From: Joe Grant
To: Malcolm Van Haeften
Driving to Ottawa is always a faintly gloomy matter - a gentle decline towards the seat of government. Driving to Ottawa after rising (well, sinking out of bed) at 4:30 and departing Baie d'Urfé at 6:00 is more that usually gloomy. Doing all this under a low, grey sky that seemed to me to be the windless clag that sits over us for a day or two when a low passes to the south was quite depressing.
We were, therefore, somewhat enlivened to find an improbably brisk north-easter awaiting us at Nepean, and even more enlivened, this time with a touch of irritation, to find Rob and Joe's boats sitting rigged and ready under their covers while the owners, no doubt, regaled themselves with bacon and eggs and hot coffee. We sullenly arranged our strings and sighed.
The breeze held, around 15kt, for the first race, which unfolded as is proper, with Rob first, Eric snapping at his heels in second, and Joe & Toby close behind in third and fourth. The wind fell to about 12kt for the second race, 8kt to patches of dead calm for the third, and then back to a steady 12kt for the fourth. There was, however, bit of a breakdown in the decent ordering of things, with Joe being driven into fifth place by a totally disrespectful McEvoy and Locker on one race, and thereafter forgetting himself and coming second in another. In the fourth, Eric accidentally passed Robert in the last few yards of the race (on a medium tight reach), having mistakenly passed below, instead of above, a small herd of Laser II's who had inattentively taken Rob above the leeward mark. Toby, meanwhile, having been deprived of Nick's services by a passing enthusiasm on Nick's part for something other than sailing, had been equipped by NSC with a one-race crew - a valiant 17yr old who had been on a Fireball only half a dozen times - and began to fade away. Mike McEvoy also had a less that 100% crew, Jason having arrived at Uplands at 7:30 that morning on a red-eye flight from the far West. That did not stop him form joining Phil Locker in a sort of retreat-from-Moscow harassment campaign on the leading boats - anyone who lagged would have meet a swift decapitation Cossak style. Derek Griffiths was out there too, and Jeremy (11149) and Mike Roper (with Mona as crew, since David was trapped at the office) and Steph Serre de St-J (sailing Andy Carron's boat) - a total of 12 Fireballs.
The courses were trapezoidal, the normal gybe mark being replaced by a pair of marks separated by a quite long leg directly down wind. The course (for Fireballs) was sausage + trapezoid, with a mark a little to windward of the starting line serving as the leeward for the sausage, and the starting pin serving as the leeward for the trapezoid. The finishing pin was a flag buoy set directly aft of the committee boat, so that one finished by hardening up a little (still under spi) after the last leeward. Are you confused yet ? Good. Now add 505's (8), Lasers (20?), Laser IIs (12?) and 29ers (6) sailing around the same marks in a different sequence for each fleet, and you have a situation which literally does not bear thinking about. One simply avoided what came along, and firmly resisted any foolish urge to analyze.
A barbecue at Britannia, with very good steaks, and a very good bar near at hand, provided us with the needed opportunity to rearrange history into a suitably amusing configuration. Eric's persistent harrying of Robert on the downwind legs, (he would hang half a boat-length of Rob's transom, knowing that there was no hope of passing, but also no good reason not to be annoying) were the subject of much mirth - particularly since Joe & Peter always had a grandstand view from about three boat-lengths back. Rob was reduced to screaming "Go away, go away!" on a couple of occasions, but no real harm was done to his mental balance or his results.
Nobody was keen to sail on Sunday. It had rained steadily from the end of sailing on Saturday, so everyone had to (except Tom, who has a hair-dryer - why? he has no hair) had to don damp gear. Peter Kelly had had two hours sleep due to a bout of jelly-belly (perhaps not all of those steaks were so good). And Saturday's north-easter had become a gusty easter, 20kt gusting to 25. (Editors note: make that gusting to 30 - see the graph below) It would be lovely, if one could be dropped, dry clad into rigged boat out on the lake. But how to get the main up in a weed-infested harbour with no shelter and docks beam-on to the wind. We all stood on the shore, watching the white caps and hoping for someone with a helicopter to arrange as sort or reverse-rescue operation. (Actually, a DND Labrador did pass over-head, but only I noticed it, and I preferred, given its flammable record, not to give pay it any heed.)
