Sailor of the Month - Richard Clarke

Sailor of the Month - Richard Clarke

Thursday, January 7, 2015 - Kingston, ON

The final month of the ‘Year of Sport 2015’ was action packed for Canadian sailors competing around the world.

The Star winter series (Commodores Cup) kicked off at the Coral Reef Yacht Club with CST alumni Brian Cramer and crew Cam Lymburner placing 4th out of 16 boats in the 5 race series. Four more events are on tap to complete the 2015-16 Star series in the coming months.

In Aussie land, Canadian Paralympic sailors battled in the breeze at the 2015 World Para Sailing Championships. Sonar team, Paul Tingley, Scott Lutes, and Logan Campbell narrowly missed the podium with a 5th place finish, SKUD team John McRoberts and Jackie Gay 7th and 2.4mR sailor Bruce Millar finished 11th in the robust 48 boat fleet. Canada has already qualified Rio 2016 spots in all three classes.

Canadian Laser sailors Robert Davis and Lee Parkhill put up top ten results ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne placing 7th and 9th respectively.

The Canadian Youth World Team made their debut in Malaysia over the Christmas holidays. 420 team Georgia Lewin-Lafrance/T.Carling-Lanteigne placed 13th while P. Wilson/A.Moffat placed 15th. Radial sailor Coralie Vittecoq placed 17th with Matti Muru in 21st. The future certainly looks bright for these youth sailors.

The 71st edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race attracted a record number of international entries and delivered epic race conditions challenging even the most seasoned offshore sailor.

Extreme conditions forced the retirement of over 30 yachts within a matter of two days in what some pro sailors proclaimed to be the toughest conditions they had ever experienced. Canadian Olympian Richard Clarke (RVicYC) was onboard the 100ft super maxi yacht Comanche owned by Aussie’s Jim and Kristy Clarke.

Comanche did fall victim to the elements briefly retiring from the race with rudder and daggerboard damage. The crew pulled every tool from their toolbox to salvage what was left of their race. Comanche was back on track.

Canadian Richard Clarke was below deck when the daggerboard broke and heard the sound of carbon tearing. “It sent chills down my spine. We thought our race was over.” Yet instead of packing it in, the team kept calm heads and put their collective MacGyver skills to work. “We formulated a cunning repair and worked out how to get the best performance out of a wounded boat.”

The ‘aircraft carrier’ Comanche managed to steal the lead back from ‘Rambler’ and maintain a significant lead to the finish, capturing Line Honours in a time of 2 days, 8 hours and 58 minutes. “This race was certainly a mix of emotions. Winning the race highlights not only what a very special boat Comanche is but also what a very special team Jim, Kristy (Clarke) and Ken (Read) assembled.”

An honourable mention goes out to CST alumni Eric Holden, navigating Primitive Cool boat to a 2nd in IRC Div 1, 4th on Overall IRC and 8th on Line Honours. Holden flew over immediately following the Transat St. Barth.

Sail Canada applauds all the outstanding sailors for their achievements including our Sailor of the Month – December – Richard Clarke!

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.

photo credit: Rolex/Stephano Gattini