MID ONTARIO REPORT 2009
Over 175 sailors from as far east as Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club, from as far west as Sarnia Yacht Club,from as far north as Sudbury Yacht Club and from as far south as the Lake Geneva Yacht Club (in Wisconsin) gathered in the Village of Sturgeon Point this past weekend (July 25-26) to compete in the 2009 edition of the Mid Ontario Championship Regatta, hosted by the Sturgeon Lake Sailing Club. The regatta was this year’s District 3 Laser and Radial Championship and the inaugural Ontario Club 420 Class Championship.
Sailors arrived Friday night,most carrying tents with them,notwithstanding dire warnings from weatherfolk that the weekend held in store more unrelenting rain punctuated by the occasional thunder clap for good measure.
By 9:00 in the evening,the Village had become a tent city with the lawns of Sturgeon Point cottages dotted with tents of every colour. The tenters survived a night of torrential rain and woke up to overcast but dry skies,a breeze from the south and the sounds and smells of breakfasts being readied for sailors by hosts across the Village.
With breakfasts having appeared and disappeared,appetites satisfied,it was down to the business of racing. Boats were rigged in organized chaos and launched under a system honed over the years by Chief Harbour Master Ken Nyhuus and his followers – the challenge to launch 144 boats in about fifteen minutes in a restricted area with little in the way of ramp space –the ‘system’prevailed…the challenge was met…the boats were afloat and the course set to go.
By 11:10 am the first gun was heard and,after some initial overenthusiasm (and resulting in a few general recalls),all three fleets were off,the “I”flag having curbed some of that initial overenthusiasm.
The first morning of sailing was characterized by tactical racing in moderate winds,overcast skies,but no rain. By afternoon ,the wind had picked up as rain threatened but held off until the final races of the day were being completed.
In the Sturgeon Lake tradition,Nick Roberts and his race committee banged off races one after the other. The philosophy of Nick’s dad Richard (who has been race committee chair for this regatta for years): “sailors come to race,not to sit around waiting for the perfect course…so let them race!” Although Richard passed the mantle on to Nick,the approach was the same. Delays were minimal and course changes occurred quickly so as not to interrupt the flow of races. The result:spectators and sailors were treated to some exceptional sailing befitting a District 3 Championship Regatta and an Ontario Club 420 Class Championship.
Four races were completed on a trapezoid course for each of Laser Full Rig and Radial classes and three races were completed for the 420 class,also on a trapezoid course.
By the end of Day one,the 47 boat Laser Full Rig Fleet was turning into a battle between four sailors:Vaughan Harrison and Robert Davis of Kingston Yacht Club and Greg Clunies and Kyle Dakin of Royal Canadian Yacht Club. Despite winning 2 of the 4 races,Clunies trailed the boys from Kingston and Dakin,as Harrison held a slight lead over Davis and Dakin.
The 53 boat Radial fleet saw master sailor Rob Koci,2nd at the 2007 Mids,lead in most of the 4 races. Issac Bussin,the 2005 winner of the Radial Fleet trailed Koci,but within striking distance.
The 39 boat Club 420 fleet had some great results for SLSC teams. Amy DesBrisay and Kate Thomas (of the local club),with two bullets,led the Class,trailed closely by Ben Pirie and Jenna Newton (of cottage club rival Stony Lake Yacht Club). Arielle Morgan and Heather Myatt (who had travelled all the way from Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club for the event) and Claire DesBrisay and Liz Barr (also of the home club) were 3 and 4.
The weather held for most of the day,which for this summer was an unusual bonus for the Madge Barr led finish boats – harder to get numbers down in the rain. The last Radial race was finished in a growing breeze that brought with it our first on water rain. As the last few boats made it to land,the skies opened with buckets of rain. But the RC had its races in,the skies had held off long enough,the winds were great … an altogether fine start to our regatta.
At six o’clock, almost 200 now rainsoaked sailors,their coaches and others repaired for a communal dinner,prepared by a bevy of chefs led by Anne DesBrisay. It was then back to beds and tents to ready for day 2 of racing.
Sunday’s racing began at 10:00 with lighter winds,but as the morning unfolded,the winds picked up,peaking at 23 knots by early afternoon with threatning skies. With a keen eye on the weather,3 more Laser and Radial races and 2 more 420 races were completed,before all boats were directed in,so as not to push our luck with the weather gods.
