I just finished up my first Laser North American Championships in Brant Beach, New Jersey. I finished up 8th out of 40 competitors in the sweltering conditions on Manahawkin Bay. I think I could have done better with a more acute focus on managing my heat better through hydration and fuelling. I will make this a focus point for my next regatta, CORK OCR and Sail Canada Senior Championships in Kingston, Ontario. In the meantime I am taking some time off and competing in the Kingston Triathlon before getting back on the water next week.
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Over Reading Week I continued the longstanding tradition of going down to Clearwater, Florida for the Laser Midwinter East Championships.
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.
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.
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.
You can check out the results at the link below.
Windy would be the best way to sum up this year's Laser Atlantic Coast Championships. I headed south with a good number of Ontario Sailing Team members and the Chris & Chris coaching duo early for a few days of training before the regatta got started. Training days saw not only good winds but waves. Coach Cowan captured this well in a few videos.
A big thanks to our hosts Carolina Yacht Club, to the RC and volunteers, to my coaches, team mates and special thanks to Ian Struthers.
In early July the Ontario Sailing Team and I travelled to Mentor, Ohio for the USA Laser Nationals Regatta. This four day event was hosted by Mentor Harbour Yacht Club on Lake Erie and offered both a variety of conditions and challenging competition with over 100 radials in attendance.
The first day of the regatta winds were light to medium and shifty. The waves were large rollers and were accompanied by some current. I had great starts but some poor choices resulted in me being on the wrong side of the fleet for some shifts. I finished the day with a 9th and a 15th.
Day two brought my best racing of the regatta. With conditions medium in terms of wind (ranging between 4 - 12 knots) and big rollers for waves. Less current led to more difficult starts as a majority of the fleet could have good accelerations. I felt I had some of the best boat speed on the race course and was fast all day. I had finishes of 3, 4, 17, and 6. This marked the halfway point of the regatta and the end of the qualifying series. After 6 races with 5 to count I was in 14th place and qualified for gold fleet.
After the highs of day two came the lows of day three. The breeze and waves came up resulting in some unfamiliar conditions for me including the biggest waves I’ve ever sailed in. Unfortunately I struggled unsuccessfully all day to figure out how to sail fast in these new conditions. To compensate for my perceived lack of speed I was extremely aggressive in my starts resulting in 2 black flags. I had finishes of 21, 26, 52 BFD, and 52 BFD.
The final day of racing was extremely light and the race committee only managed to race us once in winds ranging between 1 and 4 knots. After one of the best starts in the fleet at the midline I worked my way up the left side of the beat staying first row. Much to my disappointment another right shift came in at the top ⅓ of the beat. This resulted in me getting passed by a number of boats out of the right corner. I finished the race with a respectable 19th.
This regatta was a great opportunity to test my skills against a large and talented fleet. It offered a valuable learning experience; be prepared for the different conditions. Getting the opportunity to go before a regatta and spend time training at the venue can be immensely important for boosting your confidence going into the event. Sadly for this event I didn’t do that and it cost me when I faced difficult new conditions on the third day.
All in all I had a fun time in Mentor for this regatta. I felt that I gained a lot of valuable experience in larger fleets and learned a ton. I finished up in 26th place overall. I am happy with my effort and look forward to taking some of my learnings to my next regatta back in the familiar waters of Lake Ontario at Four Sisters Regatta hosted at PCYC the July 16-17 weekend.
I recently made the trip down to Bellport, NY for the ILCA Atlantic Coast Championships. The overall experience was good but was not without its downsides - including an 18 hour round trip drive that involved coming through traffic Sunday night in New York City and a major equipment breakdown.
I was looking forward to the opportunity to measure myself against a broader pool of competitors. Faced with a good fleet of 42 boats and difficult conditions I managed to finish up 10th overall. On Saturday there were varying wind speeds and some big shifts, at one point a large cloud brought 20+ knot winds and a furious downpour. I managed to end the day with a 11, 3, 14, and 18. Sunday brought equally challenging conditions. In this case it was extremely high winds gusting up to 30 knots! Unfortunately on the way out to the course for the first race, my bottom section broke at the deck.
Lucky for me the race was postponed due to high winds and the fleet was sent in giving me time to find a spar to borrow. About an hour later the race committee sent us back out and raced us twice where I secured pretty consistent results of a 9th and a 10th. Although capsizing because I missed my hiking strap at the first windward was pretty frustrating and didn't help my results. All in all a good learning experience and I look forward to improving on these these results a lot before Atlantic Coast Championship is hosted next year in Carolina!
Big thanks to my dad for driving the whole 9 hours there and 9 hours back and to Chase Burwell for lending me a bottom section that allowed me to continue racing on Sunday!