfield and the Shark worlds are in the same place a year later.  I've participated in two world championships before and it has been a great learning experience both times.  I wanted to sail both events without sacrificing  too much family time.  The compromise: Noé, my 4 year old son is often with us on the boat, and I only sail Tuesdays.  George's 4 year old son Mathew is also a regular crew.

George decided his most regular crew would be with him for the Hudson annual long distance race: Paula and Courtney.  I had told George I had never sailed in this race, that I was interested.  When Paula said she was unavailable, I was pleased I could sail with Courtney and George.  Courtney is a big guy, who had not had the chance to sail when he was young.  He modestly calls himself a puppet: "When somebody asks me to pull a rope, I pull a rope."  He understates as he knows what to do in a lot of situations on the boat, but an illness has left him less mobile and agile than most people, so I took the foredeck position this time.

The start of the Hudson long distance race was a confused place. Without a VHF, we had no idea when the countdown started.  I looked at the line and contradicted George when he wanted to get a closer look at the committee boat: "Better to start two minutes late at the pin than right on time at the boat."  So we looked at the fleet and tried to guess what was going on when we decided to go for it.  George said it was probably 4 minutes late. It felt like all the fleet was over the line, but they were still below us, so only a few boat were far ahead of us at the start.  It's a long distance race in boats where the corrected time is most important.  The bigger boats have an advantage: potentially they sail in better wind as they should get it first.  On
a small boat like the Shark (possibly the slowest boat in the race) we sail in air that has been bent around the sails of lots of faster boats, so it is difficult to sail as fast as the boat's potential.

George is a lot tougher than he looks, he played the main, traveler, backstay and rudder for the first two thirds of the race.  I was never bored though I didn't have much to do, we stayed in the middle, looking at boats catching up to us from one side, then from the other. It always looked better away from where we were.  Then there was a really big gust.  The first boats rode that gust all the way from the top mark to the end.  We were on a close reach while they were on a broad reach.  After the top mark, the wind dropped a notch so we decided to fly our chute.  George had an old spinnaker from the days when triangular courses were the norm.  It was stealthy silent, but narrower, so we could point higher than those with the pure downwind chutes that are used today.  When a stronger gust came, the chute came down, but it went back up when the gust was over.

The boat's newest sail in heavy air is the 5 year old main. (The genny and running running spinnaker are a little more recent). One important modification was done to the backstay recently: it now has a cleat on both sides.  It has inherited 40 years of tools and parts that have their home in the cabin.  A big bucket was not enough to empty the water that had leaked in during the three hour race.  "Why three oars George?"  "Because I own three."  I have sailed on boats where a person on board would inspect the duffel bags of the other crew to make sure nobody brought too much stuff.  Not George.

George called me today to say that we had won the race by 24 seconds on corrected time.  He was very happy as it was the third time he had won this race. I'll keep sailing with the skipper who tolerates all the questions and moods of two vivacious 4 year olds.  Thanks George!


Sunday, September 05, 2010

Hudson's Annual Distance Race Blew Us Away

Ketchup,from files, CNDM One Design 2010

Saturday, the wind blew pretty darn hard for the Hudson Annual Distance Race. In fact, it was the highest blow I have seen so far this season. Windspeed recorded at the airport ranged from 35 km/h to 43 km/ according to Environment Canada (Don't let the file photo above fool you). It was far, far higher on the open water of course, jumping around between 20 and 30 knots according to the more sheltered BDYC. On wider waters like L2M, and in the frequent, powerful gusts it was much higher yet.

The impact of heavy air on the racers was clear to the eye. There were fewer boats on the start line as the most sane stayed away. 88 boats registered, down from the usual 100 or so. Of the boats racing, just 63 finished the race. The carnage was plentiful. On Mainsail, we were probably having our best race ever, since the high winds gave our Shark an advantage. Unfortunately, near the Oka church, our mainsail halyard blew apart, and we were out of it. Paul Baehr's Shark suffered a similar fate when they lost their genoa halyard. Very likely the greatest indignance of all was a severe blow dealt to BlueShark. Jin Frati's Shark had just rounded the final windward mark for the run home when a lower shroud gave away, causing the mast to snap in two! No one was hurt, but Jin of course was in sight of top dawgs as usual when knocked out of contention.

The big winner is George Stedman and his team on the Shark, #422, Ketchup. This is the 2nd recent year that George has won this race if memory serves me correctly. George also won Sailweek earlier this season. George had an amusing comment for readers of Montreal Sailing. He says the race included "The longest 24 seconds I have ever experienced". Ketchup scores victory based on a lead of 24 seconds of corrected time over the next boat, David Lowther's Etchells. Ketchup crossed the finish line 18 minutes after David's Impudence to score the PHRF victory. Hence the long, nerve wracking 24 seconds!

