THE ROLE CYCLING PLAYS IN MY SAILING

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THE ROLE CYCLING PLAYS IN MY SAILING

Aerobic fitness is the physical foundation to all sailing; the better your aerobic fitness the greater your ability is to sail at your best. As soon as you become tired, and your body can’t keep up with the physical demands being placed on it, your performance level inevitably drops and mental function takes a big hit as fatigue takes its toll.
— Staying in Sailing Shape by RYA
Elle Bruce - LIAM BRUCE - CYCLING - TIME MACHINE - PORTRAIT -20190410-7399-1500.jpg

Cardiovascular proficiency is a very underrated part of sailing. Last summer I bought my first road bike and was hooked instantly on the opportunity to change up how I train my cardio. Instead of long dreary hours on the spin bike or the erg I now am out on the open road. Cycling has long been touted as a very strong training mechanism for sailing especially laser sailing. It is great training for leg strength and hiking.

Look me up on Strava if you want to keep up with my training or some of these articles on cycling below:

Cycling for Hiking Cross Training
Justin Norton for ISA

Staying in Sailing Shape

Cycling and the British Sailing Team - with Olympic Medallist Bryony Shaw - Winter training

Fortunately many of my fellow Canadian Laser sailors share my interest in making cycling a key component the training program so I rarely have trouble finding others to ride with.  L to R: Liam, Luke Ruitenberg and James Juhasz

Fortunately many of my fellow Canadian Laser sailors share my interest in making cycling a key component the training program so I rarely have trouble finding others to ride with.
L to R: Liam, Luke Ruitenberg and James Juhasz

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2019 LASER MIDWINTERS EAST

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2019 LASER MIDWINTERS EAST

Over Reading Week I continued the longstanding tradition of going down to Clearwater, Florida for the Laser Midwinter East Championships.

LIAM BRUCE - 2019 LASER MIDWINTERS EAST - Liam Bruce Upwind sparkling water -20190224-7297-WM-1500.jpg

Overall I had a really positive event finishing in 11th place, my best finish ever by a significant margin. I improved on my finish of 24th (24/45) last year; however, the fleet was stronger last year. I had great starts all regatta and had the opportunity to duke it out at the front of the pack on numerous occasions. I had multiple top 5 finishes and feel with some better consistency in game planning and speed I could have moved up the tight leaderboard. I leave this regatta with a great motivation to improve my fitness over the next couple of months in the gym and prepare myself for my next event, the Senior European Championships in May.

In the lead coming into the second windward mark - crossing just behind me on port is Chris Barnard (USA 210780) US Sailing Team member and winner of the regatta.

In the lead coming into the second windward mark - crossing just behind me on port is Chris Barnard (USA 210780) US Sailing Team member and winner of the regatta.

A link to results can be found below, shoutout to my mom for taking some great pics!

RESULTS
PHOTOS

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2019 HEMPEL WORLD CUP SERIES MIAMI

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2019 HEMPEL WORLD CUP SERIES MIAMI

Last week I had the opportunity to represent Port Credit Yacht Club, the Ontario Sailing Team and Canada on the world stage at the Hempel Sailing World Cup Series - Miami. This was an incredible experience to line up beside some of the best in the world relatively close to home.

Liam Bruce (CAN 215019), Josh Armit (NZL 212259) and Rob Davis (CAN 211542)

Liam Bruce (CAN 215019), Josh Armit (NZL 212259) and Rob Davis (CAN 211542)

The regatta brought forth numerous challenges from long 7 hour days in the grueling heat to tricky light winds that were often affected by clouds. With such a high caliber fleet, I was well aware that the qualifying series was going to be a challenge. Being my first world cup event, I dealt with some serious nerves that lead to a few poor nights of sleep resulting in me making some big mistakes in the qualifying races. I ended up deep in the silver fleet after a trying qualifying series.

Laser fleet downwind leg. My Ontario Sailing Teammate James Juhasz visible in the center of the photo.

Laser fleet downwind leg. My Ontario Sailing Teammate James Juhasz visible in the center of the photo.

