Thursday, July 31, 2014

Voile à Montréal #5 - Même quand il n'y a pas de vent

Voici l'article #5 sur la voile à Montréal.

Je fais de la voile depuis 38 ans sur le Lac Saint-Louis, et c'est la première fois que je sors du Yacht Club du Royal Saint-Lawrence à moteur. C'est un port étonnamment accessible pour les puristes, même si les dériveurs doivent parcourir le plus long chemin pour se rendre aux rampes et grues de mise à l'eau.

J'ai eu la chance d'être invité sur Andiamo, un Laser 28 du Royal Saint-Lawrence Yacht Club. J'ai momentanément dérangé la quiétude des membre avec mon appareil photo, et David, le gérant, m'a rappelé que je devais rester avec le membre qui m'avait invité. Voici un Laser 28 avec l'équipage qui endraille le foc

Le Yacht Club situé à Dorval est le plus exclusif et cher. Il offre un tennis et une piscine en plus des espaces à quai.  L'école de voile pour enfants est très actif.  Il offre aussi à ses membres 5 quillards Sharks.

Nous sommes partis du Yacht Club vers 17h30 afin d'être sur le plan d'eau navigable (en face de Pointe-Claire) 35 minutes plus tard. Le bateau est beaucoup plus confortable que le Shark auquel je suis habitué.

La cabine offre de la place pour dormir confortablement à 5 sans déplacer la table, un réchaud à deux feux et deux petites glacières font en sorte qu'il est envisageable de faire de la cuisine dans ce bateau de course.

Une fois arrivés à la ligne de départ, triste constatation: pas de vent. Le diesel fidèle nous ramènera au port 30 minutes plus tard.

Des averses tout autour et du vent à l'arrivée au port. Tous ceux qui font de la voile le savent, il faut souvent être patient.  Le vent revient toujours, mais on sait rarement quand.

Merci à Valérie et Tony pour cette sortie et j'espère que je pourrai me joindre à vous une autre fois.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Coupe du Quebec 2014 Regatta Report

 Here is another excellent report from Jenn Davey keeping us up to date on the enthusiasm and racing in the growing Martin 16 class. Congrats on the new boat added to the local fleet too! - Ralph

It was an exciting weekend of racing at the Pointe Claire Yacht Club as the Association Québécoise de voile adaptée (AQVA) hosted the largest Coupe du Quebec in event history, welcoming 18 boats and 35 sailors from 7 clubs. Sailors arrived from Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and the Northeastern US for the two day event. The weekend kicked off with a special ceremony to christen AQVA’s newest addition to their fleet of club boats, a fifth Martin 16 purchased with the support of AQVA’s new corporate partner, Sperry Top–Sider. 
Saturday opened with moderate breeze for the Gold Fleet’s 17 competitors and race Committee fired off three efficient races. As is tradition, while the Gold Fleet raced, the Silver Fleet participated in a rules and tactics session on land, led this year by Tom Bird and Jenny Davey. In the afternoon, the Silver Fleet had their work out for them as the breeze built steadily, settling in around 17 knots with gusts pushing 23. The determination and boat handling were impressive, the companions worked hard to provide support, and there were many smiles to be seen after their two races were finished. 

Sunday brought a mix of conditions, starting with light and shifty breeze for the Silver Fleet’s only race of the day. Gold Fleet saw just about everything, starting with breeze in the 3-5 range, then picking up to more moderate conditions, followed by a quick squall that diminished visibility and brought heavy rain and strong, shifty breeze before the sun finally broke through at the end of the second race. The variable conditions made for exciting racing, and sailors who were able to maintain focus in the challenging conditions made big gains. 