Etchells, J22s, and Sharks dominated the top ten, and here it is:

  1. Ketchup, George Stedman, Shark, #422
  2. Impudence, David Lowther, Etchells, #931
  3. Slim, Allan Gray, Etchells, #1053
  4. Quill, Scott Lawrence, Etchells, #1089
  5. Boy-Toy, Bill Lynam, Shark, #729
  6. Jack, Ron Harris, J22, #1421
  7. Jazz, Kathy Harris, J22, #693
  8. Perceval, Serge Thiffault, J29, #92
  9. Ying Yang, Michael Anderson, Shark, 438
  10. Still Lost Boys, Paul Laflamme, Etchells, #321
Congratulations to everyone sailing the big air!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Montreal Shark Showdown: CNDM One Design Regatta

The CNDM One Design Regatta is open to any class with enough boats, but one class showed, and made it a big and important event.

Shark Showdown. That is what this became. A lot of Montreal Sharks have been shoving each other around the course, vying for that leader of the pack designation, that heft to be head of the howling hounds. And it has taken a lot of shoving to be at the top of this competitive heap. The very first Lac St. Louis race of the year in the spring saw 10 Sharks out on the course right off the bat.

In the first major away-regatta, Trillium in Toronto, Tof Nicoll-Griffith and the Crisis team were the top Montreal boat. At the Canadian Championship at BYC, Crisis were again top Montreal boat. Would they always dominate? No! Then, Peter Rahn and the team on Eclipse gave Crisis a serious run for the top in the local racing, often putting into question who would win the series. In the end, Crisis took the first series with a razor-thin margin. But this was not just one mano-a mano battle for two. Jin Frati crashed that party and whooped both of the others in convincing fashion in one particularly notable race. VO2 Max took a race, Nuiscance was always hovering at the top tier. Eclipse took the last regatta of Sailweek in a nail-biter. George Stedman's Ketchup ultimately triumphed over everyone to take the highest overall standing for Sailweek. So many contenders and different victors! A showdown was needed to settle the score. Who could struggle through to the top, and could any one boat dominate this class?

Along comes the CNDM One Design Regatta. This is it, the final shoot out, the Shark showdown in the CNDM corral. Almost all the Montreal racing Sharks came. Environment Canada clocked windspeed for the region in the 20-25 knot range, but in the sheltered bay where racing took place it was probably in the mid-teens - perfect for Sharks. Perfect for a streetfight! Here, we would have it out. CNDM would be the place the score was settled. This would not be simply cruisin' for a bruisin'. Top dawgs tails were wagging because the wind was up and so were the rights for bragging.

Well who has the hots when the wind clocks? VO2 Max. They killed the fleet. Eight races, all in brisk wind, against the best Montreal competition, all at CNDM. Here were their scores. 1,1,2,1,3,7 (drop),1.They came, sailed, and conquered!

  • Don Osborne, Helm
  • Nick Van Haeften, Middle
  • Matt Osborne, Foredeck
Remember those names! How did they so convincingly take this climatic Shark regatta at CNDM? Well, it seems they had the geography figured out. They knew where the wind was bending, and were ready to tack when they hit the right spot. Me, I know when the wind picks up, this team is ready. When the white caps are rushing, they rock.

Monday, August 30, 2010

2010 Quebec Dinghy Championships

This year, the 2010 Quebec Dinghy Championships will be hosted by the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club, on September 11th & 12th.  Open category classes include; Laser, Laser Radial, 29er and RSX.  The BIC OD 293 windsurfer is categorized as 19 and under.  Youth classes include; Byte, Laser 4.7, 420 and Optimist.  Come warm up as the fall racing season gets underway and see what RStLYC has to offer.  It is also worth noting that the Quebec Dinghy Championships are being held right outside one of the most vibrant North American cities, Montreal!  Link to the NOR/Registration info can be found on the club website homepage at: .   Jess Lombard

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sharks at CNDM One Design Regatta: Day One

Wow, what a day. The CNDM One Design race had plenty of challenging wind. The velocity was fairly high, went up and down constantly, was puffy, gusty, and full of dangerous holes. Of course that kind of wind constantly shifted as well, so it was crazy at times trying to stay on top of it all. VO2 Max is sailing super well with plenty of bullets after the first day, so they have to be in first place. Kudos to Toy-Yot which is also having a great regatta, getting some of their best results  as a Shark team. Paul Baehr's team is also hot sailing with higher results the pay off. They are in the hunt for podium positions.

CNDM is one of the most beautiful venues in Montreal sailing with a great view of the harbour, lake, and sunsets from Adirondack chairs in the garden, or from the social party happening in the big gazebo where the free beer was getting passed around very quickly. Supper was a very tasty meal, and a social event. Bill Lyman made not one, but two well received speeches, and got a standing ovation for the CNDM folk.

We sailed five races in hot sun and big breeze, so the crews were pretty thirsty and exhausted when we returned to harbour and partying. Tomorrow, we are expecting more of the same kind of action.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sharks at CNDM One Design Regatta

Today is an important day for the Montreal Shark fleet. As many of you know, it has seen rapid growth in the last couple of years. This year, that growth has made the difference in a new way, a new regatta. CNDM, the latest club with a good number of the new Sharks has organized the CNDM One Design Regatta and Sharks will be there. This regatta used to be a significant stop in the SLVYRA circuit, but hasn't been on the radar for some time. Now, it will be a very important event for Sharks.

