By Michael Steele, Race Director
My English grandmother was an eternal optimist. Whenever faced with any adversity, she would come out with a flurry of cheery statements such as “Mustn’t grumble, could be worse.” Or my personal favourite, ”It will be better on the day!”
This is a phrase I repeated often in the week prior as the forecast of rain for this event looming was ever present. I was rewarded when Sunday arrived cold and grey but with little chance of rain and, most important, the required ingredients necessary for a successful regatta – boats and wind!
I wanted a course that would be smaller to allow as many races as possible and, with the patience of Ron Jeroy, in the mark boat, we tried a few variations.
A notable feature for me was the downwind gate that worked well and allowed two viable rounding options. It took some work to get the gate set exactly right but the results seemed to prove to be well worth it.
After technical inspections and a skippers meeting, racing got underway at 10 am with 13 boats gunning for the line. For the folks reading who are fans of all things coincidence – of the 13 boats racing – 3 of them were numbered 13!
Triple bookings sorted, the racing began and it was clear that Michigan’s Sean Fidler was here to win. Sean scored bullets’ in the first three races and was chased hard by locals Christain Pavey and Glen Barrett. By race 7, fellow US skipper Jerry Leonard also put up his first bullet and joined the lead group.
Lunch break saw 10 races in the book with Fidler leading followed by Barrett, Pavey and Richard Baker.
Racing picked back up at 1 pm and saw the sun come out to warm everyone up a bit … thankfully the wind continued.
Some interesting shifts in the afternoon really allowed the skippers to gamble one side or the other of the gate and make up some major time. It was fun to see the results of choices made. More than a few races were won by boats that rounded the gate in second and picked up a favourable shift to power them over the line for a bullet.
The afternoon saw some star performances from a number of skippers, most notably Harry Feaver with Bullets in Race 15 and 20, Richard Baker with a string of 3rd and 4th’s and Glen Barrett pinning down a succession of 1st ‘s and 2nd’s.
In all, 21 races were completed just before 3pm. Once the math was done and everyone gathered to hand out the hardware – it was all Fidler. After 3 drops were calculated he managed to amass a mere 22 points. Barrett Finished a solid second with 48 points followed by Michigan’s Jerry Leonard at 69 and Christian Pavey with 74.
The 50/50 draw was next and was actually a two draw affair with the first winner able to select the 50/50 proceeds or a set of beautiful Dragon Force sails built by our very own George Pollowy. Bruce Silzer was the first lucky winner and selected the sails and Sean Fidler continued his win streak by grabbing the cash (he immediately used the funny coloured money to purchase himself a set of George Pollowy sails as well.)
The lucky draw was next with every skipper getting a prize and a second chance for everyone to win a Tactic 2.4 radio courtesy of Leading Edge Hobbies.This was won by Paul Charles who joined us from his claub in Hamilton.
A big thank you, first and foremost, to all the skippers that came out to make this event so much fun. Also to the Ron Jeroy and Olinda for assisting with RD duties and scoring. Major two thumbs up to Stephen Penney for the excellent photos (used in this report) and video coverage. It was a pleasure to watch the racing and see the Dragon Force class grow to be so successful. I am looking forward to even more fun with the Dragon Force class is 2016.
SKIPPER PROFILE: Sean Fidler
Michigan’s Sean Fidler has had a memorable 2015. Only a few weeks before his Ontario Regional DF win he captured the Morgan Black EC 12 Championship in Windsor against a very experienced and capable fleet.
Sean: “I sailed RC sailboats as a child and then focused on full size boats. I am also a competitive sailplane pilot. My wife and and I heard about the Dragon Force from a friend and bought a few to give them a try. Since, I have dabbled in the IOM, Marblehead and the EC 12 with the Detroit Model Yacht Club.
“For the size, the DF sails incredibly well. I am constantly impressed by the boats great sailing characteristics and impressive performance.They are great fun and most importantly, so reasonable as a first boat for new sailors entering the sport.
“I like the Dragon Force as we are all sailing the exact same boats, and the result is fun, fair and rewarding racing.The low cost makes growing a club that much easier. As a bonus, the experienced sailors love the DF too!
“ The Ontario Regional was only my second RC sailing travel regatta and I enjoyed both the venue and the other skippers immensely.”
Thank you Sean, congratulations on your win and we hope to be sailing with you and your fellow US skippers at some point in 2016.