The weather forecast said “light winds”! To a racing sailor that means use a light sail for more speed! The 2011 Oakville Club Regatta began with that premise for the vessel “MANANAN” and its highly competitive racers! It was a perfect day for sailing! The winds were brisk and steady. The temperature was ideal, with no storms on the horizon, and Oakville Club sailboats and their guest racing enthusiasts could show what they were capable of.
“MANANAN”, a wonderful cruising sailboat, was named after the god that protects the Isle of Man and has become fondly nicknamed at the Oakville Club, “SOS”. The “Smallest, Oldest, Slowest – with the biggest heart” sailboat at the club. SOS came about as a nickname to describe the expected performance of the boat in a race. At the Oakville Club Regatta, “MANANAN” and its crew were going to prove that this name did not apply. The result was that there was to be an adventure on Lake Ontario!
In the middle of victory came defeat! The start is always very confusing and a bit scary, as to hit another boat disqualifies the boat. Each sailor must use his/her meticulous expertise at the helm to be in position without touching another sailboat. All racers are vying, under full sail, for the best starting position at the committee boat and want to be the first to pass that point. MANANAN’s start was perfect – the best ever – with superlative work at the helm – and “MANANAN” was racing in fine form towards the first race marker. The winds were much heavier than predicted by the weatherman and in an instant the sail was torn and the boat slowed and began to drift sideways. A sailor’s first response is that the race could continue. Only too soon did it become apparent that this would just not be possible!
This is the excitement of racing for there is always the will to do better than your personal best and to take a chance that will give you the opportunity to place. Sailing is an activity that has an inherent risk of damage and injury. Today was exhilarating – with only one protest from two colliding boats. “MANANAN” raised a heavier jib sail and joined the second race.
At the end of the day the racers entertained one another with all the stories of a perfect day on Lake Ontario, Oakville’s playground!
The 2011 Oakville Club Regatta racers and all the racing guests from other clubs pulled into harbour, tucked in their boats, and enjoyed the hospitality, the delicious food and the camaraderie of their fellow racers, complete with “bragging rights”, by the pool at the Oakville Club. Trophies were awarded to the race winners and each boat and crew was enthusiastically congratulated. Live music and dancing followed into the wee hours of the morning with everyone congratulating one another on a race, “well done”!
The Oakville Club is nestled on the shore of Oakville’s harbour at the foot of the hill just off Navy Street on 16 Mile Creek. Now embarking on its second century of service, it is rich in history and offers tennis, squash and badminton, a fitness centre, pool and a luxurious restaurant and dining room as well as docking berths for their Yachting and racing enthusiasts. It is home to the Oakville Club yachting members.
For more information about the Oakville Club and their sailing opportunities visit their website at www.oakvilleclub.com.