I will even say it will be this year's most important regatta for the Shark fleet. Sure the Canadian Championship at BYC was a fantastic event. We all loved it. Next year BYC will host the World Championship. The CNDM One Design Regatta is not our biggest (but it is excellent with 15 or 16 Sharks). However, we now have a second one design stop to race in Montreal. We don't have to travel to the metro-Toronto area to race this week end. That is a really, really, big development! We now also have formal one design racing on both of the lakes around Montreal, Lac St. Louis and Lac Des Deux Montagnes. So, this is an important event for Montreal Sharks.

Today's racing should be intense with lots of wind, and some very competitive spirits out there strutting their stuff!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Montrealers At The High Performance Regattas

Martin Robitaille, photo by A. Robitaille.

There are three active one design fleets in the Montreal area with sailors racing here and traveling too. So, lets check in on some recent performances.  Montreal Sailors have been having some pretty exciting racing both here and beyond our pond, so to speak.

  • Jamie Allan, Lightning North American Championship, 15th
  • Peter Hall, Masters' Lightning North American Championship, 1st
  • Tof Nicoll-Griffith, Shark North American Championship, 3rd (Tof was tops, but 5 boats from Montreal competed!)
  • Jean-Pierre Kiekens, Canadian Laser Masters Championship, 17th
  • Martin Robitaille, Canadian Junior Laser Championship, 1st (and 6th overall in full-rig!)
Congratulations to our Top Dawgs!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Allan has a big win leading into Lightning NA's

Flash from Jay Deakin:

"Jamie Allan of BYC just won the Lightning North American’s qualifier. Strong fleet of 78 boats including 5 time world champion Tito Gonzalez of Chile. The championship series starts today."

Racing is taking place at the Toms River Yacht Club, in New Jersey. The North American's run from today through Friday. Michael and Valerie Holly are crewing with Jamie Allan. Below are top five from the qualifiers.
  1. Allan, Jamie
  2. Terhune, Allan
  3. Starck, David
  4. Gonzalez, Tito
  5. Adams, Ed

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

HYC Annual and Sharks at CNDM Both a Go

Although HYC postponed the Womens' National Keelboat Championship to next year due to low water levels, the Annual Regatta for Labour Day week end is still on. So is the One Design Regatta at CNDM the week end before. At HYC, concern at the boat launch area was a problem, and some J24 owners were concerned for their boats being chartered to those unfamiliar with the troublesome areas.

Bernard Le Duc, HYC J22 sailor says "to be very careful about course setting and be aware of shallow spots". That is always a given for this event as I remember many years seeing boats coming into contact with the bottom or a rock. So, this year, some extra special attention to where we are going seems like very good advice! Still, I am confident the event will be a highlight of the season as usual.

The one design racing at CNDM is a very exciting development for that one design fleet. This year, the Sharks are the largest single racing fleet by far. Actually, for large-scale one design racing, it is fair to say the Sharks are the game in Montreal. To have another club and one design regatta on its calendar is a super development. I don't know what classes are attending, but hopefully those beautiful Stars will be out too.

That being said, the HYC PHRF distance race on the Saturday of Labour Day week end will be the climax of many sailors' season. It is a wonderful time out for both casual racers with a picnic and those shooting for their best race since their is usually about a hundred keelboats of all types. All of them want to have fun, and the harbour party and supper after are good evidence of what a social event it is for all.

See you out there!

Monday, August 09, 2010

HYC has to postpone 2010 CYA Women’s Keelboat Championships, grounded by low water levels

Below is an article posted on the CYA website this morning. Although we have all been concerned about low levels of water, I had no idea it was this bad up by Hudson. If HYC has had to cancel a national championship, one has to wonder if it is safe to race in the upcoming Hudson Annual Regatta. This is such a popular event that so many of us look forward to, but of course no one wants to jeopardize our boats. It makes me wonder about the Shark regatta at CNDM the weekend before as well. I have heard no other news so far. Despite difficulties in the harbour, BYC was able to hold the Shark Canadian Championships earlier this season. Many of the Etchells at PCYC have also not been sailing this year. Our sympathies go out to HYC and to all the sailors looking forward to the upcoming Women's Keelboat Championship. 

From the CYA website:
Due to extremely low water levels in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway this year, the 2010 CYA Women's National Keelboat Championships has officially been postponed to the Spring / early Summer of 2011. The hosting organization at the Hudson Yacht Club is disappointed to have had to make this critical decision.  We remain fortunate to have gold level sponsors MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTeir Inc. stay onboard for the now 2011 event. Be sure to stay tuned to to see news of the new date for the event.
The CYA Women’s Keelboat National Championship is held annually by the CYA and hosted by a member club. This event provides an excellent regatta whereupon Canada’s Canadian Sailing Team members, provincial athletes, club members, and general sailing enthusiasts can come together and partake in a national event. The Hudson Yacht Club will run the event in J/24's with a maximum crew of 6 per boat. The CYA Trophy for Canadian Women’s Sailing Championship is presented at this event.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ken's Favourite Race on Saturday

From the HYC Blog:

A favourite of Ken Hodgson, the Single Handed Race for the Lake of Two Mountains Gazette Trophy will be run on Saturday 31 July, warning signal 11:00.

