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

Monday, September 21, 2015

Shark 1034 Perfect Start

The Rahn team sure makes it look easy! This is the last Good Neighbours Series race for 2015.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Journée portes ouvertes à l'école de voile de Lachine

Venez découvrir la voile à l'école de voile de Lachine.

Le 12 septembre de 10h à 18h.

3045 boulevard Saint-Joseph, Lachine

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The last evening race of 2015 already.

The last evening race for Team Ambitious turned out to be a windless occasion. Still as usual, Mike Anderson is always quick to drop anchor, and boats will raft up to enjoy the evening. The Good Neighbours Series racing is always fun. The blue striped Tanzer 22 with the pop top here is Mike Plesco's.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fear and Self-loathing in the Midst of Good Neighbours

File photo of Shark #901, Ambitious

The last club race (Good Neighbours Series for BYC-PCYC) was yet another example of how great the sailing is here in Montreal. In the PHRF III division we had 13 boats racing. 12 one-design Sharks and one Tanzer 22. The handicap rating for the T22 has been modified this year to be the same as the Shark. So, PHRF III is actually level racing!

John Linton gets to give the Sharks comeuppance with his Tanzer. In light winds, the Tanzer has the advantage downwind, in heavy air it gets whupped by the Shark. Last Thursday, the breeze was light, but his team also sailed very well and scored 2nd place. John is one of the best competitors in the fleet, and he has to be, because the Sharks boast some stellar sailors.

For the rest of the fleet, it is actually a one design race, and how often do you get to do that in club racing? Not too often around Montreal. Usually club racing is a mish mash of different boat designs, and one boat or another has an advantage in the given condition of the day. Now, in our racing, we have adopted the Shark, and they all go the same speed. 12 Sharks in that club race, all competing without the luxury of excuses. The more the Shark fleet grows, the more it attracts sailors who see the fun and competition.

I find it pretty tough, to be honest, and I also am driven to keep trying again and again. It really is a humbling experience. When hard work pays off, and your team becomes more competitive it is highly satisfying. When it seems I should be doing better, I am not the greatest loser. No, I don't get foul (generally!). Still, a poor performance leaves me bruised, and ruminating, unsatisfied, troubled. I didn't name this little fixer-upper boat and normally unassuming team Ambitious for nothing. I am aware placing high is a tall order. Perhaps it's my dark side. I do realize though that this is a game, a part-time pastime, and I have not sailed all my life. So, I try to moderate my self-loathing! Still, as this blog reveals, I have been doing this for a while. I am clearly an obstinate, but slow-learner.When time allows, the distractions of real life abate, focus is right, and lessons remembered, Team Ambitious has good races and does improve! This is the beauty of the challenge in Montreal Sailing, in competing against such excellent sailors, in the complexity of the sport,

The Shark fleet has sailors of all abilities and fortune. This is another asset. Racing with us means you can compete against somebody, no matter what your luck or skill that day. A good fleet also has good teachers. The Dean of Shark sailing at BYC, Jin Frati has been very generous and helpful for me recently. It is stunning when a master makes a couple seemingly small changes, and the boat surges forward!

Tomorrow evening, Team Ambitious sails its last evening club race before the Shark World Championship. The regatta in Ottawa is where we really eat humble pie! I couldn't choose a better way to spend a week of my summer vacation.

GNS Race, August 13, 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

First flight of the Class C built in Montreal

Saturday August 8 the catamaran built by ETS students took it's first flight.

By now the boat is en route to Halifax.

Good luck guys!

Friday, August 07, 2015

Exhibit of the Class-C project at the RSTLYC this evening

There are not many racing classes more interesting than this one! The C-Class catamaran is a foiling boat with a hard wing. Pictured above, "Rafale" will be on display tonight at the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club (6-9 p.m.). Montreal sailor Trevor Parekh calls this craft "The coolest most techologically advanced boat ever built in Montreal"

Marc Farmer and Trevor Parekh (RStLYC) will be racing this boat at the next C Class Championship, often referred to as the Little America's Cup, to be held on Lake Geneva in September. Farmer and Parekh took the Canadian 49er championship this year

Rafale is designed and built by a large and impressive team of students from the ETS, L'École de Technologie Supérieure of University of Québec.

The event starts at 6 p.m. There is a speech at 7:30, followed by a raffle to support the team at 8:45. A cash-only BBQ will be going on throughout the evening as well.

These are cool boats to be sure. Long before the adoption of this technology by the America's Cup, the C Class has been using hard wings and hydrofoils for more than 30 years.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Update: Montreal Lightning team 10th at the worlds

July 22:
It's still early in the regatta, but 2 of the 3 who participated in the Pan Am games are at the Lightning World championship along with another Montreal crew. After winning the medal race and finishing 5th overall, Jamie, Steph and Chantale are the top Canadian boat and one of the 4 non-US boats in the top 20.

July 27 update:
Wow 10th and first team from outside US! Great show!

Results pictures

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Montreal sailing team to participate in medal race tomorrow

The stakes are high! Go Montreal Go!

Jay, Chantale and Jamie are sailing their Lightning in the Panam games. After 12 races, they are 5th, but that could change tomorrow.  Good luck!