Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Two teams at 2011 Lightning Canadian Open

This past weekend must have busy on the highways with lots of boat trailers. Yet another regatta attended by local road warriors was the 2011 Lightning Canadian Open, hosted by Buffalo Canoe Club. It was sailed this past weekend on the eastern end of Lake Erie. BYC sailors did very well:
  • 5th, Jamie Allan, Jay Deakin & Stephanie Boucher
  • 8th, Michael Holly Jr, William Hall & Valerie Tardif-Holly
24 teams sailed 8 races over the two days.

Full results

Congrats all!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fireballs win at NOD

Tom Bird has sent us this great report on the PCYC Fireball fleet's local road warriors. They have just competed in one of my favourite regattas, the Nepean One Design in  Ottawa. Thanks Tom!

 The Fireball fleet including a 3 boat Pointe-Claire armada consisting of Pierre Carpentier & Tom Bird sailing on Friarballs, Steven Waldie & Nicola Mocchiutti sailing on Pontificate and keen newcomers Ancilla Rompala & Valerie Knight were looking forward to their first sail after countless hours reviving Wildchild.

The 10 boat fleet was treated to an array of shifts, swirls, impossible lifts and devastating headers; all things typical of sailing on the Ottawa River. The temperatures on the water were average and quite comfortable. Saturday featured an imminent threat of rain with mostly light winds. Clearing skies and a more exciting breeze was served up for Sunday’s racing.

The 7th and final race turned into a battle of inches for the lead boats. At the starting signal of the last race, the top three teams were separated by only 0.75 points in the standings (a shocking 0.25 point gap for scores including drops!!).

 When the top half of the fleet rounded the lee mark only seconds apart, it was clear that the regatta would come down to 2 final marks. On the last beat, a slippery lead changed hands often and the boats were even tighter rounding the top mark. Friarballs made it around first to secure the regatta. Pontificate fouled at the mark but managed to get ahead of NSC’s Rocket Science for second overall, despite making penalty turns with the spinnaker up on the last leg.

NOD always marks the beginning of the Fireball’s regatta season and this one’s close finish will be one to remember. Thanks to the organizers and our gracious hosts. Results are available at;

Tom Bird

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jospe and Egli compete at Fireball Worlds 2011 in Ireland

Two of Montreal's finest have just done one of the more competitive world-level championships, the Fireball World's. Veterans of the class, and its international competitions all over the globe, this year Joe Jospe and Tom Egli (PCYC) traveled to the Sligo Yacht Club on the northwestern coast of Ireland to race for two weeks. They placed 3rd overall in the International Week which was the precursor event and 26th out of 59 boats in the World Championship. Curiously, the standings show DNCs in the last two races. Another Canadian team, Guy Tipton and Mathew King did superbly finishing 21st overall.

Photo from regatta website

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wind Rocks Competitors in Surprise Turn

We had motored out of the harbour, and by rote of habit raised the sails. I didn't really expect a race to happen. The wind was so light, even the shallowest of ripples had disappeared from the water surface. However, I did not take into account Wally's (Stephen Waldie) persistence on race committee, and my new crew member, Collette's determination to make some air pass over the sails.

In search of some moving air, the RC moved further west, and thankfully away from the construction dump zone. Miraculously, the air got fresher, and we were able to move about the start line quite nicely. Still, it was not enough to release the wind indicator from some grippy cobwebs atop the mast. As we moved up the first leg, I watched our foredeck crew's eyes get larger, as looking back, he said "Whoah, there is something very black coming in fast... maybe we should head in." That seemed ridiculous to me, as I declined to even look back, while I focused on keeping the dying breeze flow over the tell tales in a limp fashion. Then, I saw Jin with sails on deck, motoring at top speed for harbour... hmmm.

We continued to slowly proceed to the windward mark, when Collette began a countdown. It's going to hit us in 45, 30, 20 10! WHAM!

Okay, I had no choice now but to believe, but I must confess being confused on the helm. Not only did we get hit with a whole new force, but the wind was all over the place, and then directly behind. I uncleated the mainsheet and let the sail run out. The wind was still squirrelly, though at the extreme, and the genny was flapping all over. Very confusing. Then, I saw the skiff sailors on Bill Lynam's Shark hoist the kite, and take off like a jet! They were sailing a tighter reach while our approach to the mark was a direct run with a swirling wind. I heard Collette shout out something about watching out for the possibility of an accidental jibe, which thankfully didn't happen.