A race traditionally set to challenge the skippers boat handling skills with a very unusual course, it is open to all classes. There will be a single start for all competitors and the race is limited to white sail.

Copies of the SI's will be available at the club and on

The Lake of Two Mountains Trophy was originally presented to the club in 1964 to be awarded for Club Championship in the GP14 Class. During the 1970's the participation in GP14's fell and the trophy was rededicated to the Class Winner, Miscellaneous Centreboards. In 1982 the trophy took on its current award to the winner of the Single Handed Race. Since then it has been won by such notable members amongst others as Greg Bowser, Ken Hodgson, Cork Winters, Ed Cowell and Ron Harris.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Overall Champion of Sailweek 2010 is...

Ketchup, under attack by two other Sharks, Blueshark and VO2 Max, yet another photo by wunderphotog Heather Deeks

drumroll please...  

Ketchup, skippered by George Stedman!

Ketchup has won the largest, most competitive fleet, PHRF 3 which includes all the Shark hotshots and the leading Tanzer 22, Encore Une Fois. None of the top three ran away with victories over the competition. Ketchup, like the other Sharks, Crisis in 2nd, and Eclipse in 3rd overall, won just won race. The Sailweek glory came from sailing more consistently in the upper tier of results.

Cheer on the team of Silver Phantom who are now ghosting by the "Silver" fleet. You probably haven't noticed, but Silver Phantom, crewed by Jake Fichten, has with the completion of Sailweek, surpassed the rest of us doing battle in the 2nd pack. It takes a long time to figure out how to get a Shark going at its fastest, frustratingly more so than some other boats. This is the Phantom's first full season here, and they are moving up the fleet as they quietly work away at it. We still get the occasional race above them, but overall, they are now doing better! Personally, I don't intend to let them get away with being the Rolls Royce slipping by the Chevys, so watch out. Call us brash, but we're out to fight!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sailweek closes with a Blowout

The wind was blowing the dogs off the chains during the PCYC Annual Regatta Saturday. The Environment Canada Marine Forecast was calling for 20-25 knots and possibly up to 30. I am pretty bad at estimating these things but I would say it was strongest in the beginning, at least a good 20 knots, and then eased a little but stayed very strong through the second race. For the third race, everyone was switching from their blades to their largest genoas. I often look at the airport data and then raise their measurements from kilometers of wind-speed on land to the same number of knots on the water. I have found this often roughly works out as the larger expanse of open area on Lac St. Louis allows the wind to increase speed. Environment Canada reported 26 km at the airport at 10:00 am, and then dropping to 20-22 km. That seems about right for my formula.

In the largest fleet, PHRF 3 it was all Sharks with the exception of John Linton's lone Tanzer 22, Encore Une Fois. Given the high wind tipping the odds heavily in favour of the Sharks, Encore did remarkably well to place mid-fleet, ahead of many Sharksters. The odds they faced this day showed how good they have become. Susan joined their regulars on this day, and it is impressive how that petite frame projects a voice equally as well as John's. Ah yes, constant, good communication is a key! Well done Encore.

The unofficial winner is that unmistakable green boat, the Rahn-racer, perennial contenders for top dawgs, the Shark with a bark, ECLIPSE! By placing second in each race, they proved to be the most consistent performers of the day. No boat was unbeaten by them, or ahead more than once.

There were 4 boats that were realistically contending for the winners' circle. George Stedman's orange-red Shark, Ketchup won the first race. Whenever, I see that boat mixing it up with the green team I want to re-name the Rahn boat, Relish. George was sailing with a work buddy today, and my, they are getting good! I remember when they had foul-ups to rival our own, but no more. They are pretty smooth. Pierre Carpentier's team on Nuisance, another perennial top dawg, was constantly in the hunt and won the second race. I guess they should be nicknamed the Mayo-Shark. Tof Nicoll-Griffith was absent today. His Shark, Crisis, interestingly was being helmed by middle-man Hugh Strudwick who it seems can do a great job on the tiller. They were in the game each race and won the third and final go-around. Way to go Hugh! Che Guevara was on board which I think is very cool. Hold onto that look as long as you can Kai!

On Mainsail, we put the pressure on poor Chris Cartier, who despite never sailing on the boat before, manned up and took the heavy wind pressure, unfamiliarity with the boat and its procedures, and occasional !"/$%?&* from me! A very big thank you Chris! He just kept on going through it all, and still fed me to boot. It was a pleasure having someone upbeat like him onboard. David Bowen leaped around as fixer-extraordinaire. Despite some foul ups, we had the superior Shark, #28, Kaos in our sights the whole time, just couldn't catch them. We did duke it out with Silver Phantom, and Chimera at the back getting ahead of them for a couple finishes. Overall though, we held fast to our official Backpacker status. One boat I chase that did wonderfully was Toy-Yot. They had some different sailors on board, and I would like some lessons please.

