Sunday, August 21, 2011

Star 2011 Montreal Open

Much thanks to Brian Cramer for passing on this super report, so we can all keep abreast of the news from an important Montreal one design fleet. I look forward to sailing at CNDM next week, a jewel of the Montreal clubs. - Ralph

Every year for the past 7, Star boats gather at Vaudreuil-sur-le-lac for racing on Lac des Deux-Montagnes.  The special nature of the club, the lake and the local Star Fleet has made the trip one of the good regattas in a summer season.

This past weekend was no exception.

Friday was a perfect day for setting up the boat.  Boats started to arrive at noon with the goal of getting the mast up and some practice time on the lake.  Local Star sailor Philippe Hofer greeted the travelers with an open tool kit, combinations to gates and washrooms etc.  There was a plan to get on the water as soon as crews arrived for some speed training, important set-up for any regatta.

Saturday morning started with a skippers’ meeting on the front lawn of the Club Nautique Deux-Montagnes. Three races are planned for the day with a start time of 10:30 am. Everyone gets to the starting area, but unfortunately the wind disappeared for 30 minutes.  Like magic, the breeze fills in from 210 degrees and the first race sequence begins. 

Sometimes the decision to travel up the port or starboard side involves wind strength and angle.  On this lake, there is a current flowing from the west to east which also must be considered and for race 1 it looked like a port side favoured windward leg.  Most of the competitors recognized this strategy and fought for the pin end.  A couple of tacks up the first leg and the leaders were in the left side of the course.  Rick Shousha went the farthest to the left and was rewarded with a first place rounding.  On the first downwind the pattern of jibing on the shifts began to show its advantages and the leaders gained some big distance on the fleet.  Two more legs with mostly the same pattern and the first race is complete.  Rick hangs on for a fourth place finish, his best of the regatta.

Race two waits for a shift in the windward mark but once started it is a repeat of the first.  Fight for the pin end and protect the left side of the course.   A much bigger bunch up at the first mark but again jibing at the right moment paid big dividends on the first downwind.  Race 2 ends with the leaders enjoying a big lead but Hendershot and Folsetter fight for position 2 and 3. 

Still good winds (8-10kts) so a third race is planned.  As the afternoon progressed the wind shifted to 220 and finally 230 degrees.  That changed the starting strategy as the committee boat became favoured.  Again the fleet recognized the advantage and there was a collection at the right end of the line.  John Draper who was competing in his first Star regatta had a great start and pushed the fleet to the left.  Once he tacked the rest followed and waited patiently for the first shift.  One minute into the last race and a right shift hit the leaders.  Tack on the headers and the first group started to separate from the back markers.   With the breeze starting to shift more to the north the downwind winning formula was to pass on the north side of the course.  Folsetter passed Cramer on the first downwind using the north pressure to his advantage.  Some tacking and covering resulted in Folsetter getting a big lead.  Cramer recognized the advance of third place Hendershot and tacked to the left side to cover.  Both these two were close to the port layline when the wind shifted 30 degrees in their favour.  Folsetter immediately started to race to the left side but arrived on the Cramer/Folsetter line two boat lengths late giving up the lead for the leg and race.

Saturday night dinner was hosted by the Hofer’s at their lakeside summer home.  Very good food with all the competitors and some of their families made it an event highlight. 

Sunday was going to be tricky racing as the forecast was for thunderstorms but the committee planned for two races.

After setting the starting line, it became apparent that the left side was favoured and again a fight for the pin end started with about a minute left.  Rick Shousha, Brian Cramer and Doug Folsetter all positioned near the pin and with 10 seconds left the three powered up and drove to the line.  Within 2 minutes a small left shift signaled the first tack and Cramer gained a small but significant advantage.  Twice he protected the left side first covering Folsetter then Hendershot.  Those two began their own duel as the result of race four was significant in the overall positions.  In the 10 knots of steady breeze the passing lanes were tough and the positions held until the end. There was a dramatic moment on the finish line between Draper and Hofer with a jibe, jibe and twirl maneuver perfectly executed by Draper for the enjoyment of the watchers and with Hofer winning the duel.  At this point overall positions first and second were settled so Cramer and Folsetter left for the dock.

Race 5 repeated the pattern of left side for the first leg and cover the fleet on the downwind.  Two groups separated and Will Hendershot scored his first race win with Philippe Hofer close behind. 

A short award ceremony wound up the regatta.  Special thanks to the Quebec Star Fleet for providing great races on a great summer weekend.

