Pan Am Games Qualifier: Clearwater US Open

It’s been a big weekend!

I’ve been preparing for the Clearwater US Open Sailing Series for quite a while. This was a major target event for me as is one of the opportunities to qualify for the 2023 Pan American Games.

The Pan Am games will be a crucial opportunity to qualify for the 2024 Olympics and therefore securing a spot at the Pan Am’s was a major goal of mine this year.

I’ve sailed in Clearwater before and this venue can really throw anything at you. There were some solid European riders as well as all the main Pan American riders competing. We had 4 days and 16 races scheduled for the event. I was aiming to be in the top 3 Pan American countries which would ensure I get a spot for Chile 2023

Day 1 involved very light wind and we were the only class to get racing off in the ~6 knots of breeze. I had a couple decent races and a couple not so good ones.

Day 2 Was an absolute blow out and the Race Committee was unable to safely exit the harbour to set our course, so no racing was possible.

Day 3 Had moderate breeze from an offshore direction. This means that the wind can be especially unstable and that can affect the kites in the air. It was difficult to tell what size kite to use. I went with the 21m kite and once I got to the race course, I realized it was the wrong decision. I had to go back and switch for 15m. I made it back to the start line in time but unfortunately, my kite fell out of the sky in a weird wind burst and it caused me to miss the first race.

With some boat support I was able to get it back in the air and raced in the next 3 races and had some decent finishes. I was involved in a lengthy protest that night which took away from time to tune and check my gear. This is all part of the game though. Going into the last day I think I was 0.3 points behind qualifying.

Day 4 was a bit dramatic and had its ups and downs. Initially it didn’t seem like we were going to get any racing due to light winds and fog. Fortunately, a sea breeze prevailed, and we went out for 4 more races. Race 1 and 2 were tight but I moved up enough points to qualify. Race 3 started well but in a stroke of bad luck I hit the anchor line of a crab pot on the upwind. It was a big blow to morale as it resulted in losing a lot of positions despite getting back up and catching a few people.

Going into race 4 I couldn’t calculate where I was standing in my head and so I pretty much thought it was all over. I still put it all out there in the last race and in the end I was able place well enough to Qualify for the Pan Am Games by a 3 point difference. It was a serious reminder that every race matters and not to give up early.

I’m really excited about this opportunity to represent Canada and have a chance to qualify the country for the 2024 Olympics.

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Miami US Open Sailing Series

Miami was my first event since worlds and I was looking to see where I stacked up leading into the Pan Am Games Qualifier at the end of the month in Clearwater, FL.

After worlds, I had the opportunity to join a training group in Florida and focus on the gaps I identified at worlds. We had a solid camp in December in St. Pete with a ton of hours on the water, in the gym, and working on technical aspects of the sport.

This was the first kite regatta to take place in Miami and we were unsure what the weather would bring. Launching proved to be challenging due to bylaws restricting access to put kites in the air. Fortunately, the organizers sorted it out and we did have some great training days and some good racing during the event.

The regatta was scheduled for 3 days with 4 races per day.

Day 1 was very windy, offshore, shifty, and flat-water conditions. Even though it was Miami, we woke up to some pretty cold air temperatures. Luckily, the sea is very warm to offset the air temperature.

I felt like I sailed really well on the first day. Three out of 4 races were excellent but unfortunately, I missed a buoy on race 2 and therefore had to retire from the race. 

Day 2, we got off the beach but there was not enough wind for the fleet to race and we sailed back in.

Day 3, the wind was still offshore and quite light. I was able to get off the beach and out to the racecourse. Race 1, I was late to the start line because I was checking my blood sugar and needed to have a snack. I was able to make up some spots and was overall fine with that result.

In the final race of the event, I sailed a very good second lap, combined with a good leeward mark rounding and was able to finish with a SECOND place! 

This was a nice way to end the event and build some confidence leading into the next event. 

While my upwind speed, beach piloting, and equipment tuning has improved I still really need to work on my starts. I had a couple decent ones but also had a number of bad starts. 

I will have about a week of on-water training in Clearwater leading up to the next regatta where I look to qualify Canada and myself for the Pan Am Games.

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2022 Formula Kite World Championships

I apologize it has taken a while to write this regatta report. The world championships was a difficult regatta and my performance did not really meet my own expectations.

Before I talk about the event, I want to say I am very thankful to all the supporters who helped me out financially this fall and made this trip possible.

