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.
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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.
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.
My summer culminated with the CORK International - Sail Canada Youth Championship Regatta at the end of August in Kingston Ontario. This regatta held significant importance for me as it was the qualifier for the ISAF / Youth World Sailing 2016 Championships to be held in New Zealand this December. The winner would be offered the spot to represent Canada. My main goal while I sail the laser radial (before I move on to the Olympic Class Laser Standard boat) is to attend an ISAF/World Sailing Youth Championship before I age out. Which means I only have two left. Qualifying this time out was a small stretch but entirely doable and I trained hard all summer with this goal in mind. Sadly I fell just slightly short. After 12 races in total in a fleet of 148 I finished up 4th overall and 3rd Canadian. A huge improvement on my previous years finishes but two places out of the opportunity to represent Canada at the Worlds this year .
The conditions in Kingston for this regatta were unusual. I had spent almost 6 weeks in Kingston training 5 days per week with the Ontario Sailing Elite team but none of that would prepare me for what nature served up. Usually during the summer Kingston will get a thermal almost every day. This wind will be around 12-15 knots and from the south-west or just to the right of the island. There was not a single one of these types of days during the regatta. This year the wind was light to medium for every race except one. That one race was the final race of qualifiers and a squall came through with fog, rain, and 25 knot winds.
My best race of the regatta came on the first race on the second day of qualifiers. In that race I was one of the only people to notice a massive wind shift favouring the pin end of the start line at about 1 minute left to go. I sailed to that end of the line, had a clean start and crossed in front of the fleet by a significant amount. I led the entire race and won by over a minute. It was an exhilarating feeling. I am really proud of this result and would like to believe this is a sign of things to come.
Unfortunately this regatta also had it’s share of disappointing races. Some poor starts, bad luck, and sometimes poor decisions led to results that weren't my best. Over the entire regatta I was fairly consistent with race finishes of 5, 5, 4, 1, 8, 2, 11, 4, OCS, 11, 3, 10. The regatta came down to the wire with fellow Ontario Sailing team mate Matti Muru, Quebec sailor Justin Vittecoq and I all tied in points for first place.
Had the regatta finished after 11 races I would have won. At one point it seemed unlikely that the race committee would manage to get a 12th race started before the time limit for the final day ran out, but with less than 5 minutes left on the clock they started us. Unfortunately in that final race I was unable to keep ahead of Justin and Matti and in the end I finished 3rd Canadian and 4th overall. Although this was disappointing I’m really proud of my effort and how I put myself in the position to win.
Many thanks to all who worked so hard organize and run this event. Special thanks to my coach Chris Hewson, to Sarah Douglas and to the rest of my team for being the best of training partners. Finally congratulations to Justin, Matti, Campbell Patton (Bermuda) and Alex - my fellow competitors on the podium this year. Good competition makes great sailing - my thanks.