However, for the rest of the event, I found a good relaxed groove that allowed me to leave the experience very positive and excited for what the future holds. I finished up 76th of 101 boats and I am looking forward to getting back out there again at Laser Midwinters East in Clearwater at the end of the month. In the meantime, I’m back at school in Kingston training hard in the gym.

RESULTS

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2019 LAUDERDALE OCR/ US NATIONALS/ CANADIAN PAN AM QUALIFIER

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2019 LAUDERDALE OCR/ US NATIONALS/ CANADIAN PAN AM QUALIFIER

Leeward mark rounding (new sail number 215019) with fellow Canadian and 2016 Canadian Olympian Lee Parkhill (sail number 208869). Photo Credit: Coach Chris Cowan

Leeward mark rounding (new sail number 215019) with fellow Canadian and 2016 Canadian Olympian Lee Parkhill (sail number 208869).
Photo Credit: Coach Chris Cowan

Lauderdale OCR and US nationals was a very competitive event this year in the lead up to Sailing World Cup Miami. Additionally, it was the Canadian qualifier for the Pan-Am Games. This means that the top finishing Canadian would go to Lima, Peru this summer and represent Canada. This brought an added pressure to the event and 15 Canadian sailors.

Photo Credit: David Sloan

Photo Credit: David Sloan

I was proud of my consistency throughout the regatta however every time I was in a good position to finish well I would make a mistake that was easily capitalized on by the strong sailors around me. I finished 26th out of 54 sailors, improving on my 36th place finish from last year and 4th junior (under 21). I think my big takeaways from this regatta have to do with simplifying my decision making when around more experienced sailors. Instead of trying to outsmart them I need to stay with them and trust my own speed and my ability to not to make boat handling mistakes.

Congratulations to Canadian Sailing Team athletes Robert Davis in laser and Sarah Douglas in radial for winning the spots for Pan-Ams this summer.

You can check out the results at the link below.

RESULTS

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WRAP UP 2018 - WELCOME 2019

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WRAP UP 2018 - WELCOME 2019

WRAPPED 2018 UP WITH ONE LAST REGATTA AND KEY LEARNING

At the beginning of December, I trained and raced leading up to the District-13 championships. Unfortunately, I got sick on the second day and was hampered by a bad cold for the entire camp. This limited the amount of time I was able to function at a high capacity on the water but I made the most of it and had a really productive camp working on starting and boat-on-boat battles. For next time I know I need to be more diligent about protecting my health. Doing a 24-hour straight through drive (with someone still on antibiotics for pneumonia) followed by a hard double session in the gym and then on the bike on the first day took its toll. The racing was held out of St. Petersburg Yacht Club and we had a great steady breeze each day in the 10-14 knot range with no shifts. Strong downwind speed carried me to 3rd place however I definitely feel that I could have been more competitive had I been at full strength.

2018 D13 RESULTS

DISTRICT 13 - On the start line and taking advantage of a mid-line sag. (Sail Number - CAN 206038)

DISTRICT 13 - On the start line and taking advantage of a mid-line sag. (Sail Number - CAN 206038)

TWO BIG REGATTAS TO KICK OFF 2019
I would like to wish everyone a happy new year and thank everyone for their continued support of me pursuing my dream. 2019 marks a year of opportunity for me and it is beginning this January with the biggest regattas of my sailing career with Lauderdale OCR which serves as the 2019 Pan-Am Games country trial and Sailing World Cup Miami. Later in the year, I will be working towards the U-21 World Championships as this is my last year of eligibility and I hope to make my mark.

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SAIL CANADA TRAINING CAMP - OAKCLIFF SAILING CENTER

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SAIL CANADA TRAINING CAMP - OAKCLIFF SAILING CENTER

Earlier this month I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join the Sail Canada Team camp at the Oakcliff Sailing Center in Oyster Bay, New York. We spent 4 days in close quarters with dorm style living for 40 people. This was an awesome opportunity to be around more senior athletes who are years ahead of me in terms of experience. Getting an up close look at what they are doing day in, day out and their advice was invaluable. One piece that really stuck with me is that you need to put in work at the next level above where you currently are, not where you are now. At this camp we spent 3 days sailing and had a fitness test. I was disappointed with my scores in comparison to my previous tests but did finally break the 7 min mark on the 2k row test. I set a personal best of 6:59 but I know there is still significant room for improvement.

