Sailor of the Month - January

Sailor of the Month - January

From our local clubs, to recreational sailing programs all the way to our inspiring high performance athletes, sport is vital to the cultural fabric of our nation. 2015 is the Year of Sport in Canada and we kick it off with recognition of the successes in our sport for the month of January.

The Coconut Grove Sailing Club hosted the 49er/FX & 470 North American’s in conjunction to the Nacra & RSX midwinters, a nice warm up for the ISAF World Cup. This regatta served as the Pan Am qualifier for the RSX fleet with 3-time Olympian Nikola Girke clinching top Canadian spot with ease along with fellow board sailor Zac Plavsic. Canadian 470 team Graeme & Jake Chaplin-Saunders were also crowned North American champions against a talented international fleet.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami saw record numbers of Olympic and Paralympic sailors turn up for the chance to earn a World Cup title in addition to the elusive points towards Abu Dhabi final. Other outcomes of significance included Pan American Games qualification for the Canadian Radial squad with Brenda Bowskill clinching the spot for Toronto 2015. Paralympic Sonar team continue to deliver podium results, this time in the shade of bronze. The trio are hungry for more and will continue to push the limits at the J24 Pan Am trials in May.

The winter Star series continues to attract sailing rockstars including Brazilian standout Lars Grael. Canadians Brian Cramer & Cam Lymburner had an excellent week in Miami at the Star midwinter championships placing 5th overall while Canadian Olympians Stu Hebb & Mike Wolfs were top Canadians in 6th place at the Star Bob Levin Memorial.

The ever-popular Quantum Key West Race Week delivered picture perfect sailing conditions until the final day of racing where competitors were faced with howling winds and rough seas forcing the top contenders to raise their game in order to claim victory.

Canadian Olympian Richard Clarke called tactics for Alec Cutler’s victorious Hedgehog boat in the Melges 32 class. Richard Reid (NYC) sailed to a 3rd place finish on Zingara in the Melges 24 fleet.

The Canadian entry in the J/88 class was Ontario natives Rob and Sandy Butler, sailing on Touch2Play. The Canadian boat trailed behind leader Deviation for most of the week eventually capitalizing on Deviation’s weaknesses on the final day. The Butler crew racked up three bullets in the heavy air, clinching the overall win on a tie-breaker! "We kind of put the pressure on (Deviation) by winning the last race on Thursday. We still trailed by two points so we knew we had to come out and win both races today," Rob Butler said. "Our crew was really dialed in and we had very good boat speed. I'm proud of the team for doing what we had to do in order to win the regatta."

The Butler’s have an extensive resume of successful titles including a clean sweep of the J70 open series last March and top Canadian performances in the Melges 20 class among other impressive results going back several years. Sail Canada congratulates Rob and Sandy Butler for their Key West title and name the Butler’s Sailor of the Month – January!

Sail Canada’s Sailor of the Month award acknowledges sailing achievements by Canadians involved or associated with the sport in all its forms. Sail Canada encourages the submission of noteworthy Canadian sailing activities to sailorofthemonth@sailing.ca.