I was happy to see Laurence Creuzet on an Etchells. She always has a keen focus, but she looks particularly happy on that boat. I hope I can get her to go slumming on a Shark again sometime!

My favourite sailors, whatever the fleet, because of what they contribute on and off the water, Chinook won the first White Sail race in honking winds! They suffer a bit in my opinion, because that sweet sailing boat needs more wind to get up to its hull speed. They got too much of it this day, but handled the big blow just fine. Despite the heavy air, John and Esther Maclean took the first race. Rick Cartmel on the C&C Corvette, the handsome and classic locomotive train from the RStLYC also won a race and a second. They score a tie overall with Chinook for second and third. I suspect they will take 2nd on the tiebreaker! Clearly, the team that is odds-on favourite in the White Sail class are the folks sailing with Steve Benedetti on the Niagara 26, Moonraker. Wow, that is one very fast cruiser-racer! Those guys are keen and out there all the time. For this regatta they took two 2nds and won a race to come out on top overall.

How great is it to have such close matches? The top spots have been changing every race during Sailweek. Also, there have been great matches throughout the fleets, front, middle and back, as boats that are closely in contention with each other mix it up. This has been making the racing such a pleasure no matter where one is in the standings. Everyone has made Sailweek a huge success this year.

Mainsail will haul out now to effect some repairs. I want the boat in good shape for the next Shark one design regatta with the new fleet hosting at CNDM! We will be back on the courses in about a week, and taking it up a notch. See you then!

File photos by the ever impressive Heather Deeks

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sailweek has Another Race and Another Winner

Another team has come out on top during Sailweek. It's like they are taking turns in the PHRF 3 fleet. Tof Nicoll-Griffith and Crisis were beating the fleet in the recent Shark Canadian Championship. They also edged out Peter Rahn's Shark team on Eclipse which starred during the first Tuesday Good Neighbours Series. Then, Jin Frati's Shark pretty much ran away with the Beaconsfield Annual Regatta which are also the opening bouts of the week we call Sailweek. The next round for Sailweek was Tuesday evening and that race was canceled with the threat of electrical storms on the course. Last night, the racing resumed, and it was a very nice, light northeast wind that sustained itself throughout the evening. So who dominated last night. Another Shark. The latest winner, Vo2 Max.

Not only did they win the race, they pulled away from the fleet and stayed well ahead for the entire race. A number of Sharks and John Linton's Tanzer 22 mixed it up in the front, but Vo2 Max was so far ahead they essentially sailed there own race for the evening. Some speculated that they dug deep to the left on the first windward leg, heading to shore, deeper than anyone else.

Bravo to John Linton's team on Encore Une Fois for leading the pack after Vo2 Max. They fought off Jin Frati's Blue Shark and Tof's Crisis to hold down 2nd place. Kudos to the Fichten's Silver Phantom who also placed highly in the fleet last night. Jake, Cathy and Bruce now seem to be getting their newly acquired Shark moving well, and are moving back into familiar territory in the head pack.

On Mainsail, we were pleased with our progress. We are certainly not a threat to the top dawgs. Nevertheless, we are getting incrementally better and moving our boat speed and game along to compete well with the boats we consider better but approachable. My primary concern was to be right on the start line when the gun went off. In light wind, if I were to allow other sails to blanket us again, it would have been the kiss of death. It is a dilemna I have been familiar with, and I was determined not to let it happen to us last night. So, with a little less than a minute to go, I plunked the boat right on the line and rode down a bit till the gun went off. Like VO2 Max we kept left, and I think it helped. We did tack away about 3/4 up the windward leg, and may not have had quite as much pressure after that. We had a pretty good race, although boats we beat over the start, like Ketchup and Silver Phantom still managed to clobber us in the end. We fared well against many of the other Sharks. However, it was definitely a very nice, light but consistent wind suitable to the Tanzer 22s. So, not only did the T22 Encore Une Fois do very well, a hearty cheer has to be sent out to the T22 team Sorceress which capitalized on that and sailed very ably to place highly.

I'm not sure what happened in the other fleets, so I look forward to seeing the results when they come out. I can say it was pleasant to see boats we don't see often in our usual Tuesday and Thursday racing.. Being a Wednesday, the Lightnings were on the race course, and so were RStLYC boats. The quick boat out there has to be the J80 sailed by Peter Mcbride's crew.

Congrats to Don, his daughter on foredeck, and Nick, the killers on VO2 Max! See you all out there tonight for another go!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This is the Man!

Yes sir! This man is the winner of the opening bouts of Sailweek. Jin Frati, the man! Not only did he win the Beaconsfield Yacht Club Regatta, he did it as if he was that General, "Stormin' Norman". He and his team on Blue Shark convincingly won the first two races, and only then was beaten in the third by Tof Nicoll-Griffith and Crisis. Two bullets and a 2nd place in the first regatta of Sailweek. I think we have a new contender for Montreal Sailing's Top Dawg category. The action continues tonight.

