Sept 10, 2020
The Junior Racing program at Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club has come some very enthusiastic parents. They began two years ago by organizing an event for young Optimist sailors who were not experienced enough to head to the Opti Canadian Championships. Undaunted by the amount of work involved in organizing a regatta, Angie Law and her team decided to make the event bigger by including other fleets and naming it the Seahorse Regatta. Even COVID19 could not dampen their enthusiasm.
Due to the limitation of 100 people for outside events including officials and volunteers, the team realized that the Seahorse Regatta would have to be held on two separate weekends, doubling the work. Regardless of the weather, no one would be allowed inside the clubhouse other than to use washroom facilities. The event was moved from July to August 22 and 23 for Part 1 (Optis) and August 29 and 30 for Part 2 (Laser Radials and 4.7’s – same Laser hull, smaller rig). Fleets that required more than a one person crew had to be dropped, as social distancing on a 14 foot boat just isn’t possible.
The Junior race teams from local clubs were invited to participate, and each was assigned an area on the property where they would keep their boats. Each team was assigned a volunteer “concierge” who would serve as the go-between enabling all competitors and their coaches to stay in their area. Each competitor was given a Seahorse Regatta buff to wear while sailing or ashore as buffs or masks were required at all times when not on the water.
Day one of the Opti Seahorse brought almost no wind. The first race had to be abandoned because what little wind there was, died. Awaiting the wind in the hot sun, some went swimming and “Operation P” (for popsicle) took place with the judges handing out freezies to all competitors and race officials. Eventually, two races were sailed for both the 38 boat Championship Fleet and the 15 boat Green (beginner) fleet. The winds were light on Sunday, but steady enough that Race Officer Paul Brennan was able to get off the remaining four races.
Congratulations to the first place female competitor, Genevieve Langford and first place winner overall Thomas Desrochers, both from Port Credit Yacht Club. Full results can be found at https://theclubspot.com/regatta/mpWsjBrgSu/results
Saturday of the Laser Radial and 4.7 event brought big winds that got even bigger. The first two races on Saturday were sailed in 15-18 knot westerly winds with gusts up to about 20. After the second race, the wind moved hard to the right, coming out of the north west and increasing in velocity to about 25 knots with gusts over 30. Many of the 43 Radial and 15 4.7 sailors sought the shelter of land, and headed in, but most of the young 4.7 sailors tried their best to get around the course. Unfortunately, their efforts came to naught, as the race for the 4.7 sailors had to be abandoned. Sunday brought much calmer winds – too calm, and the race committee struggled to run races, eventually having to abandon the racing for the event after 5 Radial races and 4 for the 4.7 fleet.
In an effort to reduce the need for protest hearings in social distancing times, while keeping the competition fair, Appendix U, a Sail Canada prescription to allow on-the-water judging, was introduced. The Opti sailors took advantage of this, and if another boat was fouled, the sailors were quick to take their one-turn penalty. Alas, the older sailors in the Radial fleet were not so clever, and some had to be penalized by the judges, requiring them to do two penalty turns in heavy winds instead of just one, which frequently led to an unwelcome capsize.
Nathan Latka was the winner of the Radial Fleet and Amy Glennie was first in the 4.7 fleet. Both were sailing at their home club, ABYC. Full results are posted at https://theclubspot.com/regatta/2McWO5hzHu/results
Congratulations to all of the competitors, race officials and volunteers, for managing to put together the ONLY Youth Regatta in the GTA while keeping COVID19 compliant and staying well within the provincial guidelines.
More of the fabulous photos taken by Christian Bonin/TSGphoto.com can be found on his website (click on Sailing) and at https://www.facebook.com/seahorseregatta.
• Wendy Loat
Photos “Christian Bonin/TSGphoto.com”.