- Category: Regatta Reports
Covering any event at CORK Kingston is kind of like coming home. Marianne is somehow managing to answer twenty questions at once, Kim's got volunteers, food and festivities on lock, and Jamie and the equipment team have all CORK boats up and running despite their operators. (Seriously, I’m REALLY sorry about the antenna!) But what really clinches it are the athletes. You watch them come back year after year, improving in skill, ranking and composure. You invariably come to be protective of the veterans, eagerly awaiting them at every mark rounding and commending their superior performance. Getting to the windward becomes not so much a matter of getting a better angle as it does a matter of being able to see them take on the course and cheer them on (albeit silently while trying to avoid drifting the boat into course).
Watching someone like Coralie step up from Canadians to this,
or watching Rob sail confidently into first elicits something akin to hometown pride.
It had us ringing our hands and sending all the luck Sarah's way as she battled it out along the radial course. We take pride in your accomplishments. We rejoice in your victories,
and yes Everet, we notice when you’re not there. (Though seriously, had you tried to race with the nightmare of sick you had going on, there would have been an individual or two that would have hidden your boat in favour of your health.)
You see the thing about sailing is, to be frank, it's kinda meh to watch unless you sail yourself. The whole process seems a little abstract and the rules are well, there’s a whole jury team that still needs a book or five to sort matters out at protest. But when you do sail, or you have vested interest in the people that do, then it becomes a whole other ball game. It makes the podium round up that much more satisfying to watch, with Robert Davis taking first in Lasers and Sarah Douglas taking second in Laser Radials this year.
That’s the thing about OCR, it's not that it's a qualifier for the national team, or an international regatta (we have a few of those a year), it's that it's the homecoming football game against the rival team. The whole town comes out, literal groupings of volunteers that wear their shirts and name tags with pride. The fresh water sailing capital of the world takes their name to heart and strive to prove it true to form time and time again. And man, Kingston couldn't have asked for a better parade this year.
Strike up the band, and light the lights! The team's rolling on in, we're all homecoming kings tonight.
- Category: Regatta Reports
There’s something about the Olympics. It spurns on a fervor in its spectators. You find yourself inexplicably investing in sports you never participated in, and in some cases, have never even heard of. For the sports you did participate in, you’re whisked back in time, oddly longing for crack of dawn practices and the euphoric adrenaline rush of competition. At least, that’s where we found ourselves this past week, watching our Canadian Olympic Sailing team on cellphones, iPads and in the most luxurious of occasions, actual televisions. We cheered and yelled at screens as a collective for Lee Parkhill as he came in 4th in his 9th race and Tom Ramshaw came in 9th in his 5th race. We swelled with pride every time the team of Erin Rafuse and Dannie Boyd along with the team of Nikola Girke and Luke Ramsey finished top ten, twice and 5 times each respectively. Brenda Bowskill pulled off a total of 4 top ten top 10 finishes as Jacob and Graeme Saunders competed in the men’s 470 for their first Olympic Games.
In then end, the hardware and standings were irrelevant, at least when viewed against the backdrop of the next generation of Olympic hopefuls. You see, while cheering on our Canadian team we were simultaneously following a bunch of teens in Lasers, 420s, 29ers and Bytes as they competed at an international level in a sport they love. Like all athletes they look up to those that have gone before them, and in this case, those competing for their country. With every athlete we sent to Rio in a sailing event, these kids saw the hopeful pinnacle of their own athletic career. It sparks something in kids that may in fact be indescribable. Every kid dreams of greatness, to be the hero in their own story, but often the possibility of those dreams is shaped by the day to day realities they live with. Imagining yourself as an Olympic 49er FX sailor is a lot harder to picture when there’s no existing athlete to picture yourself as. Conjuring that image is made possible every time an Opti sailor looks at his award with a 49er FX etched in the plaque and is reminded that Boyd and Rafuse won OCR here in Kingston just last year.