Picture from Shark Canadian's by Heather Deeks.

Second Outing of Sailweek this Evening

Sailweek opened with 3 races of the Beaconsfield Annual Regatta last Saturday. Tonight, Sailweek continues with evening racing. Racing will continue tomorrow, Wednesday, then Thursday, and close with the PCYC Annual Regatta this coming Saturday. Pictured is Beverly Gilbertson's Tanzer 22, Sorceress returning to harbour after Saturday's racing. It will be interesting to see if tonight's racing in PHRF 3 becomes another battle between Blue Shark and Crisis.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sailweek Begins with BYC Annual Regatta

Today was the opening salvo of Sailweek 2010. 3 races of the Beaconsfield Yacht Club’s Annual Regatta. Then, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings are Sailweek’s evening races. Next Saturday is the Pointe Claire Yacht Club’s Annual Regatta to close things off.

Today’s regatta was typical Montreal mid-summer weather. Some threatening clouds initially, but the weather was most mostly sunny, hot, humid, and we sailed along via a light wind. Lots of shifting winds, little puffs, and swirly stuff kept the strategists guessing. Today's crew were regulars David Bowen (top pic) and Tavish McDonnell (pic below)

In the distance to the east were two very large fleets of boats on different racing courses. Oh yeah, the TRY dinghy regatta! I don’t think I have ever seen so many Lasers on Lac St. Louis. I sure hope some of them join the Good Neighbour racing series.

Our first race of the day was a disappointment. I had a poor start and trailed the fleet around the course unable to pick anyone off – DFL. Ugh, don’t wanna go back there again. Been there, done that. After the race, I discovered a huge wad of weeds on the rudder. My older Shark rudder is a little deceptive. Weeds can wrap around the lower squared section and not really be visible. I saw a few high up, and hung off the back of the boat to pull ‘em off. Yikes, I realized there was a large hedge hanging on the rudder lower down. It was larger than some of the bushes in my garden at home. We sailed backwards to be certain of getting everything off the rudder and keel.

The second race, we got a better start. I could feel the boat accelerate more as we crossed the line. I picked the right side, and we seemed to have a little more breeze for a while. With the wind being as fickle as it was though, I’m not confident one side consistently paid more than the other. The best side is an on-going debate between David and I!

On the downwind leg, I saw we could sail a higher course if we jibed right after rounding the windward mark. I also thought there was still a little more breeze on that side of the course (shore). We made good progress on both downwind legs. In fact, probably much more progress than on the upwind legs. We ended up ahead of 7 boats in this race, including a number of Sharks that I’m always measuring our progress against, because they are usually better. Sharks like Sudden Impulse, Toy Yot, Chimera, Crescendo, and Silver Phantom.

Indeed, indeed. Most of those boats re-asserted their supremacy in the third and final race. I think we may have held three off. The third race was more evidence of a repeated, significant weakness of mine: starts. We were approaching with good timing. However, I took Silver Phantom’s stern, instead of turning to beat windward of them. I was thinking I would have enough speed to come out the other side heading a little further from the committee boat. I figured there would be a large gap between the crowd at the RC and the Pin-heads.  Instead, almost the whole fleet sailed down the line and blanketed us and we almost totally stalled two or three boat lengths from the line – argghh! I make this mistake over and over again, because I’m afraid of getting stuck in the middle of traffic, or worse, squeezed into the RC. Instead I get stuck in neutral gear, trying desperately to get out from under other sails to windward. We tacked over to the right again quickly for clear air... but the damage was done. We did a fair bit of tacking to catch up to a few boats. Catching shifts helped a bit. We caught three boats and were targeting Toy Yot on the final run. Several times on the last run we were blanketed by larger boats or J24s. Every time we jibed to clear our air, we ran into another chute to windward. We made our way on the shore side again, as I looked for more pressure. We did get some and made progress. The last jibe towards the finish was a bid to sail high and fast. We probably would not have caught Toy-Yot, but there was a small chance. Then the wind went way forward, and because we were already on a high course, we had to switch to the genny.  Toy-Yot finished well ahead of us. Bravo Bill Lynam! Post-analysis of the today’s racing should be very interesting. Both Bill and I are using a GPS functioning knotmeter-compass called Speedpuck. We will be viewing our tracks on the computer soon. Cool.

Irregardless of the pressures and hard work racing against smarter, faster sailors, I feel we did pretty well today. We moved up the roster a bit from our usual place, and we are occasionally finishing up on the good gang. Many thanks to a sailor with real class, Judy Weiss, skipper of Crescendo, who recognized we had worked hard to catch up one leg to windward, and got them on one tack over their bow. She called out “Good on you Ralph” or some such comment. That felt good and it was generous of her!

