Exciting Sailing Season Starting
THUNDER BAY – The ice has finally cleared, and local sailboat racers are gearing up for their first race this Thursday night. The upcoming season will bring much excitement for local sailors, as the Temple Reef Sailing Club (TRSC) and Thunder Bay Yacht Club (TBYC) have joined forces to bring two major sailing events to our city. The Canadian Lightning Championships and the Laser Class Masters Great Lake Championships will come to Thunder Bay in 2014. On July 12 and 13 they anticipate over 15 Laser and 25 Lightning sailboats from all over Canada and the US to compete on Lake Superior for a spot in the 2015 World Championships.
Measuring in at 19 feet and weighing 700lbs, International Lightning Class sailboats are sailed with three crew members and are both exciting and challenging to sail. The Lightning Class has one of the most active, technical and competitive race fleets in North America. Regatta Chair, Julia Bailey notes that “Thunder Bay is well known for its great sailing, achieved sailors, and now also boasts the largest Lightning Fleet in Canada”. Temple Reef Sailing Club has been active in the community for over 45 years and has previously hosted the National Championships on seven occasions, since the first time in 1966. This year the Thunder Bay Yacht Club has stepped forward to support Temple Reef in hosting this World-Class event. “This partnership promises a high quality event and promotes the development of sailing in Thunder Bay”, says Bailey.
Racing will be held outside the breakwall with six races scheduled over the weekend. Regatta registration, boat measurement and weigh-in are scheduled for Friday July 11, with races, banquet and awards to follow racing on Saturday July 12 and Sunday July 13. The top three Canadian finishers of the Lightning regatta will automatically qualify to race in the 2015 World Lightning Championships, to be held in Buffalo, NY.
Lorrie Walsh, Commodore of the Temple Reef Sailing Club, believes Thunder Bay is one of the best places to sail in North America. “In the past, teams have always enjoyed racing in Thunder Bay and look forward to our regattas. Local sailors and volunteers take great pride in providing a unique venue and world-class sailing conditions. We really do have the potential here to host even bigger events- we hope to see Thunder Bay be awarded more major regattas in the future”, adds Walsh.