By Ben Antworth, RMC Sailing Team Captain
The Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) welcomed 11 universities from across Canada for the 2016 Canadian Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s (CICSA) Fleet Racing Nationals on Oct. 29-30. The students gathered in Kingston to compete in 24 races conducted over two days for the top spot in Canadian collegiate-level sailing.
The RMC Yacht Club, located off the waters of Navy Bay, is a preferred venue as it offers challenging sailing conditions that are ideal for high level competitions. As well, with a successful history of hosting national level sailing events, the RMC Sailing team has been recognized for their dedication to the sport, receiving the CICSA volunteer of the year award in 2014.
Collegiate style racing is conducted in a two-division rotation using Club 420 class sailboats. This means that each school enters two boats with each boat crewed by two sailors. Naval Cadet Sam Lowrey paired with Naval Cadet Seamus Ryan-Lloyd and Naval Cadet Alex Webb paired with Officer Cadet Iain Muir represented the two RMC teams.
During the first day of racing the sailors were met with 20 knot winds resulting in significant wave conditions. This proved to be too challenging for several competitors who chose to retire from some of the races in order to recuperate. The second day of racing presented lighter winds allowing for easier manoeuverability, but the significant drop in temperature meant new challenges of diligent rope work with slightly frozen fingers. Fortunately, the warmth of the boathouse and lunch-time BBQ hosted by the RMC yacht club helped keep spirits high.
While McGill University finished in first place with University of British Columbia and McMaster University in second and third place respectively, the home-team’s sixth place finish capped one of the strongest sailing seasons in RMC’s recent history. With the team’s continued dedication to the sport and their enduring competitive development, they are poised to break into a podium finish and are expected to sail into first place at the 2017 Nationals.