“No man ever steps in the same river twice”, Heraclitus of Ephesus
A long time ago in a place far far away … I learned to sail and race in Ottawa, Ontario, on Lac Deschênes, starting in 1971. I raced a 505 for the first time in a Britannia YC evening race there in about 1974 or 1975 (thanks Peter and Igor!). I was recruited into 505s to crew for Peter Wood (feel free to blame Peter for all that followed!!) for the 1977 season. I had, and continue to have, many friends in the Ottawa 505 fleet,
I left Ottawa (and Canada) in 1986 and moved to the Washington DC area and have not been back to Ottawa in a very long time as my mother, and my sister’s family, moved to Guelph Ontario.
While in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) for a couple of weeks visiting family and hanging out, I sailed 505s out of the Outer Harbour Centreboard Club (OHCC) in Toronto; we had three 505s out for practice last Wednesday evening. While at OHCC I convinced Marek to race the Nepean Sailing Club (NSC) FANFARE event in Ottawa with me crewing. We arrived at the NSC Saturday morning, with Marek’s 505. Ten 505 teams were registered, most from NSC, but one from Toronto (with a crew from Annapolis Maryland) and one from Kingston; nine raced as one crew had to bail.
Some of the same people I raced 505s with in the late 1970s and early to mid 80s were racing 505s at this event (Marg Hurley, John Bryant/Ron Hughes, Marie Gendron). So were children (Shona Moss Lovshin) and grandchildren (Kyber and Evania Lovshin) of some of the people (John and Shirley Moss) I raced with back then.
It felt very similar to when I started racing 505s in Ottawa in 1977, but not quite the same. While on the same body of water – Lac Deschênes is a widening of the Ottawa river — we were sailing out of NSC, not Britannia YC. The mostly-southerly wind direction Saturday morning seemed strange, not a direction I remember seeing while I lived in Ottawa. And it wasn’t a flat calm, the Ottawa wind condition I remember as being the most frequent (albeit perhaps not in mid-September).
Many teams had not been racing for two years though some did have some practice time.
Racing started Saturday with crews trapezing high and rigs stood up; it was puffy and shifty. The lulls became shorter and the puffs longer and the strength of the puffs and lulls increased, until by race four it was quite breezy some of the time and very breezy the rest of the time. For race five it was just very breezy. We were eventually raked to 25’ 1” (apparently max rake on Plastic Surgery Disaster), and barely surviving the puffs. We hoisted the spinnaker in what we thought was a lull but quickly decided in the subsequent puff that we were leading the race and didn’t need to take the risk, so doused it quickly. I did not see anyone else hoist. Many teams didn’t survive; only four teams finished race five with a prominent team spending some time swimming.
For Sunday the breeze shifted a bit to the right, perhaps westerly or even WNW, more in line with the river, and the breeze was steadier with much less difference between the puffs and lulls, but still some significant shifts. We were stood up some of the time and raked 1-2” the rest of the time. Most teams chose to wire run downwind, but Bryant/Hughes were making going low work well at times.
Jeff Boyd/Martin tenHove extended their Saturday lead in the first two races Sunday, while Marek Balinski/Ali Meller managed to finish ahead of Marie Gendron/Dave Brown and overtake them for second overall. Race 9 solidified the first three positions, so with those places decided with one race to go, the three teams sailed in to get an early start on packing up for the road. Balinski/Meller actually started race 10 and retired, but were still scored a DNC for the last race. Marg Hurley (who was racing 505s in 1977 when I started racing 505s) with crew Kyber Lovshin won race 10.
Overall Boyd/tenHove won handily with Balinski/Meller second, Gendron/Brown third and the remaining teams not far behind and closely bunched in points.