Beginning Thursday, Masters sailors began to drift in to Sturgeon Point They came from across Canada, from the US and one from Northern Ireland, aged 35 to 76, former Olympians and club sailors, some having sailed all their lives, others more recent converts to the glorious sport. They arrived with their ice packs and their stories and their enthusiasm and their laughter.
Day 1 of the Canadian Laser Masters Championships was a celebration of the sport and a fine example of what Masters sailing is all about: two fabulous races in great conditions followed by a fine communal meal, beer, wine and stories at the Club.
The day did not start with such promise: overnight and morning rain, a slight wind from the south, the threat of storms by the prognosticators, a skippers meeting at 1 pm, with the rain having stopped but the wind having also abandoned us.
Richard Roberts’ race committee team, inveterate optimists, had sailors out on the course waiting for wind at 2:30. At 3:30 it began to fill from the west: a sign of hope. Sailors began to look up from their cockpit resting perches. By the 4:00 pm first start, our hopes were realized with the wind puffing up to 15 knots and swinging a little further towards north west. The races were on – a fleet of 53 boats on a trapezoid course with good wind and signs of sun – just about as good as it gets.
Race 1 was a battle at the top between Ray Davies, Al Clark (from BC), Mike Schmidt (from the US) and Andy Roy, with Clark passing Davies on the last reach to take top honours.
Race 2 was a renewal of the rivalry between Terry Nielson and Andy Roy – Canada’s two greatest all time Laser sailors – the gold and silver finishers in the 1982 World Laser Championships doing battle almost thirty years later and finishing in the same order, a first for Terry and a second for Andy. They were followed by John Rae and former SLSC head instructor, now CYA President, Gerry Giffin.
Andy Roy’s 4 and 2 gave him the first day lead, followed by Mike Schmidt with a 3 – 7, Terry Nielson with a 12 – 1 and former North American Laser Champion Susie Pegel with an 8-5.
Day 1 saw great sailing from some amazing athletes – a treat for the hosts and clearly a ton of fun for the competitors. We look forward to a fine full day of racing tomorrow followed by more food and wine and beer and banter and chatter and laughs and all that is great about Laser Masters sailing.