Saturday, October 29, 2016

Johann Tanzer: January 3, 1927 - October 23, 2016

The work of Johann Tanzer was significant. Like many, his products played a role in how I have spent a significant part of my life. My first keelboat, a Tanzer 22 was, and is, the most popular racer/cruiser in the Montreal area. There are more Tanzer sailboats here than any other. Many different Tanzer models were built from 16' to well over 30'

Tanzer's boats, as many of you know, were so heavily and solidly built, that they will outlive us all. Most sailors have spent time, perhaps a lot of time, sailing on Tanzers. Indeed, for many, the Tanzer brand developed a cult following. The Tanzer 22 was successful for being practically bullet proof, but also because it did everything quite well. A spacious boat for a simple overnight at Dowker's Island, a delightful, quick sail in light wind races, a massive spinnaker to pass many on downwind legs, and the most spacious cockpit around for parties! Yup, the Tanzer 22 does it all, and I continue to have just such experiences with friends who continue to sail them here.

Whatever boats we sail, Johann Tanzer's contribution to sailing was huge, and the impact can still be felt today. All of us can thank him for the many people who have experienced sailing thanks to him. Tanzer has broadened the popularity of our sport and made racing and cruising with our friends so much popular, accessible, and fun.

Cheers Johann.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Blowing big time today

As is often the case, the wind forecasts are way out of whack today. The snip above is from Windguru, but others are the same. I measured the wind from the shore at Beaconsfield Yacht Club at around 10:30 a.m. The lulls were in the high teens to mid-twenties measured in knots. The usual wind was in the low to mid thirties, and the highest gust measured at 45.7 knots. Offshore, the wind was easily much higher!

The race committee postponed on shore, and perhaps will get a race in later. We did not wait however, and cancelled our racing for today. Always better to be safe, not sorry.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Last evening race of the Good Neighbour Series

This great photo was taken by David Speak after the race finished.

We have done our last evening race on Ambitious for 2016. It was a good one. We were first of the Shark pack to finish, less than a foot ahead of Jin Frati's Shark team. John Linton's Tanzer 22 took first, we were second.

A ruckus in the pack occurred at the final windward mark rounding. David Bowen's Shark tacked to avoid a collision. That caused quite the stir as the tack caused him to cross a pack of Sharks closing in on the mark. A protest will be heard over it on Sunday, after the day's racing.

We are 2nd overall for the series, and tied on points with Mike Anderson. The protest hearing could change Mike's score and will determine whether we are 2nd or 3rd ultimately. It's all part of the drama.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Ishkoodah is a big race again

51 boats registered for the Ishkoodah race! That is a huge turnout, and a huge variety of boats from dinghies to beautiful cruisers, and the ubiquitous Sharks and Tanzers. There is something of a pageantry to see so many of the sailing community come out on a particular day at the peak of summer and enjoy the spectacle.

The St. Lawrence Valley Yacht Racing Association is a big booster of the Ishkoodah. As the most historical race on Lac St. Louis, well over a century old now, it has a strengthening position again. We think it is the perfect event to hail all types of sailors and boats to come and enjoy our sport. In the past, the Ishkoodah was the largest event on Lac St. Louis, and SLVYRA would like to see the trend continue, restoring its stature. For this year, SLVYRA issued a challenge to our clubs to win bragging rights by being the club with the most boats entered. BDYC won with 18 entrants.

A light, steady wind that made for very pleasant wind at the start. Unfortunately, it did not last for the entirety of the race, and some sailors did have to crank up the motor to make it back to harbour. We persisted till a breeze returned later in the afternoon, and did make it across the finish line. Despite, taking a long time to finish the distance, patience was rewarded. Post-race, BDYC members put together a very pleasant dinner in the evening. I haven't salivated over an old fashioned chicken and ribs barbecue in a while.

Large events like these are opportunities to gaze at all manner of sailing craft we use to take to the water. Two Solings from IPYC had a good race. A homemade wooden trimaran was probably the most original. I marvel at how some of the larger ,light boats can move in light air. like the Laser 28. Just as interesting are the old classic narrow-beam cruisers. BYC had a contingent of members trying to keep Graham and Donna's beautiful Douglas 32 moving along. They might have moved the least, but had the most fun. Pictured below is another marvel, Windermere, a Classic 37 footer.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Performing in sports

I run, I bike, I swim, I sail, I ski. I participate in organized events in all theses sports, I completed the 1/2 Ironman in Tremblant last year, I participate every year in the Canadian Ski Marathon and sometimes in the Morin Heights Viking Loppet. I used a 21 year old bike to race in Mont-Tremblant, I use old skis, or very cheap fish scale skis for cross country skiing and I sail on boats made 50 years ago. What's wrong with me?