So with every mark rounding by a kid in a Radial these past four days, with every 29er successfully launched and every coach that watched their athlete preform under pressure a new generation was born. There’s a great deal of talent residing in this new generation, and in the light of the 2016 Rio Olympics, a determination lit by their heroes. So, I guess for our team returning home, let this be your podium moment, the year that you ignited a fire in the sport of sailing and pushed a group of hopeful athletes to see the full extent of their Olympic dreams and the sheer possibility of achieving it thanks to the road you walked before them.
- Category: Regatta Reports
“This is the perfect angle! Keep the boat RIGHT HERE!”
That statement out of context seems like a valid request from a photographer. Especially one like Luka that gets so into the moment that he tends to lose sight of his surroundings. The context, for those of you who are wondering, were the 20+ knt winds and the water cresting over the bow of the boat into the driver’s face. It was a wet and windy weekend filled with hijinks.
The Coupe du Quebec kicked off Saturday morning to some of the shiftiest winds we have seen this season. We’re talking a full 360 rotation that had race committee adjusting, then readjusting, and then just for some more fun, adjusting again. A whopping 26 boats joined our ever so valiant zodiac out on the water and made the best of the conditions. Our photography team ran the length of the course several times trying to get our shots in while Madeleine championed the fleet into a total of four races that day. With variable lighting conditions we headed in before the end of the last race to begin our editing process.
And so begins the hijinks. You know that moment when you’re getting ready to leave harbour and you think to yourself, is the tank full? You remember seeing one of the guys check the tank under the seat, right? Yeah, if the answer is ever not 100% yes, check again. Otherwise you may find yourself out of gas off the point between Pointe-Claire and Beaconsfield. Better still, when you proceed to give your location to rescue, make sure you’re clear which of the several points with windmills you happen to be in front of. You’d be amazed just how many points along Lac-St-Louis apparently have them. Needless to say our attempt to get in early and have photos out before dinner were delayed until such a time as fuel came by. The evening closed off with drinks, merriment, a live band and dancing that proved once again that what we sailors lack for in rhythm we make up for in enthusiasm.
Cue Sunday morning and the 20 knt winds. Donning layers upon layers of our most waterproof gear and plastic baggy-ed camera in hand we set out to follow the fleet. Water bottles weren’t necessary as driving involved drinking mass quantities of lake water while I attempted to breathe. Winds were heavy, waves were insistent and Luka snap happy as conditions lent themselves to some fantastic shots. While I struggled to keep our boat in roughly the same vicinity for more than a second at a time competitors were facing their own struggles.
You know you’re a true skipper when while sinking bellow the waterline you maintain hold of the tiller like a pro. From a breach, to lost a lost tiller and yes, even a man overboard the fleet knocked out three fantastic races. The sheer skill and determination we saw out on the water that day was as always impressive. Again, you know your skipper skills at pro level when your tiller pops of shortly after rounding the windward mark and you somehow maintain hold of it slamming it back into place fast enough to lose but a boat length. Ultimately Tiger Niles proved to take first with Chimere in second and Johnathon Livingston Seagull in third.
Congratulations once again everyone, and thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of your weekend!
- Category: Regatta Reports
Alright, first we’re going to have to apologize for this horribly overdue recap of Laser Masters Canadians. Between the Masters, a the Sail Past, Maude Cup and then the craziness that is Canada and Pride Weekend in Toronto, lets just say this has been sitting in the draft box for a while. So without further ado…Laser Masters Canadians weekend recap.
Let me just open by saying that we here at SailingShot can only hope to be as wholly bad ass as these athletes one day. The event got off to a rocky start on Friday as is the trend with day one’s this season. Light winds had the fleet clumping together along the start line vying for the best break off the line. The result, a quarter of the fleet being black flagged…special shout out to one Rob Koci for taking a short swim as a result of exuberance whilst going into a guy be around the gate. We’ve all been there…see our Sharks post for more details!
