The sailors limped ashore looking flustered
Many capsized when the cold wind blustered
Fireball Quebec was truly Ball-Bustered!
Some regatta reports require fine poetry to convey the essence of the event. This was one of them. The Ball Buster was a brand new addition to the Quebec Fireball schedule, timed to encourage those procrastinators amongst us to rig boats, arrange crew, and sharpen rusty sailing skills. Mother Nature provided only minimal warmth, with a high in town of 9C, and a little less afloat. The rain was hardly noticeable once we recovered from the first splash of icy water. Dry suits and woolen tuques were the order of the day. Our hearty Race Committee headed up by Kathryn Johnson ran three races for the six boats entered in the event.
The racing was close in the first two races, with Stephen Waldie and Nic Mochiutti winning both. Their winning streak and regatta came to an unhappy end when their mainsail ripped badly in the 28 knot sustained gust that greeted the fleet during the first upwind leg of the third race. They were joined ashore by Rob Levy and Peter Kelly, with Rob retiring because of the “the worst ice-cream headache known to man”. Really? Pierre Carpentier and Tom Bird made it around the first triangle of the final race before swimming, and then heading home. Mona Barakat and David Landsberg drove in from Ottawa, and had their hands full as the lightest team on the water. Eric Owston discovered that his repaired transom was not quite as strong as it could have been, giving way before the first race. That left Tom and me. We took home the brand new trophy because of a combination of stamina and careful maintenance, which allowed us to be the only boat that completed all three races.
While we have been prouder of other performances, we had a great time. The enthusiasm of the fleet was high, and the season is off to a great start.