Bowskill captures Radial title & Parkhill Secures Pan Am Berth!
Midwinters wrapped up Sunday and despite a slow and cold start to the event with no racing on the first day due to heavy winds. Race committees worked hard throughout the remainder of the event getting in a total of 9 races over the 3 days of racing. Laser MidWinters was the last national team qualifier and a Pan Am Games qualifying event for Lasers, making it a significant weekend of racing for the Canadian sailors.
After 3 days of tough sailing, battling it out with teammates Robert Davis & Evert McLaughlin for the top spot, Lee Parkhill maintained his lead finishing second overall and top Canadian. “Of course, I would have liked to maintain the leader position, but overall I am very pleased with how I sailed this week. The ultimate goal was to be top Canadian and I was able to achieve that, albeit narrowly. My hat goes off to the rest of the Canadian Laser team, everyone was sailing well - they definitely kept me on my toes until the very end.”
Canadian Laser Team coach Steve Mitchell was thrilled with the overall team effort saying, “The fight for the Pan Am spot was intense with Lee eventually winning out after a hard fight with Evert and Rob. All of them won races, and Lee's consistency in the top 4 was the eventual difference. Evert raised his performance level at this regatta and Robert showed his speed by winning 3 races. Overall a great battle with some great athletes raising their game when it mattered. ”
Lee’s top finish qualified him to be nominated to the Canadian Pan Am Team this summer. Lee trains out of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and is very much looking forward to competing on his home waters. “I could not be happier about qualifying for the 2015 Pan Am Games. It's not everyday that I get to share my passion and the excitement of competing with my family and friends. Having the support of them with me in Toronto is going to be a great feeling.”
Lee has exciting goals for the busy summer ahead, with the Laser World Championships in Kingston wrapping up just a week before the Pan Am Games are set to begin in Toronto. “My goal for the Worlds will be to reach the top ten. I have finished top 20 on three separate occasions however my sights are set much higher now. As for the PanAms, my goal will be to walk away with a medal! I will also gain valuable experience racing in a games atmosphere similar to the Olympics to help prepare for Rio 2016.”
On the Radial Course, Brenda Bowskill (RCYC) came out of the gates strong, sailing her way to a bullet in the first race of qualifiers. She continued to show off her speed and sail strong and consistent races throughout the rest of the event leading her to a first place overall finish in the competitive 151 boat fleet. “Every race was different from the last which allows for some really good training. I was specifically trying to avoid the middle of the race course and to control a side, which was extremely important at this regatta. The middle of the course could be quite costly at times.”
Coming off of her strong performance at World Cup Miami in January, securing her spot for the Pan Am Games in July, Brenda went into this event aiming for a podium finish and focusing on continuing to build on the skills and strategy from Miami World Cup. “Going into the event I wanted to improve from my 4th place finish last year. I really wanted to solidify the things I was working on in Miami, including aggressive starts and a bit of tweaking in my strategy. The conditions at midwinters actually turned out to be pretty similar to what we saw in Miami, which was perfect.”
The end of MidWinters brings an end to a long winter training block for the radial sailor, however the hard work continues. Brenda is headed back to Toronto and straight to the Canadian Sport Centre to continue her training and preparation for her upcoming spring events and the Pan Am Games.
Youth Radial Sailor Matti Muru (OST) sailed a very impressive midwinters event finishing in 3rd overall while National Team member Claire Merry (RCYC) finished 2nd female and 5th overall.
This event marks the final Pan Am qualifier for the Olympic class boats with FX sailors Erin Rafuse & Danielle Boyd qualifying at the North American Championships earlier this month. The next Pan Am qualifier will take place in late March for the Sunfish class.