September 6, 2023
Move over Tom Cruise, these sailors do their own stunts. Coming off a forecast with gusts of upwards to 24kts, the morning started with bated breath as we hoped the wind would come out to play but not batter. The wind gods obliged, and our playground was set for the 2023 Lake Ontario Women’s J105 Championships.
The regatta started with military precision when the first gun went off at 10:50am. However, due to wind shifts it had to be abandoned before the first boat rounded the mark. And so, the tone was set with debates on how happy we could make “Ms. String”, a welcomed change from always pleasing “Mr. String”.
The competitors, anxious and eager to prove their skills and defend their reputations, were over early at the next attempted start. The Race Committee, headed by Irene McNeil, had their work cut out. All starts moving forward would be U flagged to keep the racers at bay.
Startline action / Photos Courtesy of: Derek Vandermeer
The third start for the first race began as Full Tilt, driven by Kathy Pask, pulled the first stunt of the day. They port tacked the fleet, taking a huge lead at the windward mark. Jen Provan and team Mandate would have none of that as they match raced themselves into the lead. A few of the crew on Mandate were previous coaches, in their not-too-distant youth and had trained several of their current competitors, now seen as new adversaries. This was something reflected in this year’s theme: Retro Summer Haze – a celebration of decades of competitive women in sailing.
The second race was completely in hand by the crew of Thunderstruck, driven by Yolande Gooderham. They dominated the race from start to finish, all the while some of the other boats in engaged in a game of who-did-what-to-whom at the start, which later played out in front of Chief Race officer Wendy Loat in the protest room.
Team Full Tilt Boogie
The third race was won by Kernel, being driven by a Kingston native and former RCYC coach, Julie Mitchell with owner Janet Heisey. Don’t underestimate this newly formed team, they came out to show everyone how it’s done with great teamwork.
In the final race team Mandate took another first place, to remind us they were here to win, and they weren’t going home without the coveted prize. While this may be exciting in and of itself, Emily Sale of Thunderstruck decided to do her own stunt with a (wo)man-overboard, as the lifelines gave out and she managed to hold on while being dragged in the water. Without missing a beat, the crew were able to retrieve her and finish in the top half of the fleet.
Photo Courtesy of: David Rourke
The regatta party got started with drinks and a buffet laid out by the ever-helpful staff at the RCYC. The evening was filled with camaraderie and laughter, all compliments of the generous sponsorship from Michael Mountford of The Mountford Group, Scotia Wealth Management.
The backdrop was set to the sunset over the Toronto skyline as Derek Vandermeer played guitar in the Rose Garden. Awards were handed out by RCYC Commodore, Kari McKay, with first place going to Mandate (Jen Provan, Erin Leigh, Ashley Warburton, Samantha Webster, Brandy Cocoroch, Linsey Bishop, and Jen Aprile Cunningham), second place Kernel (Julie Mitchell, Janet Heisey, Sarah Sackville, Jessica Perraton, Monica Webb, Izzy Lavallee-Gordon, and Andrea Verdon), and third place Full Tilt Boogie (Kathy Pask, Vanessa Case, Tania Johannsen, Amelie Beauregard, Ashley Moore, Kirsty Clarke, Gilliam Talacko, and Lisa Pask).
Regatta Organizer, Kathy Pask and Regatta Chair, Michelle Skutelsky were grateful for the generosity of those J105 Fleet 4 owners who loaned their boats for the third year in a row, and those owners who also raced on their boats. The tides have turned, and we look forward to racing side by side with all worthy competitors. After all, we are all sailors and when in sequence and the countdown is on our hearts pound equally when we hear 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. We all want to be first across the line.