Lots of support from the team! Photo credit: Ken Dool

Lots of support from the team!
Photo credit: Ken Dool

I will be continuing to increase my training load and focusing on my fitness in the lead up to my important winter events in Florida this January. In the meantime I am currently in Clearwater, Florida for a short training camp and then on to St. Petersburg, Florida to compete in the District 13 Laser Championships December 1-2.  

Results for D13’s should be available here once racing starts.



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2018 FALL CORK

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2018 FALL CORK

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Another year, another fall cork. It was great to supplement our fall training program with some racing. This year we got 2 days of light winds. On saturday the breeze was cold and came from the north bringing lots of puffs and shifts. It often would die off during races and required extra focus to stay racing the whole time. Sunday brought a light sea breeze after we waited a couple of hours for wind. I sailed consistently and finished up in 3rd place. I’m unhappy I was unable to defend my title but I was still within a shot of winning going into the last race so I was pleased with that.

Third place this year at Fall CORK. Congratulations to my fellow competitors Matti Muru (center) - 1st place, Justin Norton (right) - 2nd place.

Third place this year at Fall CORK. Congratulations to my fellow competitors Matti Muru (center) - 1st place, Justin Norton (right) - 2nd place.

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CORK OCR

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CORK OCR

I competed in my first Sail Canada Senior Championships from August 18 - 21 in the laser class. From a performance perspective I was unhappy with how I finished - 12th place overall. I opened the regatta with a 10, 4, 13, 1 on the first day leaving me in 4th place so my drop from there was tough. On the other hand I had a great regatta from a focus standpoint. I felt that I was on my game for the whole regatta even though the results don’t reflect that.

A line squall came through on the final day and when the visibility dropped the Race Committee sent us in. It was a quick if wet reach back to the harbour.  (#206038)

A line squall came through on the final day and when the visibility dropped the Race Committee sent us in. It was a quick if wet reach back to the harbour.  (#206038)

I’m looking forward to getting back to school this fall and putting in a strong training block before the winter regatta season. The next key event for me will be Lauderdale Yacht Club OCR in January 2019 which is the selection event for Canada’s spot at the Pan Am Games.

2018 CORK OCR RESULTS
EVENT PHOTOS

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2018 LASER U21 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

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2018 LASER U21 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

I have recently returned from a very beneficial trip to Europe for my peak event of the season Laser Under 21 Worlds.

On the start line. (206038 - left side of photo)  Photo credit: Robert Hajduk

On the start line. (206038 - left side of photo)
Photo credit: Robert Hajduk

In the week leading up to the regatta, we trained in steady winds from the north ranging from 8 to 20 knots each day. This changed drastically for the event itself as the first 4 days consisted of shifty offshore conditions from the west. Only on the last 2 days did we see excellent conditions from the north. It was a challenging regatta, and after 6 days and 12 races, I finished 67th out of 133 boats. While not as good an overall result as I wanted, I was pleased to achieve a top 10 finish in the qualifiers, and I happily achieved the first part of my goal by making gold fleet. Once there I learned how small the margin for error was in a trying finals series.

Photo credit: Robert Hajduk

Photo credit: Robert Hajduk

This event was a good experience and a significant first step on a long journey. I look forward to returning to U21 ’s next year to improve on my first worlds in a laser standard.

2018 U21 LASER WORLDS RESULTS
EVENT PHOTOS

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2018 KIEL WEEK

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2018 KIEL WEEK

Kiel week lived up to its reputation with heavy wind and cold weather. This event threw everything it could at me from big breeze and a strong fleet to unpredictable racing schedules (delaying us all day then launching us at 7 pm). My results might suggest that I didn’t have a good event but in fact, it was a great learning experience for where I need to be in order to be successful competing in these types of fleets and at world-class events. Not only do you need to have a complete sailing skill set but you also need to be in the right spot mentally to compete at 100%. In the case of this event I was not prepared fully in either category. I did however spend the regatta focused on my starting and saw positive results in this aspect towards the end of the event. I plan to carry this onto u21 worlds in Gdynia! Overall Kiel Week was a great event, a fantastic learning experience and I’m sure I will be back in the future.

