September 12-13, 1998 at Scarborough Bluffs Sailing Club
Notes on the Nationals
Saturday dawned cool and cloudy with the chance of showers. When I got to the Club with my brother at 08:30, most of the boats were already there and being rigged. Club representative Rob Wessel was greeting everyone and making sure things went smoothly.
After borrowing some more tackle from Warren to replace stolen equipment on Tom's boat, we rigged the boat and headed off to the skipper's meeting at 09:30. The weather was to be light winds with a chance of rain during the day. The course was to be a triangle and sausage with any shortenings announced on the water. It was laid out with one mark quite near the shore which we thought might be interesting as the bluffs are really high along that bit of shoreline. We all jumped aboard and put out, with Rob White still rigging his boat as the fleet left.
As it turned out, White didn't make it to the start line in time to be included in the first race, even though the start line was close to the harbour, only about 15 minutes to the east. The first race started at about 11 and went well for us and we were first around the first mark and stayed in the lead until the finish. The winds were light but steady out of the northwest.
Between races, we bobbed around on the water and I got out a recorder and played some tunes to keep spirits up. Denis borrowed it and managed to remember Ode to Joy from Grade 2 and sounded good. Tom ate some nuts and raisins. The second start seemed to be port-favoured, but we ignored the rest of the fleet and started on starboard. It was a mistake and the Inneses and Listers stayed out front throughout the course. Then it was time for lunch, and we met on the beach for sandwiches, bananas, water and granola bars. The sun was out and wind light and everyone was getting hot in their wetsuits.
The third race was almost a non-starter as the wind died right after the gun and most of the fleet drifted across the line. Due to a wind shift, the committee had decided we should sail the course counter-clockwise, leaving all marks to starboard instead of resetting the marks. Much more drifting ensued, and the race took forever. We were leading around the bottom mark after the triangle and desperately hoping the race committee would shorten the course, which had already taken 45 minutes, and we'd have a chance to win another one, but they decided not to. We picked the centre of the course to go back upwind and sailed into a large, deep hole where we watched everyone else pass us far to the left and right on the course. Eventually a breeze picked up (the second upwind leg took 25 minutes) and we thought we might have a chance to catch Derek on the final one-and-a-half legs. But the committee decided to shorten the course this time and finish downwind, giving us no chance to catch up. On the other hand, for some reason B fleet liked these conditions better than A fleet, as you can see by the results above.
Most of the fleet was towed into the harbour by the mark and committee boats and we had showers and got ready for dinner at the club. They served a tasty lasagna and various salads and one drink for the $10 fee, and we sat for hours and watched the keelboats come in and had Tom's Lebanese baklava from Ottawa and a bottle of port he and Jill brought back from their honeymoon last October. Most of us went home after this, but some stayed out late and went for a moonlight cruise on a keelboat with a club member until very late at night.
Sunday was cool and clear again in the morning after a rainstorm overnight. We all hoped for good winds but they were once again weak and diminishing throughout the day. The first race started on time with large waves coming from the southeast from the overnight storm. Too bad there was no strong wind to go with it, but it turned out to be fun trying to surf the big waves on the reach and downwind legs. Tom picked a good start again this time and we led by a wide margin throughout the race once again, ending about 4.5 minutes ahead of Denis and Shelley who narrowly beat a few others to come in second. Immediately after their finish, they headed off to the beach and we heard from Priscilla that Shelley had suffered the dry heaves for most of the race, but gamely hung on to the end, giving far beyond the call of crew duty to her skipper.
They stayed on the beach for the last race, which was shortened before the start to a simple triangle. The start became very important and Carl and his daughter Denise won it handsomely and stayed out front throughout, with the Inneses and Schoenhofers close behind but unable to catch them.
Denis and Shelley, because of the win this year, move up to A fleet for 1999. The 1999 Nationals will be in Kingston then, with Derek lobbying to have them in London in 2000.