I opted to not call for a chute, and a good thing that was. As we approached the mark, Nuisance came storming down on us, bow in the air, moving more like a surface missile then a sailboat. Collette saw them first, and called it, but by the time I peered around the main, and prepared to tack it was already too late. I feared a panic tack and dumping my crew in the water in heavy, fast traffic, so opted to shove the boat sideways along Nuisance, "distancing" from the mark, until they passed. It was a race-tosser but felt safe. Toby on Nuisance was not impressed, but everybody lived to recall the event later, and Toby was philosophical about it all too.

After we rounded the formerly windward mark, now a leeward mark, the difference between our boat's progress, and the Nuisance missile momentarily permeated my brain's activity. We heaved and tossed about constantly blowing sail in the gusts, tugging sheets back in, only to get blown over again seconds later. Repeat constantly was the order for the evening. It did get better when I dropped the traveler to the extreme leeward end, and the crew got some more cunningham on the genny, but clearly, I have yet to acquire heavy air helming skills. It was fun to ride the edge between pinched and over-powered, and we had a very exciting ride. The crew worked their butts off. Tavish muscled the genoa, and Collette hiked all 85 pounds of her weight over the side of the hull, blowing the pressure-cleated main with her foot when needed. Yee-hah! I felt like we were cowboys on a bucking bronco, not fast, but hoo-wee, exciting.

Our racing steed, navy-blue hulled Shark, #901, has now finally been re-named to follow our previous racing boat and teams, and to recognize the long, crazy course we have been on! The name is again, "Ambitious"

Photo from our racing in the Shark World Championship last week, taken by Peter Lavender.

Peter Hall wins 2011 World Masters Soling Championships in Lake Iseo, Italy

This news from the CYA website yesterday.

Fresh from his victory at the Audi Soling World Championships in April, Peter Hall from the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club in Montreal, together with Berend Vree from Holland and Frank Lavrsen from Denmark won the 2011 World Master Soling Title at Lake Iseo, Italy from June 17 - 20. Going into the last day, Peter was in fourth place, but in strong winds of 12 - 18 knots, CAN 225 finished with a  second and two firsts, for a total of 14 points to win a tie breaker with Gyorgy Wossala of Hungary  and Jorg Hermann from Germany. 20 boats from 5 nations competed in the Masters Championships. Roman Koch was 4th and Gustavo Warburg 5th. Peter did not know they had won until one hour after coming ashore. "Simply amazing," says Peter, "I was very surprised and happy with the gold medal." We have had a fantastic sailing season racing in Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark and Italy!.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 5 at Shark World's 2011

 Our Shark racing in the World Championship this week, Photo by Jen Davies.

Day 5, the final day of the Shark World Championship at Beaconsfield Yacht Club did not feature any sailing due to no wind. So, the championship goes to the leaders as of yesterday's overall results. That would be Crazy Ivan from Ottawa, one of the most frequent teams in the winners' circle of the Shark Class. A mere one point behind was Shark Poop, also of Ottawa. In third overall, and top Montreal team was Ketchup.

Tonight is the big party night, and awards. Lobster on the menu, and a good time to be sure. It has been a great week, and this will be a fun way to top it off!

Top Ten
  1. Crazy Ivan, CAN 815, Dave Foy, Jamie Foy, David O'Sullivan, Britannia YC
  2. Shark Poop, CAN 1495, Johan Koppernaes, Doug Brown, Michael Lee, Nepean SC
  3. *Ketchup, CAN 422, George Stedman, Etienne Portelance, Robert Levy, Pointe Claire YC
  4. Bedlam, CAN 723, Kevin Piper, Tom Nelson, Jordin Clark, Royal Hamilton YC
  5. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, CAN 276, Peter Van Rossem, Julian Walker, Peter Van Rossem JR, Kingston YC
  6. Heavy Fuel, CAN 193, Paul Davis, Matt White, Brandon Tattersall, Kingston YC
  7. *Nuisance, CAN 324, Toby Bryant, Pierre Carpentier, Stephan Waldie, Pointe Claire YC
  8. Freak on a leash, CAN 185, Jeremy Crowder, Connolly Aziz, Steve Mazza, Royal Hamilton YC
  9. Eager for More, CAN 1481, Greg Cockburn, Hal Ebert, Andrew Barlow, RCYC
  10. Tiger Niles, CAN 1489, Peter Aker, Jeff Mitchell, Dave Giles, Bay of Quinte YC
*Montreal boats in top ten

