On July 14 & 15, 2007, the Club hosted its Mid-Ontario Championship Regatta (Laser/Radial Gold Cup No. 4) with over 100 boats in five classes participating, including 38 lasers and 28 radials.
On Saturday, sailors braved intermittent torrential rains and steady cold temperatures in good winds to complete four races on a trapezoid course. The day started out cloudy with strong south winds. Then the rains came. By the end of the first race, the wind had shifted to the southeast and, while sailors ate lunch on the water, a new course was set. The mark setters were posted at each of the marks but the rain finally got to their radios and so hand signals began in earnest to confirm the placement of marks. Because the setters were so far apart, it wasn’t unusual to see them jumping up and down and flapping their arms in their boats. It made for quite a sight on the water. Eventually three more races were run, with everyone, other than a few die-hards, happy to get off the water to thaw.
A memorable quote from Saturday came from Sean Clynch, an SLSC junior sailing a Byte. When asked at the end of the day if he wanted someone to sail his boat in for him so that he could warm up, he replied through chattering teeth “No, I-I-I think I’ll…I’ll jus jus just sail it in…th thanks…”
On Sunday, the prevailing Sturgeon Lake west winds were blowing nicely and, by the start of the first race, the sun was shining and lots of clouds were generating good gusts. The strong winds oscillated pretty severely during the races. The Race Committee placed the course in the middle of the swings and three more races were run to complete the regatta.
The first race on Sunday was notable for sailors falling out of their boats after missing hiking straps. Our Laser winner, Evan Lewis, was not immune to the phenomenon. Among the leaders nearing the finish, he missed his strap on his last tack and went flying. With his vang on tight and his mainsheet stuck, he dumped his boat three more times while trying to right it, eventually crossing the line an un-Evan-like 19th (needless to say – his drop).
Two new champions were crowned in the Laser and Radial classes – Evan Lewis in the Lasers (after placing so close in prior years) and Dirk McLaughlin in the Radials. Dirk McLaughlin was the model of consistency. With four first and three third place finishes, he out-battled Rob Koci and Tom Ramshaw for the new Mid-Ontario Radial Fleet perpetual Trophy.
Other winners were Jeff and Sarah Gibson of the Lake of Bays Sailing Club in the Laser II, Murray McCullough and Sam Benson (of the home club) in the 420 and Dave Mori in the Byte.
Sturgeon Lakers sailed well with Claire DesBrisay and Liz Barr placing in an ‘oh so close’ second overall in the 420 class (right behind their coach), Amy DesBrisay and Kate Thomas placing 4th, Kevin Robson and Grady Clynch 9th, Ryan Callahan and Chloe Janda 10th and Owen Thomas and Eric Nyhuus 14th (all in the 420 Class.) Sean Clynch placed 12th overall in the Bytes.
The Mid-Ontario Championship Regatta was first run in 1972, characterized always with the legendary hospitality of Sturgeon Pointers making the Regatta a not to miss weekend in the provincial regatta schedule. Sailors were billeted at local cottages, where tents were pitched on lawns (some masters were provided beds) and hearty breakfasts were served at the “host” sites. Joe Van Rossem thanked his hosts with a virtuoso solo jazz trumpet concert on Sunday morning before heading out on the water. Volunteers produced lunches on both Saturday and Sunday and a huge communal dinner was served Saturday to fuel cold and tired racers.
The Regatta ran like clockwork under Richard Roberts’ Race Committee team. Sailors were off the water by 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, de-rigged, presented their awards and on their way home by 4:00 p.m. Thanks to Evan Lewis who said “This is the best local regatta”. The Sturgeon Lake Sailing Club community has taken three deep breaths and will begin planning the next bi-annual Mid-Ontario Championship Regatta for the summer of 2009. We look forward to welcoming all of the sailors back.