In the end, the friendly rivalry between the host club and their “neighbours” from the Nepean Sailing Club (NSC) Able Sail team continued, with strong performances from both clubs in both fleets. Paul Rees of NSC took third place in Silver, with team mate Karell Regnier taking second. Guy Bergeron, of AQVA, took the top position in his first ever regatta. With the win, he also received the Peg Cup inaugurated at the prize-giving as the permanent trophy for the Silver Fleet winner, named in memory of longtime Coupe volunteer Peg Davey. Gold Fleet top honours and the Faye Schipper Cup went to AQVA’s Pierre Richard, who finished the 5-race series with 6 points after one drop. Second and third places were duked out between a pair of Shark sailors who have turned their attention to the Martin class, with Queen’s Quay Disabled Sailing/National Yacht Club’s Peter Eager taking second ahead of Richard Laxton (Nepean Sailing Club) in third.

As always, the staff, volunteer, and family support from all clubs involved was huge. A big thank you to the Pointe Claire Yacht Club, Principle Race Officer Katherine Bliss-Johnson, Dock Coordinator Paula Stone, Regatta Chair Matt Palardy, the AQVA staff and volunteers and the many out of town supporters who made the trip from near and far to ensure an excellent weekend of racing.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Where to learn to sail around Montreal

First thing you should know: there are keel boats and dinghies.

A keel boat is a sailboat with a heavy keel underneath.  It is stable in will not tip over. It usually has sleeping quarters, a toilet, a navigation station and a place to cook inside, but not always. Smaller keelboats are used for disabled sailors  

A dinghy is a lighter boat.  It will react faster, allowing you to experiment more with the wind. As all things are lighter, sails will be adjusted faster, and you will feel the acceleration from proper sail trim.

I strongly recommend learning how to sail on a dinghy, as it will take less time to understand where the wind is and how the basics work. You will have a head start once you get on a keel boat.  Learning to sail on a dinghy is also usually less expensive per hour. So if your time and money are scarce, you get double advantage: less time required, less time to learn the basics.

The Québec Sailing Federation  will give you a list of the sailing schools in the province.

Most Yacht clubs in Montreal offer sailing courses for adults on dinghies on weekday nights.  Ecole de voile de Lachine also offers introduction sailing classes on weekends on dinghies. An other club that offer learn to sail on dinghies is Pointe-Claire Yacht Club.  Beaconsfield Yacht Club and the Royal Saint Lawrence, offer programs on both dinghies and keel boats. Once again, I recommend dinghies if you do not mind getting your feet wet.

There are sailing schools that focus on keel boats. The program is known as learn to cruise.   Ecole de Voile Gilles Tetrault and Ynot sailing offer beginner lessons on keel boats.

There may be others, please tell me if there is information missing.

Friday, July 11, 2014

How to crew - a reader's letter

Hi Etienne,

I'm a 20 year old guy with basically zero sailing experience who would love to crew in some regattas, but I'm not sure where to start! I live near McGill, and don't have a car, so it would be a bonus if it was not too far.

Could you point me in the right direction, or offer any me any tips?


Hello Nathan,

There are lots of different ways to start sailing. Some read sailing adventure books and dream of inaccessible faraway places. Some want to participate in ocean crossing races.  Some look for a Tuesday night race on the lake followed by a beer.  I'll assume you're just looking for the fun sail on the lake.

Some people accept neophytes into their boats for racing, as long as a commitment is offered.   I started a Facebook group for that purpose, but for now it's still very small.

I recommend a boat with less people on board, you'll be doing more tasks. A 2 person boat means that you'll be doing everything the helmsperson (driver) cannot do, and that may be too much in a race for a beginner. The Fireballs at PCYC are active.

There are two 3 person boats active in Montreal: Sharks and Lightnings.  The Sharks have their own online group at Montreal Shark 

Most clubs have some sort of available crew list, you might want to register there. If you're a strong biker, you can take the Lachine canal bike path and stop at the 3 biggest yacht clubs, in Dorval, Pointe-Claire and Beaconsfield.  You can add Baie d'Urfé if you can bike over 80 km in the day.  All these clubs are accessible by 211 bus from Lionel Groulx metro.

You'll be more attractive to boat owners if you learn how to sail. You can also read about the owner's perspective. I'll write a post on how to learn in the Montreal area soon.

By the way, I'm also looking for opportunities for the Montreal Sailing communities project.