Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Team Ambitious had a good 2013

2013 was a good year for Team Ambitious. We upped our game on Lac St. Louis off the island of Montreal. We won two or three races and placed in the top half of the fleet normally for all of the rounds of Good Neighbour Series (GNS) races consisting of boats from the two neighbouring clubs. Beaconsfield Yacht Club and Pointe Claire Yacht Club have a huge amount of racing going on, and we enjoyed it. The team raced our Shark, #901, Ambitious at least twice a week, and usually even more. Gabrielle and Collette (pictured left of me) were just extraordinary making the boat go fast. My thanks to them and all you racers out there who made our sailing so much fun and competitive throughout the fleet.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Robert Scheidt wins 2013 Laser World's


In Montreal it seems that just a small number of people are sailing the Laser. It is solo boat, intensely physical, very simple, just one sail. Perhaps that is why many people choose other craft. Perhaps that is why those who do choose it here are so devoted to it. In any case, I can't help but note an extraordinary accomplishment by a Laser sailor about as far away from Montreal as my mind can get.

Robert Scheidt has just won the 2013 Laser World Championship being held in Oman. That in itself is an extraordinary feat. What really blows me away is that Scheidt has won this Olympic class event for the ninth time, after an absence of nine years (he sailed the Star during that time) and he is 40 YEARS OLD!

Robert Scheidt has returned to his Laser roots after the Star got dropped from the Olympic roster. A Brazilian, he is aiming to compete in the Laser class when the next Summer Olympics are held in Rio. I will be rooting for him! As for the good 'ol boys and girls sailing Lasers here in Montreal, many as Masters (older age division), I am rooting for them too!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Peter & Alex Rahn score 1st at Wayfarer World's

The Wayfarer Class held their World Championship at the  Mississauga Sailing Club this year. A week long affair in August, 34 boats competed. The Rahn's did the World's when it last in Mississauga in 2004, and they placed 11th overall that time. That was a pretty darn respectable finish, but they upped their game more so this time around finishing first overall. The Rahn family team sail out of Beaconsfield Yacht Club. Well done guys!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Coupe McAuslan Cup To Support Association québécoise de voile adaptée (AQVA)

There is a strong and noble tradition of helping others on the water. This year, we are being asked to respect that tradition by participating in the McAuslan Cup on September 7th. The Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club in conjunction with the AQVA, will be hosting a Pursuit Race and Charity Challenge Cruise, with the goal of raising funds to support the activities of the AQVA. The AQVA has been based at PCYC for many years, and their program has allowed many disabled sailors to enjoy the sport. We would like to see that continue and grow. With a minimum, tax- deductible donation of $250 per boat, participants will get to choose between racing in what will undoubtedly be the largest Pursuit Race on the lake or spending the afternoon cruising. There will be a silent auction and a dinner/dance at the Royal following the action on the water. Details and registration are 
available at: www.aqvaqc.com.  

The cause is good; it will be fun. Please register and participate. 

Joe Jospe 

Friday, August 09, 2013

Coupe du Quebec Bombardier (Martin 16)

Another great post from a favourite correspondent, Jen Davey!

This weekend, the Association québécoise de voile adaptée (AQVA) hosted the Coupe du Quebec Bombardier at the Pointe Claire Yacht Club in Montreal, Quebec. The two day event for sailors with disabilities was raced on Martin 16s and drew competitors from Quebec, Ontario, New York, and Vermont. Sailors raced in two fleets, Silver for newer racers and Gold for more experienced

On Saturday, light, shifty winds and strong current challenged sailors in both fleets, while Sunday saw stronger breeze with occasional rain. The Race Committee, led by Madeleine Palfreeman, worked hard to get in 5 races for Silver and 4 for gold over the weekend. In the end, local knowledge paid off as the host club finished with strong results. The Silver fleet was won by AQVA’s J-P Dussault, followed by team mates Vincent Gagnon and Steve Payette. Gold was tightly contested with AQVA’s Marc Villeneuve taking first place just one point ahead of Christine Lavallée, of the Nepean Sailing Club. Pierre Richard of AQVA rounded out the top three.

