First Ever U20 Canadians!

Click here for pictures!

The U20 Canadians were held at the Sarnia Yacht Club on the July 1st
weekend. We left Ottawa at 7:30 on Thursday and arrived in Sarnia at
2:00 am on Friday morning. It was an uneventful trip and we made
really good time. We arrived at the club around 9:30 on Friday
morning and set the boat up and said hi to everyone that had come out
for the regatta.

The plan was to start racing around 1:00 pm on Friday so we left the
dock around 12:00 and motored out of the basin. The sun was shining,
the wind was blowing nicely and it was a beautiful day to be on the
water. If you have never been to SYC, you should fix that and make
sure you get there. The view as you leave the harbour is

So, the racing started pretty much on time and we got in 4 races in
good breeze. We led the first two races for 3 legs and got passed on
the final run to the finish each time. The third race we followed
Brad around the course and finished second again. The final race of
the day was not our finest showing. We got caught on the port tack
layline approaching the weather mark and I'm sure that every one of
the 10 U20's in the regatta arrived at the mark within a 15 second
window. We were forced to tack early and couldn't get around the
mark the first time, so we had to gybe out and try a second time.
The second time wasn't too successful either and we got hooked on the
mark. This was my first time getting hooked up on a mark in a
keelboat. In a dinghy I've had this experience and the first thing
you do is raise the centerboard… Not an option here though. Once
the remainder of the fleet had rounded us, we were able to back off
the mark and then do our circle and finally get around the mark… in
dead last… well back. The breeze was up though and we sailed fast
for the remainder of the race and managed to get back up to 4th by
the finish. End of day one.

We got back on shore and enjoyed a beverage or two and had a great
dinner of spaghetti that was put on by the regatta organizers.
Beverages at SYC run 2.00 for domestic and 2.50 for premium… can't
beat that! After some storytelling about the days events we went
back to the inn where we were staying and then I got talked into
going out for one more drink by my (much younger) crew. So we went
across the parking lot to the Irish pub and stayed there until 1:00
am. Two late nights in a row and a wee touch of dehydration to
contend with on Saturday…

Saturday arrived with light winds and a slight hangover, neither of
which was a help in the early going. We have good speed against
other U20's in moderate to strong breeze, but we still don't go that
well in light winds. So the first three races on Saturday we were
consistently mid fleet, finishing 4, 5, 5. It wasn't all speed
related though. We were slow to figure out that the locals were
digging into the right side pretty deep and coming out looking good.
Once we figured that out and with the breeze picking up we were able
to start moving up. The next race we finished 3rd.

The 5th race we were starting down near the pin because the wind had
got left some and it was favoured. In the last minute of the
sequence, the wind went even farther left and we were just able to
sail along the line close hauled on starboard tack, so right at the
gun I tacked onto port and was able to point my bow right at the
weather mark. That worked out quite well and we led at the weather
mark. The shift also meant that we were able to almost lay the
leeward mark on starboard heading downwind. Unfortunately we had to
put in two gybes at the leeward mark and the rounding didn't go all
that well. By the time we had our issues cleared up Brad had gotten
by us and we weren't able to get him back. We again had to settle
for second place.

The final race of the day on Saturday had a lot in common with the
final race the day before. We arrived at the weather mark in second
right behind Brad coming in from the left side again, but then things
went wrong for us. I managed to jam the tiller hard over during the
tack at the mark and we managed to hook the mark again. Déjà vu all
over again… This time we did get around it and got it off the keel
fairly quickly. We did our circle and got the kite up and headed off
down the run. We were pretty close to dead last again at this point
and were able to get some boats back, but still ended up 5th by the
end of the race. This mark hooking stuff really slows you down… must
try to stop doing that…

So, off the water for the day after getting in 6 races! I went back
for a shower and watched the AC race and then went back to the club
for some barbequed hamburgers, hotdogs and salads. Then it was off
to the Irish pub again with a fair sized crowd of sailors, but this
time I went home early and got a good nights sleep.

Sunday arrived cool with sunny skies and good breeze out of the north
again. We were sitting third behind the guys on Far Far and were
within striking distance, so we went out to see if we could get
ourselves up into the second place spot. We sailed three good races
in nice breeze and were able to beat Far Far each time, but each time
they finished right behind us and had enough cushion from the
previous day to hold onto second place. The races themselves were
nice and tight, with good beats and planing runs that were great fun
to sail. We finished 2, 3, 2 for the day but by now Brad and company
had it in high gear and led around every mark for the day…

We were back on the dock for noon and had the boat packed and ready
to go for 1:00 pm. Then it was up to the club house for a nice hot
lunch and awards and to see some photos from the weekend. The
sailing photos were spectacular and the shots of Jeremy from the
previous night at Brads house were… well they were pretty interesting
too… but hey what happens on the road stays on the road…hehe…

Some thoughts and things learned in this regatta.

• When we had issues in breeze and Gord (big crew) would go to
leeward to fix them we slowed down almost 2 knots and lost about 5-8
degrees of point. Not having crew on the rail when the wind is up is
absolutely devastating in a U20.
• I need sleep to perform well. (I guess I'm not young
• There is a lot of current in the waters off the Sarnia Yacht
• I'm grumpy when I don't get enough sleep. (I didn't really
learn this now, my wife has told me this for years)
• Attention to detail is a very big part of good crew work.
• All of the boats from Sarnia have a high speed gear that I
need to find as well.
• Hitting marks is slow. (Duh!!)
• I'm still working on when to transition from sailing low in
displacement mode to sailing high and planing. Getting this wrong
costs you a whole lot on the runs.
• These boats surf down waves nicely.
• In light winds Doyle sails seem to have an edge over my
Ullmans. In heavier winds we do just fine against the Doyles. The
break even point seems to be around 8 knots. Not 100% sure if it is
the sails or the sailors yet, but I think the sails do have something
to do with it.
• The port tack layline at the weather mark is an ugly place to
be in a tight fleet. I've learned this the hard way in the past, but
it was reaffirmed again this weekend.
• Pumping on waves can pay big in these boats. They really do
respond like a dinghy and will surf well when encouraged.
• I didn't win the free jib...


Rank Pts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Ultimate 20

1 Honour 17.00 3 3 1 1 2 1 (4) 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 Far Far 32.00 1 1 4 (8) 1 4 1 4 3 3 3 4 3
3 Wizz 36.00 2 2 2 4 4 (5) 5 3 2 5 2 3 2
4 Pearson 46.00 5 4 5 6 6 2 3 2 4 2 5 2 (7)
5 Mini Me 55.00 4 5 3 2 5 3 2 (8) 7 7 6 6 5
6 Pandemonium 72.00 8 7 6 3 3 6 7 5 (9) 6 8 7 6
7 Dream Killer 77.00 9 8 (10) 7 7 7 6 7 5 4 4 5 8
8 Prize 90.00 6 9 7 5 8 8 8 6 8 9 7 (10) 9
9 Albion 98.00 7 (10) 8 9 9 10 10 9 6 8 10 8 4
10 Go! 112.00 10 6 9 (11) 10 9 9 10 10 11 9 9 10

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