Top from Each Montreal club:
  • Ketchup, CAN 422, George Stedman, Etienne Portelance, Robert Levy, Pointe Claire YC
  • Blue Shark, CAN 804, Jin Frati, Vince Lehman, Lenore Lewis, Beaconsfield YC
  • Gear Up, CAN 1493, Stefan Aebi, Bruce Timmons, Peter Wellington, Baie D'Urfe YC
  • Gran Blan, CAN 1463, Daniel St-Onge, Sylie Gagnon, Stephane Demers, CNDM
Shark World's Website

Final Results

Day 4 at Shark World's 2011

 This is a pack finish from a little earlier this week. Thanks for the photo Jenny!

Day 4 of the Shark World's featured near-perfect weather. The sun was bright, the temperature hot, but the breeze always on with a light southwest direction. The boats always moved along nicely, letting fears of competitors endlessly sitting out there in the hot sun for the distance race dissolve.

The Distance Race, a long-time feature of the Shark World Championship, spanned the length of Lac St. Louis, along with crosses to the other side. The breeze stayed turned on, getting all competitors into shore mid-afternoon.

Ambitious had it's usual difficult start, being caught behind too many sails. With so many competing Sharks, 54 to be exact, the starts are pretty tough. Everybody goes to the front of the line, thick and deep, and parks on it. Then the jostling, drifting, and fun (read shouting) begins. The first day, Ambitious was up with the best of them, but driven over the line early by other competitors. We were lucky to have one of the many general recalls that occasion. However, it made me more cautious on the start line. Now, instead, we hold back a bit, and that is enough to just get covered by a mass of sails and dead in the water with no wind getting through. Our best races have been when we can tack over in a gap and get clean air on port tack.

So, now Tavish our foredeck crew has decided that today, we shall venture forth once again into the melee, take the risk of seeking fortune at the front of the start line.

Trying to recover from the start of the distance race, we flipped onto port which brought us along shore. Within just a few minutes, it became clear that the breeze hitting the shore was very, very soft compared with going out towards open water. I did some zig-zagging to get clear, and took Crescendo's stern to head out. Tof on the the other hand kept Crisis on a shore side search for lifts that became a destructive path.

Once clear, we had a fantastic race that lasted about 4 hours. We could not re-coup the distance lost to the leading pack, but we moved very nicely with excellent speed. We took a few boats along the way, and only lost one of the boats from behind (Tof with Crisis of course, about half-way through the race). Michael Andersen and crew on Yin Yang had an amazing race moving ahead of about 20 more boats than usual. Lets give them the Montreal Sailing tip of the ball cap for best personal performance.

Yesterday, another local boat that did superbly was the Spiderman and crew sailing Ketchup. They took second place in the distance race behind Freak On A Leash. That bumped Ketchup up to 4th place. How fantastic if a local boat is on the podium of the Shark Worlds! That will benefit all of our sailing in Montreal, since we can compete with these same boats in club racing too. The two top local boats are Ketchup, and Nuisance, both from PCYC, and both strong podium possibilities.

It was a glorious day to be out there. We are privileged to be sailors!

Distance Race

Results so far

Regatta website

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 3 at Shark World's 2011

Much thanks to Jen Davey who got this shot of us after popping the chute.

It was a very light air day at the Shark World Championship today. Nevertheless, the Race Committee got off two races, thanks to the breeze holding up till till early afternoon. Our team on Ambitious had a great first race where we managed to sail closer to the front of the fleet for a change. While I still do not manage to get good starts, we were able to tack away from the fleet pretty quickly, and find our own clear lane of undisturbed breeze. All too often, I find myself sticking to the less traveled port layline to the mark. It is nice and fast until you hit the thick groups of leaders coming around the offset and popping chutes, or boats coming upwind into the mark on starboard with the right of way. Then it gets pretty hairy. On this occasion, we were on the port layline with Paul Davis and Heavy Fuel just ahead and to leeward. It still makes me smile to recall Paul taking a double-take, wondering what that backpacker was doing beside him, and probably whether he was doing worse than he thought! We held onto our great position through the race, and finished 19th out of the 54 boats, a very good score for us.

