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CANADA - LASER WORLD MASTERS - TRIP OF A LIFE TIME - Andy Whittell

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Over 12 months ago I decided this was an opportunity to see if National Geographic magazines were accurate in their coverage of Canada. After 23 hours flying time and 6 hours stop over time in Hong Kong we (Wendy and I) arrived in Vancouver. Over the next week we would also visit Calgary to attend the famous Stampede the largest rodeo in the world. Then onto Montreal, Quebec, then onto Kingston for the Laser World Masters Championships.  Everywhere we went all signs and announcements were in both english and french.  This brought back memories of my high school french some 40 years ago, bonjour, oui and au revoir!

The regatta was hosted by Kingston Yacht Club under the banner of CORK which stands for the Canadian Olympic Regatta Kingston. Here we leased lasers less than a year old in good condition although many thought the charter fee was excessive at  twice the Australian fee. The launching process down narrow concrete ramps or floating timber ramps meant congestion launching and returning to shore. This was alleviated somewhat by the trolley helpers to move 260 lasers in and out of the launching areas.

The Regatta programme was great as we were packed up most days by 4 pm and then into Kingston for a beer and some food from the many restaurants and bars. During this time a Street Buskers Festival was being held down near the foreshore where amazing acrobatic feats attracted crowds of spectators.

Over 55 lasers competed in my age group. After 6 race days of tough racing in light to moderate winds I finished 37 overall. My best result a 12th on a day of 40 degree wind shifts that capsized at least a dozen lasers in my fleet. It was great to be up with former  world champion Wolfgang Gerz and  finished ahead of Andy Roy in this memorable race.  The racing highlighted the weak areas where I need to improve before the next Worlds.   Bruce Utting finished 22nd best WA boat.

The regatta social programme included an opening and closing function at the Kingston Yacht Club where laser legend Jeff Martin (PRO) and local dignitaries made speeches and competitors from 26 countries were thanked for attending. The highlight social event for me was the barbeque and show at Fort Henry where the military marching band in full regalia marched in unison displaying amazing changing formations in the parade ground of the Fort.

After the Regatta on to Toronto by train, day trip to Niagara Falls which was awesome, then boarded the train to Vancouver. This was just an amazing train journey across Canada (3,000 miles) over 4 days. We had a sleeper cabin but spent most of our time in the observation dome carriage where you can take in the wonderful scenery.  It stopped along the way at Winnipeg, Edmonton, Jasper and we were enthralled by the wonderful scenery all through the journey.  The last part of the train journey took us through the Rockies where we could admire the  high snow topped mountains.

Our return journey from Vancouver included a stopover in Hong Kong for a well deserved rest after 15 hours. From here 8 hours to Perth the next day and home to Busselton.

 

 

 

                               

Grand Masters Division, age group 55-65 yrs,  55 boat start Kingston Lake Ontario - 5-10 knots.

                               

Top mark buoy rounding, Bruce Utting rounding.

                               

Andy on the run.

 

 

11.08.15 00:24 Age: 2 yrs