Inaugural National Team Match Racing Event

Inaugural National Team Match Racing Event

While most sailors are packing up boats in late October, several keen national and provincial team athletes hit the waters of Toronto Harbour for some professional development! The focus of the event was to develop tactical and strategic skills used in match racing and apply the principles and experiences to their Olympic fleet racing.

This event was managed by the athletes for the athletes, involving a 2-day seminar of training and development of match racing skills. The first day was spent learning the common match racing moves, understanding the rule implications behind each situation, determining the differences in rules between fleet racing and match racing, and then ultimately practicing and executing these skills in the boat. After a seminar Friday morning with lessons and tips from experienced match racers from RCYC’s Match Racing Group, the athletes hit the water to apply their knowledge on the water.

The athletes were assigned to specific teams to control weight distribution, previous experience, and diversity amongst classes. 2 round robin series were completed in a mild temperature of 16 degrees and strong winds. The athletes saw a range of 10 knots to puffs through the high teens. Sailors, including Olympian Greg Douglas sailed under spinnaker (a new challenge for some) during most races until the race committee decided that it was too windy, and therefore athletes were to sail under white sail only later in the day. As the wind began to drop off, the final series was again returned to use of spinnakers.

Sailors were pulled out of their comfort zone with many takeaways from the event. “It was a huge learning experience for myself. I’ve never sailed a Sonar so I learned a lot about the boat. At first I was really nervous to drive in such close quarters to another big boat, but towards the end my confidence grew tremendously. I think that is the most important thing I can take away from this experience and apply to my radial program moving forward”, said team member Sarah Douglas.

Alex Heinzemann, Matthew Ryder & Violet Stafford were the ultimate winners on Day one of the regatta. Alex comments, “Going into the event, I knew I had a pretty solid base of knowledge regarding match racing. It was fun to be able to apply this knowledge against my teammates to see what worked, when it worked, and when it just didn’t. I really enjoy match racing and I am beginning to see how applicable the match racing skills will contribute to my Olympic campaign in a laser!”

Kingston based Laser sailor Robert Davis came out for the event and was pleased with the turnout. “It was lots of fun to spend the weekend with some of the other National team members from other classes and it was a great way to get some exposure to match racing. I am sure I will be able to apply some of the principles learned to my own fleet racing”.

Athletes from national and provincial teams were all in attendance including: Alexander Heinzmann, Matthew Ryder, Violet Stafford, Brenda Bowskill, Evert McLaughlin, Kyle Martin, Robert Davis, Tom Ramshaw, Sarah Douglas, Claire Merry, Greg Douglas, Martin Robitaille, and Landon Gardner.

This event would not have been possible without the support of our national judges and Principle Race Officer. Recognition goes out to Ann Mitchell from National Yacht Club, Andrew Albert from RCYC, Steve Wood and Bruce Brown from National Yacht Club. Thank you to Mike Milner, Sports Director of RCYC, for his help with organization of boats and race committee. And finally, to Greg Douglas for all his hard work putting together a great event, and all athletes for taking advantage of the development opportunity.

Thank you to event sponsor Helly Hansen for the prizes!

Editorial contributions: Brenda Bowskill