I'm enjoying these participations more and more. Few people were out on the Lake St-Louis today, it rained all day, there was a thunder roll every twenty minute for a good part of the afternoon and the wind was cool and strong. The boat next to ours lost it's mast on one of the starts. I was sailing with Ralph and Collette, pictured below by Lucas, in the Beaconsfield Yacht Club annual regatta.

Two weeks ago I was cycling in Vermont, completing the Long Trail Brewry Century Ride to benefit adapted sports on my steel bike.

Ralph's boat is #901, about 5 years newer than the boat I usually sail on. It has a nice fibreglass floor, but few of the improvements that other boats have in the fleet: halyards that run inside the mast, twings, a backstay that can be adjusted by the middle person.

What I'm saying is that it's not about the boat, the bike or the skis. It's about having the equipment that will allow you to participate and have fun. I most thoroughly enjoyed the bike ride in Vermont and the ski Marathon because those events are not timed, there are only reasonable time limits so that organizers and volunteers can take a break after a long day. Slower skis allow me to have more fun for a longer time skiing the same distance. A slow bike is the same.  A fast boat on Lake St-Louis, only forces you to do a few more laps around the same course.

I had fun today because Ambitious is a solid boat that can handle strong wind, just what I needed to get on the water. I always told my students when I was a sailing teacher that the best way to gain experience sailing was to race. Today, the only sailors out were racers. So racing is to me the best way to get people sailing because it's often the only way to get on the lake. Once out we realize, it's so nice to be out.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Sailing in Montreal on a Tanzer Overnighter

A young group preparing to set off on Lake St-Louis from the Pine Beach ramp on a Tanzer Overnighter.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Équipe de voile océanique Bell Mobilité

Fin 1996, Georges Leblanc, qui venait d'effectuer la Transat Québec Saint-Malo sur Thriller, un Hunter 45 modifié s'est réuni ave Philippe Oulhen et Bruno Dubois. Ces deux derniers sont des coureurs au large expérimentés, le premier ayant navigué avec Mike Birch et le second a été skipper d'un voilier sur la Whitbread, la Volvo de l'époque.

Ils ont créé une équipe de développement de course qu large au Québec, l'équipe Bell Mobilité de voile Océanique.

J'ai eu la chance de convoyer avec Georges en 1998 avant qu'il aille avec son bateau au départ de la Route du Rhum. Je lui ai demandé si je pouvais garder un des 12 cirés Gill qui étaient encore à bord. Il a accepté, j'ai pris le #4 et les 11 autres ont coulé avec Thriller quelques semaines plus tard. Merci Georges pour ce ciré qui sert encore!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Laser Masters hold their 2016 Canadian Championship at BYC.

Lisa Pelling on Sunday. Great photos, as always from Luka available at here.

39 Laser sailors competed in the 2016 Canadian Laser Masters Championship at Beaconsfield Yacht Club for the past three days. Andy Roy dropped Race #1 (dropped) when over early and black flagged. After that, he was never out of the top ten, and took three firsts in 8 races. Nigel Heath and Ray Davies took 2nd and 3rd overall. The Great Grand Master Peter Seidenberg took 4th overall.

There were some tough times for sailors and RC waiting ashore for wind, but 8 races were held thanks to to very persistent and great job done by PRO Madeleine Palfreeman and her team.

Top Montreal sailors were Philippe Dormoy, Tim Marshall, and Lisa Pelling, all from the host club, Beaconsfield Yacht Club.

Lisa Pelling and Philippe Dormoy, regatta co-chairs, along with David Speak, and a platoon of volunteers made this a very well run regatta.

Personally, I have been so encouraged that Laser sailing in Montreal is growing. This event is popular when hosted by BYC, and we now have a small Laser fleet that is keen on developing the local racing scene. Dinghy sailing is not prominent within the larger racing scene, but Lasers are showing the possibility of re-establishing a local fleet. Hooray for the possibility of inexpensive, fun competition at its finest!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

3 person boats in the Montreal area

I have written about 3 person boats in my series about sailing without owning a boat. It's because 3 person boats are in my opinion the best boats in the Montreal area to learn sailing on. My most exciting sailing in Montreal area these past few years was done on 3 person boats. Many of these boats are very close in speed to one another making sailing more exciting. The boats below are very durable.

Lightning at the 2010 Canadian championships in Beaconsfield photo by Luka
The 3 person boats that are popular in Montreal (from the lightest to the heaviest) are the Lightning, the J22, the Shark, the Tanzer 22 and the Etchells.  I'll add the J70 and the Viper as they are both popular elsewhere and we have at least one of each sailing actively in the Montreal area.

