Monday, November 12, 2012

Team 6mR Vancouver: 2012 Season Review

The 2012 Sailing Season for Team 6mR Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest fleet was rich with participation and success. Among the highlights was the return of CA VA (KC 12) to racing in English Bay, 1st and 2nd place finishes at the European Championships, plus a team of young sailors from Vancouver travel to Helsinki for the Queen Christina Nations Cup.

SASKIA II (KC 19) and CA VA (KC 12) being prepped for Wednesday Night racing at R.V.Y.C.

2012 was the most active season of 6 meter sailing that Vancouver has seen in many years. The number of sailors enthusiastic about this class of racing has grown significantly, as the presence of the fleet has become more significant - both on and off the water. 

SASKIA (KC 19) and the recently restored CA VA (KC 12) both made regular appearances at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club’s weekly Wednesday Night Racing series. Wednesday Night Racing is an opportunity for sailors to gather mid-week for casual around-the-cans racing, followed by drinks and dinner on the patio as the sun sets. For the first time in many years, two 6-meters raced nearly every week, mixing it up with a variety of other boats of different designs and eras. 
Photo Credit: Reuben R. Boulton Bangma

As many sailors in Vancouver are un-familiar with these timeless classics, it was a good opportunity to showcase the class and bring attention to the local fleet. It was also an opportunity to rotate crew-members and invite some younger sailors from RVYC’s junior sailing program, to discover classic yacht racing.  

Photo Credit: Reuben R. Boulton Bangma

In August, two teams from the Pacific Northwest traveled to Nynäshamn, Sweden, to compete in the 2012 European Championships. The boats attending were the 2009 World Champion GALLANT (KC 10), and the 1948/1952 Olympic gold medal-winning LLANORIA (US 83). Having both raced in Helsinki for the worlds in 2011, it was great to have these historic meter boats back racing in the Baltic for a second year in a row. 

With Ross MacDonald at the helm of GALLANT, and his former Star-class Olympic crew Eric Jespersen at the tiller of LLANORIA, it made for some great competition on the water. GALLANT finished the week in first place, with LLANORIA in second. Other North American boats finished strong as well, with LUCIE (US 55) in 5th, FLAPPER (NOR 71) in 7th and OSLO (NOR 17) in 17th. The teams look forward to racing in Europe again next year, for the World Championship in Flensburg.

Meanwhile back home, The Pacific Northwest teams were racing Wednesday nights at RVYC and traveling to Washington State for both Sailing World’s N.O.O.D. Regatta, as well as the Lipton Cup in Port Madison, Bainbridge Island. In August, Port Ludlow became the venue for the 6 Meter North American Championships. The event was well organized and executed by the Puget Sound 6-Meter Association. Special thanks to Adam Henley and everyone in Washington for arranging a very successful and enjoyable weekend for all.

Straddling the months of August and September, Helsinki played host to the annual Queen Christina Nations Cup. 
PHOTO CREDIT: - Erik Lähteenmäki
One of the unique events in the 6-meter world, the QCNC is a special inter-nation event designed to bring 6-meter enthusiasts together from around the world. 

To see these classics still active and relevant, sailed in a mix of modern high-performance sailboats, is truly inspiring for all involved. Traveling to regattas around the region of the Pacific Northwest, and seeing the excitement on people’s faces when you tell them you sail on a six, reminds us all of why we put in the effort and hard work to keep this fleet going. We should all cherish the opportunity we’ve been given to be part of this great class of boats. Here’s to another great season of racing in 2013.

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