ILCA-NA Laser District 3

I'll admit, my summer did not start well. I actually quit sailing altogether in the third race of the RCYC Open back in June. I know, you're laughing, and so am I now, but that moment, when I was floating around in the water watching Brenda Bowskill cruise past me as I tried to right my boat was as serious a mental meltdown as I can remember having in a boat (and I have had a few).

The success of the first race in that regatta was part of the reason why it was so bad. In it, I started at the pin and was rocking the Radial world to the top mark. My master's nemesis Nigel Heath and I converged at the top of the leg at the top of the fleet. The race and the regatta looked quickly like they were going to be a beaut for both of us. We both has good speed upwind and it was blowing hard, which meant the lighter guys would struggle.

I was reminding myself that Nigel won the RCYC last year and I had been thinking since then that, in the Radial, I didn't need to take a back seat to the kids any more just because they were younger and trained more. I was thinking that I could actually compete! I had even confessed to Nigel at some point that I thought he or I had a shot at the Canadian Open, of all things. It sounded almost like heresy at the time.

And there we were, at RCYC, showing the way. I was stoked and full of myself, and, in hindsight, ready for my sport to kick me in the guts.

Which, of course, it did.

The first race turned out okay and I ended up third. The second show my downwind weakness. It was clear I didn't have it going, though I didn't exactly end up completely out of it (9th). But the third race was the dagger. I found the waves were oddly cross-ways from the wind and I just could not keep the boat upright. I crashed twice and watched the fleet pass me in a big hurry. The combination of the excitement of the first race, the hubris of my high expectations and my subsequent reality-check swim was deadly.

I went home. I didn't show up for the second day. I started plotting to sell my boat. I even phoned my community club, St. James Town, to see if they wanted to buy it.

Fortunately, I have a friend who loves me who could stop me from jumping off that cliff. Sanity prevailed and I found myself on the start line of the Canadian Open in Oka, Quebec a month later with renewed high expectations.

What a blast. The winds stayed strong for the four days of racing, and though I had not fixed my downwind problem, I was definitely going strong and staying strong. I loved the lake sailing and in particular, I loved being back where my sailing life began in the 60's and 70's. I had sailed many times on the Lake of Two Mountains during my Junior Club years, and Oka's waters were just down the road from the Hudson Yacht Club where I won a very important regatta as a Junior.

In the end, Nigel did take the regatta, just ahead of Danielle Dube and a young guy from Quebec City (sorry, can't remember his name.) I ended up fourth, which was a disappointment because I had a shot at the podium, but I was "in the hunt" and at this point, I am happy for that.

(Next week, the Canadian Masters)

Rob KociRob Koci races in both the Laser Full-Rig and Laser Radial fleets around District 3. Currently, Rob is the District 3 secretary and maintains a frequently updated race diary on Rob's home port is St. James Town Sailing Club in Toronto, Ontario.

If you would like to comment on Rob's articles or Race Diary entries, please email