Sunday, April 29, 2012

Clarke & Bjorn take 4th at end of Hyeres

 Canadians Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn have once again shown their Olympic medal calibre. This time with a superb performance at the 44th Semaine Olympique Française in Hyeres, France. After a very windy final medal race the Star sailors took 4th overall.

They were 2nd overall going into the final race. A podium finish for the Canadian Star sailors, who will be competing in the upcoming Olympics was quite reasonable.

Clarke reflects on today's racing by saying 'Early in the run just as we were getting settled and thinking about the pole we went down a massive wave with no exit and buried the bow. We call this 'going down the mine' and it usually ends badly. Luckily we maintained control of the boat but completely filled the boat with water.' Clarke & Bjorn share some perspective on the outcome in Hyeres, 'Upset? yes, but after some reflection we are happy with our overall performance, acheived our set goals for this regatta and feel prepared for Worlds.' 

That's sailing of course. In reality, the Canadian team had a fantastic ride. Poor Tom Sligsby was in 1st overall in the Laser class, and leading the final medal race when his mast broke in the same conditions. I don't have official confirmation, but one sailor tweeted that it was 30+ knots. That makes for some seriously expensive breakdown potential just before the Olympics. 

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) were the powerhouse sailors of the Star class. They broke their Star mast the day before, and came back to win the medal event on the final day. With 4 bullets in total, they won the regatta over Xavier Rohart and Pierrre Alexis Ponsot (Fra) in 2nd. Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen (Swe) took the 3rd podium spot.

Clarke and Bjorn will be in Hyeres a while longer, as the Star World Championship is also taking place in Hyeres in another week's time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Canadian Star Team on top at Hyeres

Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn are having a super pre-Olympic regatta at the Semaine Olympique Française, fourth event on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit. They are currently in 1st place overall. They have had three races completed in winds around the upper teens, but diminishing through the day. RC dealt with a challenge, with lots of general recalls, no wind, postponements, and a drifting mark. In the three races done the Canucks have pulled off a 3rd, 1st, and 2nd! The Olympic champs from Britain, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson are in 2nd overall, and Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot (FRA) 3rd.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Montreal J/22 Fleet is on a Roll

David Godin has sent us news of the growing J22 fleet, and here at Montreal Sailing we do love to hear how latest racing scuttlebutt! Thank you David.

Ralph Stocek, Editor 

Last month, Hudson's St. James Church hosted a super interesting J/22 - 2012 pre-season Rules and Tactics clinic. Armed for the work shop with a PowerPoint presentation and a metal drawing board with little magnetized sail boats stuck to it, the crews all chipped in for a Mexican style potluck dinner, with wine and beers handy on the kitchen counters. The  atmosphere was more reminiscent of a 1969 High School Class reunion than of a typical RRS clinic, if you know what I mean!

2011 was a fantastic year for the Montreal chapter with three new J /22 boats added to the fleet. And guess what, another two boats are joining for the 2012 season. These new players are not coming from HYC but from OKA Yacht Club. A total of thirteen J/22’s will be jostling for position on the start line this coming season. It’s been a while since we’ve seen such enthusiasm in the area. Something must be going on, so beware all racers this is highly contagious and you might be the next victim, the only remedy is to stay far away from the fun.

Class president and 2011 Canadian champion Ron Harris and crew John Martin  orchestrated the evening, with a focus on two main areas: protests & rules, and tactics specific to J/22’s in a regatta. The clinic underlined critical points of contention with topics like; do not fear the protest room - one design vs PHRF/club racing starting tactics - J/22 class rules – and a review of the ever so important mark rounding rules and tactics. Rules were read and explained, and with the help of a magnetic board different situations found on the race course where carefully examined. It made for a great forum where everyone could join in to provide further explanation or ask clarifications about a situation they had encountered.

In the course of the night it became clear to everyone that there are times where perspectives or opinions concerning a situation can come in conflict. Throughout the clinic emphasis was put on the fact that J22 racing is a gentleman’s sport, where fair play and respect of the rules must prevail. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that a church was chosen for the reunion after all!

What every sailor needs to remember is that racing is a game, and there are proper ways to settle differences between players. Being involved in a protest does not mark one as evil. It’s a civilized way of settling differences and it’s part of the learning process; sometimes it is the only way to decide how a rule should be interpreted. It’s not like calling the cops on someone, so we shouldn’t be afraid to protests.

Montreal Sailors will travel to World's in Newport

The J/22 teams have a goal in mind: the J/22 worlds in 2013. This event will be held in Newport, Rhode Island, so getting everyone up to speed is essential if our local teams want to fare well in this world class competition. On the water speed tests and clinics are being planned for the start of the 2012 season.

Most of the fleet will travel and attend many of the nearby events such as the Canadian Championship at CORK, to name just one great event. The Montreal fleet has planned for lot of time on the water and class members are very generous with their experience and time, wishing to bring new comers quickly to level.

If you enjoy racing and wish to improve your skills there is no better time than now for anyone thinking about joining this class!

David Godin