Sunday’s racing continued to be at the highest levels with battles taking place from top to bottom of the fleet. Some weary sailors at the back of the fleet in particular showed resilience in finishing races notwithstanding multiple capsizes in the heavy stuff…and then there were the great grand masters and grand masters who continued to defy father time:the inimitable Heinz Gebauer, Joe Van Rossem and Jim Dingle,Harold Briggs,Richard Roberts, Norman Hey,Allan Lathrop, James Belfrage, Pat Roulstone,Stephen Boake and Rob Koci to name just a few. The Regatta was inundated with masters,27 in total, and their presence alongside so many juniors added so much to the spirit of the event.
Sunday racing saw the familiar faces back at the front of the fleets. Robert Davis,with 1,2,1 finishes ended up pulling away from the others in the Laser fleet,followed by Harrison,Clunies and Dakin. In the Masters category,Ray Davies and Andy Roy battled for the prize with good results on Sunday. They ended up 5 and 6,with Davies taking the prize.
In the Radial Fleet,it was grand master Rob Koci of St. Jamestown Sailing Club who continued his magnificent sailing with two more bullets to cement his victory,as a result of which he did not need to complete race 7 –a good thing as he broke his extension tiller (now a Koci habit) and retired. 2005 Radial champion Issac Bussin (RCYC) ended up 2nd followed by a very talented Brenda Bowskill (also RCYC) in 3rd. Jeremy Clark of KYC was top Junior and Grand Master Richard Roberts top Sturgeon Laker with a credible 6th place finish.
In the 420 fleet,Royal St. Lawrence sailors Arielle Morgan and Heather Myatt,with 2 and 1 finishes on Sunday took top spot and were crowned the first Ontario Club420 Class Champions and winners of the Sturgeon Bowl as Mid Ontario double handed champions. They were followed by Ben Pirie and Jenna Newton in 2nd and Claire DesBrisay and Liz Barr of the home club in 3rd. Mark Istvan and Tim Dutton of Stony Lake Y.C. were top Juniors.
This Regatta was once again a huge community effort of volunteers from throughout the Village –sailors and non sailors. To the RC, the harbour gang, the breakfast,lunch and dinner makers,the suppliers of tenting space and billets, the scorers and spectator boat operator and to the sailing club instructors who worked so hard to ready the club for the onslaught…a job well done.
To Peter Wood (acting Executive Director of CYA) and to Mark Searle (PCYC Regatta Guru),who have helped out again this year –Peter as Protest Committee Chair and Mark as Pin End Guy and wise counsel –you are both succeeding in making yourselves indispensible…thank you.
To Paul Wroe,who sacrifices his lawn and fields every other year for Lasers,trailors and cars to have a home for the weekend,a huge thank you.
To the competitors who show up for the Regatta,some time and again, you make it all so worthwhile for your hosts.
We’ll take three deep breaths,do a full debrief and get ready for 2011. We will look forward to seeing a whole lot of you back then.
MID-ONTARIO REGATTA – SLSC – 2009
1ST Robert Davis (KYC) –winner of the Laser Silver Tray and District 3 Laser Champion
2ND Vaughan Harrison (KYC)
3RD Gregory Clunies (RCYC)
1st Junior Ian Hill (KYC)
1st Master Ray Davies (Whitby YC)
1st Sturgeon Lake Mike Petrosoniak –winner of the Frog
1ST Rob Koci (St. Jamestown SC) –winner of the David F. Barr Cup and District 3 Radial Champion
2ND Isaac Bussin (RCYC)
3RD Brenda Bowskill (RCYC)
1st Junior Jeremy Clark (KYC)
1st Female Brenda Bowskill
1st Sturgeon Lake Richard Roberts
1ST Arielle Morgan &Heather Myatt (Royal St. Lawrence YC) –Winners of the Sturgeon Bowl and first Ontario Club 420 Class Champions
2ND Ben Pirie &Jenna Newton (SLYC)
3ND Claire DesBrisay &Elizabeth Barr (SLSC)
1st Junior Mark Istvan &Tim Dutton (SLYC)
1st Female Arielle Morgan &Heather Myatt
1st Sturgeon Lake Claire DesBrisay &Elizabeth Barr