Masters Sailing

Shade tree view of the racing

I’m in Ottawa, hanging out at Brittania YC for the weekend. They’re hosting the ILCA Masters Canadian championship. ILCA is the new name for the original Laser dinghy.

I’m registered for the regatta, and sailed yesterday. Today I sat out the racing.

The idea for racing here came about recently. I haven’t sailed a Laser more than a couple of times since I had my jaw surgery 5 years ago, but up until then had been racing pretty regularly. Getting back at it has been a goal for a while.

I have enormous admiration for a few of the old guys that continue to be active in this fleet. Joe Van Rossem is in his early 80s and Jack Pearce is 79. Both are inspirational. We have an age handicapping system that puts competitors into ten year age groups. When I started in this fleet the old guys – 65 and older – were in the Great Grand Master category. As the fleet aged they created a new category – Legend – for over 75.

Sarah has been sailing my boat in Guelph and offered to buy it, so I found a somewhat newer boat recently for sale in Toronto and bought a replacement with the intent of carrying it aboard Escapade. I had been trying to get it out to NS to sail in a regatta there this weekend, but when that fell through along with other plans for next weekend I decided to head back to Ontario for a visit. Fellow laser sailor and Guelph neighbor Harri Palm was coming to this regatta, and was able to bring my boat to Ottawa and offer me a drive home afterwards.

Yesterday was a bit of a bust. I had a flight booked from Halifax to Ottawa on Thursday on discount airline Flair, and they canceled it early Thursday morning. The alternative direct flights quickly sold out and prices spiked. I ended up getting a full priced direct flight early Friday morning on a full AC turboprop flight. Then taxi to the regatta where it was sweltering hot and sunny with very little wind. I had all my boat bits, but was missing my race timer, and had left my sun hat and sun glasses on Escapade.

When we got on the water I suffered, and got a couple of near last place finishes. Bad starts, bad boat speed, and relentlessly light and sunny. Not enough water. I was ready to come in when they called it after 2 races.

I had asked Euan and Gill if we could stay on their boat at nearby Nepean, and it seemed an ideal crash pad. But with no A/C and stifling hot humid weather I ended up staying outside late trying to cool off. It wasn’t fun. So with more of the same forecast for today I gave myself permission to sit it out. Sat in the shade, drank lots of water, had a nice lunch and a shower at the club. I’m starting to get over the shock of Ontario summer and feel fit and fine this evening.

They got three races in today, and by all accounts it was brutal several competitors came in early. I’ll go back out tomorrow if there is racing, but the forecast is for continued calm, so it may be called early.

Looking forward to seeing family this week.

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