Congratulations are in order to Jin Frati and crew on Blue Shark. I think they probably won the first two races and were close to first for the third race. They were on fire today! Tof N-G and Hugh Strudwick did very well today too, and probably won the third race. I suspect it is because they had one of my regular crew, Toby Jennings, working the foredeck for them. Dunno if they were third or not, but a Shark I like very much, VO2 Max was right up there too. Last two times I helmed that boat were winning occasions: First in last year’s Ishkoodah, first in this year’s RStLYC Annual. Nick Van Haeften played a bit of a role in that effort of course. At least,  I didn’t cramp his style!

My apologies to Rob Levy, whose Fireball we unintentionally leebowed. We were not in the same race, so I felt bad.

Seems to me. and crew David Bowen and Tavish McDonnell, that we are getting it better and better as the season progresses. Watch out, Montreal Sailors, we are on the hunt and rising!

Sailweek continues Tuesday, and the drama of the series will continue to build.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Fireball Friday

From the recent Fireball World's in Barbados. Looks like Peter on the wire. Photo by Urs Hardi.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Fireball Friday

Registering with Race Committee for an evening race in the recent Good Neighbours Series A.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Top of the Top Dawgs

Well, it appears we can celebrate, give a tip of the hat, call out a pip, pip, pip and a hearty cheer! The team of father and son Nicoll-Griffith's tied together in the middle by sailor-extraordinaire Hugh Strudwick have won the first completed Tuesday night Good Neighbours Series A racing. However the team sailing a Shark that we think just may be the Top Dawg of the exclusive "Top Dawgs of Montreal Sailing" almost didn't pull it off. Giving them extreme heat in the first GNS series of 2010 was another Shark team of Peter Rahn on Eclipse. It got pretty confusing due to a mix up in results, but the threat from Peter's shiny green Shark was unmistakable.

The third podium is owned by the ever-pressing John Linton and team on the Tanzer 22, Encore Une Fois. Once again, John breaks up the feeding frenzy of Sharks at the top of the heap. John beat out a large fleet of Sharks with his Tanzer 22, all trying but failing to take a bite out of his stern rear end.

Montreal Sailing congratulates all of the teams out there that have made the opening round of summer so much fun.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

GNS critical race tonight!

It's almost race time again this evening, but here is a quick post just to say, oh my gawd, look at the top of the heap in the Good Neighbours Series A racing! The family team on Eclipse is in first place, ahead of the top dawgs on Crisis! Could things be unraveling for the guys on the grey Shark. Has the green Shark shown they now have the right stuff? Are the guys on Crisis experiencing something akin to the boat's name? Will the Rahn family do in the Nicoll-Griffiths and Hugh tonight?

Eclipse is in first place with 4 points, Crisis just a spit behind with 5 points. On top of that, Encore Une Fois and Kaos our tied on points for 3rd and 4th. Who stays on the podium? Who will be toppled? Try and stay calm everyone, because tonight will answer our questions. This is gonna be some race!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

From the Nearer of Afar

There is a Laser clinic going on today at the Mallet's Bay Boat Club. That's on Lake Champlain, an area I have always wanted to sail on. I have a particular fondness for places like Burlington, and Vermont as a whole. However my experiences were of hiking in the Green Mountains not sailing. I have not been to this club, but it appears to be a very busy place. The club is all member run, a positive indicator of the participation. The clinics, courses and private lessons all seem very reasonably priced. Today's clinic is only $35. I occasionally get wind of various regattas and fleets from there. Martin 16, Laser, Lightning are a few examples. At the recent Shark Canadian Championship here, one of the entrants was from MBBC. It isn't really afar at all. More like just a little beyond the neighbourhood so to speak. Mallets Bay is north of Burlington, south of Grand Isle, Colchester. So who knows about this club? Has anyone sailed there? Since some of the Montreal classes also have fleets there, I know there is some cross-pollinating going on!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2010 Shark Canadian Championship, The Best of the Best Results

  1. Crazy Ivan
  2. Can564
  3. Shark Poop
Best Montreal Teams
  1. Crisis (5th)
  2. Ketchup  (8th)
  3. VO2 Max (10th)
Best BYC Teams
  1. VO2 Max
  2. Eclipse
  3. Blue Shark
Best CNDM Teams
  1. Vilebrequin
  2. Gran Blan
  3. Tiger Shark
Best PCYC Teams
  1. Crisis
  2. Ketchup
  3. Nuisance
Super photo by Heather Deeks of Eclipse driving towards Ketchup. Note Peter sitting on the leeward coaming. Is he looking for the right light-air heel or trying to see if there is a boat just ahead!?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fireball Friday

Hey, Joe has got new crew!

I snapped this last night while doing RC duty. I'll post more snappies since the very able RC team allowed me to spend time peering into the pocket camera.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shark Canadian Champions for 2010: Crazy Ivan

Crazy Ivan has won the Canadian Shark Championship for 2010 just concluded at BYC. To my knowledge Sharks are Canada's largest keelboat racing class, and so this is a considerable accomplishment. David Foy and crew took 2nd at the last Shark World Championship in Switzerland, 1st at the 2009 World's and were also Shark of the Year.
 Congratulations guys!

