Prairie Wind Results

From Don Snell, Newell Sailing Club:

Eight SeaSprays participated in an open weekend sailing time on July 11 and 12 at Newell Sailing Club.  Some impromptu, socially distanced racing took place and the results are shown in the attached photo. 
The weather for the weekend was pleasant and about 8 other boats participated as well.  It is hoped that by next summer the normal Prairie Wind regatta will happen.  
Take a look at the windknife website from Britain again if you are interested in getting a new set of daggerboards.  One of our club members has acquired a set and I also bought another set for a second SeaSpray that I own.  So far I think that they work well and are a real time saver compared to building a set of wood/fiberglass boards.  You still have to fit them into your daggerboard trunks and seal the ends of the aluminum boards.  They do not float so some system of attachment to the boat is necessary.  The next item would be a set of light weight rudder blades.  If any of you find a source let me know.
As far as I know some type of event will happen at Osoyoos the second full weekend of September.  I will keep you posted if and when I learn more about that.  

Fall 2019 Newsletter

Snell Wins North Americans

Congratulations to Don Snell for winning the 2019 North American Sea Spray Championship.  Congratulations also go to Richard Braul for second place and Rupert Holmes-Smith for third place finish.  There were 11 Sea Sprays competing but unfortunately no American competitors were present.  The races were hosted by the Osoyoos Sailing Club with good winds on Saturday and Sunday allowed for 10 races overall.  Friday being the sit on the beach day with only one race on that day.  It should be noted that Chris Scheuren a non-competitor won the Turkey award for attempting a long distance trip with a motor boat without a very necessary gas tank.  Outboard motors can run without a gas tank albeit for only five minutes.  Good thing they had oars in the boat!  There were a few capsizes but no rescues.   John Cormack was able to attend as race officer.  The usual format of running races from the fore deck on land was changed and the races were run from a MacGregor 26 race committee boat on the water.  A windward mark and downwind gate of two marks were placed and the start/finish line was maintained square to the wind and the windward mark was shifted as necessary due to wind shifts.   CLICK HERE TO VIEW SCORING

New Sails

Gary Ford offered some other sail source with the following information….Hi Don, further to our conversation regarding the design of sails for your seasprays. I can send you my notes based on my design and the associations one design sail measurements in both SI and Imperial sizes.
Gary was able to design his sails using this program and have the sails made off shore at a very reasonable price.  More info to follow on this subject.  There are also sail kits available from Sailrite out of Indiana US.  These are a fairly full design but could be modified if conversations with their sail designer take place.  At the moment the cord/camber ratio is about 10:1 but could be flattened a bit to 11:1 if desired.  Make sure they design the sails using the allowable foot roaches for the main and jib.  Having built a jib some adjustment to the patches is needed and I would recommend a slightly longer luff wire for the jib (say at least 2″ or 3″).  There are material choices as well.

The Windknife Daggerboards

After using these boards for the Nationals and the North Americans I would recommend their use if you want to replace or upgrade your dagger boards.  Having built a number of sets over the years the aluminum boards represent a real time saver.  You will have to fit them properly in the trunk which will involve a fair bit of work in order to prevent water slopping up the trunk.  Even after sealing the boards they still do not float so attaching them loosely to the side stays is recommended.
After capsizing in one race my big concern was not to loose one or both boards.  I did have a side shock cord under tension holding them in place but my main concern was to make them secure.  Even after turtling and righting the boat they stayed in place because of the sideways force of the shock cord.
They did bend (but not permanently) when levering the boat to a sideways capsize position and stepping on them close to the hull did not permanently bend them so I would say they withstood a somewhat moderate force.  The trailing edge is sharp and placing a piece of oak or maple with a saw kerf to help quide them up and down inside the trunk makes for a smooth workable action.  I used blue styrofoam in front of the boards inside the trunk and top and bottom was finished and aligned with bondo with the short strand fiberglass strands in the mixture.

For more on this topic see Don’s previous article about these foils.

Waiting for wind on Friday afternoon.

Relaxing and discussing all things that matter

It’s not all about sailing when you attend a regatta.

There was lots of socializing and relaxing too.  The Lake Osoyoos Sailing Club provided some outstanding meals as well.
Wine and cheese Friday night had a wide variety of local wine.  The weather was great on Friday, good on Saturday (with moderate winds) and on Sunday it rained with slightly less wind than on Saturday.  Gas prices dropped to $1.25 per litre in Osoyoos on Saturday, somewhat of a deal in BC.

Butler Wins Second Championship

This year’s Seaspray North Americans at Big Lagoon, California was a success with 11 races sailed over three days.  The weather co-operated and provided a decent wind on Friday and lighter winds on Saturday and Sunday.

L-R: Jay Gardner, Don Snell, Mike Butler

Congratulations to winner Mike Butler from Fort Bragg, California.  Corrected race results had Don Snell in second place and Jay Gardner in third.  There were four competitors from United States and three competitors from Canada.  Thanks to Mike Butler for providing the Seaspray fleet prizes.  Thanks also to all the competitors who made the effort to attend this event.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

Many thanks to the Humboldt Yacht Club for hosting the regatta and giving the Seaspray fleet an extra day of racing over the regular Redwood Regatta.  The overall attendance was in the mid 30’s for competitors with Hobie 16’s, Hobie 20, Snipe, Pelican, Laser and other fleets competing as well.  Competitors were allowed to camp for four nights maximum at this state owned property and it helped to be close to the venue.  A wonderful Saturday supper and hearty Sunday morning breakfast was provided as part of the event.

