Thursday, September 6, 2012

Maple Bay, a friendly regatta

The Fireball fleet made a good showing a short distance from Victoria at the Maple Bay Regatta this past weekend. Five boats made the trip to sail in shifty 0-10 knot winds with a friendly location.
With 5 of us there, we got our own class start, we may have to provide a class flag when we go next year. This year was the first year that an Opti fleet showed up, so the race committee started the Optis first, then Lasers, then 420's and last, but not least, us.
Saltspring Island Sailing club showed us up on #boats attending
The tone for this regatta was set at the competitor's meeting when we were told that the Jury Pool was limited and, therefore, protests for anything but the hardware (1st, 2nd or 3rd) would not be entertained. I like to think the Fireball fleet is respectful and will always exonerate ourselves on the water anyway.
Dr. Rob Thompson and Francis were excellent fleet ambassadors by having the sailing instructors out in their boats with them as pick up crew each morning. Although they did each have to find new crew (victims?) for day 2.
While rigging the boats we got lots of attention from the keel boaters as they remembered when they used to see more Fireballs around.
Day 1 saw some delays at the start as the wind completed a not unexpected 180 degree shift. So, per the SI's, marks were to starboard, which takes a bit of reminding.
I was sailing with Gary and we each consider ourselves crew, we both wore harnesses and handed off the tiller each race. With the variety of wind speeds that are to be expected at Maple Bay, we both learned a lot. Spent moments at the front of the fleet but we got sorted out, made helming errors which tended to slow us down.
The courses were short, each early race only 15 minutes, so we added a 2nd lap to a couple of courses. This allowed each boat to spend some time losing their lead by going to the wrong mark and having to correct later.
Day 2 saw the Fireball racing debut of Lorraine Cox, with Jamie. Even after missing the first race of the day, Tangeroo managed to keep to the top finishes and came up 1st overall.

2nd was Rob Thompson & skipper (he had 2 different ones), 3rd to Mark Cummings and Donna Sherry (sailing her 2nd ever Fireball regatta).

Gary also learned that it's good to sometimes travel the Fireball during the racing season as he found that he needs to replace his slot gasket before the next local regatta and that his spreaders could use new rivets.
Maple Bay Yacht Club is a beautiful property, they host this regatta every year with great volunteer support and site set-up for camping, boat moorage, Saturday night food, drinks and party. Also pancake breakfast both days!
Highlights of the weekend for me were: beer on the patio in the sun; being called a Junior racer; cruising out to the keel boat course area, on trapeze, while on "lunch break"; being told/taken UP by an Opti on the racecourse (we told the Opti to maintain his proper course, but good try) and finally fleet dinner on Sunday night, thanks Rob.

ready for the road home