AQVA was proud to host several distinguished guests throughout the weekend. Jean-Pierre Grenier, Pro Mayor of the City of Pointe Claire, Francis Scarpaleggia, Member of Parliament for Lac-Saint- Louis, Karen O’Neill, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Paralympic Committee, as well as Caroline Tison, Executive Director of West Island Community Shares. The city, region, and both organizations have been strong supporters of AQVA’s mission to provide sailing opportunities for persons with disabilities. A big thanks also to the staff of AQVA, PCYC, and all the volunteers, including many of our friends from neighbouring Lac St Louis clubs and beyond. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sailweek, the pleasures of summer

Sailweek ended yesterday in a pleasant if anti-climatic form. In the sport of sailing, sometimes you don't get to sail. The great thing about the camaraderie and social side of the sport is that it doesn't have to mean the fun ends. Nary a wisp of wind was felt as we bobbed around the RC boat. Before long, Mike Andersen had his anchor down and boats were rafting up together. Out came refreshments, snacks, and a lot of pleasant connections among the sailing fraternity that is BYC and PCYC.

Today's closing event of Sailweek was to be the BYC Annual Regatta. The event was not a failure despite the lack of racing. One sailor put it this way: It doesn't quite feel like summer is on until there is an afternoon on the water, with no wind. Think about it, it's true. Every season, if you sail often enough, inevitably a day comes along when you are out there, wanting to race, and the wind doesn't show up. That simply makes it a time to connect with crew and competitors. On this occasion it was a time of bright sun, swimming, laughter.

Oh yes, the winners of Sailweek... the same teams as in yesterday's post!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sailweek's Final Showdown Today

File photo probably by Heather Deeks.

Light winds may help others harpoon and rein in leading Sharks in today's finale.

The Annual Regatta for the Beaconsfield Yacht Club is today. It caps Sailweek, the most intensive week of sailing on Lac St. Louis. 3 races will be held this afternoon, with the warning gun blasting at 13:00h.

In the PHRF 3 category there is a very exciting finale about to go down. Anyone of 4 teams could take the title of Champs. Nuisance is at the top of the leaderboard, but leading by a mere point with 8 in total. Tied at 2nd and 3rd place are Ketchup and Sudden Impulse. Then, only one more mere point behind is Blue Moon in 4th. Wow, that's tighter than a jib halyard in a big blow! Next is our own Team Ambitious in 5th overall, but there is a large point spread. We will be doing our best to stay ahead of Gray Phantom which bested us in one race and has been only one place behind in every other race.

All of these Shark Class boats including others such as Isurus, Love Bites, and Crescendo will be having a hard time today fending off the Tanzer 22 Encore Une Fois. Very light winds are expected, and that should favour the Tanzer 22 with its huge masthead spinnaker. So, all up and down the rankings there will be some major battles to take or hold positions. With light air, it could be a day of patience, mastery, or misery!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

2013 Canadian Laser Masters Championship

Many thanks to Etienne for sending this great full report of the regatta! - Ralph

The Canadian Laser Masters championship was held out of Beaconsfield yacht Club from June 14th to 16th.

This event is reserved to sailors 35 years old or older.  As only 3 of the 39 sailors were under 45 (and none of them really competitive), it's really an old timer's club.  The people involved have more time and are a dedicated bunch, speaking of the best places to train for heavy wind during the winter.

The first day was light and shifty. Two races were held and the third that was started was abandoned.  The wind was falling and some competitors were heading back in when the wind returned from the North.  I thought I was in a good position, then I watched those boats exit the harbour area and still pass me on their way to the first mark.  I was quite thankful for the abandonment of that race.  Rob Koci was first at the end of the day with Sally Sharp in second place.

On Saturday, races 3 and 4 were held in a building breeze.  The following two races were held in a really strong breeze.  Forest from Texas could not recall such long upwind legs in such strong wind. Those who recall CORK in Lasers on Bravo course felt right at home.  I was feeling like a million dollars spending the last half of the 5th race in tow behind Rob Koci.  He was having his worst race of the regatta and I was having my best.  I was great to see that I could keep up with him for so long.  I was doing as well in the 6th race when I dumped before rounding the leeward mark.  It was a very messy dump, it took me 4 or 5 attempts to get the boat back up proper.  By that time I had drifted below the committee boat and had to start the race again, behind the whole fleet.  I knew that it was worth finishing, as by this time a third of the fleet had abandoned because of the windy conditions.  I passed a few tired sailors, and I was really mad with myself for that nasty dump.  Though it felt there was lots of space between the boats, it was certainly quite close because the harbour was full at the moment I came in.  I hesitated, it was 3:30 and I had been out since 9:00.  It's not that often that it's blowing over 20 and I don't have Noé and Ulysse, my usual crew on the Laser.  With the kids, I stick to close reach, beam reach and broad reach.  It's fast and impressive and the Laser flies on these points of sail.  When racing, reaching ability is useless, races are won upwind and downwind.  So I start doing some upwind, lots of tacking and then gybing downwind, until I can do 3 gybes in a row without crashing.  I head home 50 minutes later to greet a worried race committee.  I'll have to be more specific next time and tell them I am going back out to have fun.