Leading up to the event, I had some really nice training days with Mike and Kai. We primarily had solid on-shore conditions with medium swell and medium to light winds. We had the opportunity to do a few days of practice racing with a large group of international riders just before the regatta started.

There was some pressure on this event due to the possibility of Sport Canada funding on the line. One of my long-standinggoals of each event has been to finish every race. Another primary goal is always to improve my starts as I have really struggled with executing good starts in past events.

Of course, once racing started the conditions for racing were the opposite of what we had during training. Unfortunately, due to competition between the offshore gradient breeze and the on shore sea breeze conditions were sketchy. I ended up sailing into a completely dead spot and my kite fell out of the sky. I missed a race which others were able to complete. This is especiallycostly in the qualifying days before they place us into Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets.

During the qualification series, the weather did not cooperate on day 2, leaving us with no racing.

Day 3 was the final day of qualification and unfortunately, I was not able to perform well enough to stay out of bronze fleet. I was disappointed with this but still looking forward to the rest of the week. On day 4, we had a massive storm come through and decimate the fleet. There was tons of gear damage but thankfullyI was able to avoid the destruction because I had made it back to shore before the line squall hit. 

Day 5 was yet another Mistral day with offshore winds. I had a gear failure that left me on a kite that was actually too small for the breeze on the course. Being underpowered hurts a lot in kite racing and meant I had my work cut out for me. Results were “okay” that day but should have been a bit better. 

Day 6 was the final day and there was only one race scheduled for all the fleets not participating in the medal series. It was back to the conditions we trained in before the regatta and I sailed a half-decent first leg of the race but had a bad crash near the leeward mark and lost a few spots because of this.

Overall, I have some areas to work on:

1. Start line acceleration and timing to the line

2. Equipment prep and kite piloting on the beach during sketchy conditions

3. Stability and speed on the reach legs of the course

I will be heading home to get back to my day job and reflect on the next steps.

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European Championships 2022

I recently completed the 2022 Europeans which were held in Nafpaktos, Western Greece. I arrived a week early and got some awesome days on the water to check my gear and get accustomed to the venue. Conditions throughout training were not “classic” for the venue but were great for trianing anyway.

The regatta had nearly 150 riders with full quota of 90 male athletes. I was the only male Canadian racing at the event due to limitations on entry for non-euro countries.

I had a pretty good first day with a top finish of 11th in a race. Due to some decent results in qualifying I was able to make silver fleet. We sailed on mainly 15m kites in what I would consider medium to strong wind and pretty flat water.

At the end of the week I ended the regatta in 43rd which was an improvement over my results last year in Montpellier.

I’m happy with the week and had a great time in Greece both on and off the water.

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CORK Canadian Championships

1st Place CORK 2022

This past weekend was the CORK regatta which was also the 2022 Sail Canada Senior National Championships.

Unfortunately, the wind did not cooporate on 2 of the 4 days of racing but we did manage to get some great racing off. On day two we had 7 races. I started off strong with a bullet in the first race and stayed in the top 3 in the remaining races of the day. I ended day 2 in first place by a narrow margin.

Day 4 brought six more races in some very challenging conditions. The wind was straight south and blowing 14-18 knots on average. The were some big storm cells passing over Kingston that day and the wind was shifting pretty drastically.

Eventhough the conditions were tricky, I feel like it was a good opportunity to train for the upcoming World Championships which will have similar conditions.

Most of us had some mishaps throughout the day. Due to an equipment failure, I retired from race nine.

In the end I was able to stay consistent enough to take the overall regatta win.

Congrats to Mike and Matt who placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Next up is the European Championships in Greece, followed by the Worlds in Italy.

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FORK Regatta 2022

I am really excited to announce that I won the 6th FORK Regatta, held here in Kingston, Ontario.

FORK is a regatta that my friends and I started 6 years ago as the first Canadian Kite Foil competition and has been hosted by the Kingston Yacht Club ever since. It has been a successful event drawing both American and Canadian competitors year after year.

This year, FORK was a ranked World Sailing event worth 50 points.

We had some amazing training with perfect conditions leading up to the event. Our coach, Dan Cunningham and a guest coach put on a solid clinic where I logged nearly 4 hours on the water each day. This was some of the most productive training I’ve ever had.

During the event I won 10 of 11 races completed. Racing mostly happened in 8-12 knots and on 21m kites.

