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.
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.
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.
Laser Canadian Championships took place over this past Friday, Saturday, Sunday in St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia. Three days of extremely close racing left me in a disappointing 6th place. This is a good benchmark for my first Canadians in the Laser Standard fleet, and I’m looking to improve on it next year.
My mom took some great photos so take a look!
I have recently returned from a very beneficial trip to Europe for my peak event of the season Laser Under 21 Worlds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ON WATER PHOTO CREDITS: Aaron Bailey for Studio Q
Being my final youth event and my last time racing the laser radial, I entered this regatta with the goal of finishing first overall. Not so uncommon a notion - to go out on a high note. Unfortunately hitting that note would turn out to be challenging.
The first day of the regatta saw moderate winds from the mouth of the bay to the south and the regatta started well for me as I finished 1st and then 2nd. As the day went on the winds slowly dissipated leaving very light and difficult conditions for the final race of the day. A series of mental errors after rounding the final leeward mark in 2nd, including a penalty from the jury, had me fall all the way to a 9th place finish for the third race.
Unfortunately on day two of the regatta, all racing was abandoned due to no wind.
The third day brought shifty and puffy conditions from the north off of land. There were large shifts and wind that ranged from 0 to 6 knots. The first race was sailed in little wind and I finished in a disappointing 11th place. The second race was again sailed in light winds and after rounding the top mark well back in the teens I managed to mount a comeback and finish in 5th, keeping my regatta together. The final race of the day came in more moderate breeze but after leading around the first mark I failed to maintain this and I let Tayte (the eventual winner of the regatta) pass me downwind. I eventually finished 2nd. It was difficult in this race but I had to stay very still downwind as I had already been flagged once and would have to retire from the race had I been flagged again.
With a steady breeze on the bay as we launched for the final day I was hopeful we would get three races. I would need three finishes ahead of the current leader in order to close the point gap and move from second into first place overall.
Unfortunately that possibility slipped out of reach as I finished 2nd in the first race of the day and though I finished 1st with a healthy lead in the final race time had run out and we were unable to get in a 3rd race for the day. I ended up in 2nd place overall and 2 points short of my goal.
I am disappointed with this result as I had aimed to finish my final youth radial regatta on the top of the podium. However, I am resolved not to let this disappointment cloud my determination to go after future success. There is always another regatta and so I will take what I've learned and look to apply that as I move onto racing in the Laser Standard/Full Rig fleet.
Many thanks to our hosts at St Margaret's Sailing Club and all of the volunteers who made this event possible and congratulations to my OST teammates and fellow competitors.
Finally I want to say thank you to my coach Chris Hewson for all your support through this stage of my development in this sport. Your guidance, patience and encouragement have been invaluable. Thank you.
In the spirit of National Coaches Week (#CoachWeek) I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my Ontario Sailing coach for these past 3 years - Chris Hewson. He has been extremely influential in this chapter of my sailing career and I can’t thank him enough.
From the time when I was first on the Laser Radial Development Team to now as I leave the Elite Team to transition into the Laser Full Rig he has always been there to chat and help me improve. I have come along way in this time and Chris has been a big part of that.
Thank You Chris!
It’s been a busy past few weeks. Late August I flew back from Amsterdam after competing in the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in Medemblik, the Netherlands. Since completing my application and being approved to represent Canada back in March 2017 this event has been my sole training focus.
My goal for this event was to make gold fleet and I am happy to report I achieved this goal finishing up 58th out of 273 in the men’s fleet. Some highlights of my regatta include a 6th in the first race and a finish of 2nd in the 5th race. I learned a lot from this event about what I need to do order to finish well in this caliber fleet.
I was disappointed with how I sailed in the final series in gold fleet but it serves as a sign that I need to spend more time and get more experience in the top fleets to improve. I look forward to applying the take aways from this experience when I hopefully get chance to take another crack at the worlds next year in Laser Standard at the U21 worlds in Gdynia, Poland.
My thanks to the Struthers family - for your help with organizing our coach boat, on water coaching support, for being great sightseeing, photographers and dinner companions and to Norman for being a great training partner.
Special thanks also to my dad for being on the water every day to coach and support us. Your experience and perspective are greatly appreciated and I am grateful for the time you are able to spend with me.
In short, as the only funding I currently receive it is crucial to helping me meet my goals.
In addition, my hope is that the Quest for Gold program and/or others like it will be around for many years and continue to support our dedicated amateur athletes who have Olympic dreams with the funding needed to make them come true.
When I am alone in my boat competing head to head with the best in the world it is inspiring to know that Ontario is with me.
This past weekend I competed in the Four Sisters Regatta hosted at Port Credit Yacht Club. Unfortunately racing was cancelled on Saturday due to no wind so the regatta became a 1 day event. Sunday brought good wind and big waves from the east.
I competed in the laser radial fleet along with 57 other boats. The fleet was very competitive with the entirety of my team, the Ontario Sailing Radial Elite Team, participating. I managed to finish the regatta perfect with straight bullets. To top it off, I was also awarded the LYRA (Lake Yacht Racing Association) Single Handed Junior - Male Division Champion 2017 flag due to my top place finish as an 18 and under youth from a member club. An honour that will make this regatta - one of the few remaining that I will race as a junior - all the more memorable.
Congratulations to my fellow racers and especially my fellow Ontario team members. Finally my sincerest thanks to all that are involved who worked hard to make this event possible.
For the second weekend in a row I raced a regatta in laser standard. This time it was at RHYC in Hamilton for the Lilac Regatta. Hamilton Harbour brought medium to light winds and on the second day, dense fog. It made for some interesting racing!
Going into the final race I was in a 3-way tie on points for first place but a 4th saw me finish in 3rd out of 12. My consistent results showed that I can keep up with the top group and I look forward to training with them in the fall.