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A FATHER'S DAY THANK YOU TO THE PERSON WHO INSPIRED ME TO SAIL

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A FATHER'S DAY THANK YOU TO THE PERSON WHO INSPIRED ME TO SAIL

ELLE BRUCE - Stuart and Liam - FIRST SAIL ON LAURENTIDE - DSC_0009-WM-1500.jpg
ELLE BRUCE - SAIL TO HOPE ISLAND ON LAURENTIDE - Liam and Stuart - 20130825-8981-WM-1500.jpg

Today is Father's Day and I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to the man who got me into this sport. From the first day I stepped on a keelboat when I was very young to my trip to class youth worlds last year he has been there for every part of the journey as a coach, mentor, and inspiration. I’m super grateful to have him in my life and to be serving as a guide on my path to the top.

Thanks Dad!

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Canadian Olympic Team Campaign for KC297 - Flying Dutchman team Mike Wolfs (l) and Stuart Bruce (r).  Summer 1991

Canadian Olympic Team Campaign for KC297 - Flying Dutchman team Mike Wolfs (l) and Stuart Bruce (r).
Summer 1991

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2018 LILAC REGATTA

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2018 LILAC REGATTA

Laser fleet start

Laser fleet start

Chilling at the coach boat with OST Coach Chris Cowan.

Chilling at the coach boat with OST Coach Chris Cowan.

Another local regatta is in the books! Royal Hamilton Yacht Club was our host for the Lilac Regatta.  After no racing on Saturday due to no wind, we sailed five races in marginal hiking to light wind on Sunday. Racing was extremely close, and consistency was the name of the game. I managed to secure the win after finishing in the top 4 every race. I stayed focused on my starts and upwind technique, and this placed me consistently in a good place at the first windward and allowed me to stay in the game every race. Racing in such a small fleet has its own unique challenges but I consider it good practice for the future when I look forward to racing in some medal races.

Honoured to share the Haida Cup Award with fellow Ontario Sailing Teammate Clara Gravely.

Honoured to share the Haida Cup Award with fellow Ontario Sailing Teammate Clara Gravely.

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2018 ICE BREAKER REGATTA

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2018 ICE BREAKER REGATTA

The local regatta season kicked off on the May long weekend with the Ice Breaker Regatta at Toronto Sailing & Canoe Club. We sailed for two days on Humber Bay in varying conditions. The first day brought plenty of wind from the east at around 12-17 knots and waves. I focused on my downwinds and starts in more breeze. I was happy with how I executed these and sailed very well. I sat in 2nd out of a fleet of 12 after the first day.

Elle Bruce -LIAM BRUCE - 2018 ICE BREAKER REGATTA - Day 1 - Wind and Waves -20180519-0803-WM-1500.jpg

The second day brought fluctuating wind strength and direction from the north-west. These unsettled conditions lead to exciting racing with such a small fleet. I fell to 4th place and one point off the podium after a difficult second day. Big thanks to everyone who braved the cold to make this regatta happen. And my mom (Elle Bruce) who was out and took some great photos!

2018 ICE BREAKER RESULTS
REGATTA PHOTOS
 

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2018 LASER MIDWINTERS EAST REGATTA

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2018 LASER MIDWINTERS EAST REGATTA

Elle Bruce - LIAM BRUCE - 2018 Laser Midwinters East Regatta -20180223-3396.jpg
Elle Bruce - LIAM BRUCE - 2018 Laser Midwinters East Regatta - Chris C James - Watching the radial fleet-20180223-3418-WM-1200.jpg

