Monday, May 28, 2012

Icebreaker has come and gone and it was an excellent regatta, well attended, with great social activities and catering and wild wind directions that kept competitors on their toes.  A west wind made for a shifty off-shore breeze the cats paw type puffs that would land with baffling irregularity mixing up the placings and capsizing whoever was unprepared.  Krzysztof M confirmed everyone's suspicions when he proclaimed that the shifts were impossible to predict.  Reacting quickly to surprises, changing gears and ability to recover from bad situations were the order of the day, making strong mental game of focus and emotional control invaluable. 

In the Full Rig fleet, Ian H started strong with a bullet in the first race, but at lunch Simon S was in the lead.  By the end of the first day, I had taken the lead on a tie breaker with Issac B.  In the Radial fleet Maura D and Leslie R were in a fierce battle for first with Leslie R ending up in the lead at the end of the day by one point.

That evening there was a very nice catering job, tasty dinner and a great atmosphere at the club with wine tasting, a Bocce Ball tournament, slack lining and a music trivia/dance contest.  The Bocce Ball tournament had as a prize free entrance into next year's Icebreaker regatta.  Phil P put his landscaping expertise to good use and with a long lob backspin throw, he was unstoppable, running away with the final game leaving me scoreless.  In the Music contest mediocre trivia knowledge was made up for by fancy dance moves as the DJs pushed sailors to hit the dance floor with style.

Icebreaker Bocce Ball Champion Phil P looking in good position at the 2010 Laser Midwinters West Regatta
Sunday brought similar conditions with slightly more wind in the morning, but the wind diminished and became even less stable as the day went on.  Issac B showed impressive consistency with finishes of 1, 1, 3 to take over the lead and win the regatta by seven points.  Issac B was unable to attend awards because of his long drive back up to Fort McMurrey.  He said that his drive down took 8 and a half hours!  Thanks for coming down!  I wasn't able to seriously challenge Isaac B on Sunday, ending up in second place after getting stuck in a hole in the second race and then spinning as I joined the many people who fowled starboard tackers at the windward mark this regatta.  Krzysztof M looked to be in great shape, Sunday, with a second in the first race of the day and a bullet in the last race, but he too had a rough second race and having already used up his drop race, he ended up one point shy of third place.  Nick H and Simon S had strong showings on Sunday and both ended up a point ahead of Krzysztof M, tying for third place.  Simon S won the tie breaker and took the bronze.

There was other action in the full-rig fleet, however.  In Sunday's second race, Dave E was having his best race of the regatta, speeding downwind on the second last leg of the race, when a puff caught him at the apex of his turn to leeward, at about the position shown in the thumbnail of the Capsize Recovery video in the last blog post.  His leg was caught under the hiking strap as the boat accelerated into a death roll and Dave E was caught hard on his rib by the gunwale or the edge of the cockpit as he stretched upward to save from dumping.  Ian H, following close behind, saw the expression of pain on Dave E's face and asked if he was okay.  Dave E immediately knew that the overly painful impact was not okay and Ian H gave up his position near the front of the pack to see to Dave E's safety.  In the end, at the hospital in Strathmore, an x-ray showed that Dave E had a cracked rib.  In the regatta, Ian H was given redress under Rule 1.1 and 62.1 (c) and received a score of 4 points, his position when he stopped racing to help.

At the awards, Ian H was also recognized for his sportsmanship.  Thanks Ian H for being there when needed and for setting a great example of safety and sportsmanship.

In the radial fleet, Maura D had a very strong day and finished the regatta with a good lead.  Finn G also had a strong day and snuck past Leslie R by one point for second place, leaving the Masters World Champion in third.

There were also several other fleets, but I have already gone on long enough and this blog is focusing on the Laser fleet, but thanks to all who came out, many opties, young sailors, older sailors, multi-hull, doublehanded and larger crews as well as a strong showing of, paraolympic and mobility classes.

It was an exciting and eventful regatta with great energy that will poor over into CYC's season and the rest of the regatta season.  Upcoming events include:

WSC Open regatta          June 2nd, 3rd  (the second Albertan Dick Degner Grand Prix event)
EYC Intercity Regatta    June 9th, 10th
GSC Driftwood Regatta June 16th, 17th

See the calendar in the first blog post below for more detail.

I would like to gauge interest in a Waterton Wind Clinic, SALSA style.  One date suggested is July 7th and 8th, the weekend before Newell.  Contact me!

Regatta season has started!

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