Thursday, May 29, 2014

La voile à Montréal et à proximité #1 Dans le vieux port!

Cette série se veut aussi une démonstration comme quoi il n'est pas nécessaire d'être propriétaire de bateau pour faire de la voile.  J'ai vendu mon bateau l'an dernier, et je vais naviguer sur les bateaux des autres cette saison et vous en parler ici. Je viens aussi d'ouvrir un groupe Facebook pour les Montréalais, l'objectif serait de rapprocher les propriétaires et les équipiers.

Il y a une option pour faire de la voile dans le vieux port.  Il y avait du vent dans le bassin, et si on évite la pluie, on peut même rester au sec.  Ce sont les bateaux télécommandés de Micro-Sail.

Cette voile fait comprendre les rudiments des manœuvres sans danger pour l'équipage.  Une manette permet de border et de choquer l'écoute, alors que l'autre permet de diriger le bateau.  Le tarif nominal est de 5$ pour 15 minutes.

Mon fils de 8 ans a beaucoup aimé cette expérience.  Le vent était fort et régulier, le plan d'eau était plat, des conditions idéales pour ces petits bateaux.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ambitious has first foray in 2014

After much bottom prep and some repairs, Team Ambitious went out for it's maiden sail of the season. It was the second scheduled race of the Spring Good Neighbour Series. Clouds were dark and it was chilly! Nevertheless the team was hyped to kick off the season. Collette did her usual middle position and Mike from the Encore Une Fois team joined us to work foredeck.

Getting out early is well known as a fact of good race prep. We tend to screw that all up too often and the start of the new season was no different. It took a little bit of time to get everything rigged right first time out. Then, the Sorceress team needed a tow out of harbour. That proved more difficult than expected. A deceptively strong north wind blew Ambitious alongside berthed boats as we struggled to get into towing position.  We finally got out to the start line just as the starting sequence ended and tailed the last boat across the pin end. Except, we were not going to make the pin and had to tack to cross well back of the fleet. Ugh! Lesson brutally re-visited, get out early!

The wind blowing from the north shore is almost always stronger than it looks. The waves are always flatter having less time to build over the short distance from shore. We were way over powered, but with a flat open mainsail we charged up the first leg. Collette called a tack a little below the lay line and we crossed the bow of Encore Une Fois about 400 metres from the mark. Two more tacks and we rounded the mark with Encore on our stern. We were rusty timing our helm and sail trim and in a powerful wind struggled to turn Ambitious round the mark too widely. Encore slipped inside with us one boat length ahead 30 seconds later. The crew launched the chute smoothly and we continued a powerful surge forward. With one well managed, high wind jibe we had a great downwind leg.

Lightening flashed to the west, and as many as 6 bolts at a time on the south shore. That compelled RC to cancel the race, and our first foray was done. It was good to shake out the cobwebs, and the team had a high wind lesson on where we need work. It was good to get the season started. Watch out folks, we will be on time and on the line for the warning signal Thursday!

Ralph S

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Montreal Sailing Communities Project

I'd like to write stories on many of the ways it is possible to enjoy sailing from Montreal.

I'll need the help of many of you.

A few rules: less than 40 minutes drive from downtown. Thursday evenings or weekends are OK.  Since I don't own a boat anymore, I'd enjoy being invited to crew.  On weekends I come with 2 boys, 5 and 8 who are at ease on a sailboat.

I have the following venues in mind:

  • Royal Saint-Lawrence Yacht Club
  • Venture Sailing Club
  • Ecole de Voile de Lachine
  • Canadian Forces Sailing Association Montreal CFSA
  • Beaconsfield Yacht Club
  • Pointe-Claire Yacht Club
  • Lord Reading Yacht Club
  • Baie d'Urfé Yacht Club
  • Ile Perrot Yacht Club
  • Senneville Yacht Club
  • Club Nautique Deux Montagnes
  • Hudson Yacht Club
  • Club de Voile des Laurentides
  • Ecole de voile Gilles Tétrault
  • Entre Air et Mer at La Prairie
  • Club Nautique de Longueuil
I have lived West of Montreal, and that bias is present here too.  A great project would be to do at least 8 of these.  I will be crewing on Tuesdays on Ketchup, a Shark at Pointe-Claire, so that club is covered.  There are often different facets to the same club, there is often a serious racing evening, one for beginners, cruising on the weekend...

Lachine is one of the closer options for sailing out of Montreal

If you know about people who would be interested in having me on board, please email me,

Etienne Portelance

October 2nd update :
I will include here links to articles of this series.  Le projet de voile à Montréal en Français
1 - The Old Port (in French)
2 - Pointe-Claire, a Tuesday night after the storm (in French)
3 - La Prairie, a Saturday morning (in French)
4 - Pointe-Claire, Tuesday night race with the whole family
5 - Dorval, racing when there is no wind (in French)
6 - Big dinghy racing (in French) - Lightnings
7 - Viper 640 out of Lake of Two Mountains (in French)
8 - CFSA, east edge of Dorval
9 - Venture sailing base (in French)
10 - Pine Beach public ramp in Dorval (in French)

Faire de la voile à Montréal

Il est possible de faire de la voile à Montréal.  Pas besoin d'aller jusqu'à Rimouski.