I am recently back from a great training session and the Midwinters East Regatta in Florida. While on my reading week I went to work in preparing myself for u21 worlds in Gdynia, Poland this summer. Four days of solid training with a great group of sailors including a couple of Olympians gave me a clear insight into what it takes to be at the top of this fleet. The four days of racing were filled with difficult and puffy conditions that tested even the best sailors.  That combined with a very deep and competitive fleet resulted in more tough racing. I stumbled out of the blocks on the first day posting poor scores of 35 and 34 in the first two races. I followed that up with better and consistent finishes in the 20s and teens. I finished a disappointing 24th out of 42, but it is important to for me to remember that my focus for this regatta was on process goals and not placement goals. I found I struggled with my starts, so I will continue to focus on this more in the coming months. For now, I am back at school finishing up my semester and will be working in the gym continuing to improve my fitness until I can get back on the water again to train.

RESULTS - 2018 LASER MIDWINTERS EAST
PHOTOS - 2018 LASER MIDWINTERS EAST

Elle Bruce - LIAM BRUCE - 2018 Laser Midwinters East Regatta - leeward gate rounding -20180224-3529-WM-1200.jpg

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2018 LAUDERDALE OLYMPIC CLASS REGATTA / ATLANTIC COAST CHAMPIONSHIP

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2018 LAUDERDALE OLYMPIC CLASS REGATTA / ATLANTIC COAST CHAMPIONSHIP

Mark rounding. 
Photo Credit: Boo Carraway / John Porter

The best fleet I’ve sailed against yet in the full rig and challenging conditions both came at Lauderdale Yacht Club OCR/ACCs last weekend. The three days of racing brought difficult conditions.  A shifty offshore breeze on day one meant my position in each race at any given moment changed drastically.  Day two we had a big breeze and swell that continued to build throughout the day.  Day three with a forecast of wind building to 30 plus knots race management elected to send us out early before things became unsailable.  These conditions were exactly what I was expecting.  

Good sized fleet.  (206038) Photo Credit: Ken Dool

Good sized fleet.  (206038)
Photo Credit: Ken Dool

What I wasn't expecting were those challenges to be compounded by a large, fast and more experienced fleet. With the competition level high, it became a game of precision.  You could be within yards of the top guys, but there would be 20 boats between you.  I made a lot of mistakes and didn’t finish quite as I had hoped but my goals for this regatta were mostly process goals. There is a lot I can take away from this event from a learning perspective, and I will apply these to my next time sailing in the lead up to the Laser Midwinter East Championships in Clearwater, FL. I have a long way to go towards achieving my goals at u21 Worlds in Poland, and this is just part of the process. Thanks to all of those who made this event possible from the event organizers and volunteers to my coach and training partners as well as my parents and supporters.

RESULTS - 2018 LOCR/ACC

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TRAINING AT INTERNATIONAL SAILING ACADEMY

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TRAINING AT INTERNATIONAL SAILING ACADEMY

I spent the final week of my school holiday break at the International Sailing Academy in La Cruz, Mexico. I learned a lot from this opportunity to sail with a great group of international sailors while getting Olympic level coaching. We spent six days of intense sailing in pristine conditions. The day would typically start with warm-up rabbit-start races followed by long upwinds consisting of lineups. On the upwinds, we focused on setting up the boat to add weight. This helped me to improve my steering through waves and timing of hiking significantly.

We would then sail downwind back to the marina. On the downwinds, we focused on separating our upturns and downturns with a setup turn. This was a repeat of what I worked on the last time I was there last April but I was happy to revisit this crucial skill. I would like to thank Vaughn Harrison for his excellent coaching and all those who joined me for a productive week.

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2017 DISTRICT 13 LASER CHAMPIONSHIPS

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2017 DISTRICT 13 LASER CHAMPIONSHIPS

During the first weekend of December, I competed in the D13 Championships in Jensen Beach Florida. I arrived on Thursday and trained for two days with the Ontario Team and a good group of Canadians in excellent conditions.

