The first regatta for the Laser fleet was anything but a gentle ease into the season. The Flat Water Freeze Out Regatta held by the Guelph Community Boating Club (GCBC) on Sunday May 4, 2008 lived up to its name – it was a freeze-out. Powerful gusting winds of 50+ km/h and a morning temperature of 10°C presented challenging and intimidating conditions to the 11 boats competing.
Four FYC Laser sailors represented the club and made the trip up to Guelph Lake: Jens, Brad, and Kevin Biskaborn; and Jon Dietrich (with generous support, encouragement and cookies from Betty Dietrich).
The first race proved to be a merciless survival situation; at any given time during it, the majority of the sailors were in the water. With gusts literally ripping down the lake, there was little time to react. The downwind leg reaped carnage on the fleet. Only a select few managed to complete the course. FYC was out clear in front for most of the race with Brad Biskaborn leading the entire way, followed by Jens and Kevin. Unfortunately, Kevin had to abandon the race after suffering a tragic and expensive accident involving the snapping of his brand-new carbon fibre tiller extension. Jens went on to finish with a solid second place. Jon Dietrich fought it out and ended up finishing quite well.
When it came time for race number two, the extent of the devastation was clear - the number of boats returning to the start line was effectively cut in half. The conditions were just too overpowering for some of the sailors. Not to mention that it was freezing at the same time.
Of the six slightly insane sailors remaining on the water, Jens Biskaborn was not one of them. After a promising start to the regatta with a second place in the opening race, he graciously and unselfishly donated his tiller extension to his son. Thank you, Dad.
There were four races in this brutal Guelph environment until it was decided to have a lunch break. Not the greatest of ideas; the sailors were freezing by the time they had to head back out. Jens apparently was quite warm. Or so he bragged.
A total of six, demanding and enduring races were held. Brad Biskaborn managed to pull off five bullets, earning him first place in the regatta. Consistency and a drop of the DNF from the first race earned Kevin Biskaborn second place overall. Jon Dietrich finished strong in fifth place to go along with his finely executed high-speed mark-rounding manoeuvres. Jens, having sailed in only the first race, still managed to finish in 7th position.
Congratulations to Brad for winning this regatta two years in a row. Special thanks to GCBC for hosting the regatta and to the parents for driving. It was an entertaining opening to the racing season; expensive for some, wet for others but definitely cold for all.