Young sailors from across Canada came to Grand Bend in South Western Ontario to brave the challenging waves and winds and rain of Lake Huron for the Canada Summer Games in their sailboats.
The Games were hosted by the 2001 London Alliance Canada Summer Games Host Society, which includes the Cities of London, Woodstock and St. Thomas, the Village of Grand Bend and the University of Western Ontario.
The mayor, Cam Ivey along with 500 volunteers, mission staff, security and citizens of Grand Bend on Lake Huron welcomed the best of Canada’s up-and-coming 13 to 19 year old amateur athletes, who came to test their skills in sailing and beach volleyball, August 13 – 17, 2001. The sail fleets included the 11’ Europe, 12’ Byte, 13’9 Laser & 14’4 Laser II.
Grand Bend was the first settlement on the southern shore of Lake Huron in the 1830’s and was known as Brewsters Mill. The name Grand Bend comes from its location at the grand bend in the river. A cut was made from the grand bend to the lake starting in 1892 creating what today is the Harbour of Grand Bend.
You may be wondering why Power Boating Canada Magazine is involved with a sailing event—well, young sailors are boaters too. We all enjoy the same water, just in a different style of boat. These athletes are all good teenagers who know their stuff. It was like magic watching them single handed and in pairs tack their little sailboats in the tight Grand Bend Harbour through a maze of boat traffic.
The Four Winns committee boats delivered and set the marks for trapezoid-shaped courses about a mile from the harbour. Each race took about an hour and a half, but the sailors had to stay in their boats all day—even their lunch was delivered to them and they ate on board. The sailors experienced a variety of weather conditions from calm to 10 foot waves, high winds, rain, and varying temperatures during this event. For some, like the sailors from Saskatchewan, they had never seen such big waves. Sometimes they couldn’t see each other through the waves. For others, when their boats were moving with the waves, they were surfing along the waves at top speed. The organizers took advantage of the day with moderate winds to squeeze in an extra race. Lucky they did, because by the time Friday rolled around, the seas were too dangerous and the races were cancelled. But they still wound up with 9 out of 10 races and were able to declare the winners at the ceremony Friday evening.
As each day of racing was wheeled up the ramp, Craig Coleman, the sport leader for the sailing competition, smiled with satisfaction of a big job well done by an incredible team. These amazing teens did their competitive stuff, that racing is all about, then skillfully returned to the harbour all smiles after weaving their way through all kinds of sporadic boat traffic from Personal Watercraft to Yachts that were also idling back up the channel. They sped to the ramp under full sail six at a time—what a sight.
For the sailing events, the fleet of power boats for the committee, media and VIP were all supplied by Four Winns and Rob McFarlane’s The Boat Store. Eight Four Winns 180 Bowriders were provided for Judges and Race Committee and a 280, 285 and 298 and a 328 for media and VIP’s.
Doug Dawson of Computer Boat Values who tests boats for Power Boating Canada Magazine, taught sailing for 10 years to the Sea Scouts in his Sea Scout Troop. This combination of talent and knowledge along with his wife Brenda made the perfect combination for this mission.
Doug drove each of these Four Winns as required several times—mostly the 328. Other power boat friends of McFarlane drove the other three boats including Gary Hubley and his nephew (name to follow), Jack VerBeem, Jim Plaxton and John Kennedy.
The OPP fleet included a 37’ Canoe Cove Sedan F/B (Archie Ferguson), a 33’ Executive Sedan (HH Graham) and a 24’ Hike Daycruiser. They patrolled to keep the two race courses secure and not run through by visiting boaters. The Navy Reserve from London came armed with three 24’ RIB Inflatable Diesel I/O’s, a Zodiac RIB Personnel Carrier and a Zodiac Hurricane to perform safety, life guard, first aid duties and whatever other duties were required of them. Many other local power boats performed a myriad of other duties including delivering lunch to the sailors and committee and first aid when needed. It was great team work by many.
Without the contribution of $750,000 worth of 2002 boats by Four Winns and The Boat Store, the sailboat races would have had a very difficult time of being staged. All twelve boats were required for duties of the Race Committee, Judging Committee plus escorting media and VIP’s offshore to view the races up close. Photos and video footage shot from the Four Winns Media Boats were viewed internationally. Provincial athlete committee members and politicians from across Canada were treated to the thrill of seeing and talking with their teams out on Lake Huron. They were so thrilled, they could not thank the drivers enough for getting them out there. Four Winns and Rob MacPharlane’s The Boat Store deserve a huge thank you from Canada for their contribution to make this event possible.
The top two winners in each category are follows:
Laser II Female (14’4 Main, Jib & Spinnaker totaling 234 sq.ft.)
1st Kathryn McIsaac/Sara Scott……… Ontario
2nd Simone Dugard/Tanja Smutny….. Manitoba
Laser II Male (14’4 Main, Jib & Spinnaker totaling 234 sq. ft.)
1st Ian McEwen/Trevor McEwen……. Ontario
2nd Stephane Locas/Yan Locas……….. Quebec
Laser 1Male (23’9, 76 sq. ft. of Main Sail)
1st Andrew Childs………………………… Nova Scotia
2nd Jonathan Benskin…………………….. British Columbia
Byte Female (12’0 with 58 sq. ft. main sail)
1st Jennifer Spalding…………………….. British Columbia
2nd Isabelle Garand……………………….. Quebec
Byte Male (12’0 with 58 sq. ft. main sail)
1st Alex Singer…………………………….. Ontario
2nd Karl Cambel……………………………. British Columbia
Europe Female (11’0 Main 80 sq. ft.)
1st Genevieve Gaudreau………………… Quebec
2nd Marta Rudzki………………………….. British Columbia
Doug and Brenda Dawson