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.