Pre-Regatta Training. PHOTO CREDIT: Coach Chris Cowan

Pre-Regatta Training.
PHOTO CREDIT: Coach Chris Cowan

Just a few of the Ontario sailors! Matti Muru, Liam, James Juhasz

Just a few of the Ontario sailors!
Matti Muru, Liam, James Juhasz

Sadly the wind didn’t hold up for the regatta, leaving us to compete for two days in lighter winds. The Race Committee managed four races the first day with winds from the east. Conditions were shifty and puffy with little visible differences on the water as the wind came directly off the Atlantic Ocean over a strip of land and down onto our course located on the Intercoastal Waterway.  I had a series of very poor finishes leaving me in 19th after the first day out of 32. The second day brought wind from the north and more stable conditions. I had finishes of 7 and 3, allowing me to climb the standings to 12th. I’m happy with how the second day went and will take that confidence into my next event in January at the Lauderdale Yacht Club OCR.

RESULTS - 2017 SAIL CANADA YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
PHOTOS - 2017 SAIL CANADA YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP

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2017 ONTARIO SAILING TEAM TRYOUTS AND FALL CORK

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2017 ONTARIO SAILING TEAM TRYOUTS AND FALL CORK

Leeward mark rounding with Matti Muru (208550) and Noah Collinson (206719) right with me.

Leeward mark rounding with Matti Muru (208550) and Noah Collinson (206719) right with me.

This year due to my trip to the Laser Radial Youth Worlds Regatta in Medemblik I missed all of the summer CORK events so I only got to compete at one of my favourite venues once this season. On the weekend of September 23-24 I sailed the annual Fall CORK regatta. I raced in the Laser Full Rig class against a very competitive group of guys from Ontario.

Congratulations to my fellow competitors.  Noah Collinson (on left - 2nd) and Ross MacDonald (on right - 3rd)

Congratulations to my fellow competitors.  Noah Collinson (on left - 2nd) and Ross MacDonald (on right - 3rd)

We raced 3 races per day in light conditions outside of one race in 12 knots. I sailed an extremely consistent event with finishes of 2, 5, 2, 2, 2, and 6. After the drop I finished with 13 points and won the event. Kingston is the best freshwater sailing venue in the world and I am so happy to call it home now.

Additionally I attended the Ontario Sailing Combine in the two days leading up to Fall CORK. I sailed well and have now transitioned to the full rig for good. I am pleased to announce that I have accepted the invitation to join and am now a member of the Ontario Sailing Laser team. I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to the upcoming year of training and racing with a great group of teammates and my new coach Chris Cowan.

2018 FALL CORK RESULTS

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QUEENS SAILING TEAM - 2017 CAN/AM CUP

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QUEENS SAILING TEAM - 2017 CAN/AM CUP

Some may not realize that Kingston Ontario is often referred to as the “freshwater sailing capital of the world.”  This obviously was a key pro for Queen’s when I was evaluating where I would pursue my post secondary education.

Queen's University Sailing Team promo stickers handed out at CORK.  Brilliant!

I have joined the Queen’s sailing team. I am one of 20 or so rookies on a team of 50. We compete mostly whitesail 420s and keelboats. We have a plethora of training opportunities and I attend 3 times a week at Kingston Yacht Club in 420s. A number of people I have grown up sailing against are also on the team, including past and present Ontario Sailing Team members such as Alek, Clara, James, and Matti.

My first regatta came a few weekends ago at the Can/Am Cup hosted by Queens. I was a part of the Gaels 2 team comprised of rookies. I skippered the A-fleet boat with Georgia Stein as crew. We sailed extremely well together, winning 3/6 races on the first day. An OCS on the second day with the different rule set meaning no drops pushed us down to 3rd place in A-fleet and overall when combined with our 4th placed b-fleet teammates. Overall Queen's finished in 1st and 3rd.

Sailing the double handed 420 with fellow rookie Georgia.
PHOTO CREDIT:  Aaron Bailey with Studio Q

I’m really excited to be a part of this group and look forward to future events with the team. Hopefully next year we can increase our presence in the US collegiate sailing scene.

Keep up to date with the Queen's Sailing Team at gogaelsgo.com or on Facebook

ON WATER PHOTO CREDITS:  Aaron Bailey for Studio Q

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