From July 23 to 25, sailors from coast to coast in Canada – British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia – and from the U.S. (along with one entry from Nortern Ireland) descended on the Village of Sturgeon Point, in Ontario cottage country, to participate in the 2010 Canadian Laser Masters Championships – host club, the Sturgeon Lake Sailing Club.
The Sturgeon Lake community loves to host sailing regattas. The community has a history of hosting Laser sailors at the Mid Ontario Regatta first held in 1972 and has a well earned reputation as hospitable hosts. The Masters and their guests were greeted with a very genuine enthusiasm. Cottages were opened to the sailors and their guests around the Village, with communal breakfasts and dinners prepared and served by a bevy of community volunteers. The food was great, the beer and wine flowed, the conversation on the race course was non stop, as were the stories after.
The fleet was superb. It included sailors aged 35 to 76 – Canadian and international hall of famers, an Olympic medallist and World Champion, a North American Laser Champion, champions from other classes, other Olympians, stars of yesteryear, stars of the Masters circuit as well as a number of good club sailors who came to compete with the stars. Some of the sailors were regatta hardened and others were jumping back into a Laser after a more lengthy absence to relive their youth and see old friends and foes. Seven of the sailors were Great Grand Masters, over the age of 65, and one Heinz Gebauer – 76 (if you believe what his birth certificate says).
The regatta saw generally good winds ranging from 7 knots to 15 knots, swinging between north and west over the three days of competition. Richard Roberts’ race committee held the first five races on a trapezoid course and the last five on a windward leeward. A total of ten good tough races were completed, leaving competitors with one drop race.
After 3 days of racing, Al Clark of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club was crowned the 2010 Canadian Laser Masters Champion. He edged out Ray Davies of the Whitby Yacht Club by two points (based on the Masters handicap system of scoring) and, by doing so, he earned the title of 2010 Canadian Laser Masters Champion and bragging rights for the next 12 months. Terry Nielson of the Boulevard Club in Toronto was third followed by his training partner of years gone by Andy Roy. Rob Koci, Greg Tawaststjerna, Rob Muru, Nigel Heath, John Rae and Henry Amthor rounded out the top 10.
Ray Davies was the top Apprentice, Al Clark the top Master, Rob Koci (of Water Rats) the top Grand Master and Lindsay Hewitt (of Cold Spring Harbour Beach Club in New York) the top Great Grand Master. Susie Pegel (of the Lake Geneva Yacht Club in Wisconsin) was the top woman placing 12th overall.
In his remarks at prize giving, Al Clark noted that he had attended well over a 100 regattas either as a competitor or as a coach of his charges at Royal Vancouver and never had he been to a regatta that combined such hospitality, such community support, such fabulous meals and all with such great racing and race committee work.
For our part, we at the Sturgeon Lake Sailing Club extend our thanks to Doug Creelman and Janet McDougall, who volunteered their time as our on water judges and protest committee members. They were knowledgeable, helpful and supportive in the technical preparations both before and during the regatta.
We also extend our thanks to Al Clark and the other competitors for giving us such a great show of racing skills and dogged determination when the body is saying ‘no’. As a group, these masters are an inspiration and we at Sturgeon Lake had a ball hosting them. They were universally ‘our memorable guests.’
We would appreciate any feedback that any of the competitors may have. To send us a comment, press the comment button. See you at the Mid Ontarios in 2011!
(Here is a link to the report on the regatta published in Sailing-News.US http://www.sailing-news.us/?vs=17420)
Photos and final results posted on the Masters page.