Wednesday, July 10, 2002 (Day 1 of Racing)
The mood changed somewhat today. Instead of casual arrivals, morning
coffee and friendly chatting, the competitors were focused. Today was the
reason that everyone had come for - to race. The evening before, the
strategies started. Everyone was sizing each
other up. They had watched each other during the training camp and now all
of the information was being shaped into who the competition was going to be.
Some teams were extremely confident, even cocky. Other's were humble
although their sailing biographies boasted their accomplishments. Still
other's were just quiet.
The day promised to be hot and sunny. Usually in the Okanagan, that can
mean very little wind. Every team knew that in order to take the all-
important first win, they were going to have to do everything right. Hit
the line exactly at the right time, with the most speed and in the best
position, read the wind - however light it might be- and don't make any
mistakes. Some of the skippers were not familiar with sailing Hobie 16's
with trapseats. Others had met their crew less than 48 hours before.
Mistakes did prove to be costly during that first race. An
odds-on-favourite Finnish team got off to a perfect start, only to bump another
boat and be forced to take a penalty 360. Later in the race, a little
trouble with a mark would cost them again.
One of the heavily favoured teams, Mike Strahle and his brother Carl from
California, seemed to have everything in hand. They too experienced the
challenge of mastering unfamiliar boats, thanks to the assigned random boat
rotation. As they were about to slice over the line in first place, the
boat didn't respond exactly as expected. Hitting the mark resulted in a
penalty 360 knocking them down to fourth place.
The rest of the afternoon consisted of a hot, sweaty and disappointing wait
for wind. The blazing sun perched high on cloudless, blue skies forced
temperatures to near 40 degrees Celsius. Even some of our visiting
California residents found the heat unbearable. Many took to the lake for
a refreshing dip while other's found sanctuary in the shade of trees or tents.
Everyone quenched their thirst with liters of water and slapped on sun screen to
protect themselves from the rays. Some teams will be suffering from
tender, pink skin tomorrow.
One of the host club's creative volunteers (Campbell Sinclair, right) even created a "Wind God" to which
several offerings almost created a puff or two of wind. At 4:40 pm, the
day's racing was called with only one race complete. The leaders had their
confidence reinforced while the pack considered new strategies. Many were
pleased to have the first race under their belt. Tomorrow will be a new
A delightful Italian-themed dinner, accompanied by local singer Ellen
Churchill, renewed the relaxed atmosphere. No doubt every competitor,
organizer and volunteer will be wishing for better winds in their prayer's
Submitted by D. Hamilton