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Race Officer Walter Cooper

CIYC Winter Race Programs

Spring is just around the corner, and clocks change (Spring ahead) on Sunday March 11th, which is this weekend! Here are the dates for the three events promised before the boats go in the water. Think of it as getting your 'race hat on' before starting to prep the boat.

Spinnaker Course
Saturday March 17- 2pm

Starting at 2:00, we will be running the first part of the 'Spinnaker Flying' course. The hope is to eventually have this certified through Ontario Sailing - so you would get a certificate for it.

We will be going over the theory behind flying spinnakers, and talking about how to set up your boat to do this when we are in the water. We will also be reviewing some videos on proper technique for flying the kite. The land portion will be followed by an on water component where we will be setting your (or someone's) boat up and practice flying spinnakers. We are targeting finish for 4:00 and can sit around for awhile and discuss what you would like out of the on water program.

All the Boat Controls You Wondered About But Were
Afraid to Ask (AKA - How to Sail Fast)
Saturday March 24 - 2pm

We will be presenting a panel discussion on the use of the numerous 'aids' on your boat to make you go fast. Ever wondered on the proper use of your traveller, or is the main set properly for the wind and water conditions? How does the theory relate to your boat?

This is where to come and listen as three of our most experienced share their learning and attempt to answer your questions. Their combined experience covers most of the boats in our fleet and they must know what they are doing as they are in the winner's circle year after year.

Following this session will be the 'Hug Your Boat' - we have to start thawing them out as Spring is here. This will be followed by a potluck dinner. Hope to see everyone there.

A Discussion for New and Novice Racers
and Those Who Just Are Not Sure

Saturday April 14

Our Commodore Paul (wearing his racing hat, not his Commodore hat), will be giving a talk on the CURRENT version of the Rules of Racing - and yes they do change them every couple of years so come out and see what the rules are now! And no, we will not be going over every single rule, but will be highlighting the most common ones you must be cognizant of while racing this year. Paul even promises to use diagrams! I know I find it easier to understand this 'lawyer talk' with pictures. Burgers or a potluck will likely follow. More info on the eating part later. Here’s a synopsis of the discussion:

A Basic Rules

B Setting a Proper Start Line

C Basic Strategies for Good Starts and Other Points of Sail

D Discussion Period

Awards Dinner and Sailing Instructions
Saturday May 5

We plan to follow up all these racing events with the Awards presentations for last year's racing and a dinner. Mike Lippmann was looking at running this, so I haven't been able to verify the details of this component yet as he is sitting on a beach somewhere ignoring us - which is definitely the appropriate way to holiday. More information will follow.

Hope to see all of you at these events

Walt Cooper - Race Officer

The Skinny on Essex County PHRF

Last month I attended a meeting of the Race Directors of Southport, LaSalle Mariners and CIYC hosted by Essex County PHRF (ECPHRF). The reason for the meeting was two-fold, first to introduce the directors to each other and then to list all the races that are being scheduled in the upcoming race season. Apparently all the directors are new this year.

I have a list of 22 separate races, and when I get it formatted correctly, and am sure everything is correct, I will publish it for our membership. Of these, 9 are Essex County PHRF counters and two of these are double counters (two races at one club on the same weekend). One double is at Southport and one is at CIYC. Needless to say, the majority of races in the area are non ECPHRF races and many are held in the US - but you still require a valid PHRF certificate to participate.

I have been a member of Essex County PHRF for many years, some of which I didn't even have a boat. I am embarrassed to admit that my knowledge of the association has been a little 'thin', so I asked a lot of questions. The Members of the Executive present were very patient and tried to educate me.

Here is what I (think) I learned. The organization has a mandate which is on their website, Unfortunately the website isn't working at present, so I couldn't see what it was and no one could accurately state what it was, but I am assured this will be rectified soon. Here is the breakdown on numbers for last year. Of approximately 110 members (I got this by pulling last year's membership ratings off the internet), LMYC has 43 members, CICY 22, SPSC 18 and the rest are from marinas (Leamington 8, BR 4) with the remaining 16 from US clubs. So anyone can join the PHRF Station, but only the three clubs (LMYC, CIYC and SPSC) can host regattas as counters.

When you join, your boat will be measured and a rating provided, with a certificate (I actually have never received a certificate). If you compare your rating to other PHRF stations - ie. Lake Ontario, Thousand Islands - you may find your rating is different. What should be the same is the spread between the boats you are rated against in this area. So if your boat is rated at 129 here and your competition is 110, the spread (19 seconds) should be the same as in other areas.

If it isn't, you have grounds to request that your rating be 'adjusted'. Please note, Essex County PHRF only responds to WRITTEN requests, so if no written request to them, nothing will change.

