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Sailfest Sarnia competitors throw caution to the wind

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Troy Shantz

An armada of light sailboats from across Ontario dotted the southern tip of Lake Huron over the weekend during Sailfest Sarnia 2017.

Nearly 100 boats and their crews converged on the Sarnia Yacht Club for three days of skills development and competition, with sailors ranging in age from seven to 55.

The Lasers, 420s and even a few Bytes braved the multi-lap courses, bumping their way over the waves and occasionally into each other.

Competitors say they look forward to Sarnia’s regatta because it presents unique challenges.

Tired competitors tow a 420-class boat ashore following a pre-race practice at the Sarnia Yacht Club. Troy Shantz
Tired competitors tow a 420-class boat ashore following a pre-race practice at the Sarnia Yacht Club.
Troy Shantz

“It’s different than it is on Lake Ontario… the current is way, way stronger and there’s a lot more wind,” said 14-year-old Robert Nicholson of Oakville, who competed in the Laser Radial class.

“It’s a lot of fun.”

Family members cheered on the seafarers and later camped in ‘tent cities’ formed on the lawns of the yacht club.

Jay Kirkpatrick, of Oakville, watched as his daughter Kimberly competed in a Laser Radial. The regatta is a calendar highlight, he said.

“It’s one of our favourite of the year. The best regatta in the province.”

Nathan Ritchie tests his balance during a practice run on the regatta course. Troy Shantz
Nathan Ritchie tests his balance during a practice run on the regatta course.
Troy Shantz
Competitor Adam Ovidiu inspects his sail in light winds. Troy Shantz
Competitor Adam Ovidiu inspects his sail.
Troy Shantz

 

15-year-old Poet Bernard, of Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club, focuses on an coming turn. Unlike many sports, women and men compete side-by-side in competitions. Troy Shantz
15-year-old Poet Bernard, of Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club, focuses on an coming turn. Unlike many sports, women and men compete side-by-side in competitions.
Troy Shantz
Timothy Morland, 17, of the Etobicoke Yacht Club, stands up in his Laser in an attempt to gain speed. Race routes are typically three laps around a predetermined course marked by bouys, and no longer than a kilometre in length. They're held about two kilometres offshore to avoid other boat traffic.  Troy Shantz
Timothy Morland, 17, of the Etobicoke Yacht Club, stands up in his Laser in an attempt to gain speed. Race routes are typically three laps around a predetermined course marked by bouys, and no longer than a kilometre in length. They’re held about two kilometres offshore to avoid other boat traffic.
Troy Shantz
Competitor Steve Lacey of the Sarnia Yacht Club balances his Laser sailboat offshore of Canatara Beach. Competitors at the regatta covered a wide range of ages and experience levels. Troy Shantz
Competitor Steve Lacey of the Sarnia Yacht Club balances his Laser sailboat offshore of Canatara Beach. Competitors at the regatta covered a wide range of ages and experience levels.
Troy Shantz

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