The 2015 version of the Beaver Fever regatta was held recently and we have the scoop. You will find below no less than three separate reports, all from different points of view. Also included are photos, videos and results. Thanks of course must go to event-organizer Barry Fox and his team of efficient VMSS volunteers.
From a competitors view by Sailing Director Peter Stevens
It doesn’t seem to matter what size of boat you’re sailing, when a regatta begins, the wind gods take tremendous pleasure in making the conditions as challenging as possible; and the 2015 version of Beaver Fever was no different.
On Friday, twenty-two skippers made their way to Beaver Lake to take part in the Western Canadian Championships, and first race of the cross border COW series. A broad spectrum of IOM designs were officially registered by Regatta Chairman Barry Fox before being measured by Lawrie Neish. The skipper’s homeports were also as varied as the designs; Alberta, Washington, and closer to home, Saltspring Island, Hornby Island, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Parksville, Vancouver, and the greater Victoria area.
It was a terrific turnout for the first major regatta of the year within our local area. A practice course was set up so that everyone could take advantage the afternoon breeze that delivered gusts in the upper A region. It was great way to get your tuning sorted, while enjoying a beautiful sunny day.
The format called for HMS heats of fourteen boats with six promotions/ relegations to be sailed. On Saturday, the breeze was quite shifty and ranging from very light, to producing gusts that caused nosedives and some very interesting mark roundings, especially when all the boats were hit by the ‘big puff’ while crowded within the four boatlength zone. It was a credit to all the sailors that the resulting carnage was dealt with quickly and in the spirit of sportsmanship. And it provided great entertainment for those not sailing in that heat! Eleven full races were completed by the end of the day.
Sunday began with very light winds and a steady rain. Our PRO quite wisely decided on single lap races in the hope we could squeeze as much sailing as possible out of a fickle wind. Wind shifts of 180 degrees were a common occurrence sometimes making tactics more a case of good fortune rather than part of a well thought out gameplan. There was plenty of head scratching going on when you quickly lost ten places, and then, without adjusting your sails, and while still steering the same heading, you would gain back those ten boats and probably more…all on the same leg!
Seventeen races were completed, allowing for three throwouts. Graham Herbert from Hornby Island, sailing his own design ‘Puff’ and Jerry Brower of Lake Stevens, Washington sailing his Fraktal, were tied on points for first. The tiebreaker went to Graham for sole possession of first place. Peter Stevens of Victoria, sailing his brand new V9 in it’s first regatta, placed a close third. There were many close battles throughout the standings with three ties and several boats separated by only a point or two. Everyone had their moments of glory where everything fell exactly into place, and then there were the inevitable moments when things went a little bit sideways, figuratively and literally.
A big thank-you goes to the volunteers of the VMSS who provided a hot lunch for all the participants on both Saturday and Sunday. MLA Lana Popham was on hand to award the top three boats with commemorative prizes.
From the organizer’s view by Barry Fox
VMSS has been host to this event for 4 years in a row now. We held it in 2010 as well but used a fall date and had lots of issues with the dreaded weeds. We skipped 2011 and then rejuvenated the event using a spring date when the lake is high and the weeds have yet to grow very much so there is room under our keels to clear most of the weed. And that has brought us some good success.
The entry has grown every year since switching to the spring date. I was a little apprehensive about how we would do this year due to a few factors but ended up with an entry of 22 boats which matched last year, our event high entry.
VMSS was well represented this year with a solid 5th place for Dave Seager, and a good 8th place for Adrian Harrison. Fred Herfst had some issues along the way, finishing 13th and Dave Taylor had some ups and downs to give him a 19th. However, every one of them had some very good finishes in the fleet races and just weren’t able to capitalize on those. But those good races proved that they have the skills and equipment to do well. Just more practice.
This year we had our local MLA Lana Popham, offer to help us out and she came out to help with the awards ceremony, presenting the top three sailors with their prizes. Many thanks for her participation. We hope she can help us maybe make some inroads on the increasing weed problem that is limiting our ability to sail at Beaver Lake.
A big thanks to Lawrie Neish from Saltspring Island for coming over to conduct the event measurement session. And all this only a few weeks removed from some major back surgery.
Producing a regatta like this takes help from a number of people that most maybe don’t see. Leading up to the event I had good assistance from Adrian Harrison, Peter Stevens and Dave Seager who each take on some specific tasks that lets me concentrate on the event operation.
Ron Armstrong again did his yeoman duty as the Club’s PR man and got event notice in various local news media as well as two TV spots on Sunday and a prominent picture and story in the Friday edition of Saanich News. In addition, Ron also sat and helped me with tracking the event scoring throughout the weekend.
A big help was delivered by a number of club members who have become the staple suppliers of our event lunches over the past years. Bill Andrews and Mike Creasy are the normal providers of this service and were ably assisted by Bev Andrews and Susan Nelson. The hot lunch, hot chocolate and smiling faces are always appreciated and a big thanks from the sailors, and from me in particular, is due to these folks. This kind of help that can completely be relied upon is priceless support for events like this.
Other members, including Editor Scott Munford, Pres Mike Claxton and Website Master Steve Meredith were all present with their cameras so there is lots of photographic proof that we raced.
Below on this page is the scoresheet so you can read the gory details. For any names I have missed, I apologize for missing your names but thanks again to everyone who helped out.
Watch Barry’s interview on Chek 6 News here. Skip ahead to 14:12.
From the Class Secretary’s View by John Ball
Barry Fox was Regatta Director and Lawrie Neish provided Regatta Measurement at Check in. There were 22 boats competing, and we sailed HMS heats of 14 boats with 6 promotions/relegations. Saturday had good No.1 Rig conditions with the occasional gusts to cause some dramatic nose dives and lots of shifts and dead spots to keep everyone on their toes. Eleven (two heat) races were completed on Saturday. Sunday was light winds and steady light rain. Wind shifts were massive, sometimes doing several 180s during a leg. The race course direction would be called at the two minute countdown, with some races going left to right, and the next race right to left. Sunday races were reduced to one lap and produced some close finishes. Six (two heat) races were completed on Sunday for a regatta total of seventeen races, allowing three drops. At the end, we had a tie for first place, and Graham Herbert came out as Western Region Champion after a count back with more first place wins over US skipper Jerry Brower of Lake Stevens, Washington in second place. Peter Stevens, who will be representing Canada at the IOM Worlds was a close third, sailing his new V9 in its first big fleet regatta.
Thanks must go to the members of the host club VMSS for providing their facilities and for the club members who came each day and provided a hot lunch and assisted Barry with recording and scoring. AN a huge vote of thanks to Barry who ran the event and did such a great job of keeping the regatta moving smoothly.
VideosVideo courtesy Steve Kibble Video courtesy Steve Kibble Video courtesy David Cook.