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