by Dee Smiith
In early August, Joc, Sully and I headed out of dodge on a road trip to an area we have never been to before. With a little extra time on our hands, we were able to take our time to drive North through the beautiful States of PA and NY. It was a good time to get out of the Annapolis heat and go sail the little boat again, against some very good competition in Canada for the first time.
We crossed the St. Lawrence River and slipped into Canada and headed towards the Pointe Claire YC, our home Club for the next week of racing. I can’t thank the members and their staff of this little Club enough as everyone was just so welcoming and helpful.
We were a day earlier than most, and were able to unpack the boat, find our hotel and relax after our long drive. The next day we headed East about 12 miles to Montreal.
What a great City! Tres French and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves wandering around the wonderful architecture of Old Town, and eating delicious French food. I do believe this day was our windiest day of the whole week.
Everyone else showed up over the next couple of days and we were all busy setting up our riggs and prepping. Then the waiting started. There was no wind for 3 days, 1 Practice day and 2 racing days. The only practice was putting the boats in and out of the water… This was a drag as I have never sailed there before, and was hoping to have some local knowledge by now. The area we were sailing in was called Lake St Louis, but it was really a wide part of the St Lawrence River, with plenty of current, wind shears and things that were very hard to pick up on the 2.4mR.
The breeze finally arrived for the last day of the Regatta. With no start after 2:00 pm, it was a challenge to get the 4 races scheduled in. The PRO, Madeleine Palfreeman did a great job managing the shifts, as there were many, and ultimately get the 4 races in the time allotted.
The forecast was for the wind to blow from 8-13. I was a little nervous using my new, untested, light Quantum Main, but decided on using it along with my medium Jib. As luck would have it the 1st race was lighter than expected, and I had to make do with what I had on board. I even thought about going back in, but did not think there was enough time for a sail change. This race was to be my problem race, finishing 7th, and put me well behind the competitive boats. To be honest it was not the sails that put me behind but my tactics. My initial inclination was the right side would be favored upwind because of less current. On the 2nd beat the wind went 25 degrees left and I completely missed that shift.
I was even more nervous going into the 2nd race, but I was lucky enough that the wind filled in to 13-14 knots which was the sweet spot for my sails and I ultimately took off. I was really beginning to enjoy sailing my new boat. I played the right and rounded 2nd on the 1st beat.
Gybed 1st to lead at the leeward mark and sailed away upwind. At the finish, the fleet was very mixed up and I was fortunate enough to be back up to 2nd place. Here we go!
The next race, I played the right side again, with a great start, I just did not play it far enough. Darell Suderman played it perfectly, hitting the lay line with a big right shift. I still rounded 2nd and the competition was on with Allan Leibel just behind me. On the 2nd beat it all happened. The right was favored but the wind was still oscillating. Darell did go too far this time. Allan grabbed the lead 1/2 way up the beat on a good left shift. I was trying to play the shifts and not the boats to get very close to Allan while we were approaching the last windward mark. The last 2 tacks made the difference to give me the inside as we rounded overlapped. This is when my new Quantum main paid for itself. I gained enough on Allan down the run to have an easy win. I was not so nervous, now.
Darell and Allan were the 2 top Canadian sailors I knew I had to beat. They sail so well and are tough in any condition. I was not sure what the points were going into the last race but sailing a series without throw outs, I knew I was in ok shape, but I had no reason to let up just yet. A nice conservative race watching Allan and Darell would be the way to go. I had another good start on the right side of the line and off we all went. Allan got the lead that I could not cut into. Darell got stuck on the line. I followed Allan around the course happy to take a 2nd and I was hopeful I had few enough points to win. It was not till I got to shore that I knew I had it in the bag for the 2nd time.
I think I speak for everyone that we were very pleased with Madeleine’s race management. Getting 4 races off within the time limit on the very last day of racing, was not easy on such a shifty day. The Pointe-Claire YC really put on a great event for the Open North Americans. Everyone had a great time on and off the water. Joc, Sully and I are very much looking forward to returning to this area and hope to soon.
Thanks once again Alain Dubuc.