L'École de voile de Lachine.  Une des options les plus près du centre-ville

J'aimerais explorer avec des habitants des environs comment ils pratiquent ce sport.

J'explorerai des endroits à moins de 40 minutes de voiture du centre-ville. Je ferai les visites le jeudi soir ou la fin de semaine. Comme je ne possède plus de bateau, je souhaite être équipier invité. La fin de semaine, j'aurai parfois avec moi mon épouse et mes deux garçons de 5 et 8 ans qui sont à l'aise sur un voilier.

Je souhaite écrire sur les lieux suivants:

Royal Saint-Lawrence Yacht Club
Venture boat club
Ecole de Voile de Lachine
Club de voile des Forces Canadiennes à la Pointe Picard
Yacht Club de Beaconsfield
Yacht Club de Pointe-Claire
Lord Reading Yacht Club
Yacht Club de Baie d'Urfé
Yacht Club de l'Ile Perrot
Yacht Club de Senneville
Club Nautique Deux Montagnes
Yacht Club de Hudson
Club de Voile des Laurentides
Ecole de voile Gilles Tétrault
Entre Air et Mer at La Prairie
Club nautique de Longueuil

J'ai vécu dans l'ouest de Montréal, et j'avoue que ça paraît dans cette liste. Un grand projet serait de faire au moins 6 des endroits de cette liste. Je serai équipier le mardi soir sur Ketchup, un Shark à Pointe-Claire. J'aimerais faire des activités variées, croisière baignade, course en dériveurs, course en équipage sur voilier de croisière, initiation à la régate...

Je vous invite à joindre le groupe de ceux qui naviguent près de Montréal sur Facebook.  Si vous êtes intéressés à m'accueillir à bord, mettez un message sur Facebook ou envoyez-moi plus de détails à l'adresse suivante (modifiée pour réduire le spam) prénom.nom @

Etienne Portelance

Allez aussi voir mon article sur où apprendre à faire de la voile à Montréal

Je vais inclure un lien ici vers tous les articles de cette série.
Dernière mise à jour le 2 octobre 2014:

1- Le Vieux Port 
2- Pointe-Claire le mardi soir
3- La Prairie avec Coeur de Marin
4- Pointe-Claire une course du mardi soir avec toute la famille (en anglais)
5- Le Royal Saint-Lawrence Yacht Club - même sans vent.
6- En Lightning - avec beaucoup de vent
7- En Viper 640 sur le Lac des Deux Montagnes
8- Dorval est, le CFSA (en anglais)
9- Base de voile Pointe-Claire
10 - Descente publique du parc Pine Beach à Dorval.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spring Ritual

Yep, that's me. Ya know, before you can race the boat, ya gotta prep the boat! In the case of Shark, #901, Ambitious, that means a lot of sanding and painting. I always find spring too busy because Ambitious is, well,  an Ambitious project. Structurally,a solid boat , she is, but a fixer-upper in terms of one design class racing standards. So, incrementally each year, in addition to taking care of her bumps and bruises, I try and make her a little faster. Right now, keel maintenance and making the hull a little smoother and faster is the order of the day. See you if not in the yard, than on the water soon! Making control lines more efficient is next.


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Etienne Portelance, a new collaborator on Montreal Sailing Blog

We are just about to enter into the season and I want to thank Ralph for the opportunity to write here. I hope you will appreciate my writing as much as I have appreciated Ralph's.

Please let me present myself. This is me in the '80s

I learned to sail on Lake Saint-Louis, and I can say most of my sailing has been on this lake.  I have sailed Flying Juniors, Laser, Laser II, and Fireball dinghies and sailed on my dad's boats. I spent 9 years in France where I sailed on Fireballs, 505 and various keel boats. I was also a sailing instructor in Lachine for 5 summers from 1989 to 1993.

 I also sailed out of Québec city for a few seasons on 40 footers. While in France, I owned a 6.5 m transat boat, a "Mini". 

During my stay in France, I sailed on anything I could.  The easiest boats to get on are racing boats because skippers are always looking for crew.  It's not as easy to get on a cruising boat. As a crew, I find I get a good deal. Sometimes, I pay for the gas to get to the regatta, sometimes I have to pay for my own lunch, but it's often possible to carpool, and the sailing can be fantastic. I enjoyed middle distance races best (under 500 miles). It's usually a crew requirement to be able to helm.

Below is a boat racing in the Giraglia race from Saint-Tropez to Genoa, Italy (passing between the Giraglia rock and Corsica)

Back in Canada, I owned a Lightning for a few years and crew on a Shark. I enjoy sailing with my two boys and my wife.

I participated in 3 world championships. In the first in 1996, I was helm for half of the races and crew for the other half, in 1999 I was helm all the time, and in 2012 I was crew all the time.

I'll be talking about the joys of sailing both crewing, and cruising. Hope you enjoy my contribution, see you on the water.

Etienne Portelance