Saturday followed up with an afternoon tow in when the winds dies and our athletes found themselves bobbing along the course. Competitors turned in for beers and we headed back out to see if we could catch some of the Maud Cup. For those of you who don’t know the Maud Cup is an annual regatta run out of Point Claire Yacht Club in which keelboats are raced single handed around a white sail course. Needless to say, if the Laser’s couldn’t muster up enough momentum in the breeze the keelboats in Maude Cup were lost. The race was abandoned and our day officially became a social event.
With the weekend rounding out to be a little disappointing on the shots front our photographer decided to get creative. Or, at least that’s what I’m going to use as the reasoning behind him hoisting himself up the top of the mast and nestling in between the spreaders of a Frers33. The positioning was less than mobile and bruising to the kidneys and lower back proved sufficient for our photographer to amble back down after 2 hours at the top of the reverse pendulum. The fleet managed to complete its required races, much to our photography delight with American Laser Class president Andy Roy taking first place.
Typically this is where we’d end our regatta report, but as mentioned previously, it was a packed weekend. Fates aligned and for the first time we were able to attend the PCYC Sail Past. Dating back to 1879, the 137th Sail Past is essentially a boat parade in which crew and skipper of the boats from the club sail past the Commodore of the club Peter Vatcher and salute. To our understanding there is a certain protocol and decorum involved, but again, or photographer was nursing blunt force trauma from spreaders and wasn’t quite so focused on the details. As PCYC’s Sail Past wound down the Royal Saint-Lawrence's started up with the outgoing Commodore sailing down the channel to salute the incoming ommodore. There’s something particularly marvelous about a line of boats organizing in salute along Lac Saint-Louis.
And there it is, the albeit delayed, but whole wrap up of our Laser Masters Canadians weekend. We want to thank the class for inviting us once again and we can’t wait to see you all next year!
Up next, a Quebec City adventure to catch the beginning of Transat St-Malo! Which is also where this is getting poster from.
- Category: Regatta Reports
Well if our weekend at OSGP taught us anything it's that it maybe time to brush up on those long expired lifeguarding skills...
Saturday started off much like all weekend events, no wind, sailors AP'd and everyone and their grandmother looking through binoculars for even the faintest of ripples along the water. (Look! I swear that tree branch totally just moved!!) Just when the fear starts to creep in that we may have to jam everything into a one day window the wind picked up to a whopping 3knts. (Hey, we'll take what we can get right?) All fleets got a race off within the usual time limit, well, almost every fleets. The Hobie wave fleet found itself parked 100m from the windward mark...emphasis on parked. They were finished the course and seeing as the wind has subsequently flipped 180 and gusts refused to gain more than 2knts, lets just say its a sad sight to watch a bunch of Hobies try and out drift each other as a form of competition.
But no matter, if sailors are known for anything, it's that, when sailing is out drinks are in. The festivities began as the I-14's initiated Deathstar into their fleet. Quick aside, please, please! someone in the I-14 fleet name their boat the Rebel Alliance! Continuing on, drinks were had, stories exchanged and our photographer...our company group message was ever so entertaining that night if you know what we mean.
Sunday proved Saturday to be the calm before the storm, and what a storm it was. Our camera's were less than thrilled by the driving rain and they've been sure to express their dissatisfaction into this week. (101 ways to dry a camera, come on youtube!) Low light and raindrops the size of blueberries had our photographer frantically adjusting and readjusting settings while simultaneously attempting to ensure plastic covering remained in place, and well, the camera and photographer on board.
A few brave sailors ventured out of harbour, several quickly returning to the safety of shore. The more adventurous few attempted to take on the elements with Booby Too breaking their boom at the gooseneck and Beach Slam cleaving their daggerboard after jumping off a wave chasing I-14 division winners Something Rude. Faced with less than stellar shooting conditions and a few wayward boats media got off of rescue in order to preserve equipment and not impede anyone further.
Overall, OSGP 2016 proved to remind us why we love to come back, as well as why we really ought to get those life guarding re-certs done.