Sail # Skipper Crew Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Total
8143 Brian Cramer Rick Burgess 1 1 1 1 DNS 4
8024 Doug Folsetter Chris Danner 2 2 2 2 DNS 8
8361 Will Hendershot Gary Soules 3 5 3 3 1 10
8236 Philippe Hofer Olivier Teisserenc 5 3 5 4 2 14
8401 John Draper Larry Scott 6 4 4 5 3 16
7506 André Marcotte Xavier Marcotte 7 6 6 6 4 22
4 Rick Shousha Stéphane Barbeau 4 7 7 7 5 23

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

11th Annual Coupe du Quebec Martin 16 Regatta

Here is a report from Jen Davey on the recent action sponsored by the AQVA and PCYC. Thanks Jen!

The 11th Annual Coupe du Quebec Martin 16 regatta took place at the Pointe Claire Yacht Club this weekend, hosted by the Association québécoise de voile adapée (AQVA) in conjunction with PCYC. 25 competitors from across eastern Canada and the US joined together for two days of racing in Silver and Gold fleets. 

The weekend kicked off with a special ceremony to launch the newest addition to AQVA’ s fleet of accessible boats: a 2.4mR, the single-handed Paralympic class. The acquisition was made possible through a generous grant from the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s Paralympic Equipment Fund. The boat belonged to Nigist Legesse-Sewnnet, a 2.4mR sailor from the Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario who passed away this spring. Nigist was dearly beloved by many and the boat was christened “Abyssinia”, a nod to her Ethiopian roots, and the name she had chosen for her boat. Abyssinia will be a club boat used to expose developing competitors to the Paralympic class and offer the opportunity to engage in high performance regattas that might not otherwise be within reach of developing racers.

At the end of two often light and shifty days, the final score sheet revealed the tight level of competition currently at play in the east coast Martin fleet. Gold fleet was won by Pierre Richard of AQVA/PCYC, just ahead of Nepean Sailing Club’s Christine Lavallée, with Erick Poirier, also of AQVA/PCYC in 3rd . The top 3 were separated by just 1 point before the drop race added a slightly wider gap of 4 points. Silver was close as well: Brian Cuerrier or Belleville, ON took top place followed by Basil Katsivalis (AQVA/PCYC) and Karell Regnier (Nepean Able Sail), all three within 2 points of each other.

A big thank you to PRO Madelaine Palfreeman and her crew who, as always, provided excellent racing in a variety of conditions. Thanks also to the staff and support from the Pointe Claire Yacht Club and the many AQVA volunteers who made the whole weekend possible.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Sailweek 2011 great fun in PHRF 3

In PHRF III, where the largest competition is taking place, Sailweek's podium placers are:
  1. Ketchup
  2. Encore Une Fois
  3. Nuisance
The PHRF III fleet winners: Ketchup, the Shark skippered by George Stedman. Ketchup is on a roll this year. They took third at the Shark World's last month, also making them the highest Montreal team. Now they have added Sailweek to their 2011 credentials. Hold on though, it may still be too early in the season to pronounce Ketchup as Montreal Sailing's Top Dawg. While it certainly looks like Stedman's #422 is the Dominator, Nuisance (another PCYC Shark) actually beat Ketchup in most of the races it sailed. If Nuisance had not been absent the first day of Sailweek, the BYC Annual Regatta, we might be telling a different story. So, it is still possible that the chest-pumping of Montreal Sailing is not over yet! Indeed, there are other sailors out there who could legitimately hold bragging rights. While the two aforementioned Sharks battled it out, the Tanzer 22, Encore Une Fois, actually sailed to second overall in Sailweek. Now there is a usurper! The Lintons and team aboard Encore Une Fois are having a very, very competitive season thus far. Three other Sharks, also took bullets during Sailweek. Kaos, and Crisis are always in the top ranks, of course. The only other bullet belongs to .... drumroll please... wait for it.... Ambitious! Yes, the boat formerly called Mainsail,  of yours truly, the long suffering backpacker, the cheerful but sometimes bald-faced bum,  the ever-trying... Okay, that's enough. But, Whoo-hoo! Team Ambitious took first in Race #2 of the BYC Annual.

The picture above was taken during a return from a club race. Our boat still had bow numbers from the Shark World Championship, #51. After our bullet during Sailweek, Jin peeled off the 5, and left on the 1. I didn't realize until we returned from a race. I have to admit, I appreciated the generous humour and left the number on.

Photo taken by Francesca Frati.