So you want to go to a regatta!

With the 2014 regatta season about to start that means loading the boat on a trailer and heading out. Some have never done it….here’s some tips.  Contacts have been updated so if you have questions ask

A reprint from the Ontario Fireball newsletter, May 2001

I’ve been sending these occasional bulletins out with the hope of getting more boats on the water this season. ‘Fleet-building” for the entire province is somewhat difficult from Ottawa, so I’m also depending an all the old regulars out there to help nurture and encourage any fleet newcomers in their areas.

I know for a fact that there are Fireballers out there that have never travelled to a regatta outside of their home waters. Guess what – it’s actually a lot of fun. The social side of Fireball sailing should never be overlooked either, it’s what keeps many of us in the fleet (okay, the boats are fun to sail too).

Let’s go over a list of concerns you might have before going on your first road trip:

  • Do you need a measurement certificate? While we encourage all boats to be “legal” Fireballs, with the certificate to prove it, in reality the only nearby regatta where you’ll be asked for it this year will be the Canadians in Montreal in September. If this worries you, don’t hesitate to contact our measurer, Dave Landsberg. ( He can issue you a new certificate if there is a record of the boat being measured or arrange to have the boat measured.
  • Do you need to know the rules? I’d encourage you to be familiar with the basics, and generally just try to do what everyone else does and stay out of trouble. It gets a bit aggressive at times at the front of the fleet, but if this is your first regatta that probably isn’t a concern to you.
  • Do you need a launch dolly? No. Sure, they make it convenient for getting on and off the water, but usually you can borrow one (or get a few others to just carry your boat to the water). You MAY need something to set the boat down on though – a couple of carpeted chunks of 4×4 will do the trick.
    • Nepean Sailing Club (NSC) – Nepean One Design in June and Fanfare in September – the dinghy area is gravel, but there is a grass strip near the water that will accommodate a few boats. Launching is from ramps. You can park near your boat. Camping is allowed on club grounds. Contact Jeremy Kennedy ( if you have questions about this venue.
    • Britannia Yacht Club (BYC) – National Capital in August – there is a small area near the gas dock that can accommodate a few Fireballs. Main dinghy area is around on the North side of the harbour and a long walk back to the Club
    • Pointe Claire Yacht Club (Montreal). All paved, no grass. Concrete ramps for launching. No camping allowed on the property. Stephen Waldie ( ) is your contact.
    • Sam Myers Regatta at Pymatuning Sailing Club (Andover Ohio) in July. Great venue. Camping on site is encouraged and the beer flows freely (there are a few B&Bs in Andover if you aren’t a camper). All grass. Boats are lifted in off of floating docks. Cal Cotton ( is your contact.
    • Pymatuning Yacht Club (Jamestown PA) Opposite end of the lake from PSC Lots of grass, camping club, ramp launching
  • What else do you need to bring? Have a watch, preferably one that can be set to work as a countdown timer. Make sure you have a small paddle (it’s the law, and also handy for getting in & out of unfamiliar harbours) and a life jacket for each person on the boat. Pack a light lunch for each day, and have a bottle or two of water on the boat. Sunscreen is a good idea, and think about having more clothing (spraytops etc) on the boat than you think you’ll need. It’s no fun being cold & wet. Most of these things can be stuffed into the tanks through the inspection ports. Have enough cash for the entry fee, dinners, and drinks. Most regattas aren’t terribly expensive affairs, unless you’re into staying at posh hotels. And there are discounts available on hotels through the CFA. Don’t be shy about asking the regatta contact if any of the fleet locals will put you up for the duration of the regatta – usually there are some billets available.
  • Get to the site early enough to be sure you’re rigged in time and not stressed out by rushing. This may mean arriving the night before. Look up the Notice of Race beforehand to know what time the first start is, and be out there on time. The Race Committee won’t wait for you.

That’s all there is to it. I hope to see a lot of boats out there this season!


Phil Locker, CAN14678