On Sunday, little wind, cold weather and rain were forecast.  When it was time to head out, the rain hadn't started yet, there was no wind and it was still warm.  Exposed skin is an advantage when feeling very light air, so I started out with a splash top and shorty wetsuit.  The first race was light and shifty, but the temperature dropped significantly.  It also started to rain.  We waited for an hour in no wind, many of the competitors took their boats out of the water.  I also went in to change into long john wet-suit, polar sweater and splash top.  What a relief, but still difficult times for a guy with glasses.  I felt I was going round and round, doing 3 penalties during that short race.

I was great to head back to Beaconsfield Yacht Club and eat the delicious meal the club provided to the competitors after each day on the water.

Thanks to the BYC team for such a good regatta.

Etienne Portelance

Here are the top ten. All the scores can be found here on the BYC website.

    1. Rob Koci, Water Rats SC, Grand Master
    2. Doug Peckover, NOMAD, Grand Master
    3. Tobin Young, Water Rats SC, Master
    4. Philippe Dormoy, Beaconsfield YC, Grand Master
    5. Richard Sewards, Water Rats SC, Master
    6. Pierre Jasmin, PCYC, Grand Master
    7. John Rae, Nepean SC, Master
    8. David Hartman, NOMAD Great Grand Master
    9. Nigel Heath, Water Rats SC, Master
    10. Len Guenther, Fishing Bay YC, Master

    Thursday, June 27, 2013

    PHRF 3 has a strong start to the season in Good Neighbours Series 1 & 2

    PHRF 3 is the largest fleet of club racers on Lac St. Louis. The Good Neighbours series of evening races for BYC and PCYC are where we do most of our racing. Hooray, the season has begun!

    On Tuesday evenings, Series 1, saw 16 boats on the water at one point or another. Individual races would see between 9 and 14 boats competing, an average of 11 per race. The Thursday series typically see a smaller fleet. This was the case for this series too: 13 boats in total with an average of 7 per race.

    A lot of boats did not compete in a race here or there. That is not surprising in spring as boats are still being worked on, and the summer schedules and rhythms of racers are still falling in place.

    Flags will be awarded to the same competitors for both Series 1 on Tuesdays and Series 2 on Thursdays. Kudos to Mike Anderson and crew on Yin & Yang who took 1st overall in both series! 2nd and 3rd overall in both series were traded by Blue Moon and Encore Une Fois. Possibly Beaconsfield YC's most talented sailor, Jin Frati and crew took a 2nd for the Tuesday series and a 3rd for the Thursday series despite missing races in each series! John Linton's crew on the Tanzer 22 Encore Une Fois broke into the huge school of Sharks sailing in this fleet.

    All in all, the spring series generally shows the promise of summer as we shake out the cobwebs, and get racing! The next Tuesday and Thursday series of evening racing marks summer. These series have already begun with a race each, and the competition should be heating up!

    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    Isurus Sailing Well this year

    The team Isurus has improved their game considerably this year! The Shark team sails out of Beaconsfield Yacht Club. Tom, Anne and Findley are pictured here waiting for wind in this past week end's Coupe Du Quebec. They are doing everything better, starts, sailing the course, mark roundings. Congratulations Isurus.

    Picture by Jen Davies

    Thursday, June 13, 2013

    Laser Clinic at BYC timely with Masters' Championship this week end.

    A couple of days from now I will participate in my first big Laser race since 1996.  The race is the Canadian Laser Masters Championship, a race for those 35 or over.  There are 3 categories, Apprentice 35-44, Master, 45-54, Grand Master for those 55 to 64 and Great Grand Master for those 65 and above.

    A few older Laser sailors from Beaconsfield Yacht Club organized a sailing training camp for adults.  11 guys showed up and one lady.  Even with the popularity of the radial rig, it seems difficult to find women on the race course.  Coach Rob Koci from Toronto was invited and pushed us past our normal limits.  

    Saturday was light, we practiced lots of tacking and starts. It was a little bit frustrating as the wind was excellent before we rigged, while we had lunch and just after we came in.  While we were out, it was light allowing us to feel how much roll was needed for a good roll tack.

    Sunday morning was even worse: heavy rain and no wind.  We watched and commented on videos of top sailors manoeuvring and talked about rules, tactics and how to make a boat go fast.  We also ate early and this time we were in synch with the wind at 12.  We had an excellent 3 hours of hiking, tacking, some involuntary swimming and lots of learning.