Then, suddenly, there were Mike M & JasonP, reaching out of harbour in grand style, hull-aplane and Jason's back brushing the wave tops as he lay full out on the wire. So all who could followed. I helped Eric dump while raising the main, so that we could depart with our standing rigging gaily festooned with emerald strands of weed - but the cruel wind swiftly blew them away. We arrived at the sailing area half and hour after the appointed starting time to find the race committee not yet at anchor, and still, I suspect, ruminating on their Eggos, or whatever breakfast Britannia had provided for them. The wind had relaxed to about 12kt by the time they would themselves up to a gun half an hour later, but the chop had not heard the news. Two races were sailed, and the wind built a bit, gusting and veering irritably. No doubt it was disappointed that it had not driven us away. Jason now being fully recovered, Mike M took two thirds, with Rob and Joe keeping their proper order. I provided some unappreciated comic relief by allowing the spinnaker to blow through behind the jib on our second gybe of the first race, when close behind Rob and just ahead of Joe. I did a good job, and got it round the jib and forestay not once, not twice but thrice. Joe and Mike M stormed over us to the finish, while Eric steered to fourth place without the slightest trace of a smile. He kindly allowed me to spend twenty minutes in the water, undoing my little tangle while he stood on the centre-board fending off predatory rescue boats, closing in for the kill. He did volunteer to swim himself, but only, I suspect, because he felt that my usefulness was at an end. The water having being very warm, I found my urinary system to be unnecessarily relaxed, once we were under sail again - too much so to contain the excitement of the day. I foolishly decided to do a light-weather pee, with full undress, forgetting that 15kt will reduce the offensiveness of a warm, wet crew. We made the second a minute late, and took a second fourth.
Final results, for top five:
Rob & Tom - 3.75 points;
Eric & Joe - 11.75 points;
Joe & Peter - 12 points;
Phil & Christian - 23 pints;
Mike & Jason - 24 points.
(You have no idea how hard it is to type "points" - it wants to be "pints".)
It took the regatta organizers the standard 4.375 hours to get the awards organized, so there was time, after the boats were packed, for the non-drivers and non-bilious to have more beer and tell more lies on Britannia's lawn. I noticed that Peter's head was quite a bit smaller than had been the evening before. I mentioned this to Jason, who agreed. I suggested that it was just an illusion due to his having put on extra clothing, but Jason pointed out that his spectacle frames were now at least two sizes to large. (Jason and I use words like "spectacles".) We came to the conclusion that he must have barfed his brains out the night before. A bit depressing, really - suggests that crew brains aren't all that important to the results.
After a properly boring awards thing, where everyone who won anything was from the Royal CYC or the Royal StLYC or Britannia, or was frowned at, photographs were taken in the rose garden (really - I'm sure Jason will post them), and we came home.
|1||Rob Levy / Tom Egli||PCYC||CAN14465||3.75||1;1;1;(2);1;1|
|2||Eric Owston / Joe Grant||Beac.YC||CAN14647||11.75||2;3;2;1;(4);4|
|3||Joe Jospe / Peter Kelly||PCYC||CAN13167||12.0||3;2;(5);3;2;2|
|4||Phil Locker / Christian Dechamplain||NSC||CAN14678||23.0||(5);4;4;5;5;5|
|5||Mike McEvoy / Jason Phillips||NSC||CAN13890||24.0||7;8;3;(9);3;3|
|6||Mike Roper / Mona Barakat||CAN1354||NSC||31.0||6;5;9;4;(13);7|
|7||Derek Griffiths / Nicola Alston||TS&CC||CAN14688||34.0||9;6;7;6;(13);6|
|8||Toby Bryant / Paul||PCYC||CAN13703||37.0||4;7;6;7;(13);13|
|9||Jeremy Kennedy / ?||Brit.YC||CAN11499||44.0||(10);10;10;10;6;8|
|10||Gaetan Lavoie / ?||NSC||CAN10295||46.0||8;9;8;8;(13);13|
|11||Steph Serre de St. J. / Carl||NSC||CAN12357||58.0||11;11;11;12;(13);13|
|12||Doug Corner / Antica Locker||NSC||CAN12362||60.0||12;12;12;11;(13);13|