1998 SR Telecom Fireball Canadian Championships - July 3,4,5 1998 - Nepean Sailing Club

23 boats from across Canada and the United States gathered at the Nepean Sailing Club for 3 days of racing and socializing. A total of 9 races were held over the course of 3 days to decide the champion of what most felt was a mentally and physically exhausting regatta. All races were on a Fireball course (tight first reach) with a triangle-windward-leeward-windward finish. One extended course was run on Saturday.

Friday - 2 races in 5 knots (and less) of wind

After a short on-the-water postponement the first race was held in about 5 knots of wind and very hot and sunny skies. A windshift turned the first beat into a drag race to the windward mark - the key here was to try to stay in the wind lanes and avoid the holes. The RC performed the first of many many course changes in time for the 2nd beat, and again reset the windward mark for the finish. The RC moved the course to the east for the start of the second race in an attempt to find better wind. The race began in about 5 knots of breeze, but turned into a drifter on the second beat, with boats making very slow progress against the current, and several of them abandoning in favour of getting back to the beer on shore. The RC shorted the race, finishing boats at the end of the second beat.

Saturday - 4 races in 10 - 12 knots

Saturday provided the most reliable wind of the regatta, with 10 knots holding steady throughout the day. Racing began in light rain and overcast skies. Wind shifts were still significant, but were not as large as the previous day. There was a short chop on the river and no whitecaps. Four races, each an hour to an hour-and-a-half in length were held, leaving the racers very tired by the time they hit the dock. This day highlighted the competitiveness of the fleet, with only a few points separating fifth from fifteenth at the end of the day. Only 3 boats had not had a finish in the double digits, and 10 boats had finished at least one race in the top 5. The RC worked very hard at getting square start lines and true beats, performing course changes in nearly every race.

Sunday - 3 races in 5 - 15 knots

This was a very significant day for nearly every racer, as the point spread was so close at the end of Saturday. The weather system moving through was a nightmare of gusts, holes, shifts, and windshears. Teabaggings and capsizes were common in the sudden wind changes. The battle for the win was firmly between Henry McCray and George Stedman, with the rest of the field trying to maintain their positions or move up. A capsize could result in the loss of several positions overall in the regatta. The day began with a short on the water postponement as the RC waited for the wind to settle down, and then there were two general recalls before the first successful start as the shifts were massively favouring first the pin end and then the committee end of the line. The second start was much less eventful, but the remainder of that race featured the worst of the gusts and shifts, with several capsizes happening throughout the race. The timelimit for starting the final race was quickly approaching before the RC managed to get the race off after two general recalls. The race was held in a generally dying wind that still managed to throw in several large gusts. Going into the final beat the wind dropped completely and several positions were swapped as the boats bobbed in the lull and then the breeze filled in from the left allowing the fleet to finish.

Special thanks must go to all the sailors who travelled to the event, making it a true National regatta. There was representation from across Ontario, from Quebec, and 3 boats from British Columbia. There was also representation from the United States, with boats coming up from South Carolina and Virginia and Brit ex-pat Malcolm Green driving up from Indianna to crew for Ian Maclaren. One of the surprises of the regatta was the impressive performance of Colin Hugget (Surrey, BC) in the borrowed boat 'Proteus' - he had several top 10 finishes and finished 7th overall, showing that the old girl still has some speed left in her. Special mention must also be given to Debbie Thomas for appearing in an unfinished new boat, with only the most basic of controls (and lots of duct tape) in it. There were 3 father-and-son teams in the regatta, and 7 boats with mixed couples (4 husband-and-wife). A new perpetual 3rd place trophy was dedicated to the late Robert "Uncle Bobby" Haining. A special Ottawa Fleet award was given to Malcolm Van Haefton of Montreal for his support of Ottawa fleet building efforts.

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Pos Sail # Home Skipper Crew Pts Individual Races
1 13216 Montreal, PQ George Stedman Phil Lawee 9.75 (2);1;2;1;2;1;1;1;2
2 13281 Charleston, SC Henry McCray Nick Sellars 17.25 5;(11);1;2;1;2;4;2;1
3 12939 Ottawa, ONDavid Landsberg Mona Barakat 33.751;5;4;6;5;(9);7;3;3
4 13167 Montreal, PQ Joe JospePeter Kelly39.00(8);6;3;3;7;4;6;6;4
5 14467 Montreal, PQ Andrew McCraeTom Egli53.0010;9;5;4;4;5;(11);7;9
6 14626 Seaford, VA Gary Van TassellGary Van Tassell II60.009;(24);12;7;3;3;2;8
7 10492 Surrey, BC Colin HuggettGeoff Huggett63.006;3;6;16;(18);11;5;10;6
8 12686 Kanata, ONIan MaclarenMalcolm Green69.007;12;14;(18);6;8;3;9;10
9 10493 Montreal, PQStephanie MarlerEtienne Portelance80.003;2;(17);17;8;14;16;15;5
10 1354 Kanata, ONMike RoperSteve Anderson83.0011;8;7;10;(19);17;13;5;12
11 11153 Montreal, PQMalcolm Van HaeftonRichard Moore84.014;10;13;(15);9;15;12;4;7
12 14688 Toronto, ONDerek GriffithsNicola Alston88.0017;(24);10;8;11;6;17;11;8
13 13890 Ottawa, ONMike McEvoyLarry Strickland90.00(15);7;15;12;12;10;8;13;13
14 12362 Kanata, ONPhil LockerAntica Locker 100.004;13;(20);5;15;18;15;19;11
15 14464 Montreal, PQMartial HavardToby Bryant101.0016;14;16;9;10;12;9;(18);15
16 11148 Welland, ONRick Clift Rob Schmidt102.0012;4;8;20;14;16;14;14;(24)
17 10295 Surrey, BCRoger PhillipsJason Phillips105.0012;(24);18;11;16;7;10;17;14
18 12357 Kanata, ONAndy CarranTrish Carran134.00(24);24;11;19;17;13;20;12;18
19 14462 Vancouver, BCChris WelshCindy Welsh145.0019;(24);19;14;21;20;19;16;17
20 14507 Toronto,ONDebbie ThomasJeremy Smith155.00(24);24;9;13;13;24;24;24
21 11499 Kanata, ONJeremy KennedyGeoff?156.0018;(24);21;21;20;19;18;20;19
22 3057 Kanata, ONSteph Serre De St JeansChristian Dechamplain177.0020;(24);22;22;24;24;24;21;20
23 7927Scarborough,ONJustin Harrington?192.00(24);24;24;24;24;24;24;24;24
Registered but did not compete: Gary Bain (11451) and Eric Owston (14647)