Sailing club hosts IOM racers
SUBMITTED BY THE SSI SAILING CLUB
Gale warnings, rain and mayhem predicted for the Oct. 23-24 weekend did not deter the intrepid International One Metre sailors from venturing forth to battle.
The Pacific Regional Championships was vigorously supported by the Salt Spring Island Sailing Club, which has a long history of hosting regattas for this class.
Race officer Tony Meek got off 23 races for the 18-boat fleet over the two days, doing an excellent job in trying conditions. He was ably supported by club members Heather Sloat, Nicholas Sladen-Dew, April Faget and Rhys Parry.
Parry, who was the club’s junior sailing instructor this year, was in charge of the mark-setting boat, was also called on to do several boat rescues during the event. His boat-handling skills were evident and drew much praise from the sailors. Also drawing much praise were the lunches provided each day by Rosemary Harbrecht. The sailing club can be proud of this team.
Day one started with ideal racing conditions. It has been a long time since many of us have raced in a big fleet, so nerves where on high alert. The race officer had set a long start line so the fleet got off without incident. Right off the bat three boats stated their intent by winning races, Peter Grimm in race one, Royce Reid the second and Murray Cummings the third. Top Salt Spring sailor at this point was Paul Faget with scores of 7, 3 and 6.
As the day progressed the wind lightened and the fleet settled into close racing. Local sailor and shipwright Mark Wallace came on strong scoring a 2, 3, 4 and 2 in the last four races of the day. By the time 13 races had been completed, the wind had become very light and fickle, but one last race was started. On the third leg of the course, when most of the boats had stopped and some were going backwards, the race officer abandoned the race, which was the perfect call.
The fleet retired to the club house, tired but pretty happy. Reid, our visiting New Zealander, held a commanding lead, while second to seventh spots were separated by only five points. Apart from being a perfect gentleman and a good sailor, Reid was also good at sharing his knowledge, showing his rig and explaining how he set up his tuning. We pretty much nominated him as an honourary Salt Springer at this point.
This was our first time sailing so late in the year and we were finding floating maple leaves a navigational hazard. Everybody got one at some point but our top-ranked Canadian, Peter Grimm, seemed to have special powers of attracting them, sometimes in clumps.
Day two brought more wind from a difficult direction, making it hard to find a good leg directly into the wind. Our race officer, in consultation with the local sailors, devised a course that would serve. One metres have three different sail rigs, A,B and C, that get progressively smaller as the wind gets up, so part of the tactics of racing is to choose the sail rig that is best suited to the conditions. In gusty conditions it is a hard call and it sometimes happens that half the fleet is in the large rig hoping for less wind while the other half are with smaller sails hoping for big gusts of wind. That was the case on Sunday, which led to some exciting and comical moments.
On one run to the leeward mark, three boats in B rigs were hunted down by three boats in A rig, then a big gust whipped through and the bows of the A-rig boats went under water, pressed by too much sail, until their rudders departed the water and they spun up into the wind out of control. The B-rig boats blasted back into the lead.
Our four-strong Salt Spring fleet suffered attrition to the wind and the rain with Gyle Keating having broken rigs early on and Wallace and Faget having electrical problems that forced them to miss races. Local sailor Martin Herbert put together a string of good races to sneak unnoticed through the boats, battling for second place to reach the podium.
A very popular winner, Reid took the regatta with 49 points. Martin Herbert was second with 75 points. Third was Murray Cummings, a New Zealander living in Calgary, with 83 points. And Vancouver’s Grimm took home fourth place with 84 points.