The Lightning is the only boat in this list that can capsize (and stay capsized until the crew takes action to right it).  It is considered a stable boat and will not capsize in light or medium air.  It takes a windy day and usually a spinnaker maneuver that goes bad. It is a boat that takes very little wind to start moving and that will reward fine adjustments. The boat is filled with cleats as all the adjustments can be made from either side.  The mast has many adjustments to coax the final touch of speed. When the wind is light the boat glides nicely.  It is a very comfortable boat for the crew, although some agility is recommended to fit through the narrow space between the centerboard trunk and the boom vang when taking.  The Lightnings are mostly in the Royal Saint-Lawrence Yacht Club in Dorval. Competitive boats start at 4000 $ and new boats are 25000 $.  A boat made 30 years ago might be still competitive though it is not preferred by the top performing crews.

There are very few J22's actively racing on lake St-Louis, most of them are in Hudson.

The Shark is arguably the most popular boat in Eastern Canada.  As far as I know, it's the only boat where 150 adults compete in the same event in the same class in Québec or Ontario. On a typical Tuesday or Thurday night race in Montreal, 15 or more boats can be seen competing on the same starting line. There are often crews missing 1 person...

Shark in Pointe-Claire Photo by Luka

You wouldn't know it from the following picture, but the Shark is a very stable boat.  When the wind is very strong, there is no boat I'd rather be on.  The ride is going to be wet, but the boat remains (relatively) easy to control when other classes of boats decide to stay on shore. A Shark with a small jib is a tame beast in strong wind.

The best photos in this post are from Luka

The Lightning and the Viper weigh about the same, 700 et 750 lbs respectively, but the two designs are separated by 70 years. The Viper has a bulb that will prevent it from capsizing for too long. The Lightning has a very active circuit, with competitive sailors in the area, and it's still one of the most popular classes in North America. The class has races in the south of the US in winter that are well attended. With its stainless steel centerboard and Shallow rudder, this boat is rarely damagged by hitting the bottom, something that happens in the area. Both these boats are easy to tow, a 4 cylinder compact will be OK.

Le Viper est un bateau léger pour 3
There is only one Viper in the Montreal  area. The Molimar brothers do three loops while the local Sharks do two at the Club de Voile Deux Montagnes. The Viper is a good boat for the conditions in this area, but it can be difficult to sail in a very strong wind.

The Shark, weighing 2300 lbs with a fixed keel needs a sturdier towing vehicle,

The Tanzer 22 is the most common pleasure sailboat on lake Saint-Louis.

It can be used for cruising. It's cabin has a head (marine term for toilet) and a proper galley stove. The Tanzer sails fast in lighter wind, it's large genoa is harder to pull than any other sail in this group.  Tanzer sailors use their trailers to cruise to faraway places, rarely to race.

The Tanzer will go as fast as the Shark in average. When the wind is light, it's large masthead spinnaker will propel it faster. In heavy air, the small sail area of the Shark allow it go better upwind.

The last of the group is the Etchells 22. It is a classic day sailing keel boat. It requires more depth. At 3325 lbs, it's the heaviest of this group. Most of them are in Pointe-Claire.

Etchells 22 by Luka

Whatever the boat you choose, go sailing!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Ian Bruce has died

Ian Bruce, creator of the Laser, perhaps the most important racing dinghy in all of the sailing world, died on Wednesday, March 21st. A Dorval resident, living next to the RStLYC, he also created many other successful boats including the Byte, 29er, and the Laser 28.

Below is a link to the Montreal Gazette article marking his passing.
Ian Bruce was the father of the Laser sailboat and two-time Olympian

Monday, March 21, 2016

Resisting spring, the Lac St Louis ice sounds off.

Have your volume on for this bit of nature speaking. Thanks Peter Rahn for making the video clip!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Oli Tweddell - Australian Finn sailor | Short Film by Ben Hartnett

This is the best sailing footage I can remember, and certainly fantastic footage of the physical nature of small boat sailing. Definitely a "Wow" view. There is a lot of info in his narration, but the film is so mesmerizing, that it will take a few views to absorb the content. What I appreciated in the end, is that he describes his addiction to sailing and why it has meaning for him in a compelling way. Have a look.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Abandoned cargo ship on Lac St. Louis is threatening our waters with a potential spill

kathryn-spirit-beauharnois.jpg (620×349)

An abandoned cargo ship on Lac St. Louis is threatening our waters with a potential spill. It has been over 4 years listing in an area near Beauharnois. It could potentially spill millions of litres of water contaminated with crude oil into our waters.

CBC article