Pictured above are most of the competitors and their spouses enjoying the weather.
If you are wondering why we didn’t sail on the Pacific side of the big dune the picture below will help explain why. Water temperature in the low 50’s Fahrenheit.

One of the side benefits of traveling a long distance to an event is the opportunity to enjoy a few side excursions.  The Red Wood forest is extensive in this area and a drive through the “Avenue of the Giants” afforded an additional opportunity to do some hiking in the Redwoods.

While driving through Eureka, California we passed by the Carson Mansion pictured below. William Carson came from New Brunswick to the California gold rush and ended up making a fortune in the lumber business, shipping redwood to San Francisco and other parts of the globe.


Ferndale, California was another worthy visit and had many interesting and surprising delights.

Summer Newsletter


The Prairie Wind Regatta at Newell Sailing Club had seven SeaSprays competing with Richard Braul coming out on top, congratulations Richard.  A windy Saturday had the fleet on shore for the first race but out for the afternoon racing where two races were completed in fairly high gusting winds.  Sunday races were sailed in a more sedate wind and five races were completed.  The race results are part of the attachment (CLICK HERE TO VIEW) and the SeaSpray fleet was part of the bigger overall event with 63 competitors in total.

It is always a bit intimidating launching a Seaspray into a direct on-shore wind of sometimes 20 knot plus gusts.  Once on the water however the boat is more controllable.   Newell can throw up some pretty big waves at times and it is always a lot of fun either steering the best way through the waves when beating or riding them when broad reaching on the down wind runs.  There were a few dramatic pitch poles and sometimes an occasional capsize but everyone who went out had a great sail.


Travelling to a regatta can be part of a bigger holiday.  For some of us this is an opportunity to travel to an area you may not normally visit.  Check for some attractions along the way and have a great time

The North American Seaspray Championships are coming up next.  Aug 31, Sept 1,2 Big Lagoon, California. The following is some more info and a couple of pictures.  Please check the link below for more information and pre-registration for the event.  You can buy meals on line beforehand as well as register:

From Michael Butler

It is unimproved land that is open for only that week. No showers. They bring in porta-potties and water and kitchen and dining stuff. The nearest lodging that I know of is at Trinidad 9.5 miles south. Also Arcata and Eureka have more options for that.

The attached image shows the layout. There is camping in that open area that gets filled up. We usually end up along the beach somewhere. Things get tight, so a large motorhome would be a problem; but there are lots of options for smaller camper vehicles – they may not be very level. No charge.

Finding the entrance road may take a bit doubling back. From the south, it is about 0.9 miles from a bridge over the estuary.

The entrance location as I see it: Lat 41.1743  Long -124.1025

It is my favorite camping of any sailing venue, but it can be chilly in the evening or if it is foggy a very heavy dew in the morning. Bring hull protection as the beach has rocks and it is usually a lee shore.

You are welcome to call anytime – thanks,


707 961-1891

From Larry Fox – host club

Hi Michael, timing is great on your reply because registration for our Redwood Regatta is now up on Regatta Network. Your members can register at:

 Definitely don’t think about on- shore tasks; you are our guests. If the right race committee person is available great no worries if not.  Also, a registration form is attached here for those who would rather register by snail mail.

 We’re super excited about hosting the North Americans!

 All the best, Larry Fox

 Hi Michael,

We are so glad to host your North Americans at our Redwood Regatta! As we were discussing plans for the event last night at our board meeting, we thought it would be great if your association could contribute one person to join our race committee. That way your group would have direct input to race course decisions and represent your group with our committee. This is not a huge deal if all of your members are planning to sail in the races, no worries. We just thought it might be nice if it worked for your group.

 We are planning to have official races for your group on Friday. We will invite our members to join if they want for practice races with a separate start, of course. Then on Saturday and Sunday, your group will have their official races as a separate class with their own start and since your group is registering in our regatta, you will have a separate class in our regatta as well. That way, we can present trophys for the Redwood Regatta to your winners and you can present awards to your group for the North Americans.

 We plan to have our registration forms live on the web very soon and we will send paper to you as well.

 All the best, -Larry Fox, Vice Commodore HYC

Butler Wins North Americans

Mike Butler from northern California won his first Sea Spray North American Championship at Huntington Lake, California.  Seven boats sailed in 9 races with Butler (USA) recording bullets in all 9 races to finish ahead of second place finisher Jay Gardner (USA)(’96,’00,’01’04,’05,& 2013 Champ), and third place finisher Hamish Ferguson (CAN) (2009 Champ).

Photos sent by Mike Butler. Click on first photo..

Prairie Wind Regatta Winds Up

tweaker2The 2016 Prairie Wind Regatta has wrapped up and the members of the Newell Sailing Club can now kick back and enjoy the rest of the sailing season. For those who have never sailed at the PWR, it has become one of the premier events on the Alberta Sailing Assn. calendar.

From the NSC website:

“Our 29th annual regatta is over.  Our winds were co-operative and blew for two days although starting later on Sunday morning.  The San Juan 21 North Americans were held jointly with the Glenmore Sailing Club hosting this event at our sailing facility from Thursday to Sunday.  There were 31 San Juan 21’s registered and 39 registered for the Prairie Wind for a total of 70 sailboats.  Some of the San Juan competitors travelled a long ways to our lake coming from Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, California, Montana, British Columbia, Alberta etc.  The Prairie Wind Regatta had fleets of Fireballs, Lasers, Optimist Dinghies, Seaspray Catamarans and a number of other sailboat types.  A lot of our club members competed as well as volunteered their time to help host the event.  We owe a lot to the volunteers and value their contributions.”

Click here for Results

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