I had 2 pretty exciting Port-tack starts on Saturday where I crossed the fleet clear ahead.

Overall, the skill level of the entire fleet has come up since FORK last year.

I will be training for the rest of the summer in Kingston leading up to our Worlds Qualifier which is the CORK Regatta at the end of August.

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2022 Italian Championships

After Traunsee, Kai and I drove to Lake Garda, Italy for some more training and the Formula Kite Italian Championships held in Campione. Sailing in Garda has been a dream of mine for a really long time and I was stoked to finally make it here.

The fleet for this event was almost equally as stacked as Traunsee with most of the top riders in the world participating again.

We had some great early morning sessions and made it on the water for 8am to catch the strong north wind before it dies and the thermal south wind comes in.

The regatta started on Friday with 2 days of qualifying series and 1 day of Gold and Silver fleet racing. Day 1 was pretty breezy and and we finally got to use some smaller kites. I had some rough starts on day one but my results were decent.

Day 2 was back in light wind conditions and I had 2 good races and 1 bad race.

Fortunately the good races outweighed the bad race and I qualified for Gold Fleet!

This was a big accomplishment for me and my first time making Gold Fleet.

During gold fleet racing I became a bit more comfortable on the start line and was able to hold out with the fleet a bit longer on the upwind. I was one of few to finish every race this event and I think this is due to all the light wind training I’ve had lately.

I finished 29/58 overall in the event and was really happy with most of my results. I had a 20th in Gold fleet, probably my best result ever in such a strong fleet.

I’ll be heading back to Canada to train hard and get ready for some events at home and keep working towards the biggest events of the year for me, The European Championships (Greece) and The Worlds (Sardinia, Italy) in the fall.

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Kite Foil World Series Austria

This past week I spent some time in Ebensee, Austria, sailing on the beautiful lake Traunsee. This event was an invitational regatta with a small entry list. I was really lucky to get a spot after the first round of invitations went out to the top riders in the world.

Myself and a training partner, Kai from the United States arrived with 5 days to spare for training before the event. The venue is an freshwater lake flanked with tall mountains with a grass launch at the south end of the lake. Usual conditions are light winds with less than 12 knots onshore and very flat water.

We had a few really nice days on the water before the event with 21m (big kite) conditions and plenty of other riders on the lake. The event had some really good sponsors and we were treated exceptionally well. The event provided dinner for all the riders every night and on Friday we were taken on a special boat cruise dinner around the lake.

During the scheduled race days there was minimal wind but the Race Committee was determined to get a few races off. We got sent out on the water many times and sailed the first leg of the race before the race would be abandoned for lack of wind. This tested our light wind skills for sure.

Although the wind was light the committee was able to get 4 races off this event. I unfortunately got in a tangle in race 2 and my foil cut my hand open which caused me to go to the hospital and get 6 stitches. I subsequently missed the the remaining races. This was pretty disappointing by I did have a great time in Austria. I made new friends and learned a lot from the best kite racers in the world.

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Toronto Icebreakers Regatta

The longstanding Icebreakers Regatta hosted the Kiteboarding fleet this year for the first time. This was the first kite race event ever held in Toronto. I sailed well and am happy to report I won the event. I placed first in 5 of 8 races and was the only person to complete every race due to tricky light wind conditions. This was the first time I had raced against all the other Canadians in many months and it was great to see where I stack up.

Icebreakers Results Here

Despite the cool weather for this May long weekend event, we had racing on both days. The event started with super light wind where we sailed our biggest kites. Then a huge storm blew through and luckily the race committee sent us ashore for safety. After the storm the wind remained up and had some good racing on smaller kites. Day 2 was tricky off-shore wind conditions but we prevailed and were able to race.

It was a great event and I was excited to discuss future events with the volunteers from Ash Bridges Bay Yacht Club and Etobicoke Yacht Club. We will likely return for 2 events in 2023 held in Toronto. It is great to see the racing scene expanding in Canada.

Next up is a training block in Montreal followed by 2 big events in Europe in June.

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Canadian Sailing Development Team

It’s with great excitement that I share the news that I made the Canadian Sailing Development Squad. This is one step closer to the Senior National team and government support. This year I have some big goals including gains in fitness, nutrition, and ultimately performance at the 2022 Europeans and World Championships.

I am excited to work with Sail Canada and the coaches I now have access to.

Fired up for the 2022/23 season!

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