The only time ratings are adjusted is in response to written requests from members - and you can do this for your boat or another boat you feel isn't rated properly... But you must also provide a rationale for the request. I don't think 'I'm just slower' will cut it.

There is a meeting coming up, and it is being held at LMYC (they get the best attendance if they hold it here - makes sense, they have the most members). If you show up, you can pay your membership ($20) there if you haven't paid yet. Later in the season this is $40. After the meeting there is free beer and pizza - I have never known sailors who can't consume $20 in beer and pizza in one sitting - so does this mean the membership is free?
If this is your first year as a member, the membership is free as well. The Station also 'donates' funds to each of the 3 clubs each year to promote racing. Last year they said they were trying to figure out ways to increase participation of racers at other clubs, I guess we will find out how that went at the meeting.

At some point they will announce the winners of the ECPHRF counters. I believe there is a winner for Lake St. Claire, Lake Erie and an overall winner. They even give flags to the winners. You must compete in a minimum number of races to be counted. Only around 6 boats qualify to be counted, at least this is what I thought they said. So if you get out and compete in the regattas, you stand a good chance of winning something, or at least being mentioned.

If you plan on racing at CIYC only, and don't anticipate going away to regattas, you still need a number for your boat and this seems to be the easiest way to get one. Failing that, Pete is left trying to 'make one up' for your boat, and no one is ever happy with the resultant rating (not that everyone is happy with the rating they get from PHRF) - I guess complaining about your rating is part of the racing process... This is just one of the areas we will be discussing in our race committee meetings.

Anyways, this is what I think I learned at the session. For our club, Mike Lippmann and Frank Foote are our 'measurers' and will take their results to ECPHRF and you will be awarded a Rating if you don't already have one. At last check they couldn't be bribed, but Mike is retiring so who knows. The list of races will be coming soon, and Beth will try to attach the membership application/renewal to this if you plan on attending the meeting, or you could give it to Mike (when he gets back) and forgo the free beer and pizza.

Walt Cooper
Race Director CIYC

February 2018 - We want to make the coming year a fun and exciting one for everyone and to encourage racing your boats.  We have a target of 100% participation in the program this year - whether racing your boat, crewing or participating in race in some form.

This cannot happen without your support and if I can do anything to make the year more enjoyable for you, please let me know - anytime through the year.



Race Program - Strategic Plan


To have 100% involvement from members in the race program at CIYC.


To demystify racing at CIYC and provide a fun and safe venue for all participants.

Strategic Objectives:

  1. Cedar Island Yacht Club strives to promote a safe and comprehensive Race Program to be conducted throughout the year. The program is intended to equip members with the skills to be competent and competitive sailors and to promote Racing as an enjoyable and fun activity at CIYC.
  2. Build a race committee that is representative of the membership. Include those with strong racing experience as well as those just starting out in the sport. Look at adding members who can develop into moving into the position of Race Director in the future.
  3. Solicit member input to determine what the members want in the race program provided at CIYC.
  4. A three part winter program, composed of seminars, to target sailing competencies, racing skills and guest presentations. These seminars are open to all club members, and their guests, and would be held at the club.
  5. The summer 'on water' component of race activities at the club will consist of a number of venues:

  • A Wednesday Night program consisting of a traditional 'around the buoys' format. As daylight hours become challenging, weekend races might be added to extend the racing season.

  • An alternate evening program to re-institute the Blue Racer races for newer skippers. This venue would focus on providing skippers and crews the skills to be employed in racing their boats safely and competently while still having fun. Initially, this program would use more experienced racers as 'mentors' on the boats to provide suggestions to the newer skippers and crews. These 'mentors' would rotate through the boats to allow a variety of viewpoints to be presented. Following this initial training, skippers and crews would continue in a Blue Racer series.

  • A Regatta program to encourage maximum participation of sailors from CIYC. It should be designed to be fair to all racers as far as possible and include a variety of racing venues.

  • A non-Regatta program to provide a venue for overnight or distance events. It should be designed to encourage members to explore taking their boats on longer and can be a precursor on increasing attendance at racing events at other clubs in the area.

Action Plan:

Design winter seminar programs for the membership. These need to be scheduled and could conclude the day with a potluck for the club. Initially, these could be:

  • How to sail you boat - why do we have all these sail controls anyway?;

  • How to fly a spinnaker - we are looking at running a course through Sail Ontario to do this;

  • Racing rules at CIYC and applying them to our race series.

After determining what the members want, format the race program to provide racing in a venue that is safe and fun and satisfies as many member desires as possible.

  • Review the Wednesday night series;

  • Schedule an alternative night for new racers;

  • Review Regatta formats;

  • Schedule a minimum of two 'cruise' races.