For all the results click here 

Photo by BYC's photographer Heather Deeks

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mainsail's Last Race at Shark Canadian Championship 2010

Sunday's racing got one more go around the marks in before the water resumed it's spottily rippled surface. Our team on Mainsail was pleased at having seen some progress.

I was determined to get a better start than my usual 2nd row. We accomplished that which was satisfying. I had wanted to go left at the start to take advantage of current and breeze. I also picked the middle of the line hoping for clear air. However it seems a large portion of the 40 boats racing also wanted to be there, because it was jam packed with Sharks! We crossed the start line right on the gun and were moving about the same pace as the others. George Stedman and Ketchup must've taken me for the marshmallow I am, because they were right to leeward and nose ahead shortly after crossing the line. I have always struggled to point with George. So when he managed to move ahead, we began to stall and fall off in his dirt. In no time his stern was ahead of our bow.

We drove the boat down for an instant to make some space around us, and tacked over in a nice gap to clear air, and headed up the right side of the course with no disturbance from other boats. The boat felt really in the groove and moving nicely. A number of boats played about behind us but relatively few nearby, and we had a free ticket almost to the windward mark on the right side of the course.

As boats who had gone left to shore started to come our way, it got interesting. A number were ahead, but hey, not a huge amount as normally expected! Several boats attempted to cross, but had to tack below our easy layline route. I could see them struggling, and clearly they would end up throwing in two more tacks. Then, Jin Frati and Blue Shark tacked right up tight on our leeward side as we called starboard. They were about 2/3 nosed ahead of us. That made me pretty nervous remembering Stedman's spitting us out earlier. I  focused hard on steering as we still had more speed over them coming out of the light-air tack. That favoured us, and despite having to pinch, we managed to keep moving over the top of them and roll. A large pack of boats then came in behind us. We made the mark comfortably, and Tavish and Barry did probably their quickest, smooth prep and launch of the chute at the mark. The team was hyped over our good performance to that point. Perfect. Then, I got a quick idea.

With a crowd of Sharks about to blanket our wind, now seemed like a good time to quickly jibe the chute, get to the side of the course and away. Quick and smooth, we sped away all by ourselves. Smooth getaway, and nice full spinnaker. Except for one thing! We just missed rounding the offset mark! Jin called out and pointed out my goof. That's what happens when you think too fast! There ain't no offset in club racing, but of course that is no excuse. If Jin hadn't warned us, we would have had to withdraw and DNF. So,we dropped the chute, made our way back to the offset, rounded, and launched again, near the back of the fleet. Oh well, it is after all, a comfortable familiar place.

The crew were great, not dispirited. The crew performed a very good windward takedown in a group of boats at the leeward gate. Having plenty of clear air, and time to study the course, I elected to go for the shore side the next time downwind. There appeared to be more breeze there, and then after a jibe we would be sailing a course closer to the wind and faster. This proved to be one of those rare times I got it right. We made good progress and caught several boats before the finish line.

We had a fun time even though we could not sail much with the lack of wind. We indeed learned a lot during the regatta, made some minor but important changes to the cleats, and got things working more smoothly. The newer North sails are a big help in getting closer to the fray! I think the team had a good feeling about how we will go as we race again!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Clarke and Bjorn win Bronze!

From the CYA website

Final - Bronze for Clarke and Bjorn

A 12th place finish in race 6 found the Clarke and Bjorn team tied for 2nd overall and on the tie breaker awarded the Bronze Medal. What an outstanding accomplishment for this Canadian team, now securely establishing themselves amongst the elite of the elite in the Star class. Clarke commented that "it was a little disappointing to lose one boat on the final run that resulted in a tie, and ultimately 3rd overall...but if you had told me at the start of the week we would win the Bronze, I would have been thrilled".

The next stop for the Canadian Star contingent is Weymouth, for the Skandia Sail for Gold event in August.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shark Canadian's Off to Late But Good Start

It appeared like the first day might have been windless at the Shark Canadian Championship being held at BYC. We floated about for a while, then went back to harbour. A little before 2:00 pm the wind finally started to fill in, and the club became quite active as racers scurried to their boats. 40 boats are registered which is a phenomenal number. Also remarkable is the 18 local boats racing. The highest numbers I know of. The newer owners of 711, Blue Heron brought her from the U.S. The highest numbers I know of. CNDM has come to the regatta in strong numbers.

The first race start caught us unaware and practicing upwind. We managed to just barely get back in time, but not really, since we crossed the start a line back. It appears the left paid off best but we were caught behind traffic, so had to tack to clear our air.

The second race started with a huge windshift that screwed things up and caused a pile up near the pin. A general recall was called. The next start we managed to do a little better, but we still had to tack over and go right because of traffic. We progressed well with both height and speed. Unfortunately, we lost a huge amount of boats on the final run when a CNDM competitor had us pinned to leeward and very slow.

Too bad we could not have wind in the morning, but after kibitzing around the club, we ended up having a pleasant afternoon on the water.

I will post results after the regatta conclusion tomorrow!

Pictured is Tavish after stowing our sails post-race today.