It would not be a championship without some mishaps of the best teams taking it on the chin while letting it all hang out. We passed the regatta leaders, Crazy Ivan while they were doing penalty spins right after rounding the top mark. Then we heard a significant BONK noise somewhere in the vicinity of Gran Blan. Back on shore, the results showed Blue Shark got a DSQ for some reason. We had our own special type of mishap in the day's second race. Right after the start, the cannon fired two blasts, indicating a general recall. We stopped racing, but little did we know, the Race Committee was simultaneously calling "All Clear!" over the radio. It was a misfire. The race was on! We spent the whole 2nd race playing catch up, which we did well, picking our way through about 12 boats. Still, that ate away at our overall result which had improved.

The wind held up enough to just barely get all of us over the finish line. Two more races in and this day is done. Next, Thursdays Distance Race.

Results Thus Far

Regatta Website

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 2 at Shark World's 2011

Day 2 at the Shark Worlds threw different conditions at the competitors in 2 races. The first race of the morning was held in high winds with many boats sporting the blade up front. However, by the time of the second windward leg, the wind was dropping rapidly, and those, like us, with a small sail were in trouble. A good compromise would probably have been the in between 150% genoa, but who can ever figure these things out for sure. In the second race, conditions were very light. On the final run, more wind swept in from behind, allowing the boats farther back to catch up, and compress a very large pack at the finish. The race committee had set a very small finish line, and with the large number of boats not able to fit through, and in several rows, it got very hairy.

Top Montreal boat right now is Nuisance in fifth.


  1. Crazy Ivan, CAN 815, Dave Foy, Jamie Foy, David O'Sullivan, Britannia YC
  2. Bedlam, CAN 723, Kevin Piper, Tom Nelson, Jordin Clark, Royal Hamilton YC
  3. Shark Poop, CAN 1495, Johan Koppernaes, Doug Brown, Michael Lee, Nepean SC
  4. Tiger Niles, CAN 1489, Peter Aker, Jeff Mitchell, Dave Giles, Bay of Quinte YC
  5. *Nuisance, CAN 324, Toby Bryant, Pierre Carpentier, Stephan Waldie, Pointe Claire YC
  6. *Ketchup, CAN 422, George Stedman, Etienne Portelance, Robert Levy, Pointe Claire YC
  7. Freak on a Leash, CAN 185, Jeremy Crowder, Connolly Aziz, Steve Mazza, Royal Hamilton YC
  8. Duck Soup, CAN 1456, John Dakin, Kyle Dakin, Morgan Dakin, Mimico CC
  9. Heavy Fuel, CAN 193, Paul Davis, Matt White, Brandon Tattersall, Kingston YC
  10. Devil in a Blue Dress, CAN 176, John Brunt, Rod Gardner, Andrian Pustam, Ashbridges Bay YC
* denotes Montreal boats 

More windward-leeward racing today, and the distance race is scheduled for tomorrow. The forecast for the rest of the week is light winds.

Thanks to Jen Davies for the photo of us on Ambitious and Judy Weil's Crescendo having it out.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 1 at Shark World's 2011

The Shark World Championship opened yesterday to strong winds and eager sailors. It was a repeat of yesterday's practice race with a lot of over-early calls, and black flag starts. 54 one-design keelboats all right on the line jostling early for position, and a little current to boot, meant a lot of on-course-side boats. Most boats went left looking for the best combination of pressure, wind direction and current, although going too deep often meant soft spots too. For the runs, there was enough pressure to catch good rides on waves with the right angle, and have great rides. The wind probably hit around 20 knots with plenty of higher gusts, so boats were moving well.

