My son spent several months in the NICU at Childern’s and St. Paul’s Hospitals when he was born. In that time I saw many parents who were from all over the province with desperately sick Children in the hospital. With time off work and accomodations in Vancouver being with your sick child can be more than moste people can afford. This is when I learned of the service Easter Seals House provides; they offer 49 self contained suites near Children’s Hospital to those from out of town who need to accomodation while their children are in the hospital. When I realised the Easter Seals House was the main recipient of the funds raised through the Easter Seals Regatta hosted by RVYC I knew I wanted to do the race and contribute to this cause.
Through my work we organized a team of all amteurs and a raffle to raise funds. With $390.00 raised and one ‘practice’ we were ready. I attended the Skipper’s reception with Cheryl, Huxley and Jesse at the local BMW Dealership. There was free food and drinks which was nice. There was a skipper’s package with some nice swag and the sailing instructions. I was surprised to see a ‘square’ course. I had never done a race like that and the sailing instructions were the simplest I had read; in short go around twice.
The day of the race we headed out early to get some practice in with my raw crew. Jesse agreed to accompany me on the race so we could at least fly the kite. I was glad he did; it was blowing 15 knots and the conditions would be challenging for the raw crew. As we sailed in the bay we ran into the Volvo Open 60 Hugo Boss which was touring VIPs out in the bay. We spent the rest of the time leading up to the race practicing manuevers. Around noon we saw the mark boat still positioning marks so we thought we had some time as we sat high of the startline. Suddenly I realized the 4 minute signal had just gone. We immediately put about and ran down to the line only to cross 5 minutes after the last boat. This was not good since the next closest boat froma PHRF perspective was rated 160, 51 seconds faster!
We cut the committee boat close and headed up towards the windward mark. While this was a simple course I saw at least 4 other races being conducted and a lot of conical race marks out on the water. We were able to follow them close enough. As we rounded the first mark we saw that we had gained on roughly 5 boats. We reached through the confusion of pleasure craft, freighters and other racers to the second corner mark. at this point we were within striking distance of 3 boats. We hoisted the chute and took off. Downwind is not the best point of sail for the Weasel but today everything was in our favour. We walked past a big cruiser with an A-Kite, another monster with whites and suprisingly a Chote 27.
After the douse at leeward mark another reach ensued. We could hear over the radio the RC moving the marks in to shorten up the course. We found ourselves trying to guess where they were. After the windward mark we were a bit lost when the mark boat came up and pointed out the new position of the next mark. To our suprise we saw the two bigger boats ahead of us. They hadn’t rolled us they had taken a different unrelated mark and were now way ahead. The Chote sharted to make up ground and we battled it out. After rounding the corner mark we sailed in company both trying to figure out where to go. The SIs said after this mark we should peel away towards the enterance of False Creek to finish. This didn’t make a ton of sense to round to starboard as you could just avoid it completely to head to False Creek, we thought it must be a port rounding then to heavily bare away for the False Creek finish. This we did and saw the Chote behind us round to start and head towards some mid-point between Kits Beach and RVYC. The RC was not were we expected. We then made a messy douse and close reached for the line. It was a close one but our mishandling of the rounding and douse cost us. Still considering the state of the crew we had to work with I was impressed with our perfromance. Most importantly we had a blast.
Following the race we put on some ‘pirate gear’ we had left over from Huxley’s Birthday Party and sailed down into False Creek to be ‘reviewed’. We got some candy and swag thrown aboard and then headed back to RVYC. The reception at a club which in my past experience can be cool and austeer was warm and friendly. The food and music were good. The beer at a fair price and everything was good except it was pretty empty. The facilities were in place for a 80 boat race not a 30 boat race. Still it was a sunny day and we had cool drinks in our hands.
All in all it was a great experience and something I will do again not just for the racing but for the cause.
For more details on this event and Easter Seals House: