Sail Canada – Sail West Regatta!

Good Day Sailors!

What a weekend it was for the Comox Bay Sailing Club and all the athletes who came far and wide to participate in Sail Canada’s Sail West Regatta!  I’m proud to report that the regatta was a resounding success on all fronts, and Comox is now recognized by many as a destination for great sailing, competition and fun!

A big thank you for all the athletes and supporting teams for coming from as far as Manitoba to help make this regatta a huge success.  Also a big thank you to the many volunteers who played a significant role in the smooth running of this event. To Sail Canada – thank you for entrusting us to run a high quality regatta – without the help and support of you and BC Sailing this would not have been possible.  Also, to the Town of Comox, thank you very much for the use of Marina Park, the launch ramp and the facilities – this proved to be an excellent venue for Sail West 2015!

Below is a summary of the regatta highlights.

SW 2.4

The Athletes

The Comox Bay Sailing Club was very well represented by the following sailors:

Optimist – Samuel Hartig, William Howard, Callam Barry, Anja Leikermoser and Adam Chan

420 – Kaija Roukkula and Shaina Friedman

Laser Radial – Chris Volkers, Alex Brown, Nate Bell and Phil Gaze

29er – Nigel Fletcher and Oliver Barry

Laser – Jon Lihou


There was also participation from the Sea Cadets (Comox 37 x 420’s), Compass Adventures (Comox), Gimli Yacht Club (Manitoba), Saskatoon Sailing Club, Calgary Yacht Club, COSA (Central Okanagan Sailing Association), Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, West Vancouver Yacht Club, Nanaimo Yacht Club, Victoria Beach Yacht Club (Manitoba), West Hawk Lake Yacht Club (Manitoba), Winnipeg Sailing Centre, Pelican Lake Yacht Club (Manitoba).

All in all there were 187 sailors on the water over the alpha and bravo courses for Optimist, 2.4 Metre, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial, Laser, 29er, 420, 420 Green and Hobie Wave classes!

SW First Nations

The Competition

Sailing conditions were excellent for both the training leading up to regatta and the 2 days of racing.  Friday’s training was met with 25 knots of wind and big waves from the southeast, which proved to be a good shakedown for the athletes. Saturday brought lighter conditions (5 to 8 knots) from the southeast with some significant wind shifts that kept both athletes and race committees on their toes.  Sunday racing started early afternoon after the postponement flag was removed with a nice, steady breeze filling in from the southeast.

The full list of results can be found on our Sail West Web Page.

The Comox Bay Sailing Club, without exception, posted impressive results in all classes – not that easy to do when the fleet numbers were so high.

A huge congratulations to the following CBSC sailors:

Optimist Green – Samuel Hartig (1st Place)

Optimist – William Howard (1st in age category, 2nd overall), Callam Barry (3rd in age category, 4th overall), Anja Leikermoser (5th overall) – 17 boats total

29er – Nigel Fletcher and Oliver Barry (2nd)

Green 420 – Kaija Roukkula and Shaina Friedman (4th) – 25 boats total

Laser Radial – Chris Volkers (2nd Place), Alex Brown (4th Place), Nate Bell (6th Place) – 28 boats total

I’m very proud of all are sailors and especially Kaija and Shaina who not only finished 1st and 2nd in the first 2 races, but managed a 4th overall in a fleet represented entirely by the Sea Cadets (except for them!).  It was also their first experience sailing together – nice work girls!

Congratulations sailors for representing the Comox Bay Sailing Club so well!  This is not only a testiment to the skill, drive and determination of the sailors, but to our Club Race Team and Coaching activities which have undoubtedly had a huge impact!

SW Lasers 1

Volunteers and Organizing Committee

This regatta was a significant undertaking for our Club and it would not have not been possible without the help of volunteers for both on and off water support. There were approximately 35 people on our volunteer roster which was comprised of CBSC members, Sea Cadets, CVYC members and other people from in and around the community.

I have had nothing but positive feedback from the athletes, their support crews, organizers, race officials and sponsors.  We really stepped up to the plate on this one!  I also had a call from Richard Balantyne (Sail Canada Board of Directors) on Monday in which he congratulated the Comox Bay Sailing Club for hosting a fun and high quality event.

We also must recognize the individuals responsible for getting all the athletes to and from the regatta from all the various locations! Finally race management volunteers were responsible for providing committee boats and all the personnel required to run a high quality event such as Sail West.  A well deserved big thank you to all volunteers  – you have all helped us leave a mark in the eyes of Sail Canada, BC Sailing and dinghy sailing organizations in the Western provinces!

A very special thanks to Jen Braem, Rob Douglas, Sarah Clark and Judith Wright for taking lead roles in planning and organization – without their efforts and hard work we would not have been able pull this off with such a high level of success.

SW Volunteers

Coaching and Training

Coaching and training was a significant component of the regatta – especially when athletes were travelling from so far away!  Rob Douglas (Comox Bay Sailing Club Head Coach) as a Sail Canada Event coach organized 2 days of training prior to the regatta. This training was met with great appeal and most sailors who were onsite participated in the courses. The quality of this training was made possible by the team of coaches, led by Rob and the other two Sail Canada Event Coaches, Erik Vanderpol with the Lasers and Alexa Edgar with the 420s.  What a great way to work out the kinks prior to a regatta!

John Abel (Sail West Race Officer) of BC Sailing also held Race Management and Mark Set courses on 2 evenings during the week prior to the event.  This undoubtedly was a huge contributor to the high quality racing experienced by the athletes.  Both race officers (John Abel and Rob Woodbury), on separate occasions, pulled me aside to let me know that the race management team was top notch – especially given the fact that courses had to be reset often due to changing wind directions.  In Rob’s words “you have very smart people here in Comox!”.  Sarah Clark (CBSC Dinghy Racing Director) and other CBSC sailors are very eager to apply what they learned to our Wednesday evening dinghy sailing. This will undoubtedly make the racing more fun by having better communication and less confusion on the water.

SW Coaching

Sponsors and Community Support

Sail West would not have been possible without sponsors and community support.  Here’s a list of who was involved and what they did for us.

Sail Canada / BC Sailing – National / Provincial sailing organizations who sanctioned the regatta.

Volvo Canada and Helly Hansen – Sail Canada Sponsors

Town of Comox – Use of Marina Park, Boat Ramp and Facilities

Comox Government Wharf – Use of Crane and Facilities

K’omoks First Nation – Athlete Welcome and Safety Blessing

Blast Sailing – Onsite Dinghy Sailing Gear and Chandlery

Aqua Quest (Gear Out Here) – Local Company Provided Gear and Other Swag

Plates – Salmon and Chicken Dinner on Saturday Night

Desolation Sound Yacht Charters – Use of RIB for 2 Days For Race Management

Mad Man Mckay – Trailer with TV Screen and Sound System for VOR Videos

Comox Valley Exhibition – Tables, Chairs and Tents

VIA Sport – Grant to Support the Regatta

SW Packing

The Pictures

Linda Vermeulen joined me on Dreamscape on both days to take photos of the action front and centre.  The photos are amazing and can be found using the following links.  Thanks Linda!

Sail West – Day 1

Sail West – Day 2

SW Wrap

The Wrap

As Commodore I feel truly proud of our athletes who represented CBSC so well, our members who volunteered their time, and the community for providing the necessary support to make this regatta so successful!  I had several teams tell me that this was the best regatta they had ever attended – well done everyone!

We have made a name for ourselves while gaining a significant amount of experience relating to sailboat racing and race management.

See you on the water!

Andy Walther (Commodore)

Burgee (Final)

 SW-SC Plaque