Top ten results:
  1. Shark Poop, CAN 1495, Johan Koppernaes, Doug Brown, Michael Lee, Nepean SC
  2. Ketchup, CAN 422, GeorgeStedman, Etienne Portelance, Robert Levy, Pointe Claire YC
  3. Nuisance, CAN 324, Toby Bryant, Pierre Carpentier, Stephan Waldie, Pointe Claire YC
  4. Heavy Fuel, CAN 193, Paul Davies, Matt White,,Brandon Tattersall, Kingston YC
  5. Crazy Ivan, CAN 815, Dave Foy, Jamie Foy, David O'Sullivan, Britannia YC
  6. Bedlam, CAN 723, Kevin Piper, Tom Nelson, Jordin Clark, Royal Hamilton YC
  7. Cap'n Crunch, CAN 1767, Josh Wiwchartk, Martha Rafuse, Chris Clarke National YC
  8. Eager for More, CAN 1481, Greg Cockburn, Hal Ebert, Andrew Barlow, RCYC
  9. Tiger Niles, CAN 1489, Peter Aker, Jeff Mitchell, Dave Giles, Bay of Quinte YC
  10. Flitatious, CAN 382, Louise Cannon, Ian Brown, Jay Nicholson
Regatta website

Preliminary Results

Monday, June 13, 2011

Excitement High For Shark World's 2011

Our boat and team from earlier regatta.
BYC is hosting the Shark World Championship for 2011. Volunteers have been very hard at work managing traffic, at registration tables, and measuring, weighing, and launching boats.The practice race was held yesterday in winds that fluctuated considerably with the rain clouds above, and some thunder in the distance. Race Committee had some challenges, which is good, since that's why a practice race is beneficial. The competitors also needed to get it together, needing three starts, and a black flag in order to get the race off and running.

Our Shark, #901 is being christened with a new name as of this World Championship. Having gone through an evolution of changes in sails, rigging and hardware, it shall now be called "Ambitious", the name of our previous boat. Essentially, our first ambition is a very tough challenge in the past, to not be DFL! Then, we shall see what pinnacles we climb from there.

The practice race was helpful in clarifying some critical areas in order to reach our ambitious goal. First of all, getting out to the racecourse in plenty of time. Yesterday, we were still the last boat out of harbour. Next, is be more fearless on the start line, and stake a claim up front alongside the bad boys. With more than 50 keelboats jostling for position, it is a daunting task. I was happy to get three starting attempts.

We chose the left side of the course, closer to shore, believing more wind to be found. That search for stronger air meant banging the corner, then coming in to the windward mark on the port layline. With a fleet of 50 plus Sharks, that inevitably means serious traffic, and tense mark roundings. We lost a number of boats, slamming into the layline parade, getting blanketed below them, and pinching to squeeze above the mark. We made it, got our better wind earlier, but toughed it out in the mark rounding. As the racing gets intense, we won't always get away with that king of strategy.

Launching the chute, displayed our most embarrassing goof, no halyard attached... nuff said.

On runs, we are doing well enough, but I am having difficulty figuring out how to fend off attacks. Boats trying to sneak up from behind to windward, are fought off, but having to deflect from the preferred course to the mark is frustrating. Then, caught in a sandwich, sailing too high a course, I decided to slow the boat a bit by snaking, then jibing away. I felt we had good boat speed after, and a better course, but we still lost the boat most to windward in the sandwich, so without the finishing results, I am uncertain how we did vis-a vis other boats sailing around us, and whether it was worth it.

While tough in a large fleet, the best possible route is the one sailed alone with undisturbed wind and course.

The most dramatic moment came when we were closing in on boats at the leeward mark. One boat, a rival of ours from CNDM, named Tiger Shark, hidden from my view behind our sail, dropped its chute early, and practically stopped the boat in the water. Seeing them at the last second, it was too late to jibe, and we veered right, behind their stern and also Toy-Yacht. Right at the mark, Bill on Toy-Yacht generously advised me there was no room to sneak between them and the mark. Shouting, and with Tavish furiously stowing pole, while David pulled the chute down, I spun the boat in a 360, and desperately looked for another hole to squeak into. We found it without a collision, the most important thing, but of course lost boats in the process,

Back on shore, we enjoyed drinks and dinners included in the registration fee, and a blues band. All in all, it was an exciting day. The boat has weighed in competitively, the sails are not half-bad, and the team is hyped for a week of intensity on the water.

Here we go!