    Thank-you Rob for this excellent clinic.

    Etienne Portelance

    Editor's note: Etienne told me "I discovered how important the footwork was in the Laser.  There are only so many right places to put feet in a 3 square foot cockpit, thanks to Rob for pointing them out for staying drier going downwind."

    Sunday, June 09, 2013

    Good Neighbour Series racing in 2013 begins for BYC & PCYC

    Montreal sailing has begun with the commencement of the Good Neighbours Series for 2013. Series 1 on Tuesday evenings debuted May 21st with a lot of excitement. A good hard blowing wind from the close northeast shore kept the water fairly flat, and shifty. That made for racing with a lot of compass staring and many boats heading on starboard to shore in search of the lifting and final knock to tack on. The minority of competitors who tacked out on port to sail in clean air didn't fare too badly either.

    10 Sharks made for a strong showing for this first race. That high number of boats allowed for every Shark team to have someone of their level to compete against for this one design fleet.The Shark fleet can race against themselves and also the PHRF 3 fleet as a whole. A race within a race so to speak.

    Nuisance took the gun in PHRF 3, followed by Sudden Impulse and Yin & Yang. It was great to see Toy Yot take 4th, a great performance. Ambitious took 5th. Isurus is really upping their game and took 6th, trading positions with Ambitious frequently during the race. Kaos took 7th despite sailing shorthanded and with white sails only. The first Tanzer 22 across the line was Goin' Strait. Given the Shark advantage in high wind Goin' Strait had a great race beating a good number of Sharks and the highly competitive Tanzer 22 Encore Une Fois. 13 teams competed in PHRF 3.

    Vivace took the Etchells race. Bay Gull took PHRF 1 & 2. 

    In the white sail class the J100 Amalia took the gun, followed by the J30 Breakaway. 2 Mirage 24s followed with Chinook edging out Ariel for a good race. 8 boats competed in White Sail.

    This race was an excellent start to the season.

    Wednesday, June 05, 2013

    Spring Prep for AQVA

    Happy spring everyone!

    Just about all of the boats seem to have been through their spring preparation rituals and splashed. A couple of weeks ago the AQVA fleet were at it too. Thanks Jen for the note and pic.

    AQVA had a Boat Clean Up day at PCYC. Many sailors and volunteers came out to get 6 Martins and three 2.4mRs ready to go (4 Martins and one 2.4 are program boats, and two more Martins and 2.4s are privately owned.....expanding fleet!). 

    It was great to have so many people come out to help with everything from Boathouse runs to anti-fouling Martins, shroud repair to hull polishing!

    Saturday, March 30, 2013

    Incredible Storm


    Sometimes, sailing on our little Lac St. Louis is the best little place. Yes, there are big seas to explore and faraway places, famous long-distance races to conquer. But...

    When the ocean looks like this picture, I am happy on little Lac St. Louis and Lac Des Deux Montagnes with safe club harbours a short sprint away! The photo is the entire breadth of the Atlantic Ocean being consumed by a mega-sized storm right now. Not only is is huge with no where to run, but it is powerful. It's force is being compared to a category 3 hurricane. Yes, this is the storm that weather reports are talking about in Newfoundland. The same storm is bordering Portugal. It extends north to Greenland, and sweeps south to the Caribbean.

    We are now starting spring. I will enjoy prepping the boat, continuing its process of refurbishment and improvement. While working away, I will be anticipating day sails, races to come soon. Whatever the weather, I know I will always be 2 to 3 kilometers or less from the safe harbours of one of our neighbourly clubs.

    Enjoy are little playground friends!

    Monday, February 25, 2013

    Rahn's on top at 2013 Wayfarer U,S. Nat'ls & Midwinter's

    Peter and Alex Rahn have won the joint 2013 Annual Midwinter International Wayfarer and U.S. National Championship Regatta. Hosted by the Lake Eustis Sailing Club in Florida, the regatta has been a favoured February getaway for the father and son team from Beaconsfield Yacht Club. Peter and Alex took bullets in seven out of eight races. Regular winter rivals, Jim and Linda Heffernan took the other race win. Judging from the picture here, the Rahn duo were still feeling the heat of the fleet.

    The Rahn's also met Will Hendershot from Club Des Voiles Deux Montagnes sailing his MC Scow at the same venue. The MC Scows were sailing their Trainwreck Regatta. Will took 15th out of 41 entries

    28 degrees centigrade apparently!

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

    Laser Sailing

    I like this shot of Brenda Bowskill (Whitby, On) by John Payne. This was taken of her sailing in Miami fior the recent round of the 2013 ISAF World Cup. Our Beaconsfield Yacht Club is hosting the Laser Masters Canadian Championship this year, June 13-16. Sure makes me want to get in one!

