The 4th Annual September Blender, now the CRYA Prairie Regional IOM regatta, took place September 18-20 in Calgary. The event was hosted by the Calgary Model Sailing Association in conjunction with Glenmore Sailing Club. CMSA member Chris Hunt, who assisted with scoring, also wrote this report on the event.
Friday, September 18th was day one of our 2015 Prairie Regional, aka The September Blender. Formally, it was a measuring day – and that did happen – but for many of our out-of-town guests it was also a chance to put their boats in our water to get an idea of conditions and what-not. Highlights of Friday include:
David Cook of Victoria BC traveled to our event this year. We have five IOMs built by David in our fleet and we managed to get four of them into the water. He was very happy to see his years of handiwork displayed before him on our prairie waters. Thanks, Dave, for helping us grow our fleet!
On a different type of note, Roger Kibble of Saltspring Island BC had a dry land mishap – when walking away from the GSC clubhouse his mast somehow got jammed into the ground by his feet and snapped cleanly in half. Apparently it had been corroding from the inside for some time. Amazingly, he had another section of mast that he was able to press together over the remains of his old mast. Crisis averted.
Many of our guests took a number of days to travel to Calgary and see the sights in our BC and Alberta national parks. They spent a lot of time looking up.
Somehow, at the end of our measuring time, we ended up a block away at The Point and Feather pub for a pop or two. The BS made the floor very slippery.
Saturday, Sept 19th was day two of the September Blender and we started with 18 boats in the water. Some observations:
Saturday morning in the GSC clubhouse and everyone is frantically doing last minute repairs and tuning. It was like the storm before the calm.
Wind was mostly light and shifty. But even when the water looked like glass, there was always enough wind to move. And if boats are moving, they are racing. With the wind being mostly light, the course put a premium on skippers who could maintain momentum and make the most of every puff they could catch. Any errors caused large drops in positions.
Our new friend Chris Rappel and his buddy Todd brought out an r/c rescue boat that they outfitted with two GoPro cameras. The video they made from this footage is fantastic.
Racing finished by 4pm and we had a social time before supper. There may have been some icy, fruity blender beverages. Supper was BBQ steak, baked potato, two kinds of salads including this fantastic quinoa salad, garlic bread and a very sinful cake. Thanks again to Andrew for his BBQ abilities and his wife Cyndi for running the kitchen.
Now listen folks, the September Blender has one event that I can guarantee happens at no other r/c sailing regatta in the world. After supper all of the out-of-town sailors and visitors were invited out onto the deck of the clubhouse. There, a representative of the Calgary Stampede was waiting and gave each of them a white Smithbilt cowboy hat. Most places give out a key to the city but Calgary gives out white cowboy hats. After explaining the tradition of the hat – which involved booze, the Grey Cup and a horse charging through the lobby of the Royal York Hotel in Toronto – the sailors took an oath to spread our civic spirit far and wide throughout their travels and ended by shouting, “YAH – HOO!!!” A couple of sailors looked mildly stunned.
You know, a very, very good day….
Sunday, Sept 20th and the third and final day. For those in a hurry, it was a fantastic event. For those with a bit more time, here’s what happened:
We got us some wind! Though it did drop off at times we were still able to run 11 races, with the last three at the top of A rig. The course marks were adjusted a few times as the wind was, at times, shifty. Locals call this the Glenmore Shuffle.
Racing this day had the fleet much closer together, so around marks and the like the dockside lawyers were a bit more vocal. Penalty turns were generally done immediately and without argument. No protest meetings were held at all during the event. Obviously those white cowboy hats helped.
Jerry Brower, John Ball, Steve Kibble, Andrew Baak and Luke Harwood tore up the course all day, and took the top 5 spots. Andrew and Luke finished with identical points but the tiebreaker went to Andrew. Mid-pack to back of the pack had some of the closest and tightest racing and everyone fought very hard for their position.
Leah Mathewson: a woman, under 40 and can really sail. Yes, we had a girl show up. She’s cool.
Quinn Baak: age 16, rugby player. Yep, we also attract the cool teenagers.
Racing was finished by 2pm. We try and make this a “workingman’s” regatta by having measurements done on Friday night, race all day Saturday, and race until 2pm on Sunday. This gives out-of-town visitors a better chance when it comes to travel times and flights, etc. A number of our visitors took several days to get to Calgary and spent their time roaming through British Columbia.
At our awards ceremony the top three each received a framed photograph of their IOM with their finishing position engraved on it. The winner, Jerry Brower, also received a blender, of course. Every single one of the participants in the Blender also received a framed photograph of their IOM. Very grateful to Andrea Batchelor, Adam Batchelor’s very cool spouse, for both taking all of the photos, getting them developed/printed, getting the picture frames and getting it all out to us by the end of the regatta. Well done!
This was the best Blender we’ve ever had! It was about a 50/50 mix between locals and visitors with 18 registered entrants and 22 races. The quality of racing was very high and people left the docks with a smile on their faces.
Reserve the third weekend in September 2016, cuz’ ya’ know what? – we’re gonna do it again next year! Yaa-hoo!