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