Friday, June 07, 2013

On the international front, Europe is May’s focus of attention for Olympic and Paralympic activity.  The new EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup, organized by the European Sailing Federation (EUROSAF) in association with five of the major regatta organizers in Europe, hosts two regattas this month, Garda in Italy and Medemblik in Holland, the latter in the form of Delta Lloyd Regatta.  The Canadian Sailing Team was represented in the Laser, Radial and Finn classes at the latter event, considered by sailors and coaches alike to be among the best organized events at the top level and consequently attracting fleets of quality competitors.
 
Greg Douglas put in a storming start to lead the Finn Class after Day 1 posting 2,2,1, but came back to earth in the very windy day 2.  Greg wasn’t quite able to emulate his first day sailing for the rest of the week, and missed qualification for the six boat medal race by one point, losing out to Andrew Mills (GBR) who won the medal race to take the third podium position.
 
In the Lasers, David Wright was top Canadian and the only CST member in the Gold Fleet, finishing 12th overall, while Robert Davis took third place in the silver fleet.
 
All the CST Radial sailors qualified for the Gold Fleet, Brenda Bowskill finishing best in 15th place.   Two time Sailor of the Month Isabella Bertold was not in Holland, as she was recuperating back in BC from a bike accident.
 
But it’s offshore we go for this month’s award.  Usually, talk of a tough offshore race conjures up pictures of survival-type conditions - huge waves, fierce seas, survival suit clad sailors struggling to change down to a storm jib – you know what I mean.  But perhaps prolonged light winds, calms and strong currents take a greater toll on offshore sailors.  Competitors in this year’s Swiftsure race, seemed to think so.  The conditions were so light they were calling it the “Driftsure” and only 31 out of 131 boats made it to the finish. Those that persevered took considerably longer this year, when compared to 2012.  Last year, it took the Flying Tiger “My Tai” just under twelve hours to complete the 80 mile Juan da Fuca course – this year it was 28 hours!   “My Tai” and crew under skipper Daryl Homan of the Sidney
North Saanich Yacht Club  held off the challenge of keen rival Ben Power and crew in “Baaad Kitty!” for the second year running, although “Baaad Kitty!” got the better of “My Tai” in the Round Salt Spring race earlier in the month.
 
For their perseverance, offshore sailing skills and success, the Sail Canada Sailor of the Month Award for May 2013 goes to Daryl Homan and the crew of “My Tai.”
 
Tactician and Main trim Mike Woodward, who spoke to us on behalf of the crew, credits consistent hard work to their success. "The race basically started at the rounding mark as night fell. 5 or 6 boats all rounded within 5 minutes. Working around currents, as it was the second lowest tide of the year, and finding patches of breeze is what got us to the finish to claim line honors," says Woodward, "the coolest part of the night was when we were approached by an RCMP boat who lets us know we were in the lead!"