    Sunday, February 03, 2013

    Robitaille at Miami ISAF World Cup Robitaille

    The video above is the Day 4 Highlights from the Miami OCR including many classes and the new Nacra 17.

    Of particular interest is some good Finn coverage. You can see the light air technique and pumping. Of special interest for local fans is the great footage of Martin Robitaille (CVL) who is continuing to do exceptionally well with this beginning of a new Olympic quadrennium. Robitaille took 6th overall at this World Cup event.

    Saturday, February 02, 2013

    Woodie Fireball Lives On!

     Here's a woodie for the local Fireball crowd, the DIYers and traditionalists everywhere. This beautiful restoration is the family Fireball project, US 7634, of John Ibele. He hails from Minneapolis. The boat was originally built by his family in the seventies. It makes me wince at my all-too-brief Fireball ownership, and want to get cracking on the plywood Y-Flyer I have had garaged for years.

    You can read up on, and see more pics of this beau-craft on his blog Family Fireball

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

    Brodeur and Stranix in Miami for World Cup

    It looks like Michael Brodeur of Beaconsfield and Alexandre Stranix of Pointe-Claire are in the right place for sailing right now. They are competing in the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami. Currently, they are mid-fleet, and appear to be experiencing it all. In the first race they crossed the finish line first, but in another race, crossed the start line early for an OCS to drop. Scoring is unusual with a first place getting you zero points for an added edge overall. Racing continues to February 2nd.

    Photo by Walter Cooper.

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

    DN's out Saturday

    There were a good number of DN's on the Lac St. Louis ice yesterday afternoon. Marks had been set, and they were moving very nicely in a light breeze.

    The big freeze has finally lifted, and while still cooler than average it was warm enough that I spotted them while jogging comfortably along Lakeshore Road.

    The weather has been so wonky with a lot of open water this year. However, the cold snap presumably has given sailors good quality ice. The DN's were quite far out in the wide area.

    Montreal Sailing file photo at right.

    Saturday, January 26, 2013

    Lynn Watters

    Sailing and racing is a significant international sport, yet here, a small, friendly, local one. I still get a little surprised when I come across a Montreal-area name of worldly stature that I don't recognize. Montreal Sailing has allowed me to become familiar with many of you in our small community. Recently, an important person, whom I did not know passed away. Lynn Watters died in Kingston on December 25th, 2012. He was 96 years old (pic from ISAF news). I had not heard of his name, even though he founded the Saint Lawrence Valley Yacht Racing Association (SLVYRA), with Art Thompson. I served as SLVYRA Secretary for a little while.

    Watters and Thompson started SLVYRA right after World War 2. SLVYRA was to become a much larger, more ambitious organization than its current state. Its territory covered our Montreal sailing waters on Lac St. Louis and Lac Des Deux Montagnes, and extended up the St. Lawrence River all the way to Kingston, and all the way up the Ottawa River to the capital itself. That is quite a network of racers. Currently, SLVYRA assembles racers on our two local waters of the Montreal area to loosely coordinate regattas. That seems like a pretty natural geographic area. It has always been my feeling that the potential utility of a Montreal-area racing organization has been overlooked by many of us. The accomplishment and foresight of people like Watters impresses me. How important his legacy is, and how little known! How relevant it remains today, as promotion of racing is largely ignored beyond our individual club actions. 

    So, who was Lynn Watters? Well, according to the notes of his passing, he was indeed a remarkable sailor. He sailed in the Lightning class, which was once one of the major one design race boats in Montreal.  Watters called tactics from the middle, with Edward Botterell steering and Sicotte Hamilton manning the pointy end. There is still a black and white picture of Botterell, who went on to be a sailmaker, on the wall at PCYC.

    Watters then went on to sail in the two Olympic games. In 1960 and 1964, he competed in the Dragon class. He developed a reputation as a great tactician. 

    However, he was probably best known internationally for his years as head of the IYRU (ISAF) Rules Committee. That committee did much of the work that forms the racing rules still used today. According to his son Alex, Lynn Watters created the International Judging System, and judged many international regattas, including the America's Cup and the Olympics.

    Lynn Watters, a lion in the Montreal Sailing scene. How much it appears we owe to the history of sailors like him. How many have contributed to the quality of our pastime, yet we know so little of? We should know so much more of them.


    ISAF Obituary
    Glob & Mail Obituary
    Scuttlebutt #3745
    Bruce Kirby in Scuttlebutt #3747